Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Kristin Harmel's star is rising...plus a book giveaway

We are thrilled to have Kristin Harmel back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest historical fiction masterpiece, The Forest of Vanishing Stars. Melissa said that it's one of her 2021 top picks and has been recommending it to everyone she knows. See her review. Thanks to Gallery, we have TWO copies to give away!

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 international bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker’s Wife, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into twenty-nine languages and are sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE magazine while still in college and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features—tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

In addition to a long magazine writing career (which also included articles published in Travel + Leisure, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and more), Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz and has appeared on Good Morning America and numerous local television morning shows.

Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She is also the co-founder and co-host of the weekly web show and podcast Friends & Fiction(Bio courtesy of Kristin's website.)

Visit Kristin online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times). (Courtesy of Amazon.)

"Fascinating, meticulously researched, and utterly unique."  
~Kelly Rimmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan

"A powerful and compelling masterpiece, a significant story for our present time." 
~Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis 

"With breathtaking natural descriptions, vivid historical details, and a brave heroine worth cheering for who must fulfill a destiny prophesied since birth, this novel is not to be missed!” 
~Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author of The Next Ship Home 

"What a triumph! Not since Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers, have I read such a spellbinding and immersive tale of a people's will to survive." 
~Stephanie Dray, NYT Bestselling author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette 

What did you learn from writing your other novels that you applied to The Forest of Vanishing Stars?
I think in the journey of any writer, each novel is a step forward. We push our limits, test our boundaries, and learn new things about research, storytelling and detail with each book. I don't think that there was necessarily anything specific that I learned from my previous novels that I applied to Forest other than just a general improvement (I hope) in storytelling, which isn't an intentionally applied lesson, but rather a natural step result of pouring myself into each book (as most writers do) and learning a bit more each time about myself, and my style, along the way.

How are you similar to or different from Yona?  

With the exceptions perhaps of my first novel (How to Sleep With a Movie Star, 2006, which was probably some reflection of who I was in my mid-twenties) and my first WWII novel (The Sweetness of Forgetting, 2012, which reflected a bit of my own relationship with my grandmother), there's never anything deliberately "me" in my protagonists, though I think it's inevitable that a piece of the writer slips into the main character, since those characters spend nine months or more living in the writer's head. In the case of Yona, I certainly didn't write her as a reflection of me, but I'm sure there's some of her grit and resilience, as well as her propensity for self-introspection, that I'd like to think are pieces of who I am, too. I think when authors write main characters we genuinely like--and I genuinely liked Yona--we tend to write them with personalities that are compatible with ours in some way -- as if we're writing someone we can see ourselves being friends with.

If The Forest of Vanishing Stars were made into a movie, what kind of music would be on the soundtrack?
You always ask great movie questions, Melissa! I think I would leave that to the professionals, but I think in general, it would be reflective of the time and place the book takes place -- 1940s Eastern Europe -- and the Jewish culture that is an integral part of the plot. It would probably be heavy on stirring violin solos! Speaking of music, though, our Friends & Fiction launch for THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS (which will air live on the Friends & Fiction group page on July 7 at 7pm ET) will actually feature a 14-minute musical I wrote about the book! I know that sounds nuts (and it is!), but I think it will be fun. I hope you'll join us!

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
My five-year-old and I just watched Luca, on Disney Plus, and it was wonderful. It's an animated Disney Pixar film, and it tells the story about a boy who is -- literally-- a fish out of water. It was perfect for my son's age group, because it was full of adventure and laughter, but it also has a deeper message about inclusion and the dangers of treating people as outsiders. 

What is something you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
That I don't have to always be running a mile a minute to find fulfillment. When my world got smaller, I realized that I had been missing the joy of slowing down and simply being with my husband and son.

Where is the next place you'd like to go for a vacation?

Paris. Always Paris! But since that's probably not terribly realistic for my next trip at the moment, perhaps New York or LA. I miss both places very much. 'll be setting off on a regional book tour soon -- just Florida, Georgia and South Carolina -- and though that won't be a vacation, I'm looking forward to getting back out into the world again!

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

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends July 11th at midnight EST.

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Padmini Rao said...

This book looks really good. I’m a big fan of Kristin Harmel.

Jeanna said...

This has been on my TBR!

traveler said...

I was afraid when I learned that I was diagnosed with breast cancer because it was a shock but I bravely faced everything.

Jess said...

I was hit by a car a few years ago - that was terrifying

rubynreba said...

I was afraid when a tornado struck near my home. We were OK but some friends and family lost their homes.

Toni Laliberte said...

One time I was afraid was when I had my first son, premature. I was 21 years old and scared, with fear of the unknown.Thank God I had a great support system and everything turned out wonderful.

Rita Wray said...

I recently had surgery for a cancerous tumor and I was really afraid before the surgery.

Mary C said...

I was afraid when told to shelter in place because two armed fugitives were in the area. They were captured and no one was seriously injured.

Mick Loves Books said...

I was really scared when I was left by my boyfriend in Mexico. We had drove an hour across the border from San Diego to Rosarito, Mexico. After an hour at the bar (Papas & Beer) my boyfriend says he's going to the bathroom, but never comes back. I go outside and the car is gone. My neighbor was there and saw me and asked if I was okay (I was bawling my eyes out at the bar)and I told him I had been left and didn't know how to get back to the US (my ID and money were in my boyfriends pocket) and he offered to drive me back to the border and hopefully they would let me across. Thankfully, they did. I ended up marrying the neighbor who saved me.

So excited for The Forest of Vanishing Stars! I am a HUGE Kristin Harmel fan and have been waiting patiently for this one to come out!

Peggy Russo said...

I was afraid when my twins were born and one of them was ill and was sent to another hospital to their NICU. I was not able to go with him because I had just had a c-section. It was over a week before he was out of the woods. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.

diannekc said...

I was really afraid when I was getting divorced. The company I worked for had gone out of business and I had so many serious decisions to make.

Nina said...

I was terrified to start my new job recently! It's been wonderful though.

Grandma Cootie said...

Afraid at the beginning of the pandemic when so much was unknown and family was scattered all over.

Mary Preston said...

I was afraid when my son had the measles. He was just burning up.

dstoutholcomb said...

my cousins and I were chased by a car up a country lane

bn100 said...


Anita Yancey said...

I was really afraid when I had to move to another country for three years.

Burma Turner said...

I was really afraid when I lost my 4 year old son in Wal-Mart. I found him in about 5 minutes, but I was terrified!This happened over 30 years ago, but I still remember how scared I was.

Bec said...

Starting a new school when I was a kid always made me afraid. Thankfully, after a few weeks, I got used to it!

Kelly Rodriguez said...

I was really afraid when I woke up to a man trying to break into my bedroom window. Luckily I scared him away before he was able to get in my house.

Nancy said...

I was scared when as a young child I flew alone on a airplane - my first time flying.

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