'SATC's' Carrie finds kindred spirit in 'Art of French Kissing'

Good news for women who have seen the "Sex and the City" movie a few times already and have exhausted old TV episodes.

Author Kristin Harmel says Emma, the heroine in the novel "The Art of French Kissing," is a kindred spirit to Carrie Bradshaw.

Emma doesn't have a Mr. Big or Mihkail Baryshnikov to canoodle with in Paris, but she has her share of romantic adventures.

"It's the story of a woman whose whole life falls apart in the span of a couple of weeks," says Harmel, 29. "She goes to Paris on a whim and inadvertently finds herself, with the help of this sort of crazy rock star and a really cute journalist."

The author sees herself and the fictional Emma in the "Sex and the City" character made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker.

In "Sex and the City" fashion, Harmel signs copies of her new novel Wednesday during a cocktail bash on the restaurant rooftop of the French American Brasserie.

The Boston native resides in Orlando, Fla. When she's not writing books, she freelances for People magazine.

"The Art of French Kissing" is Harmel's third book. She says a novel set in Paris has been in the making since she spent a summer there at age 23. She's returned several times.

"It's my most personal book," Harmel says. "I didn't write a story about my life. In fact I wanted to get far enough away from my own experience before I wrote it."

Still the petite author says she welcomes the Carrie Bradshaw references that people often make about her.

Like Parker's character, Harmel has a solid group of girlfriends, has lived in Paris and New York, and says she often follows her heart into bad decisions with men.

Author Kristin Harmel signs her novel "The Art of French Kissing" 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday on the rooftop of the French American Brasserie. Free admission and complimentary champagne. 30 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., 404-266-1440. Space is limited. RSVP requested at www.atlanta.skirt.com.

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