Monday, November 6, 2023

Q&A with Suzanne Simonetti



Suzanne Simonetti is the author of the new novel A Cape May Christmas Story. She also has written the novel The Sound of Wings. She lives in Cape May, New Jersey.


Q: What inspired you to write a Christmas story set in Cape May, New Jersey (where you live)?


A: I wrote this story because seeing Christmas through the eyes of Cape May helps me to fall back in love with the season. There is a comforting charm here that is unique unto itself.


Cape May is consistently recognized by magazine and trade publications. Just last year, USA Today named the town as one of the top 10 best small coastal towns by its Readers’ Choice Awards and in 2023 as No. 1 for best Northeastern small towns for 2023.


According to Condé Nast Traveler, Cape May ranks among the top 27 most beautiful towns in America and stands at No. 9 in Country Living Magazine as one of the prettiest spots in wintertime.


Globe Trotter Travels rated Cape May as one of the top 10 iconic small towns in America and a great winter destination for those seeking a relaxing getaway.


More specifically, Travel + Leisure believes Cape May to be one of the top 25 best towns to visit in the USA at Christmastime. 


Q: How did you create the members of the Abernathy family?


A: It was important for the characters to have a connection to Cape May and also that this would be their first time celebrating Christmas in the town as homeowners.


Rita is someone any reader would love to have as a neighbor or friend and she was fun to write. The tension between two brothers was important as was the lifestyle and personality differences between them.

The Christmas Rita is envisioning for her family is something many of us can relate to—especially, if there has been tumult of a divide within the family.


I added Patti the baker for a dollop of small-town romance, which is often expected from a holiday tale—and how perfect that she ends up dating one of Rita’s sons!


Q: You tell the story from different characters' perspectives--how did you choose who would be the point-of-view characters?


A: Paul Abernathy serves as somewhat of a Grinch or Scrooge character, so I wanted to be sure he had a voice so we could understand why he is so tense and agitated through much of the story.


Since Rita is the main character and this Christmas is hers to throw, I wanted to be sure we understood how she was faring in her many roles: new homeowner, worried mother and wife, satisfied grandmother.


We needed an outside perspective beyond the members of the Abernathy family, and since Patti Kelley is friends with Rita and ends up as a love interest for Chase Abernathy, I thought it was important to hear from her and what life is like as a local business owner in Cape May.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: I hope readers get a real sense for the magic and inherent charm and beauty of Cape May. The story is filled with optimism and meant to be a toasty and lighthearted seasonal tale.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am currently making plans for a follow-up to my debut novel, The Sound of Wings, and sketching an outline for a romance series.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: For updates, recipes, and free goodies, be sure to subscribe to my website:


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Suzanne Simonetti.

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