Monday, 7 April 2014

Interview Today with the lovely Rebecca Raisin

I have the pleasure of welcoming Rebecca Raisin on my blog for an interview about her latest book Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe.

About Rebecca 

I have been an avid reader all my life and collect books like some women collect shoes.
On the advice of a friend, who is an author himself, I started writing about two years ago, which swiftly turned into an obsession.
Now the only dilemma is whether to read or write, and finding ways to do both – around my twin boys, a home that always looks like someone picked it up and shook it, and my ‘foodie’ partner, who expects meals made from scratch, a house not drowning in books, and a partner not obsessed with talking about herself.

Thank you Rebecca for agreeing to do an interview for my blog

Thank you for inviting me here, Jo!

Where did you get the idea for the Gingerbread Café books?

There was a submission call for Christmas stories, and an idea sprang to mind immediately. Shame it was nearly midnight at the time! The opening scene played out in my mind, including the dialogue from CeeCee, I quickly wrote some notes, and thenattempted to sleep, which kind of didn’t happen. I just wanted to get up and start writing, so the next day, slightly worse for wear, I started Christmas at the Gingerbread Café. It wasn’t planned as a series at that point, however I had a lot of messages asking when the sequel was out, which prompted me to go back to my friends (fictional, but hey) and write the next part of their story.

Favourite Chocolate?

I absolutely love Lindt dark chocolate. Or Lindt dark chocolate and orange. Or Lindt, anything Lindt!

Can you tell us more about the Gingerbread Café books?

There will be three books in total based at the Gingerbread Café, all told through Lil’s perspective. She’s feisty and funny, and a real sweetheart, coupled with her best friend and employee, CeeCee. Cee’s a big bustling Southern woman who tell it like it is and is often more a mother figure to Lil, doling out advice, and making Lil realise, it’s okay to move on from her past. Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café is the second book, and the third will be out in time for Christmas this year. I think I will actually cry if I have to say goodbye to them for good. They have become so real to me!

I try to write the characters as people you can see yourself being friends with, and real life situations we’ve all faced at one time or another. And there’s food, there’s always food! Lil and CeeCee love what they do, and are passionate about the café.

Is the Café based on a real place?

It’s not based on a real place, but I can imagine there’s lots of cute little cafés like it. Lil couldn’t afford fancy interiors or furniture, so she’s made do with what that can make or find second-hand to jazz up the interior. There’s a fireplace, and a big old bookshelf. I can imagine it’d be a great place to snuggle up in winter and watch the world go by!

How do you know so much about chocolate making? Did you have to do plenty of research for this?

I researched a lot of recipes, and watched plenty of you tube videos to make sure I had the process right. I tell you, I think I gained 5 kilos writing this! It was impossible to not to crave chocolate after searching for recipes that they’d make at the Chocolate Festival. Tough job, but someone has to do it!

Can you tell us more about the main characters from the books?

Lil is the main character, late twenties and a romantic at heart. Like I said above she’s feisty and funny, but would do anything to help other people out. She’s passionate about her café, and finds cooking a comfort.

CeeCee is Lil’s employee, but she’s more like a best friend and mother-figure. She’s much older than Lil and is originally from Alabama. She doles out no-nonsense advice and throws in lots of southern one-liners. The café means as much to her as it does Lil.

Is the town that the books set in based on anywhere you know?

Ashford, Connecticut is a real town, a very small one, like in the novellas. Aside from a little research, I’m not sure if it’s quite as I’ve depicted it in the book, but I like to think being a small town, it would have characters, and shops like the ones I mention.

Are the characters based on anyone you know?

Not really, they’re all fictional, though there’s quite a few character traits that Lil has, that I also have! Mainly the emotional blubbering side, when she’s happy or sad, she’s a messy crier, and I am exactly the same! In the opening scene of Christmas at the Gingerbread Café, the song Amazing Grace comes on, it’s snowing outside, and is Christmas - Lil’s pining her old life. Her “tears turn into a fully- fledged blubber -fest” and I must admit, that comes directly from me! I bawl every time I hear that song!

If the books were to be made into a film/TV program, who would your choice be to play?

I have never given this any thought (LIAR!) hee hee. I pictured these actors as I was writing the book, actually!

Lil Emma Stone

Damon Matthew MacConaughey

CeeCee Irma P Hall

You can check out my Pinterest board if you’re not sure who those actors are J

Have we heard the last from Lil’s ex husband?

I cannot say! But I can tell you I pictured Joel as Shia Labeouf when I wrote it J

What have you got planned for the future?
I’m writing another story set in the town of Ashford, however it’s not from Lil’s perspective. It’s from Sarah’s. You’ll meet Sarah briefly in Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café. She’s quirky and funny, and very different from Lil and Cee.

Can you tell us about your writing process?

I usually have an idea for a story, a very vague notion of where it’ll be set and who the characters are. Then I Think of possible conflicts, and resolution and I begin! By the time I’ve written it, it’s usually nothing like I first imagined as the characters have a way of taking over, but at least I have an option if they’re strangely silent! People do tend to think I’m weird because I sometimes talk about my characters as though they’re real!

Do you like it quiet when you're writing or do you need background noise? (music or TV)

Absolute quiet! I can’t have the T.V on or anything. Before my kids started full time school I could write with any noise, out of necessity.But now, I’m so used to silence I find it difficult if there’s any distractions. Sometimes I’ll play a song to get me in the mood for a scene, especially if it’s a sad scene, but usually it’s just me and the sound of the keys clicking.

What items do you have on your desk?

I write at the dining room table because my desk is buried under paperwork! So today I have the kids school homework next to me, and a bunch of colouring in pencils. How very arty!

What kind of books do you like to read?

I love romance, contemporary fiction, thrillers, anything really. I read as much as I write. I don’t watch much T.V because I’m usually hooked in a book and would rather find out what’s happening in the story!

Can you tell us a little about the next book you are writing?

I’m a couple of weeks away from finishing Sarah’s story, which is a little out of the ordinary style-wise. I can’t wait to share it with you! And then I will start the last Gingerbread book, which will be set at Christmas-time. The thought of saying goodbye to Lil and Cee breaks my heart, but they will make appearances in the other books set in Ashford. And who knows, if people ask for more like they did with the first one, you never know! 

Thank you so much for having me here today, Jo! These questions were lots of fun! Happy Easter!

I would like to thank Rebecca for such a fun wonderful interview.

Jo xx
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  1. Oooh what a wonderful interview Jo! �������� I can't wait for The Bookshop on the Corner! xxx

    1. Thank you lovely, I can't wait for it either xx

  2. Jo you are so lucky - getting to interview Rebecca. Im sure in another life we'd all be friends drinking that latte, nibbling chocolate in The Gingerbread Cafe :)

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Dawn xx