Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel's first five novels, How to Sleep with a Movie Star, The Blonde Theory, The Art of French Kissing, When You Wish, and Italian For Beginners have been translated into numerous languages and are sold all around the world.

Her latest novel is After.

Last week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished reading A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents, by Liza Palmer, a fabulous writer who also happens to be a great friend of mine. It was an absolutely tremendous book. It was a beautifully realistic look at family relationships, which I think are very under-explored in women's fiction. We spend so much time focusing on friends, career, romantic relationships, etc., that I think sometimes we forget to delve deeply enough into the first important relationships of our lives-- those with our parents and siblings. Liza does this masterfully in a novel about four siblings whose mother died five years ago and who are now coming to terms with the loss of their father -- who left them two decades earlier -- on his deathbed. Her novel explores not just those family relationships, but how they impact everything -- from work to friendship to love. It really made me think. And honestly, I was crying by the end of chapter 4. Any book that can get you that emotionally involved in a story that quickly is, in my eyes, pretty darned incredible.

I also just read Pure Princess, Bartered Bride, which is actually the very first romance novel I've ever read. It was part of the Harlequin Presents series, and it was written by Caitlin Crews, which is actually the romance-writing pen name of another close friend of mine. So I picked up the book because she'd written it, of course, and I really, really liked it. Definitely a different experience for me, but the plotting was great (as I knew it would be; my friend is a superb writer!), and I really liked how swiftly the action moved.

I have Jane Green's Dune Road on my nightstand currently; I'll probably begin reading it tonight. I also like reading a chapter of a YA book every morning, with my coffee, so I'm reading Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series once again; I absolutely adore it, and I think she has such a wonderful, wonderful writing voice. Her work always makes me smile. I'm also planning to dive back into Emily Giffin's novels soon; she has a new one out in May, called Heart of the Matter, and it is superb (I got to read an advanced copy of it). It made me want to go back and read her previous books, all of which I've loved.

Finally, I teach a novel-writing class for Mediabistro, and I've been immensely enjoying reading my students' novels. They submit a chapter each week, and I'm absolutely absorbed in all of their stories! I feel so lucky to get to work with budding writers each week!
Visit Kristin Harmel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue