Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kristin Harmel, The Blonde Theory


Years and years ago, I went out with this guy named Michael Prince. He drove a white BMW, wore argyle sweaters and resembled Jimmy Neutron. After we went out to dinner and had nothing in common, he asked my best friend on a date and told her "Dumb blondes aren't my type." She was brunette. Draw your own conclusions.

In The Blonde Theory, Harper Roberts is a successful patent attorney who can't find a guy who isn't intimidated by her career. So smart and successful is Harper, that she begins to think her career is standing the way of her and a man. She and her best girlfriends concoct a plan where she will look and act like a dumb blonde to see if men are more attracted to the dumbed down version of herself. She dresses like a Las Vegas hooker and hopes for the best.

Sure, men pant after her padded bras, plunging necklines and short skirts but is acting like a ditz going to help find her true love? Kristin's book is humorous and fun. I read this on vacation and think it's a great spring read for those who enjoy fun fiction.

What is the craziest thing you have done to impress a guy?

Oh boy. Usually whenever I try to impress a guy, I fall flat on my face. Literally, in some cases! I think I’ve mostly grown out of the phase of feeling like I have to change myself to make a guy fall for me (I say mostly because I am certainly still guilty of doing so sometimes . . . I recently brought a guy I like on a short business trip with me, and I proceeded to chatter like a moron for the entire three-hour drive because I really wanted him to like me. Instead, I think I scared him away!). But in the past, I’ve done ridiculous things such as flying to the ends of the earth to see a musician I used to date (as if me coming to see him all the time would make him like me more).

Generally, my silly, impress-the-guy routine just includes me giggling a lot and chattering nonstop, mostly because I am nervous! I think that when I really like someone, I tend to try too hard. I could really learn a lesson from the main character in my own book!


Have you ever taken your blonde locks darker in order to be taken more seriously?

Nope. I’ve never dyed my hair. In a way, I sort of like it when people look at me and expect one thing – and I can surprise them simply by being me!


The book reminds me of Sex and the City combined with How to Lose a Guy In Ten Days. What inspired the book? And is there any movie talk yet?

Well thank you! I love Sex and the City, so that’s quite the compliment!
I got the idea for the book after having breakfast with one of my good friends one day a few years ago. She has a high-up, very successful position in a national sports organization, and she was lamenting the fact that it was very difficult to find guys who could look past her success and “threatening” job to see her as a normal woman they’d want to date. “Most guys don’t even try,” she said with a sigh.
As we talked about how frustrating it was to be rejected before a guy got to know us – as if we were being punished for pursuing our career dreams – I started to think, “Wow, this would make a good book.” Over the next year, I began to notice that this was a recurring theme in many of the conversations I had with successful female friends. What would happen, I began to wonder, if one of these successful girls tried to dumb herself down to attract guys? THE BLONDE THEORY was born!

As for movie talk, I have a fantastic film agent out in Hollywood, and he has been shopping the book around. My fingers are crossed that something will happen!


You live in Orlando. I was just there, we could have met up at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede! Have you ever been to Gatorland? What touristy things do you enjoy doing?

Cool! How did you like my city? Too bad I didn’t know you were here! I live about five minutes from Universal Studios and twenty from Disney World. I have annual passes to both Universal parks and all four Disney parks, and spend a lot of time visiting them.
My favorite is Disney’s Epcot, the theme park with a “world showcase” of pavilions from a dozen different countries. Each fall, they have an amazing Food & Wine Festival, where there are wine seminars and cooking demonstrations all day every day and concerts from bands from the 60s, 70s and 80s each night. During the festival, I’m usually there two or three days a week (for a few hours at a time) for wine tastings and concerts. Epcot also hosts a Flower & Garden Festival in the spring. It’s lots of fun too! Aside from that, I love going to the Magic Kingdom for the nostalgia, Disney’s MGM Studios for the rides and shows, and Universal’s Islands of Adventures for the rides.
I can see the Universal fireworks from my balcony, which is lots of fun, and I often meet friends at a great restaurant called Seasons 52, where we can see the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Sea World fireworks across a big lake. There’s also a Disney restaurant called The California Grill, which is on the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best view of fireworks in the world!


What are some of your all time favorite chick-flicks?

Ooh, great question! I love Love Actually, Notting Hill, Sliding Doors and Bridget Jones’s Diary. I also think that Finding Neverland, Titanic, Amelie, Paris Je T’Aime and About a Boy were great female-oriented films, but I’m not sure they all qualify as chick flicks. I just saw Music & Lyrics, that new Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore movie, and I really liked it too!

Which songs would you chose for the soundtrack of your life?

Another great question! I think it would include Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles), Something (The Beatles), All You Need Is Love (The Beatles), the Superman theme song (I was obsessed with that movie as a kid, and it still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it . . . plus I’m still looking for my Superman!), 100 Years (by Five For Fighting – what a moving song!), Maybe I’m Amazed (by Paul McCartney – it’s such a sweet, simple love song), Change Your Mind (by Sister Hazel – a great song about why you should always be yourself), Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper), I’ll Be (by Edwin McCain – I’d love to be loved that way) and Ironic (by Alanis Morissette – because sometimes my life is pretty darned ironic). It would also have to include Can’t Behave (by my friend Courtney Jaye) and I Can’t Stop You Now (by my friend Ben Bledsoe). I’m sure there are several more songs I’m forgetting!


Do you think (generally speaking of course) that women try harder to impress men rather than the other way around?


Hmm. I think it really depends on the person. I think that in general, men and women try to impress each other in very different ways. I wish that we could all be comfortable being ourselves without feeling like we had to jump through hoops to impress people. I’m guilty of doing that myself, of course. But wouldn’t life – and dating – be easier if we could always be ourselves and thus attract the right people?

In the book, you mention one of my favorite cosmetic brands, Tarte (check out my http://www.hellodollface.com/ site if you like makeup). What are some of your favorite cosmetics?

Ooh, I love Tarte! That’s why I had to mention it – I use their products all the time! Don’t you love their cheekstains? They also have awesome bronzer and amazing lipglosses. Their names are the cutest!
Their lipglosses come in pairs and have famous couple names. Some of my favorite shades are: Jake & Samantha (formerly called Carrie & Big!), Lois & Clark, and Daisy & Gatsby. Plus, do you know the story of their founder? She’s pretty amazing . . . Her name is Maureen Kelly, and she’s just in her early 30s. With her husband’s encouragement, she left her career (psychology) in 2000 and, with no experience in the industry, decided to strike out on her own to found a cosmetic line, something she had always dreamed of. “Life is too short not to do what you love,” her husband Mark told her. He didn't know at the time just how true his words were. A year later, he was one of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Maureen briefly considered giving up her dream, but she knew that it would be a way in which she could honor his memory, so she stuck with it and worked through her grief. Now, Tarte is growing exponentially, and Maureen donates a very high percentage of the company’s proceeds to charities, many of them benefiting post-9/11 New York. Isn’t that amazing?

My other favorite cosmetics include Bare Minerals (for light mineral foundation), DiorShow mascara, concealer from The Balm, Nars blush in Oasis, and Vincent Longo lip stain in Liquid Kiss. I usually put on a bit of lip stain under the Tarte glosses. I discovered Yves Rocher Rehydration moisturizer on a recent trip to Paris and use that every morning and night now too!

When you were a little girl, what did you think you would be doing as an adult? Is your life what you thought it would be? And where will you be in five years? What's the five year plan, Kristin?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Well, actually, first I wanted to be a singer. Then I realized that the fact that I couldn’t sing might stand in my way. So writing has been my career goal for as long as I can remember. I also write for magazines (including People and Glamour), and to be honest, I thought I’d still be doing that full-time at this stage in my career. I’m thrilled to be writing books too! (pssst, I found this article written by Ms. Harmel)
As for the five-year plan, wow! Well, I hope to still be writing books – hopefully two a year. My first YA novel comes out in January, so I hope to do more writing for teens in the future too. I hope to continue writing women’s fiction, and I’d also love to try my hand at screenwriting, but I realize that it's a very different craft that I will have to learn.
I can tell you that next year, I have my first teen novel (When You Wish – from Random House – Jan. 2008) and my third women’s fiction novel (The Art of French Kissing – Warner Books/5 Spot – Feb. 2008) coming out, and in 2009, I have a second teen novel from Random House scheduled. I also have an idea for my next women’s fiction novel that I hope to pitch to my editor at Warner Books soon, so hopefully I’ll be scheduled for the next two years! I would also love to write middle grade mysteries – along the lines of the Nancy Drew series I grew up loving – so perhaps I’ll be able to branch into that at some point too.
Check out www.KristinHarmel.com to stay updated on what I'm doing! I just love to write and feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do this for a living!

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