…[L]ife doesn’t always go according to plans….
~ from Chocolicious
Life is like that. Just when you have it figured out, just when things seem to be moving along swimmingly, there’s a hiccup, a pause, or – as for Blair Nightingale in Geraldine Solon’s newest novel, Chocolicious – everything comes to a sudden halt. After the death of her husband, Blair finds herself stranded: penniless, homeless, and unsure of everything, especially of how she will provide for her newborn baby girl.
Chocolicious is a novel that centers around the loss of family and the rediscovery of self. True to the novel’s title and cover, chocolate plays an important role in Blair’s healing, but in more ways than just physical sustenance (because we all know that chocolate is healthy). Today, I’m honored to host Geraldine Solon, as she talks about her novel, the role of food in family traditions, and the three P’s of writing.
CC: I always love reading about an author’s inspiration for a story, be it the sound of a character’s voice, a first line, an image. What sparked the idea for your novel?
GS: You wouldn’t believe how I came up with this novel, but I was craving for a rich-filled, three-layered chocolate cupcake one afternoon when a vision of a miserable woman flashed through my mind. The story began to unfold smoothly, and as I became wrapped up in this woman’s chaotic world, I knew chocolate would play a significant role to my novel. It’s surprising how my chocolate cravings gave birth to a novel.
CC: At the root of CHOCOLICIOUS is a recipe for three-layered chocolate cupcakes, a recipe – handed down from Blair’s grandmother – that calls for more than just a few key ingredients to turn out right. I love this idea: that traditions, whether they are culinary or cultural, encompass a tactile and an emotional experience. Is there a recipe you remember from your upbringing that you enjoyed as more than just a meal (or a dessert)?
GS: I also love traditions and I believe that food brings good company. There’s nothing more memorable then sitting at the dinner table while savoring good food and chatting about what transpired during the day. Sharing a meal together is important in our family—it’s what unites us. When I was growing up, my family had an amazing cook who made us sumptuous meals and sweet desserts from scratch. Most of her delicacies were a fusion of Eastern and Western dishes and they were all delicious. Since chocolate is my weakness, my favorite dessert was the Chocolate Ice Box Cake. The chocolate is so rich that it melts in your mouth. Our cook always knew what our favorite dishes were, and to this day I am grateful for the labor of love she has bestowed upon me and my family.
CC: Speaking of your childhood, your bio on your website states that you grew up in the Philippines. What do you miss most about that time and place?
GS: The Philippines is such a beautiful country with lots of remarkable people. I miss the powder-white beaches, the laid-back lifestyle, the never-ending parties, and most of all my friends and family. People back home are so kind, helpful, thoughtful and generous. You will never die of loneliness in the Philippines because life there is about being together and sharing with one another. For a Filipino, friendship is golden—once a friend, always a friend you can count on.
CC: What are you reading these days?
GS: I just finished reading The Mill River Recluse by best-selling author, Darcie Chan and I was very impressed with her debut novel. She created such quirky, memorable characters that continue to resonate in me. She raised the stakes for her characters and pushed them above their limits to do things they were not capable of doing. I hope to read more from this author.
CC: What advice can you offer writers on the rise?
GS: Don’t try to follow the trend, but write about what you care about. If you believe in yourself and in your story, then put your heart into it. Work hard and have a vision on where you’re going. And it’s more than just writing the book, it’s about reaching out to your readers, capturing your audience and building your brand as an author. I live by the three P’s—Passion, Persistence and Prayer.
Geraldine Solon is the award winning author of Romance and Women’s fiction novels. Her debut novel, LOVE LETTERS, won the Beach Book Festival for the Romance category, has been nominated for the Gobal eBook Awards, and is currently being adapted into film. Geraldine resides in the Bay area California with her family.