Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Giveaway/Showcase: Kristin Harmel: THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING: Review/Q&A




KRISTIN HARMEL is the author of four previous women’s fiction titles as well as two young adult novels. Her work has been featured in People, Ladies’ Home Journal, Glamour, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, American Baby, Runner’s World, and many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.
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Released TODAY by Simon & Schuster: THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING

From the author of Italian for Beginners, a lush, heartwarming novel about a woman who travels to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother—and discovers more than she ever imagined…

Hope McKenna-Smith, divorced mother of a surly not-quite-teenage girl, runs her family bakery on Cape Cod, but is starting to wonder what might have been. What if she hadn’t abandoned her dreams of law school? What if she hadn't quit her job to raise her daughter? What if she hadn’t caught her husband cheating on her with a cliched blonde bimbo? When her aging grandmother, Rose, summons her to hear a long-held secret, Hope finally has the opportunity to stop thinking “what if?” and start thinking “what now?"

Rose’s memory is ebbing rapidly due to the onset of Alzheimer’s, and she knows she doesn’t have much time left to tell Hope the truth about a secret she’s kept for seventy years. Giving Hope nothing but a list of names, Rose sends her on a journey of discovery that takes Hope to a synagogue and a mosque in Paris, to a history buried in the Holocaust, and to a long-lost love with secrets of his own.

The Sweetness of Forgetting is a story of family, love, honesty…and baked goods.


“Kristin Harmel’s characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished her books.”
New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin

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MY REVIEW:

The Sweetness of Forgetting moved me to the core.  This is probably one of the best books that I have read in well over a year.  Harmel is a gifted storyteller that weaves an amazing story with treads of love, hardship, secrets, second chances, heartbreak, baked goods and history.  This story will urge you to learn your family's story, to embrace your family's history.  I felt like I was on the journey with Hope to help uncover the truth of the past before it was too late.  Harmel gives a voice to Alzheimer's through Rose's voice which is an amazing element to this novel.  I absolutely loved EVERYTHING about this novel; the title, the cover, the story, the characters and the ending.  This story has become a new favorite, by a new favorite author.  If I could I would rate it 10 stars!!!   I highly recommend it to EVERYONE, especially book clubs!   

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Q&A

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. Writing is like breathing for me. I simply can’t avoid it. It’s an essential part of who I am. If I go a day without writing, even if I’m on the road, I just feel off balance. So I think the inspiration for my writing comes from deep within me, in a way.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A. My favorite thing about being an author is having the chance to reach out and touch people all over the world. We’ve already sold translation rights for THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING in 13 territories overseas (and we’re expecting more deals to come in through the fall and winter), and it’s incredible to me to think that all over the globe, people will have a chance to read something I wrote in my office in Orlando. It’s pretty incredible; it’s almost like having the chance to have a conversation with millions of people from all sorts of different backgrounds. If they finish the book and feel inspired, then maybe I’ve done a bit to change the world for the better.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A. One of the toughest parts of being an author is that there are days when inspiration simply doesn’t strike. It’s not like a normal 9-5 job, where you go in and tackle a set number of things for the day. Writing relies on creativity to flow, and sometimes, it’s just doesn’t. If I’m leaving for a trip the next day, for example, I’ll generally have trouble writing, because my brain is busy thinking about what time I have to leave, what time to pack, etc. And then I get very discouraged with myself, because I wish I had the ability to  block out the world and simply write without distraction every day.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A. That’s a tough question. I’d probably be an English or journalism teacher or professor. I love teaching and have done it on the side for years.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. “Kristin: A Short Story.” That’s because I’m only five feet tall. Yes, I’m making short jokes about myself!

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. The Diary of Anne Frank.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. Very tough question. I like to think I’m like Carrie Bradshaw, in that I’m a writer on a constant search to understand why and how people love.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

A. That’s pretty impossible to answer. I don’t think I’m super close to any of them; I make a conscious effort to write books that aren’t autobiographical. When I wrote HOW TO SLEEP WITH A MOVIE STAR, my first novel, which came out in 2006, I was fairly close in personality to the main character, Claire, at the time. But I think I’ve outgrown that phase of my life.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. I like the fall. The weather cools down here in Florida, where I live, and it’s simply lovely. The Food & Wine Festival is on at Epcot (featuring live bands and foods/drink from around the world), and the holidays are approaching. I always feel renewed and inspired in the fall.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. The book covers are all designed in-house; cover design is typically part of every mainstream publishing deal. But I’ve always been happy with my covers; I feel like they capture my books well. The cover for THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING is a peaceful yet deserted table in Cape Cod, in the minutes just before twilight. I think if you read the book, you’ll see the mood very well reflected in the cover image.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. Rock’n’roll legend Chubby Checker is a very close friend of mine, so when he showed up for my last New York book launch party, it was amusing to see jaws drop all over the room as people realized, one by one, that the man who sang the unforgettable “Twist” was there in their midst. It made me really happy for him.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes! I have a young adult proposal in the works, and my next women’s fiction proposal is with my literary agent now.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  I hope you’ll consider reading THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING. I’m so proud of this book; I feel very differently about this one than I’ve felt about my six previous novels. And if you order it now or help spread the word, please feel free to download your free recipe e-book as a thank you here: http://kristinharmel.com/share-the-love-and-get-a-free-copy-of-my-brand-new-recipe-e-book/. The recipe book is a fun companion to THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, featuring 25 additional recipes tied into the book.
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