Jun 17 2011 2:00pm

RITA Wayback Machine: Kristan Higgins on Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave

Silent in the Grave by Deanna RaybournWe’ve asked a few Romance Writers of America RITA winners and nominees to discuss their favorite winners from past RITA awards. Please welcome Kristan Higgins, who is a double RITA winner in years 2008 and 2010.

Here’s the backstory:

In 2008, we met Sookie Stackhouse and her coterie of vampire admirers as True Blood debuted on HBO. Katy Perry had just “Kissed A Girl,” while we were in the midst of deciding who would be President. Brett Favre left the Green Bay Packers, Heath Ledger wowed  us as the Joker in The Dark Knight, and we were all about “recession dining.”

Kristan Higgins:

I love writers who break the rules, and Deanna Raybourn is one of the best. First person historical? I don’t think so. No sex? Please. Excuse me? She doesn’t even show them kiss? This book will never work.

Except it does. From the opening line till the very last, I read Silent in the Grave with a current of electrical anticipation running through me. Deanna Raybourn’s voice, the twisting, fast-paced plot, the intelligent, restless heroine,  . . . and let us not forget Nicholas Brisbane, the dark, brooding hero! Meow!

Ms. Raybourn weaves a plot so unusual, exciting and just plain good, it had me guessing till the end. All those elements combine to make a dark, haunting and dead-sexy read.

When Deanna won the RITA (beating out Nora Roberts, gang, much to Nora’s delight), no one was more surprised than Ms. Raybourn. Just goes to show that readers don’t care about the rules, save one—write a great book. Don’t model your work on the work of others. Dare to be different while still understanding what a reader needs to stay at the edge of her seat for every page of the novel.

Kudos, Ms. Raybourn. Love your stuff.


Kristan Higgins divides her time between home in Connecticut and summers on Cape Cod. She is the mother of two lovely kids, the wife of a brave firefighter, and a devoted Ben & Jerry’s fan. Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous much more satisfying than folding laundry. She holds a BA in English, which enables her to identify dangling participles and quote many great novels. She loves to connect with readers on her website and her Facebook page

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Amy Conley
1. Amy Conley
I've "known" Deanna for years, we both belonged to the same msg board years ago and I was one of the first to read SITG (got an ARC). Fell in LOVE with both story, plot and characters. Was so happy with the book, I shared my ARC with the librarian at my local library and everytime Deanna has a new book out, she orders it! She also got everyone else at the library to love her too.
Myretta Robens
2. Myretta
Thanks, Kristan. This is definitely going in my TBR pile.
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