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Kristina Riggle and The Life You’ve Imagined

August 16, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


In the follow up to her successful debut of Real Life & Liars, Kristina Riggle presents us with another thoughtful, touching, bittersweet read — The Life You’ve Imagined, releasing tomorrow, August 17, 2010. This second book also proves that the author’s natural gift is her talent to write a quiet little novel that whispers, nudges, and reminds how much of life is filled with hope.

However the irony is that the idea for this storyline came out of Kristina’s seemingly lack of hope, as she explains:

“Really the story was inspired by my eroding naivete about how the world works. I used to believe — as I think many young National Honor Society types do — that the world is a meritocracy and if I just work hard enough, rewards and happiness will automatically come to me. This is definitely true for the Anna character, who can’t quite believe that she’s at the cusp of achieving everything she’s ever wanted, yet the envisioned happiness is not there.”

As for the title, it’s a line taken from the following quote:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the live you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. __Henry David Thoreau

Yet, according to the author, “the quote was almost an afterthought, just a piece of scenery. As the novel evolved, the notion of an imagined life being sharply different from reality came into focus and I realized that was the perfect title.”

The quote and its dream for future happiness also provides the link to three childhood friends unexpectedly reunited one summer, all still searching for their dream of happiness.

Here’s the novel’s Synopsis:

Are you living the life you imagined? Is there anything you’d have done differently if you could? Those are the questions asked in Kristina Riggle’s unforgettable new novel.

In high school, Cami and Anna were as close as they could be…now, years later, both have returned to their hometown to face the people they had once left behind. Anna must confront her mother, still distraught over the abandonment of her husband, and come to terms with choices she had made years before. While Cami returns home to stay with her alcoholic father, she uncovers a secret he sought to keep which could change her life and salvage her future. They reconnect with their classmate, Amy, who can’t understand why achieving the thin body and handsome man of her dreams hasn’t given her the happily-ever-after she desired. This is a novel that digs deep and touches the heart of the issues so many women face-the quest for perfection, the hope of love, the value of family and importance of always striving for your dream.

Selected by independent booksellers as an IndieNext “Notable” Pick for September 2010 The Life You’ve Imagined has also earned Praise from the author’s notable peers.

And HarperCollins offers a special bonus to those readers who Browse Inside the book. There are 54 pages available for your reading pleasure….certainly much more than one would imagine!

Kristina writes in the same format she used in Real Life & Liars, rotating first person narrators to place the reader into the mindset and physical space of her four main characters. Bound by their small town background of growing up in fictional Haven, Michigan, the personal issues that each must resolve in order to achieve her dreams are universal problems for anyone, anywhere.

These women have dreams that they’ve tried to achieve, but their efforts have not necessarily lead to happiness. Instead such personal control has created more stress and disappointment, blurring the truth of what they really desire. After all wishes made during adolescence usually change with maturity, opportunity, and the confidence to let go, allowing life to happen.

Perhaps it’s that confidence these characters seek from their hometown reunion. The author’s description/depiction of fictional Haven, Michigan is truly stunning. And the Nee Nance Store, the dying family business that connects them all (see Guest Kristina Riggle on All in the Family), could not be a better example of the confidence needed to know when to let go of a dying dream and then move on.

But what about the author, is she living the life she imagined?

Kristina says, “No! And I’m glad. I imagined myself by this point sailing along in my career as a newspaper reporter, well on my way to becoming editor of a large urban daily. Novel writing was a vague aspiration for some undefined “‘someday.'” I always envisioned myself a hardcore career woman who would “‘do it all.'” I’m still a career woman, but the career is different, and my definition of success more fluid and flexible. I no longer try to predict my life many years ahead, and when I do imagine the future, it’s more in terms of family and home rather than jobs and money. Also, the older I get the more aware I am that it’s all so fragile. I’m happy that my family and I are healthy right now, today. And I’m awfully glad that my “‘someday novel'” came sooner rather than later, because who knows what later will bring?”

Readers/fans of Kristina Riggle are also glad her life didn’t turn out as imagined since The Life You’ve Imagined — the second “someday novel” — is available now, tomorrow, rather than later. Enjoy!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Kristina Riggle’s The Life You’ve Imagined in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to possibly claim your book.

30 Comments to “Kristina Riggle and The Life You’ve Imagined


  1. This book looks wonderful- did things turn out exactly as I had imagined so far? I would say not, but there are some great parts, and also some things that I know I could change. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

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  2. Congrats, Kristina! And I totally feel you on the changing definition of success… thank god too!

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  3. This sounds like such a wonderful book. Congrats on the Indie pick.

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  4. I love the themes this book is exploring. Can’t wait to read it!!

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  5. I’ll buy my copy …. but just wanted to say, big congrats, Kristina, sounds amazing. I loved Real Life & Liars and am soooo looking forward to this one.

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  6. Mary Quackenbush says:

    This sounds like a terrific book! I also REALLY love it when books have the chapters written in a rotation of first person narrative. I look forward to reading this book whether I win or lose, but I’d definitely like to be entered in this giveaway! Thanks!

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  7. Oh, I am intrigued! This sounds like my cup of tea.

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  8. Count me in! I’ve been waiting for Kristina’s second book since reading REAL LIFE AND LIARS last year on summer vacation…so excited it’s finally out. Congratulations Kristina, and thanks Larramie for the great interview!!!

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  9. Jenny Medenwald says:

    Sounds like a great read!! Can’t wait to add it to my list 🙂

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  10. Great contest!

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  11. Hooray for contests!

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  12. Yes please!! I loved her first book!

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  13. I am so excited to read “The Life You’ve Imagined”. I am so excited to have discovered a book that is not only about themes that I identify with, but that also takes place in my home of West Michigan. I have spent so many summers at Lake Michigan, and I am eager to read her depiction of “Haven” and the women who grew up there.

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  14. Superstar says:

    Looks like a good one to snuggle up with.

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  15. Jane Cook says:

    I’ve been anxious for the release date – congrats on the IndieNext pick, and THANKS for the contest!

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  16. I am really looking forward to reading this. It is already on my must-read list and I would absolutely love to win a copy 🙂

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  17. This book sounds interesting and possibly relevant to my life. I think I’d like to read it.

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  18. Sounds like a great book!

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  19. I loved Real Life & Liars and am looking forward to reading The Life You’ve Imagined, too!

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  20. People always say ‘If I only knew then what I know today’ and looking back after almost 60 years on this earth I probably would handle a few things differently.
    Please enter me, thanks. FB friend

    ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

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  21. This look so great! Would love to read it.

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  22. This sounds like a wonderful read. Thanks for the contest.

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  23. Congratulations! I am so intrigued to read the story.. Thanks for the opportunity to read one =)

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  24. “The Life You’ve Imagined” just moved to the top of my Must Read list! I love the insight into the author’s world and also the chance to win a copy- thanks!

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  25. Beautiful cover! The book sounds great – would love to win!

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  26. I’d love to win this book! Thanks.

    seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

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  27. Nothing is EVER as imagined. And that is only a good thing! Congrats Kristina!

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  28. I live in Michigan, so I love to read books set here. This sounds wonderful!

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  29. I would love to read this book and excited for it. Hope I win.

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  30. I LOVED her first book (and will always adore her for coming to one of my first book store appearances). I’m looking forward to this book.

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