Novelist and Gator grad coming to speak at UF


Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

When University of Florida graduate Kristin Harmel's first chick-lit book - "How to Sleep with a Movie Star" - was published in 2006, she said she was obsessed with tracking how many copies of her debut novel had been sold.

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Kristin Harmel appears in this undated promotional photo.

Special to The Sun

Yet, her second novel - "The Blonde Theory" - hit stores in February and has even gone to a second printing, and she has yet to ask how it's doing.

"I've just been overloaded and haven't even asked them about the business end," Harmel, said. "I've, I think, become more relaxed about it. Once I write the book, all I can do is talk to as many people as I can and hope the book does well."

Since the release of "The Blonde Theory" by 5 Spot, an imprint of Warner Books, Harmel, 27, has been busy throwing parties in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Miami to promote the book. And she still has to hit Chicago this week.

She's done interviews for news outlets around the country, including features in the St. Petersburg Times and the Boston Globe.

And on Monday, she'll make a stop in UF Professor Bill McKeen's Introduction to Journalism class to offer whatever knowledge she has gleaned through her experiences with both novel-writing and magazine journalism since graduating from UF's School of Journalism in 2001.

"I always like to find someone who's a magazine writer to come to speak to the class," McKeen said of his choice to bring Harmel back to her alma mater to speak. "I think students like to see someone be successful so young, and I've always thought she was a very talented writer to begin with."

McKeen said Harmel will be speaking around 4 p.m. Monday in the Gannett Auditorium in Weimar Hall at UF. He said there will be plenty of extra seats, so students who are not enrolled in the class and members of the public are invited.

Harmel said she'll be speaking about her second novel, as well as how UF helped get her where she is today.

And even as "The Blonde Theory" is starting to gain momentum, Harmel has been busy finishing two more books that will be released in 2008: a teen chick-lit novel titled "When You Wish" to be published by Random House, and another 5 Spot chick-lit novel called "The Art of French Kissing."

And her first novel continues to do well. It was recently released in the United Kingdom and will soon be available in Spanish and Russian translations.

Harmel said the Florida Magazine Student Association will be selling copies of "The Blonde Theory" after her talk Monday, and she will be available to sign copies that are sold.

Alice Wallace can be reached at 352-338-3109 or alice.wallace@gvillesun.com.

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