In her moving and compelling debut, Real Life & Liars, Kristina Riggle focused on a family coming to terms with change, and change remains the theme in her second novel, The Life You’ve Imagined, being released on August 17, 2010.
However this storyline revolves around friends who either need or desire change. Consider the book’s description:
Is the life you’re living all you imagined? Have you ever asked yourself, “What if??” Here, four women face the decisions of their lifetimes in this stirring and unforgettable novel of love, loss, friendship, and family.
Anna Geneva, a Chicago attorney coping with the death of a cherished friend, returns to her “speck on the map” hometown of Haven to finally come to terms with her mother, the man she left behind, and the road she did not take.
Cami Drayton, Anna’s dearest friend from high school, is coming home too, forced by circumstance to move in with her alcoholic father . . . and to confront a dark family secret.
Maeve, Anna’s mother, never left Haven, firmly rooted there by her sadness over her abandonment by the husband she desperately loved and the hope that someday he will return to her.
And Amy Rickart—thin, beautiful, and striving for perfection—faces a future with the perfect man . . . but is haunted by the memory of what she used to be.
Kristina Riggle’s The Life You’ve Imagined takes a provocative look at the choices we make—and the courage we must have to change.
Selected by independent booksellers as an IndieNext “Notable” Pick for September 2010, The Life You’ve Imagined is scheduled to be presented/reviewed by The Divining Wand on Monday, August 16, 2010. In the meantime, let’s meet the author through her “official” flap jacket bio:
Kristina Riggle is a freelance journalist, a published short story writer, and coeditor for fiction at the e-zine Literary Mama. She lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband, two kids, and dog.
And now it’s time to reveal more about the real Kristina:
Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: I write and take care of my kids.
Oh, did you mean a list of words? Well, this eight-word sentence sums it up. Though I sometimes also do laundry.
Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx
Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Contentment in my children’s health and happiness. There’s no simpler joy, and therefore nothing so fine.
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: See above. Any threat to my children. The actual fears are too scary to type out.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: In Charlevoix, Michigan, on a beach. Or maybe Venice, Siena, or Rome. I visited Italy in 2000 and I sometimes feel homesick for it. Is that possible, to be homesick for someplace I visited for ten days, ten years ago?
Q; With whom in history do you most identify?
A: I’m bad at this. Most of my history education has been lousy. All boring crap about dates and the names of generals. However, I will say I recently read THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT by Kelly O’Connor McNees, and I adored it. I also remember reading a kid-friendly biography of Louisa when I was little – already wanting to be an author someday – so I’ll go with Louisa May Alcott. I wanted to be Jo in Little Women. Who didn’t?
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: I’m terrible with these questions. Real people are so flawed and complex, and I’ve never been one to hold up an individual as a beacon. I really admire my parents. They’re both so strong in different ways.
Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: Had to ask my husband this. He said I have a fondness for fancy words in casual conversation, but we couldn’t pick out a certain one. Maybe “draconian” is a good example. I think he’s poked fun at me for using that one. But it’s a great word!
Q; If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Oh, I’d love to be a talented dancer! I love dancing, and it’s the perfect exercise: a tough workout and most excellent fun. I have danced, once in amateur theater, but I wouldn’t say I’m a natural dancer, far from it. I have to work so hard on the simplest steps.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My kids and my books. That’s the boring-but-true answer.
Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: I talk too much. And I try too hard to be liked by everyone.
Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I’m a great communicator. And I’m nice. (Ha.)
Q: What do you regret most?
A: I remember one woman unloading with a really racist remark in my presence. I gaped at her, horrified, and she back-pedaled (poorly). But I still wish I’d been forceful and really called her out. I shudder to think that she’d assumed she was safe to say that kind of thing around me.
Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I don’t want to be any other person, I like who I am just fine. A thing, eh? That’s fanciful. Ummm….a cello because it’s curvy with a pretty voice.
Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: That I talk too much, see above. According to my husband, it’s my cute butt, but that’s what I get for asking him.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings. You don’t have to be big and strong to save the world.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Ever see Christopher Walken in “Balls of Fury”? He takes an already funny movie and sends it into giddy spasms of hilarity.
Runner up: Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.
Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Billie Jean King, and I’d say thanks for winning the Battle of the Sexes. A generation of female athletes owes her a debt. Not that I’m an athlete. But I could have been. And my sister is. (She played a sport in every season in high school.)
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Rudeness. Courtesy costs so little and makes life better for everyone.
Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: I love to sing! And like I said above, I wish I could dance. I’ve done a teensy bit of community theater and I’d love to do more someday.
Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Psychologist. Or anthropologist. I love science, just not so much the math. And all that…precision. My high school chemistry labs never once came out right.
Or maybe Broadway star, as long as we’re talking fantasy, here. (See above).
Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Compassion, determination and a sense of humor.
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Gosh, I’d get sick of anything after like, a day. But I’m being too literal. So, sushi. Mmmm, wasabi.
Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Here are five of my favorite songs. I have lots of favorites, and these shift depending on the day.
Cabaret, from the show (Liza Minelli, especially)
Sweet Child O’Mine, Guns-n-Roses
Ghost in the House, Allison Krauss
That’s Not My Name, Ting Tings
Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Buble
Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Breathing Lessons, Anne Tyler
How I Became a Famous Novelist, Steve Hely
Notes on a Scandal, Zoe Heller
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Whether serious or funny, Kristina Riggle has a charming way of being any and every women. Enjoy her company by following along on Twitter and becoming a friend/fan on Facebook.* * * * *
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Alicia Bessette’s Simply from Scratch in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post, Presenting Debutante Alicia Bessette and Simply from Scratch. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to possibly claim your book.