March 2011


Lisa Verge Higgins released her first mainstream women’s novel The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship in January. She is the author of several romance and historical novels, published as Lisa Ann Verge. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

Return to interview list

  1. 1. What inspired you to write The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship?

    This story was inspired by a group of my college friends. Over the years, after we married, had mortgages, and became mothers, it became difficult to see one another on any regular basis. I mourned our separation quite deeply. That experience got me thinking about how important these special friendships are, and how critical it is to maintain them, properly, despite the hurdles of time and distance. I'm glad to say - thanks to Facebook and a communal gritty determination to attend every single college reunion - that we're all still very good friends.

  2. 2. Which of the women - Rachel, Kate, Sarah, Jo - do you most identify with?

    Each of those women is a little part of me - or a little part of who I'd “like” to be. Kate is living the life I'm living now, and I particularly empathize with her troubles, but I wish I had more of Rachel-the-daredevil in me. I admire Jo's ambition as well as her talents in the workplace, and in her difficulties with Grace I understand on a very visceral level her struggle with new motherhood. Sarah - dear Sarah - is my beating heart: She's the kind of person I hold high in esteem, the kind of soul we should all try to be.

  3. 3. What task would you most fear being asked to do?

    Skydiving. I'm terrified of heights!

  4. 4. How important do you think it is for women to continually step out of their comfort zone?

    Incredibly important! All my books are, fundamentally, about taking risks - whether that risk is jumping out of an airplane, falling in love, or just choosing to soldier on for the sake of the greater good. Taking a risk means threatening the status quo . . . but great things can't happen otherwise.

  5. 5. How did you go from chemistry PhD student to author?

    Well . . . it was a risk. One that a number of good people tried to talk me out of. But my eyes were wide open when I made the choice: I was 22 years old, I sensed that this was not what I wanted to do, and I jumped with a parachute: I had the option to return. Fortunately, I sold my first novel about a year later. Honestly, even if I hadn't worked out, I don't believe I would have regretted the choice. You get one life: You have to follow your heart.

  6. 6. What do your daughters think of your books?

    I have three teenage daughters. (Follow me on for my ongoing efforts to survive these years!) Proper Care is quite different from my older, lustier romances, and so this is the first of my books that I have allowed my (older) teenage daughters to read. After one of them finished, she told me that it "made her curious about my sex life". After I swallowed my shock, I said, "honey, I'm your mother. I don't have a sex life."

  7. 7. Why did you make the switch from historical romances to writing a contemporary novel?

    Quite simply: LIfe evolves. I wrote 12 of my 13 novels in the 1990s, when my children were quite young. During the hiatus before the release of Proper Care I found myself living the life of married suburban mom - and all the crazy humor that that entails. When I decided to get back to writing again, I couldn't help myself. I just wanted to write about . . . all that!

  8. 8. What are you working on now?

    My next novel - which will probably be out in April 2012 - is about a second-generation Indian-American woman who, after the end of a disastrous long-term relationship, decides to agree to a marriage arranged by her very traditional parents. Her three closest friends, shocked by this choice, gather together to try to talk her out of it . . . only to discover that their own relationships are on the verge of collapse. They ask themselves: What's the best path to love? Is there only one path? Isn't love the greatest risk of all?

  9. 9. Which authors and books have most influenced you?

    There are hundreds . . . thousands. I'm a voracious reader, and I review for two journals, including the New York Journal of Books. Right now I'm in the throes of worship for Jane Porter (Flirting with Forty), Claire LaZebnik (Knitting Under the Influence) and Nancy Thayer (The Hot Flash Club.)

  10. 10. What book are you most looking forward to reading this year?

    I can tell you my most recent best-loved book: Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor. It's a wonderful literary love story about the Irish playwright J.M. Synge (The Playboy of the Western World) and his fiancee, Molly Allgood. Fabulous writing, wonderfully romantic in the best of ways. I also enjoyed Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran - a great historical novel about the French Revolution as seen through the eyes of the famous waxwork artist. Great, great books!

  11. 11. What's the best feedback you've received from a reader?

    That's a hard question. The response to this book has been overwhelming. One blogger made me cry, and wrote the words every author loves to hear: "I loved (Proper Care) and couldn't put it down until I finished. This one is a stellar read for any women who lives with her own fears that prevent her from moving forward, and rates a 5 out of 5 stars." Pinch me!

  12. 12. What is your favourite:

    Movie: Last of the Mohicans, Glory, Gone With the Wind, Casablanca . . . I just love romantic period pieces.
    Celebrity crush: Today? Josh Brolin. Colin Firth. Christian Bale. Shall I go on?
    Season: Autumn. So beautiful in this part of the world, the northeast U.S.
    Sports team: The Red Sox. I was born in Massachusetts, where they inject all newborns with a potent dose of baseball fanaticism. Couldn't escape it if I tried.
    Holiday destination: My couch! Life has been quite busy these past few years, and so I treasure those few weekends I have free of work to spend a little quality time with my hubby.

Back to top