Thursday 5 December 2013

Twenty Questions with... Rebecca Raisin

I am delighted to welcome Rebecca Raisin onto my blog today, author of Christmas at the Gingerbread Café recently released by Carina (Harlequin UK).

Another week closer to Christmas, Rebecca has come all the way from sunny Australia to take a turn in the hotseat for my festive round of twenty questions...

ACT ONE – all about you…

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, once in a lifetime love.

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

I’ve always loved reading, and dreamed of writing a book ‘one day’ so when another writer suggested I give it a go, I promptly fell in love with it, and haven’t looked back since.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

I have a few different styles, depending of the genre. I have my sweet romance side and then my kooky pulpy fiction side, so I think I’m well covered to write the madness out of me. My only rituals involve chocolate and coffee, and I’m sure those calories don’t count because it’s part of the job.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing? Or perhaps one piece of advice that has stuck with you that you’d like to share?

A writer friend told me when I began writing – Finish what you start. It’s great advice. It’s too easy to give up on a project when it stalls, but you have to push through those rough patches and keep going. I do have a few things on the go at any one time, but I always go back, and finish what I’ve started.

4) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

I’m a twin and have twins.

I wrote a special story for a family members wedding and the bride and groom later had sections of the story tattooed on their bodies. It still touches me to this day.

I’m addicted to Hemingway.

5) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?


My laptop

My iphone

Books, I buy them in bulk. I can’t stay away from bookshops.

Chocolate Lindt balls. Stupidly addictive.

6) The festive season is looming large, do you have a particular Christmas tradition that you like to indulge in? Or how about New Year’s resolutions; will you be joining in the madness for 2014?

I like making jars of preserves every year. Last year I made a cherry and star anise relish, and I use nice bottles and ribbons, and wrap them as gifts.

New Year’s resolutions for me are always the same. Quit everything fun, and exercise. Blah!

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

The icing on her Christmas cake!
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!

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe what was your inspiration for writing Lil’s story?

I wanted to write a Christmas story, and incorporate all those lovely Christmas treats, so why not set the story in a café that specialises in Gingerbread recipes. Lil, my main character has had her heartbroken in the past, and still holds out hope that her ex-husband will come back. Until a new guy in town opens up a shop across the road. Sparks fly as they vie for customers in the small town…

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

The beginning flowed, but it needed a bit of coaxing towards the end. Like all my work!

9) I see Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

It was quite fast, a month or so, plus a few weeks of editing, because it’s novella length, and Christmas themed. So I wrote it, polished it, and sent it in, and I had a phone call from Carina a few days later. They had specifically asked for Christmas stories, otherwise I think the process would take a lot longer. I actually signed two other book contracts before this one, however this one came out first, so it beat the other two to the punch!

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with? 

This is the opening scene, which is a favourite of mine.

Amazing Grace blares out from the speakers above me, and I cry, not delicate, pretty tears, but great big heaves that will puff up my eyes, like a blowfish. That song touches me, always has, always will. With one hand jammed well and truly up the turkey’s behind I sing those mellifluous words as if I’m preaching to a choir. Careful, so my tears don’t swamp the damn bird, I grab another handful of aromatic stuffing. My secret recipe: a mix of pork sausage, pecans, cranberries and crumbled corn bread. Punchy flavors that will seep into the flesh and make your heart sing. The song reaches its crescendo, and my tears turn into a fully-fledged blubber-fest. The doorbell jangles and I realize I can’t wipe my face with my messy hands. Frantic, I try and compose myself as best I can.
“Jesus Mother o’ Mary, ain’t no customers comin’ in here with this kinda carry-on! It’s been two years since that damn fool left you. When you gonna move on, my sweet cherry blossom?”
CeeCee. My only employee at the Gingerbread Café, a big, round, southern black woman, who tells it like it is. Older than me by a couple of decades, more like a second mother than anything. Bless her heart.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s a feel good story that’ll get you in the mood for Christmas! There’s nothing more comforting that a mug of gingerbread coffee, so with that in mind, turn your Christmas lights on, play Amazing Grace softly in the background, and start reading! I hope you enjoy it if you do rush out and buy it J

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

I’m working on a novel set in New York, a romantic comedy, and I’m stupidly in love with one of the characters again. Why are all these men so lovely? And then… there’s some more news on the horizon, so I do hope to come back and share it with you soon.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?


14) Digital books or print books?


15) Tea or coffee?


16) Extrovert or introvert?


17) Facebook or Twitter?


18) The Snowman or A Muppet Christmas Carol?

Can I pick Home Alone? I love that movie at Christmas!

19) Christmas pudding or Yule log?

Yule log.

20) Give or receive?


And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Rebecca, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Rebecca Raisin, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:

Facebook     Blog     Twitter

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472073785
Release Date: 12 November 2013

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