Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Meeting Kristin Harmel again...plus a book giveaway

It's always a pleasure to have Kristin Harmel at CLC. Her previous novel, The Life Intended, was listed on Amy and Melissa A's favorites lists in 2014/2015. We're thrilled to help celebrate her pub day for When We Meet Again (reviewed here). Thanks to Gallery Books, we have THREE copies to give away to readers anywhere in the world!

Since Kristin's last visit, she has become a mother! Her adorable little boy is now three months old and keeping her busy. However, not only did she publish a full length novel, but also a novella, How to Save a Life (reviewed here), which is a cross between Grey's Anatomy and Groundhog Day.


To learn more about Kristin, visit her at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.


Synopsis:
Emily Emerson is used to being alone; her dad ran out on the family when she was a just a kid, her mom died when she was seventeen, and her beloved grandmother has just passed away as well. But when she’s laid off from her reporting job, she finds herself completely at sea…until the day she receives a beautiful, haunting painting of a young woman standing at the edge of a sugarcane field under a violet sky. That woman is recognizable as her grandmother—and the painting arrived with no identification other than a handwritten note saying, “He always loved her.”

Emily is hungry for roots and family, so she begins to dig. And as she does, she uncovers a fascinating era in American history. Her trail leads her to the POW internment camps of Florida, where German prisoners worked for American farmers...and sometimes fell in love with American women. But how does this all connect to the painting? The answer to that question will take Emily on a road that leads from the sweltering Everglades to Munich, Germany and back to the Atlanta art scene before she’s done.

Along the way, she finds herself tempted to tear down her carefully tended walls at last; she’s seeing another side of her father, and a new angle on her painful family history. But she still has secrets, ones she’s been keeping locked inside for years. Will this journey bring her the strength to confront them at last?
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


How did you research the historical aspects of When We Meet Again?
I read several books about World War II POWs in the United States (and one about POWs in Florida specifically); I read memoirs by former German POWs; I read newspaper articles from the 1940s about POWs to get a handle on local attitudes toward POWs at the time; I spent time with a historian in Clewiston, Florida (which the fictional Belle Creek is based loosely on); I toured a sugar-cane farm and asked a lot of questions about the history of the industry; and I spent time at Camp Blanding, which was the parent camp for the smaller sub-camps of POWs during World War II in Florida. The research was absolutely fascinating.

What inspired your novella, How to Save a Life?
The idea honestly just came to me! Weird, right? I had a friend named Nick die last May from cancer at the very young age of 49, and I think it got me thinking about how life can sometimes be all too short. And there’s a little boy named Jay here in the Orlando area who’s fighting leukemia; I follow his mom’s updates on Facebook, and I’m always moved by what a struggle he’s going through but how his parents always seem to make his life as normal as possible for him. I think perhaps those two people got stuck in my head, and I began to think about what it would be like to get a possibly terminal cancer diagnosis – like Nick did – and also what it would be like to be a kid with cancer, like Jay. Nick was fortunate enough to have a wonderful wife and two wonderful kids, but what if you hadn’t had enough time to do some of those things you dreamed of in life? How could life be that unfair? And then I thought, “But what if it isn’t? What if there’s a way to live fully in the limited time you have left?” Of course that required a touch of magic; in the book, the main character discovers a way to keep living the same day over and over until she begins to feel fulfilled. In the end, I think it’s a story about how we all need to treasure every day and live life with our hearts wide open, because tomorrow is never a guarantee.

If you could cast When We Meet Again for the big screen, who would play the lead roles?
Ooh, I’m always lousy at this! I really don’t think of celebrities as I’m writing; in my head, the characters are real people. So it’s as hard for me to say who would play them as it would be to tell you who would play me in the movie of my life! That said, perhaps Jennifer Garner or Reese Witherspoon for Emily; Alan Thicke for her dad; Gemma Arterton for 1940s Margaret and Alex Pettyfer for 1940s Peter.

Now that you have a baby, how do you balance writing with motherhood?
That’s a great question, and I don’t have an answer yet! I was very committed to taking a three-month maternity leave to just be with my son for the first months of his life; in fact, I began planning for my leave almost as soon as I learned I was pregnant, meaning that I worked extra-long hours to get ahead on all my looming projects! Since my son just turned three months old, I’ve only been back to work – part-time – for a week now. Of course I replied to emails and even read (and made some corrections to) the final page proofs for WHEN WE MEET AGAIN while I was technically supposed to be on leave, but I was otherwise pretty fiercely protective about this being my time. I’ve always been a workaholic, and I was very afraid I’d be tempted to work during times I should have been with my son. And you really never get those moments back, do you? So I’m just now in the position of trying to balance work with motherhood. We have a nanny coming in part-time now so that I can write, and I do a lot of emailing while he naps, so time will tell if that’s enough for the next couple of years, until he’s in school. I suspect my output will be somewhat reduced, but as long as I’m still writing at least one book a year, which I think it very doable, I’ll be very comfortable with things! I think being a mom will change my perspective too; I expect it will influence my writing.

Who has been your favorite character to write from any of your books?
I’m really attached to the characters from THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, which came out in 2012. I think Jacob and Rose will be favorite characters of mine for years to come.

What did you do to celebrate your birthday last month?
I always try to get my friends together for a dinner or drinks or something, but this year, with a new baby and a shortage of sleep, it just wasn’t going to happen! Plus, it rained cats and dogs all day, so I didn’t want to leave the house with my little guy! My friends Melixa and Amber dropped by during the day to visit, which was sweet, and then my husband, Jason, cooked an awesome steak dinner, and we opened a bottle of wine. The next day, I took my son to Epcot for a few hours with my mom, and we had lunch over there. So all in all, it was very low-key and lovely. Thanks for asking!

Thanks to Kristin for visiting with us and Gallery for sharing her book with our readers.

~Interview by Melissa Amster

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


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30 comments:

Janine said...

I honestly don't have an answer for the question today. I have no idea how my grandparents met and we don't have any family heirlooms. :(

susieqlaw said...

My grandparents met when my Grandma was 13. She was very shy. They went to a dance together. I have a picture of her from that dance. So beautiful!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I don't know how my grandparents met!!! I should try and find out. As for family heirlooms... we don't have any of those either! Guess I will have to start some with my family. :)

Bonnie Franks said...

I have my grandmother's beautiful china tea cups. They were passed down to her. I have protected them well.

traveler said...

No family heirlooms and I am unaware of how my grandparents met.

jpetroroy said...

I believe they met through friends.

Magdalena Johansson said...

My mother has and old vase that has been passed down through generations.

rhonda said...

My husbands grandmother green glass bowl has been passed down to us.Might not be valuable but it has a place of honor in our home.

Bec said...

No family heirlooms and I am unaware of how my grandparents met.

Rita said...

I don't know how my grandparents met. My grandfather died before I was born.

Cher B said...

My Great Aunt Frances was like a grandmother to me, and she was very stylish, independent and outspoken. She had her portrait taken when she was in her late teens (in the late 1920's) with bobbed hair and a cloche hat and pearls and a mischievous look in her eyes. When I admired it over the years, she always gave a wry smile and murmured, "I thought I was the cat's pajamas."
Another aunt kept the original large, framed portrait, but she made copies of it for me and my mother. I always smile every time I walk past it.

holdenj said...

We were talking about that last Christmas. We're not exactly sure, grandpa died before we were born.

Kelly Rodriguez said...

My grandparents met when my grandmother moved to Michigan. They started dating and fell in love and married shortly thereafter.

Susan Roberts said...

As the oldest great grandchild, I was given the wall clock that my great grandfather gave to my great grandmother on their first wedding anniversary. The stand for the clock was built by my great grandpa. I treasure it.

Grandma Cootie said...

Not really any family heirlooms, but things that belonged to family members that we treasure.

L Bryant said...

My grandparents were neighbors and that's how they met.

Mary Preston said...

No family heirlooms as such. Not even rings. I think all of the women were buried with them.

Jen said...

My sister's and I have our mom's mothers ring, with all of our birthstones. We knew it wasn't right for only one of us to have it, so instead we each get it for four months and then pass it on. The way we rotate it ends up being that each of us have it for our birthday.

Anita Yancey said...

We don't have any family heirlooms, and I don't know how my grandparents met. Thanks for this chance.

L aura's Reading said...

My Grandfather wanted to come to the new country with his brother. His parents said he could not come without a wife. So he got himself one.

Amy Bez said...

Reconnected post high school, became after high school high school sweethearts :)

Susan Peterson said...

My grandparents were not a happy couple, and divorced when I was little. The only family heirlooms we have are cameo rings that my great-grandmother brought from Italy and passed on to her daughters, then to their daughters and granddaughters.

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

My husband's family has a baby ring that has been passed down to the oldest child for 5 or 6 generations now. He's the oldest so we have it to pass down to our child.

Jennifer said...

One family heirloom is a grandfather clock that my dad made. I know it's not that old, but it will be in our family for years to come.

Jennifer said...

Both sets met through friends

Jennifer C said...

We have lots of family heirlooms from my Grandma Clayton. She had some amazing antiques, and I have inherited most of them. I think of her each time I see them. They are really special.

bn100 said...

no heirlooms

Diana said...

No family heirlooms and my grandparents were neighbors!

Raffle name: Artemis Giote

Hailey Fish said...

My grandpa passed away nearly 5 months ago and my dad got a hurricane lamp my grandpa had and it belonged to my grandma's mother. She used it to use as a light as she read her books. :)

Kimberly V said...

I don't have any family heirlooms. One set of my grandparents both immigrated from Italy as children and later met here in the US.