Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
0000017c-60f7-de77-ad7e-f3f73a140000WMUK's weekly show on the literary community in Southwest Michigan. Between The Lines previously aired on Fridays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Between the Lines: Hope Out Loud

Tonia Parkhurst

Grand Rapids novelist Kristina Riggle admits she liked leaving a few loose ends dangling in her five novels. “I’m a big one for not wrapping up every single loose end. Real life doesn’t work that way.”

But, to appease frustrated fans seeking a few more neat knots, Riggle has written her sixth book. It's her first novella: Hope Out Loud. She resisted when readers asked about sequels, but then reconsidered.

“Never say never,” she says. “So I started thinking about which of my novels would be fun to flesh out. My second novel, The Life You’ve Imagined, had the most untold story.”

A conversation with Grand Rapids novelist Kristina Riggle

Picking up a few of those dangling threads, Riggle wove a new ending, bringing together characters from the original novel who had found themselves enmeshed in an extramarital affair. Anna Geneva returns to her hometown of Haven, a small resort town on Lake Michigan, to attend her mother’s wedding. Among the guests is the man she left behind. He was married then. He isn’t now. And so the sequel unfolds.

Hope Out Loud e-book cover

Riggle began her writing career as a journalist. She says her goal was to someday become the editor of the Grand Rapids Press. But as she covered local politics, including city hall in Bay City, Michigan, she began to burn out.

“The local politics at the time were extremely divisive,” Riggle says. “We’re talking shouting at meetings. We’re talking full balconies. We’re talking picketing. The city manager was fired, then reinstated, then fired again. I was really burned out on all that, caught in the middle of it.”

But Riggle’s experience as a reporter came in handy as she left the newsroom to write full-time as a freelancer shortly after having her first child. Reporting taught her how to keep to a deadline and to get through the occasional writer’s block.

Her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, was selected as a “Great Lakes, Great Reads” book by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. The Life You’ve Imagined was honored by independent booksellers as an IndieNext “Notable” book. Things We Didn't Say was a Midwest Connections pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association. Her latest novels are Keepsake and The Whole Golden World.

Listen to WMUK's Between the Lines every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m.

Zinta Aistars is our resident book expert. She started interviewing authors and artists for our Arts & More program in 2011.
Related Content