Happy Ever After: Kristan Higgins Interviews Susan Elizabeth Phillips
KH: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, hello!
KH: Fun fact, gang — at my first Romance Writers of America conference, I saw SEP in line at the breakfast buffet (she loaded her plate, just sayin’), and I thought, “Oh, my God, that’s SUSAN FREAKIN’ ELIZABETH PHILLIPS!” and dared not look directly at her. And now, nine years later, we’re friends, because she’s just that kind of person. A sucker. A warm, lovely, funny, wonderful sucker.
SEP: (Rolls eyes at above paragraph, except for the “plate-loading” crack, which is totally true.)
KH: Susan, thanks for enduring an interview with me. Also, dinner is most definitely on you next time!
SEP: (Sighs, then double sighs.)
KH: My first question: You started writing books the year I started eighth grade. How does that make you feel?
SEP: In case no one’s ever pointed it out to you — which I highly doubt — you are a brat. Of all the friends in the world, I had to choose —
KH: Breaking in here —First Star I See Tonight is the hugely anticipated next installment in the Chicago Stars series, but there have been a few books in between First Star and This Heart of Mine.
SEP: Match Me If You Can and Natural Born Charmer. After that, I was sure I couldn’t bring anything fresh to the character of the football player. And then Piper Dove, the heroine of First Star I See Tonight, showed up in my brain, as characters tend to do. And she needed a formidable opponent. And I wanted a big-city book. And Chicago is the Big City I most love writing about. And there I was, right back in Chicago Stars territory with Cooper Graham, the only hero I could think of who was a match for my girl detective.
SEP: More like pulling on a great pair of athletic sneakers. Familiar but issuing a silent challenge with every step.
KH: Was it strange to come back to the series, or was it like slipping on a pair of comfy slippers?
KH: Let’s talk about your hero, Cooper. He’s a jock, he’s a nightclub owner, he’s got rock-hard abs … what about him surprised you in his interactions with Piper, your badass heroine?
SEP: How competitive he still is. You’d think after all those seasons in the NFL and that Super Bowl ring, he might be a little more laid back. But there’s something about Piper Dove’s toughness that brings out his worst. And … maybe … his best.
KH: Did you do any fun research for this book, other than fondling your well-worn copies of Sports Illustrated?
SEP: I’ve never fondled a copy of Sports Illustrated in my life — ruling out a few light caresses across the covers. Chicago research is always fun because it gives me an excuse to travel into the city from the ’burbs. I also loved taking a peek into the world of private detectives, not to mention professional football players who make a habit of dating famous actresses.
KH: I love seeing you on book tour or at a reader event, Susan, because you literally bounce around with excitement — and the way you read aloud slays me. (Hint: She emotes.) Have you ever thought about being a clown for children’s parties or maybe a gymnast? Are you like that all the time, or are you also gifted in the art of couch-flopping and binge-watching? And if so, what’s your latest television obsession?
SEP: A clown at children’s parties? Where is that deference you refer to in your intro? Where is the respect? The — can I say? — blind idolatry? And let me point out that I’ve seen you in action, K.H., and you’re not exactly Ms. Bore Your Readers To Tears yourself. And no (sniff), I am not a couch-flopping, binge-watcher — unless you’re talking about Project Runway. OMG! I love that show so much. AndModern Family. And Blackish. And … Grey’s Anatomy before they killed McDreamy. And — Never mind.
KH: OK, enough chitchat. I’m off to reread the series. Tell the nice people what’s next for you, Majesty. And thank you for your time, and for writing this book!
SEP: What’s next is catching up on the entire Kristan Higgins backlist. Since I’ve told you a zillion times, you know I fell head over heels in love with If You Only Knew. That book is so fresh, so original, so funny and charming that I kinda hate you for it because I didn’t write it myself. The childbirth scene alone … Who thinks like that?! Thanks for writing so many great books yourself, and thanks for the interview — except for the crack about eighth grade. But since you called me “Majesty,” I’ll rise above.