Happy Thursday!!! Today I am very excited to be joined by Caroline Roberts!
Hello Emma, and thanks so much for having me on Star Crossed Reviews!
So Caroline, can you tell us a little about you?
I live in a small village in beautiful rural Northumberland with my husband, our spaniel Meg and a very chilled-out cat. The countryside around me and the stunning beaches nearby inspire the settings for my novels.
I’ve been writing for many years, and after a rollercoaster journey of submissions and rejections, was thrilled to be first published with HarperImpulse two and a half years ago. It’s wonderful that I’m about to have my fifth novel released.
Your new book The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop is out today!!!! Can you summarize it for us?
The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop is a festive romantic comedy set in a fabulous chocolate shop in a quaint harbour village in Northumberland. It’s a poignant love story, with Emma, the chocolatier and main character, struggling with a terrible sadness in her past.
Who is your favourite character?
I have a soft spot for Max. It’s just lovely when you can create your own heroes. To look at, he’s a mix of Gerard Butler and Tom Hardy – are you with me on this?!! He’s a well-built, strong guy with a soft centre. I loved that he is kind and caring as well as having a down to earth personality. He’s ambitious and works hard running his own building company. I really like the way the relationship develops with Emma, and how he slowly learns of her painful past.
Who was the easiest to write?
Max. It was always fun and rather pleasant writing his scenes. My imagination had a great time!
Who was the most difficult?
Emma, in that her past and pain is more complicated. I did lots of research to try and get the emotions just right. Although once I’d explored that aspect and felt I’d really got to know her, I did enjoy writing those scenes too. I feel they are what will make the book special, poignant and a little bit unique.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Timescales and deadlines! Our daughter got married this summer which was so lovely, but it was such a busy year for us as a family leading up to that. I also work part-time helping to run our holiday park, so there were some early starts and late nights for my writing!
Do you have a favourite scene from this book? What is it and why?
Crikey – a few spring to mind – but yes, the winter picnic scene on the beach is pretty special. It’s lovely and romantic, and it’s where Emma first reveals her past to Max.
I hope that we have persuaded you to pick up a copy of The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop. I’m certainly pushing it up my TBR pile! In these next few questions were going to learn some more about Caroline.
What is your favourite place to write?
My conservatory – it’s light and airy and I get to see my garden and the country fields and hills beyond. It’s a really relaxing place, it’s quiet, and I think of it as my writing space, so I can settle to work quickly there.
Where do you get your character inspiration from?
I usually have a good idea of my characters main physical and emotional traits to start with and then I need to write them to get to know them even more. It’s very much like getting to know them as a friend whilst I’m writing them.
Sometimes there are elements of people I know or have maybe glimpsed when I’m out and about, mixed with elements of myself/how I think I might feel in that situation, there can be snippets of conversations I’ve overheard (watch out – author about!), or they can be inspired by a character on TV or in films, but they are always a real mix-up once they hit my imagination.
What are your 3 desert island books?
‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks – it takes you into the world of the First World War so vividly and powerfully. I love the emotional and relationship side of the story too.
‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffinegger – one of my favourite love stories. I don’t usually look for a fantasy element in a novel, but the time travel seemed so believable and the emotions around that were so well portrayed. Just beautiful.
And, A Survival Guide by someone like Bear Ghrylls, so I could hopefully get back and read all the other brilliant books still on my TBR! I love authors like Rowan Coleman, Helen Dunmore, Maggie O’Farrell, Khaled Hosseini, and Thomas Hardy.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I really enjoy taking my dog for a walk. We have the most beautiful countryside and coast here in Northumberland. It’s a good way to switch off, though sometimes I can get writing ideas out of the blue then, too. I enjoy Zumba, and do some fitness classes, and I do a bit running – I have done a few 10Ks and The Great North Run in the past. I also really like my food, and enjoy cooking at home, as well as eating out. And, of course, reading.
Chocolate or sweets?
Chocolate every time – my favourite would be something dark with a salted caramel soft centre. I am partial to a Lindor truffle too.
You have a free flight and accommodation to anywhere in the world where would you go?
I love to travel. India is on my TO VISIT list. It looks so varied and interesting, culturally fascinating with some stunning places to visit.
This year I was lucky enough to go to South Africa with my husband which was amazing. Cape Town was buzzy and beautiful and the views from Table Mountain were stunning. We also went on a safari. Watching the giraffes grazing peacefully as the sun set was a real magic moment for me, one I’ll never forget.
What is your favourite season?
I actually love all the seasons as they offer something special and unique. I think that’s the beauty of living in the UK as we get all this variety. Christmas time is particularly magical though, getting cosy with log fires, candles, hot chocolates, warm clothes, winter walks, the Christmas tree, fairy lights and decorations.
What do you love about writing?
Getting lost in the world of your book, making it real, and living the story along with the characters – that melting pot of imagination.
Do you have a favourite childhood story?
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis. I loved the idea of going through a wardrobe off into the snow and a whole new world of adventures.
You have a day off – no children/work/responsibilities…what do you do?
I’d start with a cup of tea in bed, a rare treat, but not too long a lie-in as I wouldn’t want to waste the day. Then I’d walk on the beach at Bamburgh with my dog Meg and my family – I have two grown up children who now live away, so it would be lovely to all get together. Then we’d go and have a lovely lunch. Some chill-out time in the afternoon, perhaps with a good book. Then, I’d see some friends in the evening for a glass of prosecco, nibbles and a good chat. I’d just keep things simple really, with the people that are special to me.The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop by Caroline Roberts
Also by this author: The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, The Cosy Christmas Teashop
Published by Harper Impulse on 2nd November 2017
Genres: Chicklit, Christmas, Love & Romance
Amazon UK, Amazon US
Emma is the proud owner of The Chocolate Shop by the Sea, nestled in the heart of the cosy seaside village that’s become her home. With Christmas right around the corner, she and her assistant Holly are busy cooking up the locals’ festive favourites.
From cinnamon hot chocolates to reindeer lollipops, Christmas wouldn’t taste the same without a little cocoa magic. And for Emma it’s the perfect distraction from her romantic pains of the past. So when the shop’s miserly landlord threatens to hike up the rent, Emma’s Christmas and New Year suddenly look a lot less cheerful.
With the whole village rallying behind her – and loyal spaniel Alfie by her side – Emma’s determined to hold onto her chocolate-box dream.
The chocolate calendar countdown is on. Can Emma rescue her business and her broken heart?