It's publication day of The Cosy Seaside Chocolate Shop and I'm celebrating all things chocolate!
A couple of years ago, I was doing one of my first ever library talks with a grand audience of two people. The wonderful thing was that one of those people was a chocolatier. In conversation that evening, the lovely June Carruthers said I could always contact her if I ever felt like writing about chocolate. Well then, that set the seed in my mind.
When I wanted a new setting for my second series of Cosy books where better than a chocolate shop by the sea! I always say to write what you are passionate about and I'm certainly passionate about chocolate - it's such wonderful stuff and you can make so much with it: truffles, ice creams, milkshakes, brownies, cakes, croissants, cookies, all sorts of divine chocolates and more.
So the research had to begin in earnest (it's a hard job but somebody's gotta do it!). June was so friendly and welcomed me to her home where we ended up having a chocolate making and tasting session.
Next, I visited the fabulous chocolate shop and café Cabosse in Warkworth, in my home county of Northumberland, where I met and interviewed Louise Frederique a french chocolatiere. Her shop is so inspiring and quaint that the Chocolate Shop in the fictional village of Warkton-by-the-sea in my novel is based on that. It was Christmas time and the displays were wonderful - enough to make your mouth water.
I have also chatted with The Chocolate Spa in Alnwick, Kiki's Chocolates in Coldingham and Bev Stephenson from North Chocolates. Huge thanks to everyone for their time, help and support.
I hope you enjoy reading my new book. Settle down on a summer's day with a chilled glass of prosecco, your favourite chocolates and escape to The Cosy Seaside Chocolate Shop. And look out for the truffle recipe in the back! Here's some I made earlier ...
Love and best wishes,