Monday, December 14, 2009

You Never Know Where Love Will Find You!

Dear From the Heart reader,

It is my privilege today to introduce to you author Cerella Sechrist. Cerella lives in Pennsylvania not far from the town of Hershey where her story is set for her soon to be released title.

Cerella, your title Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania will be released February 1, 2010 by Summerside Press. Where did you get your inspiration from for this fun story?

I’m a bit of a foodie, and I used to have an obsession with the Food Network. After years of writing historical fiction, I wanted to try something different. When I started thinking about a contemporary story to tell, it didn’t take long for me to gravitate to food! And from there, the progression to desserts wasn’t too large a leap.

You must have had fun researching for this book.

Like building a recipe, I pulled a dash here and a dash there – and made many trips to nearby Hershey, Pennsylvania to visit both tourist attractions and friends. Not to mention the requisite taste-testing of chocolate!

A February release is a great time for a romantic tale to find it’s way to the shelves. I would imagine that lends itself to some fun marketing. Do you have any plans already underway?

There will be some chocolatey giveaways going on through my website ( during the month of February as well as some foodie events where you can learn to make a dessert or two. Additionally, I'll be offering some fun merchandise surrounding the book's themes of food, romance and chocolate! I encourage readers to join my Facebook page and sign up for my newsletter through the website (see all links at the end of this interview) to keep up to date with all the yummy goodness. :)

What has been the hardest part of writing your novel and how did you overcome it?

Well, desserts are a dominant theme, so the hardest part was the research. =D

What do you hope people will take away from reading your book?

First and foremost, I simply hope people come away feeling lighter for having read it. If it makes you laugh or smile, then it was worth the effort. Secondly, if you find a little of yourself in the story and know yourself a little better once it’s over, then so much the better. Thirdly, if it gives you an insatiable craving for chocolate…I apologize.

What new projects are you working on, are they in the same genre?

Currently, I’m working on a contemporary series about three sisters who are working at mending their broken relationships with each other. It’s filled with a little bit of everything: elements of humor, touches of mystery and a lot of relational drama as the three try to come to terms with their own personal betrayals and failures.

I would imagine like most authors, once people know you are writing you get a lot of advice. What is the best and worst writing advice you ever got?

The best comes from my own sister, who constantly encourages me. She’s never been afraid to tell me, “This isn’t working, and I know you can make it work. Stop procrastinating and do it right.” She’s like my personal cheerleader and drill-sergeant fused into one.

There’s been a lot of advice I may not have agreed with – but you have to take into account that different things work for different people. What may be bad advice for me might be brilliant for someone else.

Are you using state-of-the-art technology in your everyday writing life?

My favorite thing right now is the digital readers – like the Amazon Kindle, which allows you to instantly download books to a personal handheld device. It allows me to carry dozens of books at my fingertips – it saves a lot of luggage space when you’re hauling reference books around!

Is there an area in your writing that you are working on improving?

I love the challenge of writing – finding my weak spots and making the effort to tighten them up. Lately, I’ve been trying to tone up particular plot details – especially that dreaded middle section where writers tend to get a little hung up on moving your characters from points B to C to D.

Cerella, I am sure you have your favorite reference books or ‘how to’s’ on the subject of writing. What books do you recommend to our readers?

For those just starting out, I highly recommend finding a used copy of “How to Write and Sell a Christian Novel” by Gilbert Morris. It’s out-of-print now but worth finding a copy to familiarize yourself with the beginner’s writing life. He offers a lot of basics to get you started.

For those who have been at it a little longer, I recommend Heather Seller’s books “Chapter after Chapter” and “Page after Page.” They appeal to novices and experts alike, but I appreciate them more now that I’ve been writing for several years.

What obstacles have you run up against in your writing journey?

I think the universal answer is…rejection. It’s certainly a lesson in humility, patience and perseverance.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I try to keep lots of fun content on my website that relate to my novels (soundtracks, recipes, backgrounds, merchandise, etc.) Check it frequently for updates at:

Also, join me on Facebook at: and follow my blog at

My main character, Sadie, in Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania even has her own blog at:

Cerella, thank you so much for joining us here today and I hope our readers will check out your sites and your title. I have the sudden urge to go find my chocolate stash so see y’ all later…

From my heart to yours,



Caroline said...

Cerella, looking forward to having you on my blog in Feb. Good job. NOW I've got an excuse to go out & buy some chocolate today. :)

Thanks, Diana, for having her. And thanks for sharing, Cerella!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Cerella: I love your name! Do you know what it means? It sounds like an author's name.

Thank you for whetting my apetite for your book. I've visited Hershey, PA, and it is a LOVEly spot. Off to find some dark truffles I have tucked away...

Bless you,
Audience of ONE

Millie Samuelson said...

I LOVED getting to know you better, Cerella! What delightful and inspiring stories God has gifted you with -- I look forward to reading them. . . soon. . .
Millie S. :-)

Rita Gerlach said...

Such a fun interview. And to have Hersey, Pa as the setting, and chocolate as a running theme in the book is absolutely brilliant. My mind is whirling with all the fun marketing Cerella will be able to do with this, especially with candy kisses.

Cerella Sechrist said...

Thank you, Ladies, for all the great comments! (And for reminding me that I need to take a chocolate break soon. lol!)

Jeanette - I loved the comment about my name sounding like an author's name. I'm sure that's what every author wants to hear! :) I actually DO know the meaning - it's Latin for "of the spring." I have a page up about it on my website at if you want to read more.

Thanks for commenting on the interview! Now, everyone go enjoy a truffle! :)

Trish Perry said...

Cerella! How wonderful to learn more about you. I enjoyed meeting you at the Hagerstown event. Remember to get in touch with me about my interviewing you on my site. I'm looking forward to it (and I have some February slots open).

Your book sounds like great fun!

Cerella Sechrist said...

Just sent you an email, Trish - I think the first one I sent was lost in space! Thanks for the comments - I'm looking forward to the interview with you! :)

Susan said...

I am so looking forward to reading your book.What a lovely interview! I can't wait to try some of the recipes in the book! Those of us who call you friend are so looking forward to reading this your first of many novels to come.I'm off to have that truffle you mentioned.I'm so glad you gave me permission for this one!

Cerella Sechrist said...

Thanks so much for the support, Susan! And enjoy that truffle. For us both. ;)

Carissa Sechrist said...

I'm super stoked to get my pre-order copies! I'll have to stock up on chocolate though... :)