The Rollicking Bun--Home of the Epic Scone--is the center of Suzanna Wolf's life. Part tea shop, part bookstore, part home, it's everything she's ever wanted right on the Venice Beach boardwalk, including partnership with her two best friends from high school, Eric and Fernando. But with thirty-three just around the corner, suddenly Suzanna wants something more--something strictly her own. Salsa lessons, especially with a gorgeous instructor, seem like a good start--a harmless secret, and just maybe the start of a fling. But before she knows it, Suzanna is learning steps she never imagined--and dancing her way into confusion
- Where did you get the idea for the novel?
My sister-in-law- who is a very pragmatic paralegal - was taking dance lessons and it was something I always asked her about. – After several years of dancing, her instructor up and left the dance studio without telling her. She felt so rejected, she went into therapy. I was so astounded by this reaction that I thought, “I wonder how THAT happened?” – and then I made up a story that made sense to me.
- Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
I came up with the title “The Merchant of Venice, California” and my agent, Sharon Bowers, came up with “The Merchant of Venice Beach” – which is a WAY BETTER TITLE. Actually, the very fist title was “Secretly Salsa” – but then I decided to go with all Shakespearean wordplays.
- Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
That’s an interesting question. Until Kensington Publishing picked up my books, I had no idea I had written a ‘romance trilogy” – I felt that I was writing romantic comedies, and saw myself more ad a “women’s fiction” writer. I am very proud to stand alongside my romance writing sisters (and brothers) however. I am delighted to have been invited to the party!
- Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Getting word out that you’ve written a book – or books – takes some imaginative thinking. One approach I have taken is doing the TEA SHOP STOPS – book readings and signings at various tea shops around Southern California. Hearing I had sold out the room and walking into that first decorated tea shop, with lovely cups, elegant tea pots and copies of “The Merchant of Venice Beach” on every table room made me want to cry, I was so happy.
- What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I am currently reading THE WOMEN OF ATOMIC CITY – the story of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during WWII where thousands of young women worked in this “secret city” during the war years, usually in the dark about their duties. It’s a non-fiction book, which I’m reading as a follow-up to Fannie Flagg’s THE ALL-GIRL FILLING STATION ‘S LAST REUNION, a fictionalized account of the WASPS – the women who served in the air force during WW11.
- What is your writing process?
I usually start working on the storyline in a fairly casual way. I liken it to walking in a maze – you keep hitting dead ends, but finally you figure out where you need to go to get out! I jot down notes, but I usually just think about where I want to go with the story while going about my regular life. At some point, I will hit upon a story point that makes me so happy I can’t wait any longer and that’s when I sit down and the regulated process – that of sitting at the computer every day – starts!
- At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
At book signings, I l don’t ever sit at a table surrounded by a pile of books - sitting there and having people come to me seems a little grandiose. I want everyone to know how grateful I am to THEM, so I usually go around the room after a reading and sign books at their tables. Because we usually chat for a few minutes before I sign anything, I usually can come up with something personal to write.
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m actually a pretty good quilter, which, in this day and age, seems like a pretty random skill!
- How do you react to a bad review?
I’m not going to lie – bad reviews suck. But I work in television production for a living and people in my profession get kicked to the curb with some regularity, so I am possibly more philosophical than most. I try not to take bad reviews to heart – you are NEVER going to please everybody - but the reviews that get to me are the ones where the review doesn’t like the book and then lays out the ENTIRE plot. That seems mean-spirited to me.
- How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I found out I sold my first book while at the downtown branch of the Los Angeles Library. I was with my mother and my gent called to tell me the good news. I burst into tears and tried to tell my mother what had happened, but since it was a library, I was trying to whisper. My mother had this alarmed look on her face – because I was crying. When I finally managed to tell her that it was GOOD news, we went across the street to a bar and she bought us a round of champagne.
eKensington Author Page: http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/26393
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-merchant-of-venice-beach-celia-bonaduce/1114865244?ean=9781601831231