I had great fun researching all things chocolate for this novel, and the taste testings were just the best! The Chocolate Shop is inspired by the most wonderful chocolate shop/patisserie called Cabosse in the quaint village of Warkworth in my home county of Northumberland. It’s such a cosy, pretty stone-cottage building. Louise Frederique, the owner and chocolatiere was extremely friendly and helpful, answering all my chocolate-making and business questions.
I also teamed up with a wonderful lady called June, who I met at one of my library talks a while ago for ‘The Cosy Teashop in the Castle’. She mentioned that she used to have a chocolate-making business, and we half-joked that a chocolate shop might be good to write about. I re-contacted her when I was working on ideas for this book. She kindly invited me back to her home, showing me how to temper chocolate and make truffles, as well as seeing some of the chocolate creations she had made, such as the filled ‘hat boxes'.
The love story in this new book touches on grief, with the main character Emma, who has been hurt so badly, she is afraid to love again. I’ll not give too much away, but I really enjoyed writing Emma’s story. And of course, there's the lovely Max, who's a bit of a mash-up of Gerard Butler and Tom Hardy - are you with me on this?!
It's festive, fun, heartwarming, and an ideal book to curl up with on a chilly winter's evening.
Enjoy and happy reading!