Today, the beautiful person that I want to talk to you about is Kristin Harmel. 🙂
I was in Sibiu ( Hermannstadt ) – which is my favorite city in Romania – at the end of July this year and I wrote here about that. Among other things, I visited a little bookshop from The Big Square, Schiller Bookshop, that is a corner of paradise for every German-and-books-lover. Accidentally, without any other previous plans, I saw a pretty thick book with a blaze colored cover, „Über uns der Himmel”, by Kristin Harmel. I bought the book immediately after I had read the outline because, without any explanations, I felt it close to my heart. I did not know then that this book would eventually occupy a place in my heart. For real. 🙂
By looking into the book, I discovered that it had appeared in 2014, on Gallery Books, in New York and it had been written originally in English, under the title „The Life Intended” because its author is American. It seemed very interesting to me because I had supposed that the author is German because of the name. :))
Anyway, all you have to know is that this novel mesmerized me so much because of… the realism of the story ( if you read it, you will understand that it is very well anchored in our nowadays world ) and because of the extremely exciting and smart idea from the end, that I stayed awake one night until 4.00 a.m. in order to finish it. For me, it was as mesmerizing as only Guillaume Musso’s books are. ( he is my favorite contemporary author ) Finally, this book was so fascinating, that it made me search its author, Kristin Harmel. I just wanted to know her better. I found her, I wrote to her and she accepted to be interviewed by me for my blog rubric, „Beautiful people„, so that I can share with you the beauty that I discovered in her creative being. 🙂
Now let me introduce you one of those writers who succeed in touching your heart…
Foto by Robin Gage
Victoria: Please tell me who is Kristin Harmel in 3 words.
KH: Writer, dreamer, mother.
Victoria: By reading your book I could feel that there is a passion, a passion for writing. Where did this passion come from? Did you write poems or stories as a child too?
KH: Oh yes, I’ve always loved creating stories! Several years ago, my mother found the first „book” I’d written: a stapled-together, handwritten story about the Bobbsey Twins (a family from a popular American middle-grade series) that I’d written when I was six. I’d even drawn illustrations! I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. It just feels very natural to me–as if this is what fate intended for me all along!
Victoria: What exactly inspired you to write the book that I read, „The Life Intended”?
KH: The book is about a woman who has lost her husband (he dies at the beginning of the book) and who struggles with questions about whether or not she wants to be a mother–and whether it’s too late for her to find that version of happiness. I think that at the time I wrote it, I was in the process of getting married. I’m deeply in love with my husband, and one of my greatest fears at the time was losing him. It still is, in fact. So I think the idea for the premise came from that–what if I lost my husband in an instant, with no warning? How would I move forward without him? And I was also thinking about motherhood in the future. I’m in my late thirties, so there was a part of me that worried that if I had a problem with fertility, my age might complicate things. Kate had the same fears in the book. The rest of the story sprang from those things, I think. And I dreamed part of the book too, which is crazy, because dreams are a big component of the book. (Also, I had a baby earlier this year, so writing The Life Intended really helped me to work through my own questions about motherhood!)
Victoria: Do you have everything figured out in your mind when you start writing a new book? I mean, do you already know all the characters in the novel, do you imagine how it will end and all the details?
KH: I always write a very thorough outline before I write the book itself. The outline is usually very long – maybe a third of the length of the final book – and very detailed. It takes me 8-10 weeks to write. So yes, by the time I sit down to actually write the novel, I know about 95% of what will happen in the book!
Victoria: What is your favorite book? But your favorite author? Why?
KH: I’ve always loved Anne Frank’s diary. It was my favorite book as a teenager, and it’s still very meaningful to me. I don’t think I have a favorite author, but if I had to choose, it might be Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald, both of whom are 20th century American authors who had a passion for Paris, which is my favorite place in the world too.
Victoria: What projects have you for the future? Are you going to write romance novels like you have done so far?
KH: My previous novel, THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, was about World War II, as was my next novel, WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, which came out in the United States this summer and will be released in Germany next year. I’ve just completed my novel which will come out in the United States next year, and it also centers on World War II. All of the novels focus on love and family (which were major themes in THE LIFE INTENDED too), so I think that most of my novels going forward will have those same themes – love and family and a search for personal identity – but I’ve really enjoyed writing with a historical element, and I will probably continue that for a while. Thanks, Victoria!
Dear Kristin, I would like to thank you for this interview too and for you inspired me. Because of you, I discovered another beautiful human being.
„You never know if you never try…”
See you soon,
P.S.: You can read the Romanian version of this article here.