I am extremely excited to be part of the blog tour for the amazing Rebecca Raisin’s latest release, Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café (released 15th October 2014, click here to get your copy). I’ve been lucky enough to quiz Rebecca about the end of the Gingerbread Café series (sob!), where she finds her writing inspiration from, and what she loves most about the festive season…
Hi Rebecca, a huge, warm gingerbread-flavoured welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Thanks, Holly! What a sweet welcome. I’m from Perth, Australia and I write romantic fiction for Carina UK. I have twin boys who keep me on my toes, (literally, I have way too many Lego war stories to mention!) and a lovely hubby who understands that our house will never be tidy because I’d rather spend the day with my fictional friends.
Can you tell us a bit about the latest book in your Gingerbread Cafe series, Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe (released 15th October 2014 by Carina)?
It’s the third and final book in the series (At this point I sob into my hands, I love those girls!) and it’s set over Christmas, ten days before Lil and Damon’s wedding. There’s a few obstacles thrown into the mix for poor Lil, and her whole life is turned upside down at the busiest time of year! Her best friend and only employee, CeeCee also has some trying times ahead! Friendship, love and baking are the main themes!
The Gingerbread Cafe series is SO popular and I absolutely love it! Can you believe it’s been nearly a year since you released the first book, Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe?
Oh thank you! You know, I can’t believe it! It’s ben such an amazing year! And it’s flashed past quicker than Santa’s sleigh! But I am overwhelmingly grateful for the year I’ve had, and how the books have been received! I’ve made so many bookworm friends, and I truly love the connections I’ve made online. It’s a supportive and lovely community to be involved in!
What inspired you to create The Gingerbread Cafe? Is it based on a real place or is it entirely fictional?
I love writing about food, almost as much as I like eating it! So it came naturally for me to write about what I love. Everyone in my family enjoys cooking, and it’s always the common bond that ties us together, we meet and devour delicious food and great wine! Originally, I wanted to incorporate the idea that for someone like Lil, baking is a comfort, as much as it is her livelihood. We all have ways to cope when life doesn’t go according to plan so for the girls from the café, their mechanism is to the plunge their hands into dough and make something spectacular! The café isn’t based on anywhere I know, but since writing the books I have found café with similar names, and I would love nothing more than visiting them one day!
After the success of the first book in the series was it difficult writing Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe? Do you find it gets easier or more difficult the more books in the series you write?
Thank you! I was excited to get back to my ‘friends’ from Ashford, but there was that need to make sure all my facts were straight from the first book, and then likewise with the third book Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café, and also The Bookshop on the Corner, which is a stand-alone, but linked. It does get harder in that respect that I now have a host of extra characters to keep track of, and make sure their times lines meet up, and their mannerisms, and quirks don’t change! But it’s also sort of like reconnecting with old friends, and I pick up where I left off…
I’m even more excited that your book is Christmas related as I love a good Christmas novel! What’s your favourite thing about the festive season?
Well, (you know my secret Holly, but I won’t spill the beans here, I’ll save that for your Christmas post!) I adore all the parties around this time of year! My boys have lots on, (social butterflies, they are) and we have parties, as well. I enjoy hunting for the perfect festive recipes to bake, and hanging out with friends and family. Everyone just seems happier at this time of year, and it’s a time to be thankful for what you have, and the people who you love.
Do you plan to write any more in the Gingerbread Cafe series?
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café is the last book told from Lil’s point of view… I am so tempted to keep going, I’ve had so many messages asking for more! But I feel as though I’ve left the girls in a good place, and I’d hate to ruin that! I’m excited about the next novel which is also set in Ashford. It’s called Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm, and features a broody, complex guy called Clay. I’m in love with him! And in writing stories that are tied together by location, I’ll still have the chance for those favourite characters to make cameos in the coming books!
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I wrote for five years before getting a book deal! I mainly wrote short stories, and took a bazillion creative writing classes so I could soak up as much knowledge as I could. I also wrote short stories for fiction magazines. Eventually I went back to writing longer length work, and submitted it to various places, getting three books accepted in a close space of time. I then signed with Carina UK for a total of thirteen books. So while it seems like it all happened at once, which the contracts did, it was after quite a long time, and lots of stumbling along the way!
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love Kristan Higgins! She’s just got such a warmth in her writing! I also love Joanne Harris, her books are magical in so many ways. Rohinton Mistry, whose book A Fine Balance will stay with my always, and one of those stories I am in awe of.
I read mainly contemporary romance, but I also like the occasional thriller.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m writing Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm, which I’m really enjoying! It’s been refreshing to write some new characters! This book is actually duel point of view between Clay, a rugged thirty-something who inherits a derelict maple syrup farm, and Lucy, a twenty-something girl, who is lost, despite her life being seemingly picture perfect. They both have secrets which hold them back. And what secrets will Clay uncover at the farm?
I’m having a lot of fun manipulating their lives!
A huge thank you to Rebecca Raisin and to Tay from Chicks that Read for organising the tour. ♥
Pssst, if you’re wondering about Rebecca’s ‘secret’ then be sure to check back in December as all will be revealed in her Festive Feature…
There are still two more days left on the Christmas Wedding at The Gingerbread Café tour & don’t forget to check out all of the previous reviews, extracts, guest posts and interviews…