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by Joanna Dykhuis | joanna@revuewm.com LIT LIFE Finding the Perfect Place


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well from many trips spent at her grandparents’ home there. “As far as settings go, this is the kind of story


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that can be really anywhere, [but] I love Charlevoix … and can write about it with some authority,” she says. The Life You’ve Imagined, Riggle’s second novel,


takes place in a fabricated lakeshore village called Haven, a locale clearly inspired by Grand Haven and other similar towns on Lake Michigan. “The reason I fiction-


KRISTINA RIGGLE Schuler Books and Music, 28th Street location June 30, 7 p.m. schulerbooks.com, (616) 942-2561


alized it because I needed flexibility,” Riggle said. “If I’m going to spend hours in my imagination, it should be somewhere beautiful.” In her third and most recent novel,


Things We Didn’t Say — set for release June 28 — Riggle chose the Grand Rapids neighbor- hood of Heritage Hill. Riggle also originally included flashbacks to New York City, but


says she “just couldn’t make it work: it just felt fake to me, so I ended up changing that to Chicago, which made sense.” It’s no surprise that Riggle has chosen her settings so carefully—


besides being a Michigander, she is also a freelance journalist, an occupation where location is everything.


ETTING IS AN IMPORTANT consideration for all writers, but it really hits home for Kristina Riggle, a Grand Rapids author of three novels. Her first book, Real Life and Liars, is set in Charlevoix, a place Riggle knows


“I always loved creative writ-


ing as far back as I can remember [but] I trained as a journalist,” Riggle said. “No one ever rained on my parade and told me ‘you’ll never make a living as a writer.’” She studied at Michigan


State and “happily started my journalism career” after gradua- tion. After having her first child, Riggle discovered the truth in the old cliché “having a baby changes everything.” “[I was] getting burned out


covering local politics—it was a very divisive time, and there were lots of issues … between being burned out and having my son, I felt like I needed a change,” Riggle said. In a decision she remembers


as “very scary,” Riggle left her job and started seriously writing creatively. She remains a freelance


journalist with the Grand Rapids Press to keep her skills sharp. She writes, fittingly enough, for the Books page and says her


current setting as a writer combines the best things she likes about journalism and writing. Riggle has also published numerous short stories and uses a simile


inspired by her new hobby — musical theater — to explain the differ- ence between writing a novel and writing a short story. “I see a novel as a whole production with a beginning, middle and


end, a full cast of characters and subplots, whereas a short story tends to be a song or a dramatic scene that connects to a larger scene, but they really zoom in on a significant moment with an intense focus.” n


Other Literary Events | by Meaghan Igel


Colleen Gleason Barnes and Noble, Woodland Mall


June 10, 7 p.m. barnesandnoble.com, (616) 940-0820


If you’re tired of Edward Cullen, then maybe you would prefer vampires set in Regency, London instead — vampires who are both romantic and legitimately bloodthirsty. The Vampire Narcise is the third of Colleen Gleason’s Regency Draculia series (preceded by The Vampire Voss and The Vampire Dimitri). Gleason will appear at the Woodland Mall Barnes and Noble to talk about romance, regency and roguish children of the night.


ReShonda Tate Billingsley Grand Rapids Public Library – Ryerson Auditorium, Level 3


June 16, 7 p.m. grpl.org, (616) 988-5400


If it takes a certain amount of literary aplomb to write across genres, then ReShonda Tate Billingsley has aplomb and then some. Her ex- tensive body of work features nonfiction like the collection of poems Something to Say, teen fiction and adult fiction (like Let the Church Say Amen, which is being turned into a movie). Billingsley will speak at the Grand Rapids Public Library to share her journey into best-selling authordom, talk about her new movie deal, and sign books.


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