Interview with Cerella D. Sechrist, author of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania...PLUS A Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet another great new friend, author of the soon to be released Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Cerella D. Sechrist. Before I even got to know Cerella and read her book she volunteered to do a special interview AND offer a terrific giveaway, for you, my lucky readers!

I hope you get to know a little bit more about my new friend Cerella and her delicious debut novel, Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania!



RC: Hi Cerella could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

CS: Here's the dating ad version: I'm thirty years old, single, I love pug puppies and the rain… (LOL!)

Additionally, I live in southern Pennsylvania - I'm only an hour's drive from Hershey, where my book takes place. I work for my dad's small construction business, as his office manager, and I'm currently taking classes in holistic health. Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania is my debut novel.


RC: How long did it take you to get your first book published?

CS: Thirteen years. (Apparently, it IS a lucky number!) I wrote my first book at the age of 16 and started submitting at age 17. I'm now 30 years old, so it was quite the long haul. The first words out of my brother's mouth when I told him I was being published were, “Congratulations. I know it's been a really long time coming.” I started crying when he said that. =)


RC: How would you describe your writing in 3 words?

CS: Chocolate Covered Fiction. Sandie Bricker was the one who suggested this tag line to me, and I think it fits so well - not just because my book takes place in Hershey, but because I strive for my writing to be an indulgent treat along with a bit of healthy goodness in it, too. After all, with all those antioxidants, chocolate is good for you. Right?


RC: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

CS: I was ten years old when it hit me. I adored books from an early age - I ate them up like candy. But it wasn't until I was ten, when I saw a movie in which the main character was a novelist, that I realized people did this as a job - WRITING BOOKS. Something clicked, and I went to my mom and told her that THIS was what I wanted to be when I grew up - a WRITER.

She smiled with benevolence but chalked it up to a 'phase'. As the years went by, though, and I tenaciously held onto this dream, she was forced to admit it was more than a fleeting interest, especially once I started submitting to publishers in my late teens. Throughout the remainder of my childhood, my teens and my twenties I did a lot of reading, writing and researching on books, the publishing industry, method and technique, etc. Eventually, it paid off, but it was a long road.

It was a pretty special moment, though, to be able to announce to my mom I had finally done it.


RC: Who was your favorite character to write in Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania?

CS: Oh, this is a good question but so tough! It's like asking a mother to choose her favorite child! After considerable deliberation, I have to narrow it down to Kylie (Sadie's daughter) or Dmitri (her mysterious competitor.)

Kylie is just a bundle of precocious sweetness to me - she's such a pistol! If I were her mother, she'd have me worn ragged with all her antics. But I find her hilarious, and I adore her commentary. I'd have loved to write the entire book from her point of view, just to get her additional thoughts on her mom's obsessive nature, Jasper as her playmate/babysitter, Mac's return, Dmitri's secrets, etc. I'm sure she'd have a lot to say on all those subjects.

As for Dmitri, I'm just a sucker for a guy with a Russian accent. =) He tugs at my heartstrings - I think he has a lot of inner pain, and things weigh more heavily on him than he admits. He's got a bit of innocence which is completely at odds with what he knows about life. Jasper is definitely a sweetie, but I think Dmitri is someone I'd love to just sit down and talk with over coffee.
(RC: I think Dmitri needs his own book ;-))


RC: What is your current work in progress?

CS: I have the first book in a contemporary women's series completed, and my agent is currently shopping it around. I'd love to have a go at another Love Finds You title as well - I think Summerside is onto something with this series! =)


RC: Where do you hope to be in 10 years as far as your writing career goes?

CS: With many more books under my belt! LOL! And I'd like to see the diversity of my stories - I'd love to go back to writing some historicals (where I started) and perhaps a young adult story or two. I think variety, in life and literature, is the spice of life.


RC: What are you reading right now?

CS: Currently, I'm reading Rumors, the second book in Anna Godbersen's The Luxe series. I'm really liking this series because it's exactly how I've heard it described: Edith Wharton meets Gossip Girl. I love Edith Wharton's classical novels, and even though I don't watch Gossip Girl, I get the general idea! It's a fun series so far…

I also have Extras by Scott Westerfeld sitting on the TBR shelf, and I'm dying to get my hands on the most recent Sophie Kinsella novel: Twenties Girl. I recently picked up Nancy Moser's Just Jane as well. Girl's gotta have her Jane Austen fix. =)

RC: Living so close to Hershey, is it safe to say that you are a candy addict? I would be LOL!

CS: A little bit! I'm a sucker for anything chocolate paired with peanut butter (like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups) or with mint (like York Peppermint Patties or Dove's Peppermint Bark.) But when it comes to candy, I'm usually more of a Smarties or Skittles girl. I love the town of Hershey, though, for more than the treats. It's beautiful there - it feels small town, and yet it has all these tourist offerings and museums, cultural entertainment, etc. It's really is a sweet place.


RC: What is the best thing about being a PA girl?

CS: The autumn. I live in the woods, and my family has some land in the mountains, so when fall weather hits, there's nothing better than being surrounded by forest. To me, God's artistic side is most evident in the fall. I absolutely love trees and the mountains when they're awash with vivid colors - having grown up surrounded by woods, autumn in Pennsylvania just feels like home more than any other time or place.


RC: What is one thing that you can't leave the house without?

CS: A book. You just never know when you might be waiting somewhere or stuck with nothing to do, so I ALWAYS stick a book in my bag. It means my purse is always heavier than it should be. LOL!


RC: Since you're a Twilight fan, I have to ask, Team Edward or Team Jacob?

CS: Ooooh. Well, you know, starting off with the books, I was Team Edward. But I think Jacob really got the shaft - you sort of fall in love with Edward in book one and by the time you're into book two and getting to know Jacob, you're like, “Oh! Oh! Where did YOU come from, all sweet and charming?!? Can I betray Edward, who has done so much, for Jacob, who could be even more?!?” LOL

My friend, Samantha, summed it up perfectly. She said when she first met Edward in Twilight, it was like, “Oh, Mr. Perfect!” And then, when she read more of Jacob in New Moon, she thought, “OMG! Mr. Even Better!”

On my second read-through of the books, in anticipation of the films, I have to say I firmly joined Team Jacob. (With momentary lapses of judgment when Edward turns on the charm!)


RC: Finally (I warned you) what is your dream car?

CS: I love this question! For years, I only wrote historical fiction (pre-1900 stories), so vehicles never came into play in my writing. Since I've been writing more contemporary tales, I have all these options on what my characters can drive! Of course, we all like to live vicariously through characters, so I love getting to research and think about what vehicle I'd own if I was such-and-such a character. I had a lot of fun setting up Jasper with the Chevy Nova he drives in Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Right now, I think my dream car would be a 1976 Pontiac Firebird in Goldenrod Yellow. It's the car I chose for one of the heroines in the series my agent is currently pitching. It's the perfect car for her and for the story, so I'm really partial to it at the moment. Personally, I really have a thing for Ford Mustangs as well.
(RC: Girrrrrl hahaha don't get me started on Mustangs...LOVE 'em!)


RC: If you have any parting words about you and your book please add whatever you like! :-)

CS: If you want to find out more about Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, please visit my author website at http://www.cerelladsechrist.com/ I try to keep lots of interesting goodies on there like soundtrack recommendations, recipes, a blog by my main character (Sadie), a photo gallery of Hershey, etc.

And if you want to know more about me personally, in addition to my writing, you can always visit me at http://www.thecerellalife.com/ , which includes my blog, my recent reading list, music, a Twitter feed, etc.

This has been a great interview! Thanks so much for having me


RC: Thank YOU Cerella for the wonderful interview...and even though your Team Jacob, I still like you ;-)

Be sure to stop by Cerella's wonderful website and check out all the great info...including a link to Sadie's (main character in LFY in Hershey, PA) blog. Don't forget to preorder Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania while you're there!



As an extra special treat, Cerella has generously offered a wonderful prize package for one lucky commentor on this blog!


Here's what one lucky commentor will receive:
A copy of her novel, Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania; a chocolate-covered Oreo treat; a scented votive candle and glass votive cup; and a handmade beaded bookmark featuring a quote from the novel on its reverse. (The bookmarks are just one of the many items that can be purchased through Cerella's merchandise shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/chocolatefiction - you can also find the shop by linking through the Merchandise page on her website: http://www.cerelladsechrist.com/)

If you would like to be entered to win all you need to do is leave a comment!
~You MUST leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you for your mailing address if you win!
~U.S. residents only please!
~Contest open until February 1, 2010 at 11:59PM EST.
~One winner will be chosen, their name posted on this blog, and they will be notified by email on February 2, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.

~For 2 extra entries visit Cerella's website and tell me what part of her site you liked the best!

BEST OF LUCK!



Comments

  1. As a fellow (sourthern) PA girl I must say we definitely are the best state in the US! Congrats on realizing your dreams!

    pepsi324[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  2. Great interview and giveaway!

    e.j.stevens.author[at]gmail[dot]com

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  3. I'd love to try a bite (or more!) of chocolate covered fiction! I enjoyed this fun interview and would love to win this book.

    suko95(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks!

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  4. This looks like a wonderful book. I went to Cerellas site and love the book trailer!

    journey through books @ gmail dot com

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  5. I have been wanting to read this whole series for quite some time. This would make a great starting point!

    I really enjoyed the book trailer on Cerella's website. She really has a lot of neat stuff on there!!

    Thanks for a great giveaway and author interview!!

    faithfulgirl4[at]gmail[dot]com

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  6. Please enter me!! I would love to read this one:) Thanks!!

    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  7. I actually came from Cerella's site, but one of the neat articles I liked was, What's In A Name? It gave some very neat ideas:) Thanks!! #1

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  8. I liked the What's In A Name? #2

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  12. Please enter me!
    onepilgrim86[at]yahoo.com

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  13. Congrats to Cerella! Sounds like a fun one!

    RE: Cerella's site, I liked:

    1) the chocolate recipes

    2) the info page on Hershey, PA - a cool town!

    Blessings -

    Andrea

    andrealschultz[at]gmail[dot]com

    http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com - please come visit my blog! Thanks! : )

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  14. I just discovered the "Love Finds You In" books a short time ago and have only read one, but I was instantly hooked.

    I would love to win this!!

    readingatthebeach@gmail.com

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  15. I visited Cerella's website and since I am a huge trivia buff, my favorite thing was "Five Random Facts"

    readingatthebeach@gmail.com

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  16. Ohhh, pick me, pick me!!

    rachel85137[at]gmail.com

    And my favorite part of her site is Sadie's Blog.... I LOVE it when authors go above and beyond to develop their characters (and then decide to share it with the rest of us!)

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  17. I love this series! I've been wanting to read this one. Totally loved Edith Wharton in high school. Too funny.

    Oh, and I loved her five random facts and her soundtrack section on her website.

    Jennafraugh(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Oh how I would LOVE to win this book. Please enter me. It sounds fantastic!
    ~Jen Unsell
    unsells{at}yahoo{dot}com

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  19. My favorite thing from Cerellas website is her Five Random Things about me. I love leaves too Cerella!
    ~Jen Unsell
    unsells{at}yahoo{dot}com

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  20. What a fun interview and a fun giveaway!

    Love the photo gallery of Hershey and LOVE the recipes at Cerella's website! :)

    srfbluemama at gmail dot com

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  21. WOW! What a great turnout, Renee! Sorry I'm so late coming by. :(

    Excellent interview! Cerella is an absolute "sweet"heart! (pun intended) *wink*

    Please don't enter me...I'm planning to start reading her book tomorrow...it sounds wonderful!

    {{hugs}}

    ~ Lori

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  22. What a yummy giveaway! Please include me.

    I loved the video trailer for Cerella's book. It's one of the best I've seen.

    worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

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  23. I feel so much love on these comments that it's like I can bypass Valentine's Day. LOL!! Thank you so much, each and every one one of you, for reading the interview and checking out my website! I love hearing what each person's favorite part of my author site is. You all are truly a very *sweet* group of readers. =)

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  24. enjoyed this interview....have visited Hershey PA many times as a child...wonderful memories....

    I enjoyed the picture gallery on Cerella's site...a lot :)

    karenk
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  25. Hi Cerella -

    I popped over here from Facebook, and enjoyed the interview. Congrats on the publication of your novel.

    Please enter me in the contest.

    susanjreinhardt (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thanks!
    Susan :)

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  26. I removed my comments and do not want to be entered. I will not read a book written by someone who claims to be a Christian, yet reads Twilight. A book about Vampires, written by a Mormon.

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  27. I would LOVE to read this book, it looks like such fun!

    +2 I visited Cerella's site and enjoyed the "5 unknown facts" or something like that- can't remember the exact name. :)

    caseymh18(at)gmail(dot)com

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  28. Great interview! :) I had always wanted to go to Hersey, PA and last summer I finally got to go! Went with my mom and aunt and we had a lot of fun checking out Hersey and a few other towns around there. Anyway, please enter me. :)

    sundaisy920 at gmail dot com

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  29. I would love to be entered. Thanks. I did visit her website and loved the photos and recipes.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

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  30. I would love to also be entered in your drawing. Fun blog!! I also visited Cerella's website and love her recipe file, can't wait to try the truffles and of course her blog. I love to read about her and her interests and how she got started.

    trishcook_dpc@hotmail.com

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  31. Thank you again, Everyone, for all the comments and for checking out my website! I truly appreciate your interest in Love Finds You in Hershey! And thank you to Renee for featuring me here on her lovely blog! :) Stay sweet!!

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  32. I would love to win this book! I read your review and can't wait to read this one!

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot)com

    +2 I visited Cerella's site and I loved Sadie's blog and the Hershey photo gallery!

    Thanks for hosting the contest!

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  33. Congrats on the publication of your novel.

    Great interview.Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

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  34. Yay I really want to read this book, please enter me!

    beatccr [at] hotmail [dot] com

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  35. Wow! Thanks everyone for an awesome response! If you aren't the lucky winner be sure to go out and get this book! It's really great way to get some "sweets" without the added calories! ;-)

    xoxo~ Renee

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  36. Wow!! What a fantastic giveaway! A wonderful book to read and chocolate, too. Please enter my name to your drawing. Thanks!

    debracollins(at)tds(dot)net

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  37. This book sounds awesome! What a great interview, too! Cerella sounds like the kind of person I'd like to meet for a cup of coffee or something sinfully chocolate! LOL

    I checked out her website and her book trailer was my favorite thing there! It made me really want to read her book, which was the purpose, I suppose. LOL

    Please enter me in the giveaway! Thanks!

    writer_weaver at yahoo dot com

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  38. Hey Renee,
    I LOVED your interivew w/ Cerella!
    "Hershey" is def. on my "Favorites" shelf:~)
    Please don't enter me I already got sitting proudly in my bookcase;~)
    Love Ya,
    Ashley

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  39. What a fun interview, Renee! Cerella sounds like a person whose fun personality translates into her writing. I would love to be signed up for your giveaway! :o)

    Christy
    orca0024 at yahoo dot com

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  40. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    Diane
    estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

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  41. Went to Cerella's website and signed up to join her on facebook. That's the best part. Good luck and I love chocolate! :O)

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  42. Chocolate, romance. how can anyone go wrong. I'd love to be entered in this drawing Thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

    +2 bonus
    I visited Cerella's site. Oh, she has some recipes there.

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  43. Hersey is such a neat place I'm interested in reading the stories about it.

    Lacey914 at sbcglobal dot net

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  44. I loved the trailer and I'm hooked!!! The name article is so true, giving a name to anything is hard especially when there is a deep attachment. This article help make more sense of her response in the interview when you asked her who her favorite character was.

    Lacey914 at sbcglobal dot net

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  45. Hi! This book looks like it would be great to read and the interview was great! I really like the recipe part of Cerella's blog. Thanks!

    sdouglas3@hvc.rr.com

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  46. Would love a new series to read, count me in.
    stephanie.thomas1@tx.rr.com

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  47. I visited Cerella's site and I loved her comment about her favorite part of the day...I am right there with you I just can't say it quite so eloquently.

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  48. madwoman-doing-cartwheelsJanuary 25, 2010 at 5:03 AM

    What an awesome interview! I love getting to know an author a bit before i read their book and that it took so long to get published really makes it a "must read" for me.

    catmom1010 at gmail dot com

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  49. madwoman-doing-cartwheelsJanuary 25, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    I visited Cerella's website and I think the best thing was the book trailer. Excellent! Just loved it!

    1

    catmom1010 at gmail dot com

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  50. madwoman-doing-cartwheelsJanuary 25, 2010 at 5:07 AM

    I visited Cerella's website and I think the best thing was the book trailer. Excellent! Just loved it!

    2

    catmom1010 at gmail dot com

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  51. You guys are absolutely AWESOME with all these great comments. I wish we could all get together and drink hot chocolate and discuss books. :) Thanks for the continued interest!

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  52. Make that a frappe Cerella and I'm in LOL!

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  53. Renee, I'm a new follower and I love your blog, love the Steeler and love to read!

    Great giveaway!

    lisa.messier @ gmail.com

    mrsmessi.blogspot.com

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  54. I love the book trailer on Cerella's website!

    lisa.messier @ gmail.com

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  55. Would love to be entered! ~Donna
    djkeoppel@yahoo.com

    -I found the "What's in a name?" section very interesting on her website!

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  56. Greetings,
    Please enter me in this contest.
    Really a sweet interview.
    Went to her site and loved the recipes.
    Have a blessed day.
    Wanda Chamberlain
    wandaelaine[at]gmail[dot]com

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  57. There's only about two more days to enter this contest, and I'm going to be bummed that I won't be able to keep coming over here to read all the great comments! You guys have been the best! And thanks so much to Renee for sweetly hosting this. :)

    @Renee - the frappuccino sounds GREAT. :)

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  58. This sounds like a wonderful book. I would LOVE to win this prize!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  59. I enjoyed the variety of links Cerella had on her website. Lots of interesting things to read.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  60. I especially liked the section on Cerella's website entitled: "What's in a name?" I call myself a "name freak" because I LOVE names. I have to know how a name is spelled, how they chose it, etc. Anyone who is pregnant or adopting gets a name quiz from me! :)

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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