Q&A With ‘The Paris Daughter’ Author Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels including The Forest of Vanishing StarsThe Book of Lost Names, and The Sweetness of Forgetting. Check out this Q&A with Kristin Harmel to learn more about her newest book The Paris Daughter plus her writing and reading preferences.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, The Paris Daughter, which is publishing on June 6th ?

Sure! The Paris Daughter is the story of two mothers, two daughters, an Allied bomb that falls where it shouldn’t in the suburbs of Paris during World War II,  two torn-apart families, and a storyline that picks up in 1960 New York, where a chance meeting reignites an old mystery and sends us hurtling toward answers that will change everything.

2. Most of your books take place during WWII. What about that time is so fascinating to you? Do you think you’ll continue to write about this era?

During World War II, many ordinary citizens stood up to do extraordinary things in the face of darkness, and as in The Paris Daughter, many people faced impossible decisions with incredible courage. I think those reminders of strength in difficult times still feel very relevant today, and because of that, WWII-era stories still move and inspire us.

3. Female friendships and the bonds between women are often at the centre of your novels. Why is that such an important element to your writing?

I think that the relationships we have in life—with our parents, with our children, with family members, with romantic partners, and with friends—are the things that shape us. They’re the things worth fighting for. And they’re the things that sustain us in the darkest times, which is as relevant now as it was eighty years ago.

4. Who would you cast as Elise and Juliette in an adaptation of The Paris Daughter?

Oh, goodness, I’m terrible at casting suggestions! I always love Mandy Moore in everything she’s in, so perhaps she could play Elise. And how about Emily Blunt for Juliette?

5. What other time period would you like to write about and why?

Honestly, I have such a passion for World War II that I have a hard time imagining being as strongly drawn to another specific time period. That said, of course, I tackle 1960 in this novel, too; in fact, 40% of this novel takes place in that later time period. It was nice to write in a slightly different era.

6. What are some of your favourite historical fiction reads?

Off the top of my head, The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry, Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline, The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn, The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Her Lost Words by Stephanie Marie Thornton, and Once We Were Home by Jennifer Rosner. But those are just recent reads. I love so many historical books.

7. What’s on your 2023 reading list?

I’m currently reading Christina Lauren’s The True Love Experiment and can’t wait to dive into Kristy Woodson Harvey’s The Summer of Songbirds and Mary Kay Andrews’s Bright Lights, Big Christmas. I’m always discovering great new reads on Friends & Fiction, the weekly web show I co-host—we interview different authors every week!

The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel is available now wherever books are sold.