How did you come up with the idea for A Bouquet of Love?
A Bouquet of Love is the fourth and final book in the Weddings by Design series (a series of stories about four people in the wedding business on Galveston Island). I patterned this story after Meet me in St. Louis, one of my favorite movies. Readers will notice a strong Judy Garland theme throughout. (I’m nuts about Judy Garland. Grew up playing/singing all of her songs.) This particular book cracks me up! It’s about a Greek family that opens a restaurant directly across the street from Parma Johns, a pizza place run by the Rossi family (characters my readers are very familiar with from the Weddings by Bella series). The heroine in this story wants to be a florist but is afraid to tell her very Greek father, because he wants her to work for the family restaurant. She ends up working at a nearby florist shop. . .owned by the Rossi family! And, of course, she falls in love along the way. J
What do you hope readers take away from A Bouquet of Love?
I hope they see that people—even people who are really, really different from one another—can learn to work together for the greater good. I hope they also learn that starting over (like the heroine’s family does) is possible, even in a new place. Of course, I also hope they learn a few of the lyrics from “The Trolley Song” which appears several times in the story!
I see your beautiful sweet creations on your facebook page often. How did you start creating cakes, cupcakes etc?
Thanks for asking about my cakes! I have four daughters, all in their thirties now. They all got married within four years of each other (between ’04 and ’08). I paid $625 for cake at the first daughter’s wedding. Knowing daughter #2 was getting married a few months later, I “suggested” we make the cake, ourselves. I was so clueless! With the help of two loving friends, we got that cake made! (Pictures below) The rest, as they say, is history. I made the other two wedding cakes and then the grandbabies started coming. Of course they needed birthday cakes! Once I started posting pictures of cakes, friends started asking. I created my Nina’s Cakes and Cookies page, thinking that adding a price to the cakes would slow the requests down. It had the opposite effect. Business is booming. In fact, I’m turning away requests for cakes and cookies.
I see pictures of your beautiful creations on facebook can you share some of your cakes with us here? What did you have the most fun making? What was your most challenging project to date? What made it fun and/or most challenging?
One of my hardest cakes to date was the pirate cake from a year ago. I made it for an eight-year-old’s birthday. You just haven’t lived until you’ve tried to create a pirate cake and ocean/beach out of cake. Oh my! It came out fine in the end, but took about twelve hours to complete. I’ve had many other cakes that gave me challenges, but the pirate cake takes the cake, pun intended.
Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you’ve had in your writing career? What made it a wow for you?
The first “Wow!” moment came in 1999 when a phone call from an editor, saying she wanted to publish my very first book. I truly stood in shock as I listened to her talk, unable to believe she wanted it! In fact, I agreed to the advance amount (which was pretty small, even for that time) because I was just so excited.
The second “Wow” moment came a few weeks ago when I received a letter from a reader of the Weddings by Bella series, letting me know that she had given her heart to the Lord as a result of reading Bella’s story. I read and re-read her note, overwhelmed by how God had taken my silly, fluffy little romantic comedy and used it to transform a reader’s life. What a privilege and what a blessing!
What four words or what phrase would best describe you (you can add a few additional words if necessary? Grin)
Dedicated. If I want something badly enough, I work, work, work to make it happen.
Creative. I think I must dream in Technicolor or something. I’m always dreaming up new ideas, new stories, new cakes, new cookies to design. I love the creative process!
Wacky. I have a crazy sense of humor. It gets me in trouble sometimes, but mostly it endears me to my readers, who appear to have the same wacky sense of humor.
Loving. I am passionately loving—in my relationship with the Lord, with my children and (especially) with my grandchildren, who have me wrapped around their little fingers!
Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?
Whether I’m writing stories in book form or musicals for the stage, you will always find a faith thread. There’s really only one reason: Life is short. There’s a lot of work to be done to draw people to the Lord and we are only given this one life to do it. Why would I spin my wheels, writing something with no life-changing ability? Every story is meant to prick the heart, to endear the reader to me so that she can begin to trust me as I share the faith message through my characters.
Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?
I’m so excited about a brand new series I’m writing for Revell. The series is titled “Brides with Style” and revolves around a pro basketball player in the Dallas area who takes over his mother’s bridal gown shop while she’s away in Paris for a year. Of course, it’s a romance!
The first book is titled Every Bride Needs a Groom and has already been written. I can’t tell you how much fun I had crafting new characters. What a blast! The story is told from the POV (point of view) of the heroine, Katie Fisher, from Fairfield, Texas (a small town not far from Dallas). She enters a contest to win a wedding dress from the bridal shop (and wins). Only one problem: she doesn't have a groom!
JANICE, ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR READERS?
Learn to laugh, even if it’s at yourself. Laughter brings healing. On the worst of days, find something to laugh about. Let joy bubble up inside of you. It’s contagious, you know!
Nora: Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. THANKS for sharing such great pictures! I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 20th of AUGUST at www.bookfun.org . Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books.
I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN in underway at www.bookfun.org . Looking forward reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! REMINDER - Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows. The last day to enter this drawing is the last day of the month.
Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com