Susan Bishop Crispell Dreams in Chocolate

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Susan Bishop Crispell’s second novel, DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE, hits bookshelves today as a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Winter 2018 Okra Pick. It’s gotten awesome reviews from Kirkus, RT Book Reviews, and PopSugar. But it almost didn’t see the light of day, despite the fact that she had a deadline and a contract with a publisher.

How can this be, you ask? I can tell you based on personal experience that writing a second book can, in some ways, be even more challenging than the first time around. In Susan’s case, it took changing her entire writing process from pantsing, where you fly by the seat of your pants as you write a book, to plotting in order to make the story shine.

 The result is a beautiful book that, as she likes to say, is a story with “a pinch of magic and a dash of love.” I can’t wait to read it…and ohhhhhh, that gorgeous cover! Below, Susan and I chat about all things CHOCOLATE…and killer whales.

Congratulations on the release of DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE—it’s already getting great reviews! What inspired you to write this book? Did you know how the story would unwind from the start, or did it change as you went along? 

Oh, this book has been in my head in some form or another since 2010. I started it as a NaNoWriMo novel and got my 50,000 words. And it was a Hot. Mess. No joke. I was a pantser back then and it totally showed. (Some people handle pantsing very well. I am not one of those people.) I wrote three other books before coming back to this one with a scalpel and a much better sense of how to tell a story. So I cut away all of the craziness, and refocused on the parts I loved. Namely the mother-daughter relationships, the second chance at a first love, and the magic. Once I had a better handle on those aspects, I replotted the whole thing, because I am a die-hard plotter now, and finally everything started clicking. It helped that I had sold the book based on a four-sentence pitch when I sold The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, so I was suddenly on a deadline and had to make it work!

Both DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE and your first novel, THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES, are, as you say on your website, “stories with a pinch of magic and a dash of love.” What draws you to write these types of novels? 

I’m a sucker for a swoony love story. Relationships between characters, especially romantic relationships, are what make me fall in love with a story. So when it comes to writing, I’ll always have some bit of romance because that’s just how my brain is wired. As for the magic, some of my favorite stories–books, TV, movies–are quirky and magical and strange. I love the idea that there might be more to the world than meets the eye. And it’s so much fun fitting that magic into the world as we know it in my own stories.

Just looking at your beautiful book covers makes me hungry. I have to ask—are you a foodie? If you weren’t a novelist, would you be baking pies and running a chocolate shop for a living? And what’s your favorite sweet treat? 

I’m not your typical foodie! I do love food, but I’m also picky. Our town has so many amazing restaurants, but despite that fact, my husband and I tend to eat at the same five or maybe ten places all the time, and then I feel bad when someone asks about a place that I should have tried but haven’t. Aside from writing, I also work full time to pay the bills. If running a pie shop like in Pushing Daisies would pay me as well, I’d do it in a heartbeat! As for a favorite sweet treat, dark chocolate caramels are high on the list. Also brownies. And ice cream. Okay, let’s face it, there aren’t many sweets I will turn down.

Like me, you have a not-so-secret love for young adult novels…and I happen to know that you’re working on one of your own. Can you tell us a little bit about it? 

Oh, yes, young adult novels really steal my heart. I’ve written three YA manuscripts so far. There’s just something about the voice of teens and the heightened emotions that is so fun and so real to write. The one I’ve been working on–which I’ve set aside for a bit to work on my next women’s fiction novel–is about two sisters who have family magic that makes all the boys in town fall in love with them. The sisters deal with this “gift” in different ways, which puts them at odds. So lots of sister drama, heartbreak, anonymous blackout poetry, and falling in love with the boy next door.

What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you as a writer? Any bizarre coincidences or unexplainable circumstances? 

I think just becoming a writer was an unusual thing for me. I picked my college because I wanted to major in marine biology. Free Willy changed my life in seventh grade! And then I got to UNCW and realized I was never going to cut it working with killer whales, as much as I loved them. So I took an intro to fiction class for fun and found what I was really meant to do.

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I would’ve? Now’s the time to share! 

Oh, I totally expected you to ask what magical ability I would want to have! So, even though you didn’t ask, I’ll tell you…the whimsical side of me would love the ability to hear music–actual songs with melodies, not just sounds–in everyday things like the wind or ocean waves crashing on shore or slow dancing or even my cat’s paws padding down the hallway. I think that would be pretty magical.

BIO

Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is very fond of chocolate and is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes (September 2016) and Dreaming in Chocolate (February 2018).

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.susanbishopcrispell.com/ 

Blog: https://susanbishopcrispell.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SBCrispell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSusanBishopCrispell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sbcrispell/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257289.Susan_Bishop_Crispell 

DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE BLURB

A story of love, hot chocolate, and one little girl’s wish for her mother that will make your heart melt.

With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café Penelope Dalton runs alongside her mother, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is Ella’s latest request: get a dad. And not just any dad. Ella has her sights set on Noah Gregory, her biological father who’s back in town for a few months – and as charming as ever.

Noah broke Penelope’s heart years ago, but now part of her wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part, is determined to protect Ella from the same heartbreak. Now Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets.

Image

Susan Bishop Crispell’s second novel, DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE, hits bookshelves today as a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Winter 2018 Okra Pick. It’s gotten awesome reviews from Kirkus, RT Book Reviews, and PopSugar. But it almost didn’t see the light of day, despite the fact that she had a deadline and a contract with a publisher.

How can this be, you ask? I can tell you based on personal experience that writing a second book can, in some ways, be even more challenging than the first time around. In Susan’s case, it took changing her entire writing process from pantsing, where you fly by the seat of your pants as you write a book, to plotting in order to make the story shine.

 The result is a beautiful book that, as she likes to say, is a story with “a pinch of magic and a dash of love.” I can’t wait to read it…and ohhhhhh, that gorgeous cover! Below, Susan and I chat about all things CHOCOLATE…and killer whales.

Congratulations on the release of DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE—it’s already getting great reviews! What inspired you to write this book? Did you know how the story would unwind from the start, or did it change as you went along? 

Oh, this book has been in my head in some form or another since 2010. I started it as a NaNoWriMo novel and got my 50,000 words. And it was a Hot. Mess. No joke. I was a pantser back then and it totally showed. (Some people handle pantsing very well. I am not one of those people.) I wrote three other books before coming back to this one with a scalpel and a much better sense of how to tell a story. So I cut away all of the craziness, and refocused on the parts I loved. Namely the mother-daughter relationships, the second chance at a first love, and the magic. Once I had a better handle on those aspects, I replotted the whole thing, because I am a die-hard plotter now, and finally everything started clicking. It helped that I had sold the book based on a four-sentence pitch when I sold The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, so I was suddenly on a deadline and had to make it work!

Both DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE and your first novel, THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES, are, as you say on your website, “stories with a pinch of magic and a dash of love.” What draws you to write these types of novels? 

I’m a sucker for a swoony love story. Relationships between characters, especially romantic relationships, are what make me fall in love with a story. So when it comes to writing, I’ll always have some bit of romance because that’s just how my brain is wired. As for the magic, some of my favorite stories–books, TV, movies–are quirky and magical and strange. I love the idea that there might be more to the world than meets the eye. And it’s so much fun fitting that magic into the world as we know it in my own stories.

Just looking at your beautiful book covers makes me hungry. I have to ask—are you a foodie? If you weren’t a novelist, would you be baking pies and running a chocolate shop for a living? And what’s your favorite sweet treat? 

I’m not your typical foodie! I do love food, but I’m also picky. Our town has so many amazing restaurants, but despite that fact, my husband and I tend to eat at the same five or maybe ten places all the time, and then I feel bad when someone asks about a place that I should have tried but haven’t. Aside from writing, I also work full time to pay the bills. If running a pie shop like in Pushing Daisies would pay me as well, I’d do it in a heartbeat! As for a favorite sweet treat, dark chocolate caramels are high on the list. Also brownies. And ice cream. Okay, let’s face it, there aren’t many sweets I will turn down.

Like me, you have a not-so-secret love for young adult novels…and I happen to know that you’re working on one of your own. Can you tell us a little bit about it? 

Oh, yes, young adult novels really steal my heart. I’ve written three YA manuscripts so far. There’s just something about the voice of teens and the heightened emotions that is so fun and so real to write. The one I’ve been working on–which I’ve set aside for a bit to work on my next women’s fiction novel–is about two sisters who have family magic that makes all the boys in town fall in love with them. The sisters deal with this “gift” in different ways, which puts them at odds. So lots of sister drama, heartbreak, anonymous blackout poetry, and falling in love with the boy next door.

What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you as a writer? Any bizarre coincidences or unexplainable circumstances? 

I think just becoming a writer was an unusual thing for me. I picked my college because I wanted to major in marine biology. Free Willy changed my life in seventh grade! And then I got to UNCW and realized I was never going to cut it working with killer whales, as much as I loved them. So I took an intro to fiction class for fun and found what I was really meant to do.

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I would’ve? Now’s the time to share! 

Oh, I totally expected you to ask what magical ability I would want to have! So, even though you didn’t ask, I’ll tell you…the whimsical side of me would love the ability to hear music–actual songs with melodies, not just sounds–in everyday things like the wind or ocean waves crashing on shore or slow dancing or even my cat’s paws padding down the hallway. I think that would be pretty magical.

BIO

Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is very fond of chocolate and is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes (September 2016) and Dreaming in Chocolate (February 2018).

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.susanbishopcrispell.com/ 

Blog: https://susanbishopcrispell.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SBCrispell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSusanBishopCrispell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sbcrispell/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257289.Susan_Bishop_Crispell 

DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE BLURB

A story of love, hot chocolate, and one little girl’s wish for her mother that will make your heart melt.

With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café Penelope Dalton runs alongside her mother, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is Ella’s latest request: get a dad. And not just any dad. Ella has her sights set on Noah Gregory, her biological father who’s back in town for a few months – and as charming as ever.

Noah broke Penelope’s heart years ago, but now part of her wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part, is determined to protect Ella from the same heartbreak. Now Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets.

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