Sunday, September 11, 2011

Interview With Zelda Benjamin

There's something delectable about Zelda Benjamin. Could it be...the chocolate? Maybe at first glance. But there's more to this lovely Avalon author than yummy goodness. Come along with me and learn just what makes Zelda melt. Leave a comment, and you could be the lucky winner of one of her Chocolate books!

Q.: Tell us about your latest book for Avalon, Chocolate Muse.

A.: Chocolate Muse is the third book in my Love by Chocolate Series. The heroine, Maddie, a classically trained pastry chef was introduced in the previous book, Chocolate Magic.   When someone mistakenly covers her signature torta di chocolate in soap powder instead of sugar, she’s fired before the review hits the morning paper.
Forced to take a job in a friend's bakery and teach a children's evening class to make ends meet, she vows vengeance on the man responsible for her damaged reputation. But when she realizes that the father of two of her students is her nemesis, the charming food writer Brad Angelo, her anger deflates faster than an overcooked souffle.

Brad, a single father struggling to balance parenting and his syndicated food column, is completely clueless about the trouble he's caused Maddie. He finds her evasive attitude and chocolate talent to be intriguing parts of her allure, but isn't sure he’s ready to create a life that might be messier than melted chocolate when their secrets are slowly revealed.

Q.: Clearly, you have a passion for chocolate. How did it start? Do you have a special background in pastry or desserts?

A.: Unfortunately, I have no special chocolate talents. I love to cook, but baking and working with chocolate are too precise for me.  The idea for the first book, Chocolate Secrets came to me when I read about an attempted robbery at the home of a famous French chocolatier. It was believed the intruders were searching for his secret recipe. I guess you can say that article sparked the entire series.  I started doing chocolate research by visiting chocolate shops in cities that I visited. When shop owners discovered my interest in chocolate they were more than willing to share their knowledge. I have tasted some really great chocolate and learned a few tips that I share with my readers. I always have an excuse for dessert.

Q.: White chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate?

A.: I’m a chocolaholic who prefers dark chocolate to milk chocolate. I don’t need a reason to indulge, but the health benefits to eating dark chocolate are always an incentive. Friends and fans are always sending me articles about chocolate. I’d like to share some interesting links.

I know the higher the cocoa content the better the benefits, but I can’t eat chocolate over 70% cocoa.

Q.: Are there any other chocolate books in the works?

A.: Chocolate Couture, book 4 is my current work in progress. This will be my last book in the series.

Q.: Tell us about some of your other interests. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

A.: When I’m not writing I work as a nurse in a pediatric ER.  I love to travel with my family- husband, kids, and grandchildren.

Q.: Sounds like a busy, satisfying life. So, what's next for you?

A.: Writing a series is fun.  I’d like to do another series.

Q.: Where can readers find you?

A.: Readers can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
They can also visit my website to see some photos of my favorite vacation spots.

Q.: Anything else you'd like readers to know about you? 

A.: I’d like to do a giveaway with this interview. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the first book in the series, Chocolate Secrets. I’ll do a random pick and will contact the winner for details.

Awesome! I know I'm up for some chocolate right about now? How about the rest of you?

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to me today, Zelda. Wishing you lots of dark chocolate and many sales!


Noelene said...

Zelda, what a yummy topic for novels. I envy the research places you must have had to visit. Would also be interested in your time frame for writing and submitting a series, and the editor's requirements, if any, in that regard.

Roni Denholtz said...

I loved Chocolate Secrets! It was a fun and intriguing book. I just ordered the second book from B&N. Can't wait to read that too. You have great book covers!

Elisabeth Rose said...

A delectable interview. :) Those book covers make my mouth water. Chocolate---yummmm.
How interesting that a chocolate recipe can be such a prized adn coveted possession. Must be like the secret perfume recipes.

Zelda Benjamin said...

The Avalon cover artists have always done a great job with my covers. I can't look at them without craving chocolate.

Jamie D. said...

The Love by Chocolate series sounds fabulous! I'm sitting here craving every kind of chocolate known to man--of which Weight Watchers offers little. :-) Thanks for the great interview--looking forward to checking out your work!

SueO said...

"Unfortunately, I have no special chocolate talents." You don't need them; chocolate has all the talent and hates to be upstaged! :)

Nice interview, Zelda. I'll have to look into your books. You hooked me with the soap-instead-of-sugar revelation! Sounds imaginative and so different.

Sarita said...

Chocolate Muse sounds wonderful. I cringed when I read soap powder instead of sugar--how awful! I hope she overcomes the damage done by that.

Love chocolate, too. Sometimes I think it's really just the best comfort food. In fact, I'm going to start this day with hot can come later. It's chilly here so the hot choc will be a good beginning.

Wishing you continued success with what sounds like a lovely series. Thanks for letting us get to know you a bit!

Sandy Cody said...

Zelda, what an inspired theme for your series! Who doesn't love chocolate? It sounds like your muse approves too and has helped you come up with entertaining stories that are the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of hot chocolate (the darker the better).

Kudos to you too, Gina, for asking the perfect questions.

Zelda Benjamin said...

Sarita, I wish the temp would drop down here so I can enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate.
Sandy, how dark can you go on your chocolate?Sometimes those higher cocoa % taste kind of chalky.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Great interview, Zelda. I love your books. They always make me hungry for chocolate!

Carolyn Brown said...

Maybe if I drink steamy, hot chocolate fall will arrive! I've tried making pots of various kinds of soup and banana bread but that's not working. I think I NEEED chocolate!

Carolyn Hughey said...

This is one of my absolute favorite subjects, Zelda, Chocolate!

Because I'm also a chocoholic, the heroines in my novels are too. The only disadvantage is they get to indulge more than I do and not gain weight, so I live vicariously through them. :-)

I loved, loved, loved Chocolate Secrets and when I was done with it, I donated to the Oceania cruise line library, so your book is sailing around the world, and the book you donated went to a Chocolate Shoppe in Glendale, Arizona. We're spreading the word. Eat Chocolate!!

Jayne Ormerod... said...

Oh wow, am I craving some dark chocolate now! What a great interview that appeals to ALL my senses (is hunger a sense? It should be!) and makes me want to read the books!

Very nice to "meet" you Zelda!

Allison Chase said...

I love these covers, I love the stories, and I love chocolate - and how you weave it into the relationship and make it so sensual! What could be better?

Cynthia Thomason said...

I've read three of these books and they are yummy. I love your heroes almost as much as your chocolate references.
Cynthia Thomason

Zelda Benjamin said...

Thanks for all the chocolate comments.
SueO, I love it - Chocolate doesn't like to be upstaged.
Carolyn, me too- waiting for the temp to drop. If it ever goes below 90 we'll have to get together for that cup of hot cocoa.
Gina did a great job asking all those exciting chocolate questions. I could talk forever about chocolate but had to keep it short.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

My two favorite chocolates are Green & Black's organic dark 85%, and dark w/ chili which has a nice bite to it. Both are a yummy as your chocolate series.

Christine Bush said...

Loved Chocolate Secrets! And it was so much fun to read about you and your "Chocolate series"! And also to think of chocolate as a "health food".

Keep on writing these wonderful books!

martine schulman said...

The "Chocolate" books are so yummy.
Very good stories & fast reading. Zelda Benjamin is a wonderful author. Thank you!

Mia said...

Chocolate and love, what could be better. These sound like fabulous books.

Zelda Benjamin said...

Just picked names out of a Dove chocolate bag and Christine Bush wins a book.