Yesterday I shared some info on the newly published short story collection Petit Four: Four Stories, Frosted with Love. I'm happy to have been a part of the Chick Lit Plus blog tour blitz because it gave me the chance to ask the awesome authors a few questions. I hope you enjoy the answers as much as I do!
Books Etc: What is your favourite occasion for cake? Other than days ending in y!
Sue Watson: When I write the first sentence of my new novel, I have to stop for tea and cake… then again when I finish a chapter, or a large paragraph. Oh, and if I make it through a whole day’s dieting I always reward myself with a cake. I mean what’s a girl meant to do? Starve? And it’s so lovely to get to the end of a hard day’s writing and celebrate with a delicious slice of cake and a cup of hot chocolate! Mmm I suppose my answer is – I celebrate every day with cake! And why not?
Joel Zlotnik: Birthdays ... because not only is there cake, but also wishes and presents, too!
Cindy Arora: I love having a cake with a friend, just for those moments when we are catching up after a long week! Much like Olivia in my short story "Cake Therapy", I really do think that sitting down with a cup of coffee, a slice of cake and a friend is one of the best occasions to really connect with someone --while also getting to eat your favorite piece of cake.
Lucie Simone: I love having cake at family gatherings. I don’t get to see my family very often as they live on the other side of the country, but when we get together (usually for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas), a banquet table full of desserts is a must! And hopefully there is a chocolate cake in there somewhere!
BE: What do you like about writing short stories?
SW: I don’t write many short stories, I’m usually too busy with novels, but I so enjoyed writing my story for Petit Four. I found the short story so much more manageable than a huge novel and could see the light at the end of the tunnel far sooner. And as it was about two of my favorite subjects: love and cake, it was a pleasure. To write a novel you have to remember what has gone before, and it can be time consuming going back over the parts you’ve already written and trying to keep everyone in character. A novel can be an unwieldy thing to control and keep track of, but a short story is so much more manageable. That said, the short story is an art form all of its own, and one has to be succinct and make every word count. I see a novel as a lovely big chocolate fudge cake to work my way steadily through, whereas a short story is like a delicious cupcake, and each mouthful has meaning!
JZ: I've always loved reading short stories because of the way you get quickly drawn into a world and its characters, and then you get to follow it to its conclusion relatively fast. I rarely get the chance to read for hours and hours and finish a novel in one or two sittings. So it's great to be able to invest a short period of time with a story and get rewarded with seeing it through to the end. I think the same thing is true when it comes to writing short stories.
CA: I like that you have to find the heart of your story right away. You have less time and space to create a character that the reader will know, so every sentence counts and every moment matters.
LS: I like writing short stories because it allows me to explore different subject matters and even genres before launching into a full length novel. In fact, “Aprez Vous” marks my first foray into Women’s Fiction (as opposed to Chick Lit). It was fun, but challenging to find the right voice for that particular story.
BE: Where do you find your inspiration?
SW: I find my inspiration from daily life. I write from home, and I spend much of the day alone at my desk so rely on friends and family who are always a great inspiration. We laugh a lot, and I often find myself jotting down lines they say and situations we find ourselves in, and then they turn up in one of my books. My recent Christmas novel, Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake, was inspired by two friends of mine who are both sisters and celebrate Christmas in very different ways. I also take inspiration from TV. I LOVE reality shows, and I think the wannabe actress in me likes to get inside people’s skins and imagine other, very different lives.
JZ: I'm constantly finding inspiration from the people and experiences I encounter in my life. I've also always been someone who has a natural curiosity and very active imagination and if you mix that in with my love and talent for daydreaming, I have no problem coming up with ideas. The bigger issue for me is finding the time and having the discipline to follow through on them.
CA: I find my inspiration from life. My life, reading articles in magazines, talking to friends or overhearing a conversation somewhere. It's endless!
LS: I daydream all the time. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been filling the quiet moments of my days with a very vivid imagination. While brushing my teeth, cooking dinner, or folding laundry, you can bet my mind is busy dreaming up fictional storylines and new characters to explore. But sometimes I’m inspired by my own life and the people who populate it. My first novel, Hollywood Ending, was very much taken from my own experiences living in Los Angeles. My second novel, Picture Perfect, however, originated solely in my imagination.