Hi Everyone- I’m happy to welcome Darlene Panzera – author of The Cupcake Diaries Series to Emerald Musings. She was kind enough to sit down with me for a conversation while she’s on her Tasty Book Tour for her latest book – The Cupcake Diaries: Sprinkled With Kisses. So without any further delay- here we go!
1- Quite a few of your stories have a light-hearted and friendly romantic feel to them– a marked difference from many of today’s popular romance novels. Was going another direction with the feel of the story intentional? Or did it just happen that way?
I think it is what publishers would call my ‘writing voice;’ a combination of my personal writing style with what I love and the values I believe in. When I was little I watched TV’s Little House on the Prairie and Disney movies then grew up and found out life is hard. Sometimes my daughter will find me giggling at my writing desk and ask, “What’s so funny?” I smile and tell her I just wrote a fun scene where my characters find themselves in an embarrassing or comical situation and they have to deal with it. Or the hero and heroine have a humorous episode of dialog banter, or they have just said, ‘I love you’ to one another for the first time. All things that bring a smile to my face and lift my heart as I write. It is my ultimate hope that my stories can bring a much-needed smile to my reader’s faces as well.
2-The setting of The Cupcake Diaries: Sprinkled With Kisses is the seaport town of Astoria, Oregon. Was there anything specific that drew you to that place?
I have visited the area many times and just love all the small towns along the Oregon Coast. I chose Astoria for the location of the main Creative Cupcakes shop because of all the diverse landmarks, historical background, traditions and folklore, and the beautiful waterfront views. After drafting my initial outlines for the stories, I found the setting could be brought in to play a significant role and have great impact on the plots—like it was meant to serendipitously be that way all along. Then in Sprinkled with Kisses, the heroine drives her pink Volkswagen bus cupcake stand 40 minutes down the coast to sell cupcakes in Cannon Beach—another favorite place that uncannily led the setting to play an integral role in the storyline.
3-What is on your bedside nightstand when it comes to books? What types of genres do you enjoy curling up with?
I enjoy many different genres. As long as it has a really good romance somewhere in the storyline I’m hooked. I do not have as much reading time as I would like, but I just finished Baby in His Arms by Linda Goodnight, a Love Inspired sweet inspirational romance I thought was really good. And although I haven’t read my local book club’s selection yet, there’s Ally Carter’s young adult novel, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, which I think promises great fun.
4- When you’re writing a story, which comes first for you? The plot, setting or characters? Why?
Actually, I almost always come up with a couple lines of dialog first. And these lines are usually from the last scene of the book. Then I go back and ask—who are these characters? What led them to this point? What kind of setting can I bring into the book that can weave itself into the storyline? What connections can I make between all these elements? Then everything gets fleshed out, intertwined, and revised.
5- Any big surprises in 2014 that you’d like to share with the readers of Emerald Musings?
I am in the middle of drafting my next novella and have many different story ideas for the future but nothing I can announce at this time. The most exciting thing for me right now is the launch of my new weekly blog where readers can find updates and behind the scenes information on all their favorite characters, as well as author interviews, recipes, scenic photos, and other fun tidbits. Readers can sign up at http://www.darlenepanzera.blogspot.com
Additionally, I’d just like to say thank you for having me as a guest here today. I am truly appreciative and honored to have this opportunity to share info about the writing life and The Cupcake Diaries: Sprinkled with Kisses!
Thanks, Darlene- it was great to have you here. Everyone- be sure to check out the rest of the tour and contest!
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