Book Giveaway & Author Interview: The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

Welcome to Author Christina Mandelski!


I have a fondness for the beach,  my family and good books. I love to read (especially curled up with a good cup of coffee). I also like to travel, ride my bike, walk and go to the movies. When I’m not doing these things, I can be found in my little loft office, writing!

Growing up, I always had my face in a book, and at a pretty young age discovered that I also liked to write. At first I wrote romances that paired me and my friends up with certain pop stars from the 1980s. I moved on to the yearbook and newspaper staffs of my middle and high schools (which was great fun and I got out of class a lot).

In college I decided to get a degree in Creative Writing and many years later finally sat down and wrote my first novel for teens.  I love to write stories about family, finding your voice, faith, friends and falling in love.

Somewhere along the line I married a Cubs fan/math genius/funny guy and had two super cool daughters. We live in the Houston area with a half-house cat, half-cheetah named Spencer.!/pages/The-Sweetest-Thing/100112536739270


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I’m a huge sucker for any story set during the turn of the last century. I imagine fabulous dresses, robber barons, romance, intrigue, dancing, heiresses and indoor plumbing. I won’t travel back to a time that doesn’t have a flush toilet.

What is one book everyone should read?
To Kill a Mockingbird. If you are a teenager, you might have read it or will soon in school. I beg you, don’t hate it just because it’s a school assignment. It’s a wonderful story, exciting, mysterious, and spectacularly written. If you’re an adult, and you haven’t lately, I recommend reading it again. What a timely story, imploring us to imagine what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
I would be Timestretcher because I’m forever longing for just a few more hours in the day.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Adding a few more hours to every day, of course. And my outfit would be fierce. Dark blue, I think, emblazoned with the face of a clock across my chest. I’d wear shiny white boots and a cape. I’d definitely have a cape.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Honestly, I’m not a huge ice cream fan (gasp!) but I will never refuse coffee ice cream. And if you mash up a Heath bar and mix it in, I’m yours.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
This might sound corny, but I’d meet Abe Lincoln. I spent ten years living in Springfield, Illinois, which he considered his “hometown”. I could see the obelisk that marked his tomb from my bedroom window. I learned a lot about him while living there and I’d love to sit down and ask him some questions.

One food you would never eat?
I despise pineapple in any form. And coconut. Please do not ever try to feed me a pineapple cake sprinkled with coconut. Thank you. My only hope is that I never land on a deserted island and those are the only two foods available to keep me alive.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The most rewarding aspect of having a book published is knowing that my daughters (who are 11 and 13) watched me do it from start to finish. It was a long, sometimes difficult road and they were with me every step of the way – and now they see the goal I set for myself long ago actually coming to fruition. I hope they are inspired to work hard to meet their own goals as a result.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Absolutely. If you love it, and have the discipline to keep at it, don’t ever give up. If you have to write fifty manuscripts first, don’t give up hope that the fifty-first will be the one.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
From my earliest memories I wanted to be a writer. I loved books and how they transported me to different places and times and introduced me to characters I loved (or loved to hate). Now I get to read and write for my bread and butter. I still have to pinch myself occasionally to make sure I’m not dreaming. I also wanted to be a wife and mom, and happily, I get to do that too.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Definitely somebody very exciting, because I’m afraid the plot itself would be awfully boring! Seriously, how enticing is a movie where the main character sits at a computer for eight hours a day, drives the carpool and makes meatloaf for dinner? Yeah, you see what I mean. I’m thinking Julia Roberts might draw in enough viewers to keep it from being a total bomb?

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
People keep asking this question, and it’s a good question – but I keep answering that my mother gives me the best writing advice (and she’s going to start gloating soon). Honestly, though, my mother tells me on a regular basis to finish what I’m working on. That one word, FINISH, is the bane of many a writer’s existence. It can be painful to keep working on a draft that is getting sticky in the middle, it can be mentally draining to come up with a memorable ending. It can be very hard to finish! But whenever I start whining, Mom tells me to just hush up and finish. A book that is never finished NEVER gets published.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I have to say that I cannot wait for The Hunger Games to hit the big screen. That series really got to me – I’d love to meet Suzanne Collins one day. She is an expert at world building, plotting, character development, well, she’s just an expert at everything, I guess. I can’t wait to see how the story translates to the big screen. I’m prepared to be disappointed, but hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What was your favorite children’s book?
One of my favorite books was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read it over and over. Even today, it’s one of my favorite books.

How do you react to a bad review?
This is a great question! My first reaction was to want to crawl under a rock. Seriously, I hadn’t given much thought to bad reviews. Of course, I understood that my book wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of joe, but I didn’t seriously think they’d declare that to the world. Well, they do. And I survived. And I print out every good review and read them from time to time. Truth is, no matter what you write, someone will love it, and someone will hate it. The ones who love it are who you write for, and that’s what you’ve got to focus on.

If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?
If I were a superhero, you could totally take me down with homemade key lime pie. Timestretcher loves her key lime pie.

The Sweetest Thing:
In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems – only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

The Sweetest Thing will be released on May 10, 2011

Giveaway Details:
2 copies of The Sweetest Thing
Open Internationally
Ends 5/26

Optional Extra Entry
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