The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke ~~~Blog Tour~~~

Today is my stop on The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke Blog Tour. I am delighted to welcome Karen to take part in my Q&A Interview.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I’m originally from Scarborough in Yorkshire, but have lived in Buckinghamshire for years now. It’s where I met my husband and raised my children, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve had many jobs over the years, from office work, to pub management, to wedding photographer, to working in a library, but the urge to write was always bubbling away.

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
My love of reading definitely made me want to write from a very young age, and I was always making up stories. Life got in the way, but when I decided to take it seriously, I did an online course with the Writer’s Bureau and had a few articles published, which gave me the confidence to carry on. About eight years ago, I joined an online writing group called A Story a Fortnight, writing and critiquing short stories, and started writing for women’s magazines. I’ve sold around 350 stories to date.

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
My genre is romantic comedy (or chick lit) and my audience is anyone looking for a story that will make them smile – or even laugh – and leave them with a nice, warm glow.

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
First draft takes around 2-3 months, and I work well with a deadline as it forces me to sit down and write. Without one, I procrastinate a lot. I tend to go out to coffee shops, and I write in bursts. Once I start, hours can pass without me looking up.

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
My characters have traits of people I know, but they’re not based on actual people.

Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
My first-ever novel (which will be stashed in a drawer forever) was the closest to being autobiographical – which is apparently quite common for first novels – and included a lot of my own life as a single mother (at that time.) My main character was doing the same job that I’d had, and was involved in voluntary work, like me. Not very imaginative, really . . .

What research do you do?
It was enjoyable researching sweet shops for my current book. There’s an old-fashioned one in the town near where I live, so I popped in and had a good chat with the owner, and came away with plenty of samples to try!

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I co-wrote a book with a good writing friend a couple of years ago, and it was a really enjoyable experience, but generally I prefer writing alone.

What’s your favorite book?
I read such a lot it’s hard to pick a favourite, but one that stands out, because it was the book that made me want to write humorous women’s fiction. was Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.

What’s your favorite food?
I could happily live on cake, but limit myself for obvious reasons!

What’s your favorite film?
A recent favourite was Room, starring Brie Larson, which was even better than the book.

What’s your favorite song?
I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash always reminds me of good times.

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?

Chocolate fudge, butterscotch and raspberry bonbons… treat yourself to some sugary treats, a big slice of friendship and a sprinkling of romance at The Beachside Sweet Shop.

When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help. 

Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop. 

Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate. 

And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish? 

A deliciously heartwarming read about family, friends and handmade coconut ice. Perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Debbie Johnson, and Tilly Tennant.

The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke

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