Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thanks for stopping by Jenuine Cupcakes!   
I had the pleasure of interviewing New York Times best selling author, Sheila Roberts about her new book, Better Than Chocolate. It's a story that's sure to warm your heart while tantalizing your taste buds.  Enjoy!

About the Book:
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publication: September 25, 2012
By: Harlequin MIRA

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. 
Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?  After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly….
Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.
My Thoughts:
Thank you Harlequin MIRA for sending me a copy of this book for review. Better Than Chocolate is an enjoyable story about family relationships, forgiveness and finding love when you least expect it.  Samantha Sterling is smart, beautiful and extremely strong willed.  She's the kind of woman who likes to be in total control and when we meet her she's anything but "in control".  She's struggling to keep her family's chocolate company, Sweet Dreams from going under and is forced to ask the bank for help.  Unfortunately, the new bank manager, hunky, Blake Preston isn't able to give her the help she wants but he may be exactly what she needs.  

It took me a few chapters to warm up to Samantha because she was so angry with everyone and everything and it clouded her judgement.  I can certainly appreciate her desperation in wanting to save what's been a part of her family for generations but she was so caught up in herself that she was unable to see anyone else's suffering.  She is eventually humbled and redeems herself but it takes her awhile to see that there really is something better than chocolate.

Her mother and sisters were a good example of how family should love and support each other, regardless of our idiosyncrasies. Blake was a good blend of strength and tenderness and his unwillingness to give up on or give in to Samantha had me cheering, "GO BLAKE!"  Readers who enjoy a clean romance that's still full of humor and swoonworthy moments, will no doubt enjoy this book. 

About the Author:
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She’s been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

Author Interview

JC: Sheila, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today! Let me start with the obvious, where did your inspiration for Better Than Chocolate come from? 
Thanks so much for having me! As for coming up with Better Than Chocolate, well, when I was thinking up my ideal town I decided it should have a chocolate factory. And every heroine needs a problem. Sooo, what better problem for my heroine to have than to have to save the family chocolate factory?

JC: Do you have a favorite kind of chocolate? (I could eat melted milk chocolate straight out of the pan, no spoon required.)

Oh, man, I am such a chocoholic. I think my favorite is the combination of milk chocolate and mint. Chocolate mint truffles – yum!

JC: I love music almost as much as I love books and I'm curious about what song you think best describes Samantha at the beginning of Better Than Chocolate and then at the end?
Hmmm. Is there a song out there about an angry, worried woman? That would fit her. She’s inherited a mess and she’s stressed. Poor woman. At the end of the book I always envision Bryan Adams singing When You Love Someone. (Not about Samantha though, about our hero Blake, who I think proves himself a worthy hero.)

JC: Name one thing about Blake Preston that drives you crazy. 
Maybe Blake and I are still in the honeymoon stage. I can’t think of a thing. (He IS pretty great!)

JC: If you could have dessert with any writer or literary character who would it be and why? (They can be alive or...not) What dessert would you serve them?

I would love to have been able to have dessert with Donald E. Westlake when he was alive. He wrote these funny caper novels about bumbling crooks. I just loved those! I’d have served him Frango Mint Pie.

JC: What has been your best moment as a writer? 
You know, there is a moment that so sticks in my mind. It actually has nothing to do with my career though. This was a couple of Christmases back and I’d gotten a signed copy of a children’s book by my friend Suzanne Selfors for my granddaughter. She opened that present, discovered the book and gave a gasp as if she’d just been given gold. To see a little girl so in awe over receiving a book for a present ... that was just awesome.

JC: Can you share with us something that's on your bucket list?

I still want to go on Dancing with the Stars. Anybody know the producer? Put in a good word for me and I’ll owe you chocolate for life. (Or at least the season.)

JC: Thanks again Sheila!

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