Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Interview + Giveaway: THE LIFE INTENDED by Kristin Harmel

Ready for another amazing author spotlight? I know I say it each and every time, but I absolutely adore getting to meet the author behind the book! Author interviews are one of my favorite things to host, and this time we have Kristin Harmel here to answer some questions and she brought along a giveaway!

Before we get to interview, let's take a look at her new book, shall we? The Life Intended releases today! Which means it's the perfect time to put it on your wishlist.

Amazon | Goodreads | BookLikes
From the author of the international bestseller The Sweetness of Forgetting, named one of the Best Books of Summer 2012 by Marie Claire magazine, comes a captivating novel about the struggle to overcome the past when our memories refuse to be forgotten.

In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

Now, without further ado, I give you an interview with Kristin Harmel! Enjoy, and don't forget to add The Life Intended to your reading list. Trust me, it's well worth your time.

1) Give us your best tweet (140 characters) reason why we will LOVE The Life Intended!

Ooh, you must know that staying under 140 characters is a form of torture for me. ;-) Great question. How’s this? It's about love, redemption, the meaning of motherhood, choosing happiness, letting go of the past, and choosing a better future. Enjoy!

2) This book sounds like it's going to pull at our heartstrings. Was it tough for you to write?

Thanks! Yes, it was a bit tough. It’s interesting; the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that I tend to explore very personal issues in my own life through my writing. In THE LIFE INTENDED, I think the personal issues I explored had to do with motherhood (I just got married in March and am thinking about starting a family) and with how to choose happiness and chart a better future. In the novel, the main character, Kate, dreams vividly of an alternate life in which her husband (who died 12 years ago) is still alive and in which they have a daughter together. She has just learned that she’s unable to have a baby, so these dreams are particularly heartrending. Going through that journey with Kate, and deciding on the choices she would make (both right and wrong) often made me tear up!

3) Where is your favorite place for writing inspiration?

I lived in Paris for the summer when I was 23, and it’s where I began to write my first novel. It’s not always practical to hop across the pond, but whenever I make it back to Paris, I feel very inspired and very reinvigorated to write. I also love visiting Los Angeles for writing inspiration. I have a ton of friends there, so I don’t typically get much writing done on my visits to the west coast (simply because I’m enjoying my social time so much!), but it’s essentially a city full of creative people (actors, musicians, writers, producers, directors, etc.), so I always feel a wonderful sense of belonging there, and I come home feeling very inspired.

4) If you had two years of free time, and unlimited resources at your disposal, what task would you love to take on?

Wow, this is an excellent question – and a tough one! Maybe this is a boring answer, but I’d love to learn how to write screenplays, and I’d love to actually complete one. I think many people think this should be easy for writers, but the fact is, screenwriting and novel-writing are two very different skill sets. Of course the plotting skills from my novel-writing background would transfer, but a novel takes place largely through internal thought and explanation, whereas a screenplay must be action- and dialogue-based. Plus, the rhythm of both genres is totally different. Over the years, I’ve internalized the rhythm of novel-writing, but stories for the screen are structured so differently. I’d really have to go back to the beginning and learn proper story pacing from scratch, I think. I’ve read screenwriting books over the years and have taken small stabs at screenwriting, but I’d love to allow myself to really take the time to dive in and master a new skill set. Maybe one day I’ll have the time!

Okay, but a more exciting answer? I’d also love to take a trip around the world with my husband, seeing places we’ve never seen before. I’ve traveled to Europe many times, and I’ve adored those travels, but there’s so much of the world I’ve never seen. This might sound strange, but I feel that every time I travel abroad, I grow a bit as a person and as a writer. I think that exposure to different cultures and different ways of life can do that to a person. I can only imagine how much I would grow if I had the time, opportunity and resources to travel to other parts of the world.

5) Is there a book that you love, that you'd like to recommend?

Oh man, where do I begin? I’ve recently started reading Lucinda Riley; her books are just beautiful. I would particularly recommend The Lavender Garden. And I’m in the midst of reading my friend Allison van Diepen’s new novel On The Edge, which just came out in late November. She writes young adult books that are really appealing to reluctant readers, which I think it just a beautiful, wonderful thing to do. Getting kids interested in reading is so important. Her books are easy reads, and although they’re geared toward teens, they’re really engaging for adults too. So I’d recommend On the Edge or anything by her. Speaking of books for teens, some of my other favorite authors are Wendy Toliver, Jay Asher, Emily Wing Smith, Aprilynne Pike and Linda Gerber. All are friends of mine, and all are just phenomenal writers. So if you’re doing some holiday shopping for teen readers, definitely check them out. I really like Liana Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, Sarah Jio, Emily Giffin and Amy Hatvany lately too. Honestly, I could go on for ages and ages about books and authors I love! Two more specific recommendations: If you haven’t read The Great Gatsby since high school, it’s worth picking up again. And if you like Paris, as I do, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast is a must-read. It’s a collection of essays about his time in Paris during the 1920s. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m desperately longing for a return to the City of Light!

Visit Kristin!
Kristin Harmel is an internationally bestselling novelist whose books have been translated into numerous languages and are sold all over the world. After spending many years as a freelance writer (with a steady reporting gig for People magazine for more than a decade) Kristin now freelances only occasionally, focusing on book tours, book club visits and, of course, writing her next books! THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING was a bestseller in many countries and in fact won the reader’s choice prize for Romantic Novel of the Year in Germany in 2013. Her new novel, THE LIFE INTENDED, will be out January 6, 2015 from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Kristin graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has lived in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Miami and now resides in Orlando, Fla., with her husband, Jason.

Much love to Kristin for stopping by today!

You can also heck out my co-blogger Tina's review of The Life Intended that she put up yesterday!

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