Today it’s my pleasure to interview Rebecca Raisin, author of Christmas at the Gingerbread Café, a Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina UK (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: November 12th 2013
Number of pages: 52
Word Count: 17, 750
Cover Artist: Carina UK
Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.
But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!
SKY: What inspired you to write this book?
REBECCA: I saw a submission call for Christmas themed stories and an idea sprang to mind. At midnight of course! I pictured the characters immediately, and the small town they lived in. The opening scene played out in mind in such a detailed way that I immediately typed notes into my phone, and couldn’t wait to get up the next day to begin writing it. That night I dreamed about Christmas food, and decided that the story would be set in a café. So with the backdrop of food, the next thing was the relationships in the story. Lil, the main character, turns to CeeCee a no-nonsense Southern woman who tells it like it is, for advice, and I must admit I miss them now I’m finished.
SKY: If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
REBECCA: I’d have to choose CeeCee. I’d pour out all my troubles to her while we baked pies together. She’d make me a gingerbread coffee and we’d sit near the fire and just talk. She’s got a way with words, but doesn’t suffer fools. OK, I’ll tell you a secret, she’s my favourite!
SKY: If you had to sell your book based on one run of dialogue (start quote to end quote), which would it be?
REBECCA: OK, this snippet is when Lil decides she’s going to compete with the new guy in town, who is stealing her customers. It’s a small town, so every sale lost is a problem for Lil.
With a sly grin on my face, I jog back out to the front, yelling, “That fool won’t know what hit him,” only to run straight into the damn fool.
“Who are you talking about?” Damon asks, rubbing his chin where my head has just connected.
“Ouch! Who creeps up like that? If you want me to feel the earth move, that isn’t the way to go about it,” I say, sure I’m going to be sporting a big lump on my head any minute now.
“Which fool are you talking about?”
I make a show of wincing, while I try and think of an answer. CeeCee’s no help, standing there as a half-dressed Santa, her lips quivering as she tries to hold in laughter. I know she’s going to lose it, and then the whole sorry story will come tumbling out of her mouth.
“Excuse me, mister, who said you could come in here and spy on us?”
His forehead creases, and that same sexy smile creeps back on his face. “Who said I was spying?”
“That smile might work on other girls, but it sure doesn’t work on me. I said you’re spying. Now get on out of here. Shoo.” I wave my hand towards the door.
“Shoo? Not until you tell me who the fool is.”
“You’re as dumb as a bucket of rocks if you think I’m telling you anything.”
“I see.” He scratches his chin, which has a red mark from our collision. “I think you’re cooking up another plan to steal my customers.”
“Of all the…I think you’re forgetting who was here first. You’re stealing my customers—let’s be clear on that.” I try hard not to poke my tongue out at him. He brings out the worst in me, this newcomer. He’s wearing those same tight jeans, and under his open jacket he’s wearing another of those checker shirts, but has yet another button undone. I can see right down to his belly button and I happen to notice he’s got quite the six-pack going on. The girls round here are going to swoon over him.
SKY: Great excerpt! Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
REBECCA: I’m working on another book set in New York. A romantic comedy set in a dating agency, which has been a lot of fun to write. It will be available around February. And then I have another three books lined up, but I can’t share the secret just yet! I hope to come back soon and give you the details …
SKY: What sort of personality does your hero have?
REBECCA: He’s a really sweet guy. Gorgeous, tough, but sensitive. He’s had heartbreak in the past, but has moved on, as much as he can. Did I mention he cooks? He’s a keeper! He’s also a bit of a joker when it comes to Lil, and manages to lighten the mood and not take things too seriously.
SKY: What sort of personality does your heroine have?
REBECCA: Lil comes across as quite feisty when her business is threatened, but she’s really an emotional girl. Amazing Grace makes her blubber, and she is very family and friend oriented. She’s been heartbroken, but still believes in true love. The Gingerbread café is everything to her for how hard she’s had to work at keeping it.
SKY: Did you enjoy writing one scene above all the rest? If so, share.
REBECCA: I think the opening scene. It sets up the tone of the rest of the book, and shows exactly how Lil and Cee relate to each other. And it’s kind of funny! Cee stumbles in on Lil with her hand shoved up a turkeys behind (because she’s stuffing them to sell) Lil is having a blubber-fest to Amazing Grace, and Cee just loses it.
SKY: Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
REBECCA: I write at the dining room table every day. It’s so boring, and the table is probably a bit high – after a day of writing I have grooves in my arms from the wooden edge, but it’s where I am least distracted. Except of course by the fridge, the Nutella, and the lounge which are too convenient sometimes!
Thanks for having me.
SKY: Super interview, Rebecca! Thanks for joining me today.
About the Author
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile.
This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn, is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly, believe in true love.