So, Catherine, where did you get the idea for this novel?
- This story has been rattling around in my head for years. I wanted a story about a girl who invented smashingly good cupcakes to order with every conceivable frosting and fillings you can imagine. (My inspiration was a friend of mine, Sally Fischer, who makes just such cupcakes. She is the supreme gourmet pastry chef. Makes her own marzipan to decorate the cupcakes!)
In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?
- “BLISS—is finding one’s real heart’s desire.”
How long did it take you to write this novel?
- Two months, but this book was unique because I had fallen on some black ice, shattered my knee cap and after surgery, I was in bed or in a wheelchair for six weeks after that. The pain was excruciating, so in order not to think about the pain, my husband rigged up my laptop in the guest room where I slept, sitting up, I might add,and I wrote probably eighteen hours a day. Two weeks after the surgery, I developed several blood clots in my lungs and was hospitalized for almost a week—no laptop there. They didn’t want me to move a muscle. So, it was a frightening time, hanging between this world and the next. I was incredibly motivated to finish this book so that if I died, it would be done. This was before I sold it to Heartwarming, so I can honestly say, I was driven by my heart’s desire to write this story!
What is your favorite scene?
- Hands down, it’s the scene in the Bridal Shop when Maddie is trying on a wedding gown for fun and while standing in the store’s front window, she looks out and sees what she thinks is the apparition of her very first love, Nate, who abandoned her over eleven years ago. She is spellbound and when she blinks and looks again, he’s gone---like a ghost.
Who was your favorite character and why?
- Maddie Strong because she is strong, but not in all the right ways. She is one of my most flawed heroines. She is terribly insecure . She was raised by a mother who honestly didn’t give a whit about her and actually blamed Maddie for being born out-of- wedlock. Maddie has used her anger against Nate to spur her to reach her goals with her business. However, once he returns to town, she has to face the truth about her own participation in their breakup. Her maturing happens only after she releases her anger and then lets love come and fill up the void.
If you could pick fictional characters to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?
- Maddie would be that side of Scarlett O’Hara who ran the saw mill when Atlanta was being rebuilt after the Civil War. Nate is the idealistic doctor type like Young Dr. Kildare or the doctor Patrick Swayze played in “City of Joy”. Alex Perkins, Maddie’s other love interest and a real possibility for another kind of life for her is a Greg Kinear role in half a dozen movies, but my favorite is “Sabrina”.
Tell us one thing you learned during research.
- I can’t decorate cakes worth a darn. I can bake great batter and whip up tasty frostings, but the decorating thing eludes me.
What music would match the mood of this novel?
- A lot of Miles Davis jazz. Saxophones, sensual clarinet and slow, earthy beats.
This is your 41st book. Exactly what does that mean to you?
- I need to get to work. I have a lot more to write.
What do you plan to work on next?
- I just finished A FINE YEAR FOR LOVE for Heartwarming which will be published in January, 2015. I’m halfway through the first draft of LOST LOVE for Heartwarming. I have six proposals that are in various stages of tinkering and thinking. All of those are for Heartwarming.
What are you reading for pleasure right now?
I just finished Dana Mentink’s “Return to Pelican Island.” I have “If I Loved You” by Leigh Riker; “Magnolia Bride” by Tara Randel; “Safe Harbor” by Marie Ferrrarella; and “Legacy of Silence” by Flo Fitzpatrick on the nightstand. I have several manuscripts from my writing students I’m reading and I’m always re-reading something esoteric. I can’t leave out the angels, you know!