Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How did you get started writing?

KH: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. In fact, my mom recently found a stapled-together “book” I’d written when I was about 6 about the Bobbsey Twins – my favorite fictional characters at the time – going to visit my family in Ohio to solve the mystery of my dad’s missing “solid gold tuxedo.” I have no idea why I thought my dad might have a solid gold tuxedo stashed away somewhere! But in any case, reading and writing have always been my passion, and I’ve been writing professionally since I was 16, when I pitched a few local stories to a magazine calledTampa Bay AllSports, and the editor there, a wonderful guy named Al Martino, gave me my first freelance writing job. I’ve been writing for People magazine since I was 21, and I wrote my first book when I was 24.

Q: I love your books. What other authors would you recommend?

Kristin Harmel

Photo by Robin Gage

KH:One of the best things about being a writer is becoming part of a community with other writers; some of them have become very close friends of mine. I’d strongly recommend reading anything by: Emily Giffin, Jane Porter, Megan Crane, Liza Palmer, Sarah Mlynowski, Alison Pace, Melissa Senate, Lynda Curnyn, Brenda Janowitz, E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, Wendy Toliver and Laura Caldwell. I also love Kathryn Stockett, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, James Patterson, Meg Cabot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lolly Winston, Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding, Alice Hoffman and Patricia Cornwell. My very first editor, Amy Einhorn, also recently launched her own imprint (the debut novel was Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling The Help), and I’ve always loved her taste, so you’d probably enjoy anything from her imprint too.

Q: Do you listen to music when you write?

KH: I actually prefer to write in silence. I find that when I’m listening to music, I tend to focus on the words, which means that it’s harder for me to come up with my own words. But I adore music – one of my favorite activities is going to live concerts – and I always have Sister Hazel, Five For Fighting, the Beatles, Paul McCartney, Edwin McCain, John Mayer and lots of hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s on my playlist. My very favorite musician in the world is Chubby Checker, whose hit song, “The Twist,” was named the #1 song of all time by Billboard magazine. I’m working on a book with Chubby, and he’s become one of my closest friends.

Q: What else do you do for fun?

KH: In addition to writing, I love going to see live music; I’m fortunate enough to live near a lot of great venues including Hard Rock Live and the House of Blues. I love to travel – my favorite places in the world are Paris, France, and County Cork, Ireland – and I love road trips. I also love to cook; the day Food and Wine magazine arrives each month, I go a little insane. I enjoy hitting the beach too, although I’m usually pale as a ghost, and I also love going to Disney World. Of course I really enjoy reading, and I love going to movies.

Q: I want to write a book. How do I do it?

KH: I actually teach a class for Mediabistro.com that teaches you exactly that! Visit www.Mediabistro.com/courses and click on my name for more information! I’d love to have you as a student!

For more on Kristin, click here.

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