Alice Castle had her first novel published this year but, rather unusually, it came out in Germany having been translated into German.

The Dulwich resident, who used to live in Clapham, tells GRAHAM MOODY why and also gives hope to any aspiring writers still struggling to make a breakthrough.

Graham Moody: So what's your first novel about then?

Alice Castle: Hot Chocolate, or Schokoherz, is a grown-up chick lit novel about life, love and chocolate. The heroine is an accident-prone, warm and jolly journalist called Bella who, after a huge catastrophe in her career, decides to reinvent herself as a chocolate-maker. She moves to Brussels, chocolate capital of the world, with her husband and two children, and has plenty of adventures along the way.

GM: How come it came to be published in Germany?

AC: Because my agent took the manuscript to the Frankfurt bookfair, where a German publisher, Ullstein, fell in love with the book. It was a big surprise to me as I don't even read German. It was all translated for me by the publisher and I have to admit that I can't even read the blurb on the back.

GM: It sold out pretty quickly didn't it?

AC: The book sold out in two weeks - I was really thrilled as it's very unusual to sell out in hardback. The publishers reprinted straight away and are also bringing out a paperback version over the summer.

GM: Any possibility of getting the book published over here?

AC: I'm hoping to get the book published in English - if there are any UK publishers reading, please get in touch.

GM: Do you have any follow-ups planned?

AC: I'm working on my second novel at the moment. It stars Bella again and is provisionally entitled Chocolate Sauce. I also have a blog,, which is one of the most popular 'mummy blogs' in the country.

GM: How long have you been writing for and trying to get a book published?

AC: I've wanted to be a novelist ever since I was a child and started writing seriously about five years ago and Hot Chocolate has been through many, many draft versions and had several titles along the way.

GM: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

AC: I would say just keep on writing. It could happen tomorrow, or it could take years, but the struggle is definitely worth it. It was a truly unforgettable moment when I first held a copy of my own book in my hands.