I’m so excited to introduce you to the talented Susan Bishop Crispell! I first met Susan through Pitch Wars. She was one of my formidable mentors, and we soon became fast friends. Susan’s first book, THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES released in September 2016, and it was a delightful love story with just a dash of magic. Susan writes with a very clear eye toward relationships, the issues that women face, and has such a gift for capturing human emotion. And then, she’s able to insert a bit of mystery and magic in such a compelling way, we’re left wishing for a world where people actually can have magical powers. She’s generously offered a giveaway of her newest book, DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE, which just released last Tuesday! Please like and share our Facebook post, or retweet the link over on Twitter for a chance to enter. US entries only, please.
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) February 10, 2018
About DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE:
Dreaming in Chocolate is Gilmore Girls meets Chocolat. In Malarkey, North Carolina, a hole-in-the-wall town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, residents rely on the magical chocolates at The Chocolate Cottage to get a glimpse of their futures. But life hasn’t turned out as planned for proprietor Penelope Dalton. Instead of living happily ever after, she’s raising her terminally ill daughter on her own, trying to pack a lifetime of experiences into Ella’s final six months. But when her ex comes back to town, and Ella starts to play matchmaker, Penelope will learn that some fates are worth waiting for.
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
I was not a big reader as a kid. Shocking, I know. It wasn’t until late in high school that I really fell in love with books. And I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until sophomore year in college when I took an Intro to Fiction class because it was available and the art class I wanted filled up before my allocated registration time opened up. So one of the first books I remember reading and thinking, I want to write a book like that, was A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher. It’s magical and strange (in the best kind of way) and so expertly put together that every tiny detail comes into play in the two parallel narratives that span 20 years. I’ve read my copy so many times the middle pages I’ve had to re-glue the middle pages back into the spine!
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
It’s no secret I adore the movie Penelope. Yes, the quiet little movie about a pig-faced girl who learns to love herself the way she is. I love it so much I even named the main character in Dreaming in Chocolate after her! There’s just something so relatable about a girl who wants nothing more than to be accepted for who she is. She’s quirky and funny and the perfect amount of sarcastic. But there’s still this wide-eyed wonder about her that makes the world seem magical through her eyes.
If you were a drink (preferably alcoholic), what would you be and why?
I love this question! I would be bourbon on the rocks. Southern by nature with a good balance of sweet and spicy (read sarcastic). And it has to be on the rocks because I’m not inherently neat (one look at the stacks of books piled all over my office are proof of that!) Also, like a good bourbon, my writing gets more “flavor” with age.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Keep going. Seriously. If you want an agent, if you want to be traditionally published, don’t give up. For most of us, it’s a long, hard road. It’s 100% worth it, but you have to believe in yourself and your writing, and keep going. Push through the pain of rejection. Push through the fifth or tenth or twentieth revision of your manuscript. Find your tribe of writer friends who will be your cheerleaders and lifeline. Pick each other up when times get hard. Keep working on your craft and make each manuscript better than the last. And keep going. Always, keep going.
Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
I am a huge fan of Sarah Addison Allen. When I first read Garden Spells, it was like finding a piece of myself. I finally knew what kind of stories I was trying to tell. So when I met her for the first time at one of her signings, I was determined not to let me inner fangirl go crazy. But when she complimented my pixie hair cut, I lost my cool and blathered about how I’d had brain surgery and the cut, which was a necessity at the time, seemed to fit so I’d kept it. Then she came back to the same bookstore a year later and of course I went to see her. And she took one look and me–and my hair–and said on our way into the event, “You were here last time. I remember that great haircut. It’s so good to see you again.” You know, pretty much life made.
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).
Susan’s Social Media Links:
Pinterest: Susan Crispell (sbcrispell)
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