Interview with Cindy Lynn SpeerWhat was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story? The Chocolatier’s Wife takes places in a fantasy world that has strong Regency/age of sail elements. I really enjoyed combining a magical world with a Jane Austin world feel, magic was meant to feel like part of the world, like lighting a match or using a door knob.
In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view? In a recent review, someone called the book very gentle. Even though it’s a murder mystery, I wanted it to be gentle in the sense that my world view is that we all need to be kind to each other…that’s how we make the world better, by having mercy, and while that theme is not super-used throughout the book itself, the over all feel of the novel, my attempt to make it an engrossing escape hatch for my readers so they can leave behind whatever is troubling them is what (I hope) shows my worldview.
Was there a basis for your story? A previous experience? Something else? The start for this story was, really, chocolate. My boss had bought me a lovely tower of chocolate for the holidays, and I was thinking about an actor who was really obscure, and wondering what I would like to see him in. That, plus biting into this rich square of chocolate, sparked the story.
What research did you have to perform to back up your story? Any research which really opened your eyes or gave you new respect for a topic or profession? I think I own every book on chocolate making and chocolate history. I don’t use a lot of it…I didn’t want to bore people, but I wanted to make sure that anything I wrote about felt accurate. Chocolate history is really kind of interesting…like anything, it has good and bad aspects, but it’s compelling because…well, it’s chocolate.
What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method? I try and write 2,000 words every weekday. I use the weekends to catch up…if I wrote less than my daily goal, or if my mind is just worn out and needs a rest, to be allowed to veg a little and come up with the next week’s words. I don’t outline…a character usually comes first, then I just think about that person, and I see what can develop. The book I’m writing now, I thought of this very doughty, proper yet adventurous character named Temperance (what a better name? She named herself, and though part of me is like “Another main female character with a first name that starts with T? That can’t be good…” I realize that she really did pick her own name…and who can argue with that? Then I realized that she is a recent widow, but she’s not upset about losing him, but she is upset that he was murdered. So this asks so many questions. Why didn’t she love him? If she doesn’t, why does she care that he was murdered? Why was he killed? I just keep answering the questions until I don’t have any more.
How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet? Discipline and goals. For distractions, I don’t let myself do anything except take short brain breaks until everything is done for the day. I have an easy to reach goal, so that when I exceed it (I often write 3,000 words a day) then I feel like I’ve achieved something…and it makes the days when I don’t seem less dark. Usually if I can get myself to sit down I really start to enjoy the process. As for writer’s block, I give myself time and tlc. As a published writer there is always something else you should be doing…writing interviews, finding ways to grow my following, so I turn my attention to that and let my brain create while I’m working. That’s never a waste…if I don’t hit my goal for a couple of days, I’ve done stuff to further my dreams. I feed my brain non-fiction stuff that’s somehow related to the story. For The Chocolatier’s Wife I would have read more stuff on chocolate, or books on the social aspects of the 1800’s, like, what they ate or did. I believe that the stories come out of a compost heap in the back of our heads, and we need to feed that. You might even watch movies…I’d never read a fiction book that’s too closely related, though. I don’t think I would copy, but it’s such a fear, isn’t it, that you’ll do something like what someone has done before. Sometimes block is caused by lack of sleep, or stress, so I do things to take care of myself and make myself feel better and more alive.
My Website: http://www.apenandfire.com
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