Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interview With Author Darlene Panzera

1.      What type of books do you write? I write sweet, fun-loving contemporary romance! My big break came when New York Times best-selling author, Debbie Macomber picked my novella to be published with hers in FAMILY AFFAIR which released last June. She said she chose my story because my writing style is very similar to her own. I love writing stories that inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams.

2.      What is your newest book about? Set in the artsy, historical fishing community of Astoria, Oregon, two sisters and their friend follow their dream to open a hip little shop named Creative Cupcakes and find themselves fighting off a fanatical Zumba dance instructor, a conceited French bakery chef, and an elusive thief dubbed, 'The Cupcake Bandit.' Is there any time left in their busy schedule to search for true love?  I am currently working on THE CUPCAKE DIARIES: Christmas Special Edition, which will be released in November through Avon Books.

3.      What inspired you to write it? I had just taken a trip to Astoria, Oregon to attend the Crab, Seafood and Wine festival (featured in book 2 - Recipe for Love) and told my friends I was going to write a story set in this town. When my editor at Avon Books, a division of HarperCollins, called and asked if I would like to write a series on a cupcake shop I said, "Yes!" And I knew exactly where that cupcake shop was going to be located!

4.      What is the writing process like for you? I start out with just the seed of an idea. In this case, my editor gave me three things to go on: 3 women, a cupcake shop (in a small town), and romance. From there I sketched out three storylines using many of the local landmarks from the setting to inspire scenes and dialogue. I use a poster board full of sticky notes when I outline. Then I fill out a basic plot chart and keep expanding my outline every day until it grows and grows and finally becomes a full manuscript. Then I go back over the story and rearrange scenes if I have to, deepen the characterization, fill in more descriptions. After that I go through the story a third time to polish each sentence word by word, making sure the cadence flows and all facts are correct.

5.      What did you do before you became an author? I have always been a writer but knew the road to publication would be a long one. It takes years to learn the craft of writing and I had bills to pay. I also had a husband and three kids. So I went to vocational school and was a dental assistant for ten years. Then I quit to become a full time mom and continued writing during the kid's nap time. But I never stopped learning and studying how to write better stories.

6.      How does it feel to be a published author? It's been a dream come true. In fact it was the "Make Your Dreams Come True" contest sponsored by Debbie Macomber and Avon Books that led to my first real publication. The expanded novel, BET YOU'LL MARRY ME, came out last December - the first book with my own name on the cover. Then May 7th the first book in THE CUPCAKE DIARIES, Sweet on You made it into the Digital Retailer Top 100 on the Barnes and Noble Nook for pre-orders the day before its release. It continued to rise in the rankings and made it to #7 for overall sales. Each book is set to release one week apart and as I write this I am anxiously awaiting the release of books 2 and 3.

7.      Any advice for struggling writers? Don't give up. No matter how hard, how daunting, how hopeless it seems—don't give up. Half the battle is perseverance. The other half is learning to write. Always keep studying. Go to classes and conferences, volunteer with your local writing chapter. You must connect with other writers and always strive to write better and better stories.

8.      Where do you see book publishing heading? I think half the fun is that no one knows! With the recent popularity of eBooks and the advancements in video and multi-media capabilities the door is wide open. Some of my writer friends and I have dreamed of being able to step into a virtual reality room that puts you directly into the story. Imagine walking around your characters, feel like you are in the setting, maybe even smelling cupcakes or being able to taste them. That would be quite the experience!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013

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