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Friday, June 27, 2014

Tour! A Review of The Bride Wore Chocolate by Shirley Jump, Plus Author Interview

The Bride Wore Chocolate (Sweet and Savory #1) by Shirley Jump
Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: September 1, 2004
Publisher: Zebra

Candace Woodrow knows it's a recipe for disaster. She has no business even looking at another man--no matter how sinfully sexy he is--much less waking up in Michael Vogler's bed three weeks before she marries Mr. Right. She's determined the wedding will go off without a hitch--as long as she can keep her meddling grandmother, her flighty mother, and her well-meaning friends from interfering with her plans--and pointing out her doubts every time she turns around. And it won't be easy--since Michael's just become Candace's biggest client, with an order for thousands of the Gift Baskets to Die For she creates with her friends. Worse, he wants to work closely with Candace...every step of the way. It's enough to drive a girl to intravenous chocolate consumption, 24/7. And the way Candace's heart flip-flops whenever Michael is around is an industrial-sized clue that keeping a tight rein on her future and her heart might not be such a good idea. But risking it all for a man she barely knows is even crazier, right?

The Bride Wore Chocolate is the first Sweet and Savory novel by Shirley Jump. This was such a cute story, I just couldn't put it down. Candace is so stubborn it's funny. Michael is pretty stubborn too. The guy doesn't give up. Together they are adorable. It was fun watching him attempt to pull her from her comfort zones. I think she inadvertently did some pulling of her own. It was cute. There was one thing that bothered me in this story, and I can't tell you what it is, because it is also a spoiler, but all in all this was a super entertaining and fun little love story. I definitely want to read more in this series. I loved the recipes that were included before each chapter. That was a very nice touch!

The Bride Wore Chocolate by Shirley Jump was kindly provided to me by Kismet Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing all my life, truly. I don’t have too many other life skills ;-) so I’m grateful that people pay me to do my job! When I was a young girl, I would read dozens of books and sometimes, I didn’t like how they ended so I’d write my own version of the endings. That led to writing fiction of my own, which eventually led to a career.

What inspired you to write The Bride Wore Chocolate?
I sat down one day to figure out what I wanted to write about and made a list of my three favorite things—family, love, and food. Sometimes food comes at the top of that list ;-) and it seemed a natural combination to put together some luscious food, a zany family and a sexy love story.

When you first started writing The Bride Wore Chocolate, did you plan for it to be a series?
I did plan a series. I knew I wanted to do something different, something that had food as a character, in a way, in the books. So I built in other characters and started creating their stories as I wrote The Bride Wore Chocolate. I had a lot of reader demand for Rebecca’s love story, which led me to write a prequel titled The Groom Wanted Seconds. 

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
I think I’m a little of all my characters, honestly. I’m that cautious planner (like Candace in The Bride Wore Chocolate) but also the perpetual dieter Maria (Candace’s friend) who also loves a good bargain and a sexy pair of heels. That’s the best part about writing fiction—being able to showcase a little of all those crazy dimensions of me!

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
I’m terrified of heights. Like, super terrified. I had to drive over the Skyway Bridge in Tampa yesterday and am talking to myself in my head the entire time. I’m trying to conquer that fear by just doing it—meaning driving over those bridges or climbing obstacles, but I’m still pretty shaky with anything high up!

What book have you read too many times to count?
There are sooooo many wonderful books in the world that I rarely re-read a book I have enjoyed. When I was young, I reread Christy several times, but now that I’m older and my reading time is limited, I’m always trying to read more and more of the amazing fiction that’s out there!

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
The only way to learn how to write is to write. Actually finishing a book will teach you more about writing than anything else. You can go to workshops, you can read great fiction, but the best teacher of writing is sitting down and going from Once Upon a Time to The End.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Hmmm….good question! Maybe the character in the Shopaholic books because it’d be awesome to shop all the time, fall in love with a rich Mr. Right and live in New York City! ;-)

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating The Bride Wore Chocolate?
How tough it is to come up with that many recipes on one theme! I eat a lot of cookies, cake, chocolate, etc., during the year, but when I decided to put a recipe at the head of each chapter, I don’t think I thought through how many recipes I’d need. And how many calories I’d consume testing the recipes ;-) 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a runner, so I love, love, love to run on new trails or along the water. I also love to read—just sit outside in the sun and read all day. And I love to eat! I’m a fan of anything made with sugar ;-) (which is why I need to run, LOL) so when I’m not writing, I’m running off the calories I consumed that day!

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I don’t use too many real life experiences in my books—more the “feeling” of real life experiences. I have quirky family members, grew up in a small town, and have been on some adventures, but tend to use my imagination to think of what fits my characters—who may be a part of me but aren’t really me, if that makes sense. My characters dictate what happens in a book, which means sometimes they’re going off on adventures I need to research!

Thank you again for having me! Those were fabulous questions! Readers, do any of you have any questions for me? Or any quick yummy recipes for deadline weeks?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners.

Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Sisters series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN and continuing with THE SWEETHEART RULES (out in April 2014).

To learn more about Shirley Jump and her books, visit her website and blog.You can also find her on Goodreadsand Twitter.

We have a fantastic giveaway accompanying this tour! Up for grabs:
1)   Two (2) Le Creuset Heart-Shaped Ramekins
2)   One (1) Le Creuset Square Covered Casserole
3) 100$ Amazon/iTunes/B&NGift Card (your choice)

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada.
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