Wednesday, February 03, 2010
I enjoy choosing themes which are slightly atypical – sometimes, I think my own issues are a little atypical. I had a teacher who once said to me, “Why do you always have to make everything more complicated than it needs to be?”
So I gravitate to premises which can teach me something. For instance, in Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Sadie already has immense talent in the area of cooking, but she cannot rest until she conquers that one gift she’s always wanted – creating desserts. Writing the story forced me to ask the question, “When is it going to be enough?”
I asked those hard questions of myself, about how much I really needed in my life to feel that I mattered, that my life meant something, that who I was could be just enough.
Because I tend to do things the hard way, I usually choose the themes God’s already wrestling with me on, and I’m sort of forced to face the issue and grow from it so my character can, too.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
There are several irons in the fire there but no release dates yet. I’m working on a series about a trio of sisters who are mending their relationships and a young adult novel with overtones of fantasy. I’d also like to go back to historical fiction again at some point, since I learned a lot from writing my beginning novels in that genre. I like a lot of variety, or I get a little bored!
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
You know, I think Rachael Ray of Food Network fame would be a lot of fun. And of course, I’d let her make dinner.
I like to watch Rachael while I'm doing some of my PT exercises. How long have you known that you wanted to be a novelist?
As a child, I was a voracious reader – I absolutely devoured any books I could get my hands on. Then, at age ten, I saw a movie in which the heroine was a novelist. A light bulb went off. People actually wrote those books I’d been reading. Maybe I could do this. I wanted to do this.
I announced my intentions to my mother – she dubbed it a ‘phase’. Twenty years later, I still remind her of that. (You take what leverage you can get with your parents.)
Once I hit upon this desire, I never wavered from it. Throughout my teenage years and my twenties, I continued to read anything and everything – including how-to writing books, books on the publishing industry, novels in every genre imaginable, non-fiction, you name it.
I wrote my first book at 16 and began submitting to publishers at 17. It took twelve more years after that to receive a contract.
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Rejection stings. After a time, you get accustomed to it and even become somewhat inured. Yet there’s always that little chafe when a submission comes back with the ‘not what we’re looking for’ letter. The Scottish side of my family has a motto on the crest: Dulcius ex Asperis: Sweeter after difficulty.
Success comes, if you hang in there long enough. And when it does, it’s so much sweeter for the wait. My mounds of rejections only steeled my perseverance. Life, and writing, isn’t about what happens to you – it’s about what you do with what happens.
Dig in. Nothing good ever came easily. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it. It took me twenty years, from the day I decided to be a writer, to see a book in print. I can promise you, I would spend another twenty just to achieve that moment.
Tell us about the featured book?
So I decided to write a book with food as a theme, and I knew I wanted it to be something light and funny – the type of book I’d pick up myself to take with me on vacation or just to unwind at night after work.
Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania is about Sadie, a single mom who’s spent years struggling to make her art (food) a success. She’s already experienced a fair amount of tragedy for her 29 years (death of a mother and spouse), and her life finally seems to have settled into a comfortable rhythm with her best friend, Jasper, and her daughter, Kylie.
Now this mysterious stranger shows up in her hometown, and the rumors say he’s here to open up a competing restaurant. Life has already taken a lot away from Sadie, so she’s determined she won’t go down without a fight. To complicate the situation further, her ne’er-do-well father has returned, wanting to mend their tenuous relationship.
Of course, nothing ever goes the way you plan it, and appearances are hardly what they seem. Sadie finds herself blundering through several embarrassing moments and situations while trying to stay on top. Along the way, she finds herself falling in love with Jasper, her best friend, and possibly losing him in the process.
It has a little bit of everything: humor, drama, relationships, romance and of course…chocolate.
I like plenty of chocolate. Please give us the first page of the book.
He’d been coming into her restaurant for weeks now, flaunting his gorgeous black hair and icy blue eyes. She had learned that his heritage was Russian, which accounted for the roller-coaster pitch of his consonants and his sonorous name.
He turned heads when he came through the front door. He melted hearts when he ordered from the menu. He was sharp, classy, and charming.
Dmitri Velichko was the enemy.
Sadie Spencer knew this well because she had learned, during her time at culinary school and her year as a cooking show host, exactly what comprised an enemy.
The sudden clatter of a pan in the kitchen arrested her attention, and she rushed from the main dining room to see what was the matter. As she flew into the kitchen, her conscience raised its hand, demanding attention.
What now? she asked it.
The hand came down, but a voice piped up. You didn’t know he was the enemy right away. You didn’t know until yesterday when you overheard Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Jones talking about him.
Sadie’s eyes narrowed to slits as she put her conscience on hold and surveyed the damage to her kitchen. Jimmy, a young man who had worked his way up from dishwasher and busboy and was now being trained as one of her line cooks, was hunched over and frantically scooping the remains of a rice pilaf back into the pan from the floor, where the dish had landed. She hurried over.
“What are you planning to do with that?” she demanded of him.
Jimmy swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing like her daughter Kylie’s attempts to submerge her rubber ducky in the bathtub. “Er…getting ready to plate it up?”
Sadie’s eyes widened with horror. “It’s been on the floor!”
Jimmy stared up at her with the mournful expression of a cocker spaniel. “It’s a clean floor,” he lamely noted.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website, http://www.cerelladsechrist.com/ , has lots of extra goodies for those who enjoyed Love Finds You in Hershey: character bios, soundtrack recommendations, recipes from the story, photos, merchandise, etc. Take a visit and drop me a line on my Contact page or join me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thecerellalife
If you want to spend more time with the main character of the novel, Sadie, then check out her blog at http://www.suncatchersadie.blogspot.com/ (It’s pretty sweet!)
My personal blog, The Cerella Life, can be found at http://www.thewaterportal.net/ . I’d love to hear from readers!
Thank you, Cerella, for spending this time with us. I'm sure my readers will want to check out all those web sites.
Readers, here's a link where you can order the book. By using this link when you order, you'll be supporting this blog.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.