Wednesday, February 03, 2010


More Love Finds You books are releasing this month. Today, we're talking to an author I haven't featured before. Welcome, Cerella. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?

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?

After years of writing and (unsuccessfully) submitting historical fiction, I decided to do an about-face and write something different. I have a fascination with cooking, the Food Network and with food in general. There’s an artistry to it, and I’m drawn to that.

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.

Chapter 1:

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.

Dmitri Velichko.

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, , 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

If you want to spend more time with the main character of the novel, Sadie, then check out her blog at  (It’s pretty sweet!)

My personal blog, The Cerella Life, can be found at . 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.


Trinity Rose said...

Wanted to say Cerella that I love that picture of you with the flowers. Also your books seems really interesting and would love to be in the give away.
Have a blessed day,
Wanda Chamberlain

wandaelaine AT gmail DOT com

Deborah said...

oh please enter me! hershey, pa is like a chocoholic's dream place to live. and i REALLY want to read this book!!

Casey said...

Oh, I would LOVE to read this book, I have heard such great things about it! Please enter me. :)

Debra said...

I have read so many great reviews on this book.I would love a chance to win a copy. Thanks!:)


Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Please don't enter me I already have the book! I just had to stop by and say how wonderful it is and I can't wait for her next book and the next book from the LFY series!

xoxo~ Renee

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for entering me! I'd love to read this book.

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Diana said...

Cerella, I am happy to say we have another happy reader of LFY in Hershey PA. At my book club last night one gal who I had lent a copy to enthusiastically praised your book as one of her favorite reads. High praise from this gal, our book club is a critical group. Loved the characters, she loved the story line and she especially liked how Sadie dealt with her issues. Well done.

Amber S. said...

I'd like a chance to win this book! Sounds interesting! And I love chocolate! :)


Merry said...

Another chocolate lover here! Please include me in drawing for this sweet read. Thanks!

G.R.I.T.S. said...

I love these books!!! please enter me!


Julia said...

Please enter me. I'm anxious to read the Love Finds You...series.

Mary said...

I would love to win a copy of this book!

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview. Please enter me. Thank you!


I enjoyed looking over your blog
God bless you

Abi said...

Oh, I'd love to win this book thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Sheila Deeth said...

Writing is a good phase - the more so when it produces real books for us to read.

Megan said...

Oooh sounds fun! I like that the enemy is Russian - so old school! haha Thanks for letting us know about it, Lena!

Jackie Smith said...

I have been wanting to read this book!!! Please enter me. Thanks!!!

Andrea said...

Would quite like the chance at this one!

Blessings -


Please visit my blog for current giveaways and book reviews:

Thanks! : )

mariska said...

interesting book ! i love chocolate :)

count me in !

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Julie The Surrendered Scribe said...

Thanks Lena for introducing us to Cerella, what a beautiful name. I love the premise of Love Finds You in Hershey, PA. I'd love a copy!


The Bookworm said...

I just found your blog - it's a book lover's dream! :)


Esther said...

I would love to win this Love Finds You book. Please enter me in the book drawing. Thanks!! Esther

Charity said...

Please enter me:) I would love to read this book. Sounds great!!


Judy Glidden said...

Love the town, love chocolate, would love to win the book!

Carla said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

Wendy said...

Thanks for offering this book.

Francesca Ivy said...

such a lovely, exciting plot for a story - coupled with the chance to feed my chocolatey passion.

Toss my name in the hat, please.


Carole said...

You can't go wrong in using something you're passionate about as a theme, Cerella. I look forward to reading your book and appreciate the chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Cerella D. Sechrist said...

Thanks for so many fantastic comments here, Everyone! I appreciate all the kind words and the enthusiasm you have for good stories as well as CHOCOLATE! Writing about Hershey was my pleasure. :) Stay sweet!

Kim said...

Oh my this book sounds interesting! Please enter me!

kd at thegospelhiway dot org

Anonymous said...

please count me in....thanks


Cíntia Mara said...

I don't know this author yet, but love the interview. I want to know the YA novel and the serie about three sisters she's writing.

Please, enter me in your draw.
God bless you!

Kristi said...

I have a 17 year old daughter that is working on a book - I will have to keep encouraging her if she ever decides to submit anything!

Beginning of the book is cute - would love to win this copy.

Emily said...

Really, really want to read this book! Please enter me!


Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

Brenda said...

Please enter me!

dancealert at aol dot com

Nancye said...

This looks like a great book! Please enter me.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Anna W. said...

Sounds great! Please enter me!

Sherry Kuhn said...

Sounds like an excellent story. Please add my name to the drawing.


Cerella D. Sechrist said...

I'm so happy to hear how many of you would like to give Love Finds You in Hershey a read! All that chocolate...none of the calories. =D What's not to love??? Everyone have a sweet weekend!

Marla said...

Please enter me in the drawing. sounds like another good book. Thanks!

raspberrygirl said...

This books sounds interesting. Please enter me. Thanks

Jo said...

I am enjoying the Love Finds You series so please enter me in drawing.


Cynthia said...

This book sounds interesting. I can't wait to read it. Please enter me in the book drawing.

lastnerve said...

I love the Love Finds You books and the cover and blurb look absolutely adorable.

Val Pearson

Robyn said...

Soooo--do you get the 'lucky' straw (instead of short straw) to get the chocoholic dream title of "Love finds you in Hershey, Pennsylvania"????

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Wyn said...

mmmm. chocolate! Please enter me in the contest, thanks.

wyndyc at

Cerella D. Sechrist said...

Love Finds You in Hershey really IS a dream title, isn't it?!? The research/taste-testing alone is a dream come true. LOL! I hope everyone has enjoyed the interview and THANKS for taking an interest in Love Finds You in Hershey! :)

kristen said...

Yum!! please enter me!

~Ley said...

"It's a clean floor"?!! Oh gosh, someone needs more training! Please enter me for this book. It sounds great!

rubynreba said...

Carman sent me to your great blog. Thanks for the chance to win.

Cerella D. Sechrist said...

I love it when people leave a quote from the book! Thanks, ~Ley! LOL! And thanks everyone for entering to win!

twifanheather said...

Oh, I would really love to read this!