Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including The Sweet Life, The Moonlight School, and A Season on the Wind, as well as the Three Sisters Island, Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill Series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs.
In this interview, she talks about her latest novel, The Secret to Happiness, which is the second book in her Cape Cod Creamery Series.
FF: Can you please provide a brief summary of your novel, The Secret to Happiness?
Callie Dixon arrives at the Main Street Creamery for a short visit with her relatives. Just to get her bounce back, she says, while she’s in-between jobs. To Marnie’s and Dawn’s distress, Callie heads straight to bed and stays there. Turns out her bounce has up and left.
FF: In The Sweet Life, book one of the Cape Cod Creamery Series, you introduce readers to Dawn and Marnie Dixon. How is Callie Dixon in The Secret to Happiness related to Dawn and Marnie?
While at Penn State’s Ice Cream School, Marnie Dixon bumps into her husband’s niece, Callie, whom she hasn’t seen in years. Something seems “off” with Callie, so Marnie invites her to Cape Cod. More specifically, she doesn’t stop Callie when she invites herself.
Callie Dixon is an executive chef until a colossal mistake upends her “perfect” world.
FF: Can you offer a hint of what might have happened at her former job?
I borrowed a real-life situation for Callie. During an actual Food Safety Conference, a sauce for chicken was accidentally left out overnight and served to attendees the next day. Hundreds got sick. Such irony! That scenario had to go into a novel.
FF: Why did Callie choose to relocate to Cape Cod?
Actually, I think Cape Cod chose Callie.
FF: Although Callie’s life has gone through a major upheaval, she is resistant to going to a community class about the secret to happiness. How does this class make an impact on her life?
While Callie didn’t know what to think about the Secret to Happiness class, she definitely didn’t expect a gloomy instructor. Although Bruno Bianco had written a book on the topic, he never smiled. Never joked, never laughed. Happiness, it seemed, was serious business.
FF: Your male protagonist, Bruno Bianco, told Callie, “Hitting rock bottom may be the very best place to be.” What did he mean by this statement?
Bruno might be gloomy (he would say “somber”), but he has tremendous insights about what it would take to live a fulfilled, contented life. Readers will enjoy discovering how he ended up studying and teaching on the topic of happiness. Let’s just say it has something to do with hitting rock bottom.
FF: What other life lessons can readers gain from reading The Secret to Happiness?
Here’s the biggest one Callie learned: Who or what is telling her story? Once she realized what she’d been letting define her, she was ready to grab hold of her life.
FF: What inspired the idea for this series?
My husband’s passion for ice cream making. Like Dawn and Marnie Dixon, he attended Penn State’s Ice Cream School. My editor, after sampling my husband’s ice cream, and told me she wanted a series that would include ice cream. I took that suggestion and ran with it!
FF: What do you love most about writing contemporary romance novels?
Creating relevant love stories with characters who are committed to hanging in there and working things out. Like Dawn Dixon and her mother, Marnie. I enjoy writing from the eyes of a modern millennial, then bouncing back to the point of view of a middle-aged-ish character. After all, love doesn’t have an expiration date.
FF: What are you working on next?
Next fall, Lost and Found will release. It’s a story about a young man in love, caught between two sisters.
The Secret to Happiness
Cape Cod Creamery Series #2
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Callie Dixon had the world by its tail…until it all slipped away. Fired from her dream job after making a colossal mistake, she’s escaped to her aunt’s home on Cape Cod for time to bounce back. Except it isn’t a home, it’s an ice cream shop. And time isn’t going to help, because Callie’s bounce has up and left. There’s a reason she made that mistake at work and she’s struggling to come to terms with it.
Things go from bad to worse when Callie’s cousin Dawn drags her to a community class about the secret to happiness. Happiness is the last thing Callie wants to think about right now, but instructor Bruno Bianco—a curiously gloomy fellow—is relentless. He has a way of turning Callie’s thoughts upside down. Her feelings, too.
Could Bruno be right when he says that hitting rock bottom is the very best place to be? If so, how is that supposed to help her find exactly what—or who—has been missing all along?
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