Spending time with family, swimming in Lake Michigan and watching the sunset by the lighthouse at the end of the pier. Author Kristina Riggle’s fond memories of Charlevoix summers have always had a special place in her heart and, now, on her bookshelf, with her first novel, Real Life & Liars.
While Riggle’s dynamic characters can be read as over-the-top versions of herself—such as Ivan, a struggling songwriter, who reminds Riggle of her days as a struggling writer—the author’s novel remains fiction for a reason.
“I know a lot of writers, beginning writers especially, who start out writing really autobiographical stuff. But I never wanted to do that,” she said. “I never wanted to get that personal. And I don’t think I’d have interesting material. My life has been happily dull in that aspect.”
However, Riggle’s main character’s life is anything but dull. In addition to dealing with her three children’s and their respective poor life choices, Mira Zielinski must face a life-threatening battle of her own.
While the eccentric Zielinski family is not meant to mirror Riggle’s family, their house on Dixon Avenue was inspired by her grandmother’s Victorian-style childhood home. Riggle also based The—fictional—Lighthouse Inn on Charlevoix’s Weathervane, where her grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary.
Whether readers are able to identify with the region or not, the foundation of the novel lies within a family’s love for one another, despite their internal issues and constant bickering.
“To each family these problems feel very unique, but they really are universal,” Riggle said. “It’s something everyone can relate to.”
Want to know more about Riggle and her novel?
Book readings, signings and receptions near you:
Kentwood, Michigan Schuler Books and Music
2660 28th Street
Kentwood, Michigan 49512 Book signing and reception, 7:00 p.m.
Lansing, Michigan Schuler Books and Music
2820 Towne Center Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912 Ladies Night Out Book Club, 7 p.m.
Grand Haven, Michigan The Bookman
715 Washington Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417 Talk and signing, 7 p.m.
Cadillac, Michigan Horizon Books
115 S. Mitchell St.
Cadillac, Michigan, 49601 Talk and signing, 4-6 p.m.
Grand Rapids, Michigan Schuler Books and Music, downtown
40 Fountain, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Talk and signing, 12-1 p.m. https://www.schulerbooks.com/
Oak Park, Illinois Barbara's Bookstore
1100 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60301 Reading and signing, 1:30 p.m.
Saginaw, Michigan Barnes & Noble
3311 Tittabawassee Road
Saginaw, Michigan, 48604 Talk and signing, 1-3 p.m.
Petoskey, Michigan McLean & Eakin Booksellers
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770 Book discussion and signing, 6-8 p.m.
Gaylord, Michigan Saturn Booksellers
133 W. Main St.
Gaylord, MI 49735 Talk and signing, 6:30 p.m.
Charlevoix, Michigan Round Lake Bookstore
107 Mason St., #102
Charlevoix, MI 49720 Book signing, 12 p.m.