Sunday, March 22, 2015

Zelda Benjamin and Chocolate Couture

 Have you heard? It's spring! Wow...and we've had -24C. Can't wait to see what summer will be like. Oh, wait...bugs ;o)

Ok, ok...Let's give a big round of applause for our next visiting author, Zelda Benjamin! Ooh, and she comes bearing chocolate. Score!

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and like to think of each neighborhood as a small town with its own unique setting and characters. The people and the neighborhoods were the inspiration for my Love by Chocolate series. When I'm not writing, I'm usually out in the garden with the dog, working as a nurse, or eating chocolate (not necessarily in that order). My stories are sweet sensual romances. They are full of the passion and emotions we all experience.
I was always a storyteller and have had stories floating around in my mind forever. I started writing for professional nursing journals before I published my first romance.

Do you write full time?
My day job involves long shifts in a pediatric ER. On my days off I write every afternoon. And eat chocolate....

Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
Chocolate Couture is a story about Lily Peradou. Lily, a former Chocolatier and Food Network star
now owns a pastry shop on Smith Street in Brooklyn, NY. She comes from a privileged past and is determined to make it on her own. Even the best made plans have a kink or two.
When Lily inherits the vacant space next door, her plans to expand her shop are set in motion. They come to a full stop when the heirs of the estate contest the will. To further complicate Lily’s plan, along comes Noah Adler. He has purchased his Uncle’s diner on the other side of the vacant space and has expansion plans of his own.

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
All my stories have come from real life events. The plot twists in Chocolate Couture were inspired by an article I read about an inheritance case.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow?
I don’t work from an outline and definitely go with the flow. A few years ago I started using Scrivener software as my preferred writing process. I love the way it lets me navigate between my chapters. If an idea for a scene strikes me, I can move ahead and jot down my ideas and easily go back to the chapter I’m working on. Hmmm, maybe I could have you come back and give us some Scrivener pointers. 

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
I would be stating the obvious if I expanded on how much I enjoy doing the chocolate research. As for my other research, using Scrivener makes it easy to save and view any articles I need alongside my writing. I also do lots of hands on research when I travel. I take photos of buildings, food, and interesting people. I save them on my computer under the story name or add it the side bar of my chapter. (Scrivener allows me to do this) OK, you really have to think about a tutorial.

How is this book different or similar to what you have written in the past?
Chocolate Couture is the 4th book in my Love by Chocolate series. The story lines all revolve around different chocolate shops in Brooklyn, NY.
The first three books in the series were published by a traditional publisher, Avalon Books, They are now under the Montlake imprint.
Chocolate Couture was my first Indie published book.

How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
Marketing and social media are a big part of writing today. I prefer to get that over with early in the day. I recently created a schedule that has me resetting my day at 2pm. When my social media needs are addressed, I take a break. It helps knowing that at 2pm I will sit down and concentrate on writing. I think that makes sense. One can easily waste the day way on social media sites, getting little work done and leaving little time to write.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
I take one day at a time. There are too many changes in publishing to know what works best.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write, Write, Write - even if it’s only a paragraph at a time. If you decide to self publish, make sure your finished work is professional. Use an editor, a cover artist, or a formatter if you can’t do it yourself.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
My current work in progress is a romantic suspense. The challenge is finding the balance between the
romance and the suspense while I take the reader on an adventure. Sounds a little about my present dilemma with my WIP.

Author Bio
A pediatric ER nurse with a passion for story telling, traveling, and everything chocolate.

I write happily ever after stories. The heroes in my stories are sexy men who you can't help falling in love with. My heroines are sweet and sassy, independent women who know what they want out of life. Like everyone, they sometimes hit a bumpy road to get there.
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. I like to think of each Brooklyn neighborhood as a small town with its own story to tell. The books in my Love By Chocolate series are set in Brooklyn, where the characters are connected like any small town.

InD’tale Magazine 
“Crowned Heart” for excellence. Witty and utterly entertaining. A scrumptious confection for sure.

Amazon 5 Star
This lively story will leave you satisfied and hungry for more in this series. Zelda Benjamin is a master at creating rich sensuality in a sweet love story.



Books available- Kindle and paperback


  1. Great interview! I love that you bring your own experiences to your stories. And we can all relate to chocolate!

  2. You got me with the chocolate! Great questions, I think is great that she has both tradititonal and self-published books.
    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming