The Blogger Book Fair continues, and today I host author Delancey Stewart who stops by to discuss her book A Rare Vintage (Wine Country Romance, Volume One)
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
This is a contemporary romance that will appeal to most romance readers, but is targeted towards wine and food lovers. I used to sell wine and have always found the millennia of wine history to be fascinating and very romantic, so I’ve woven that love for wine into a happily ever after romance set in California’s lesser known wine country – Paso Robles. Readers will come away with a satisfying romance AND a greater knowledge of wine!
If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
Hmm… I picture Isabella DaSilva with wild, almost untamable curly red hair. Maybe like Bridget Regan: For Jonathan Sauvage, I picture him a lot like Eduardo Verastegui: or maybe this guy:
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
For me, they’re pretty much one and the same. I guess maybe you’re asking if I’m more plot-driven or character-driven as a writer. I think I’d say character. To me, the people are what make the story interesting. I believe that a particular story cannot happen to just anyone. For a story to work, readers must believe that it could only belong to that one character.
Of all your characters in this book, which one is your favorite? Why?
It is hard to pick a favorite, but I think I’d have to go with Vicki. She’s Jonathan’s little sister, and she works in the background to keep things running when other people are too wrapped up in their issues and problems to do it. She’s a caretaker, but doesn’t ask for much in return, and she is really an optimistic and uplifting personality. I think I wish to be more like Vicki Sauvage!
Vicki is Jonathan’s sister – he’s our hero. He’s less capable of rolling with the punches and tends to believe that the world rests on his shoulders. He broods and has a quick temper…but we end up loving him anyway!
What genre would your life story be? And do you have a snappy title for your life story?
A snappy life story, you say… I’ve never used that word to describe it! I think my life has been made up of lots of stories. I’ve lived in lots of cities (and un-cities) and held lots of different jobs. I didn’t meet my husband until I was thirty, so did quite a lot of living on my own before that. I think different parts of my life might make interesting stories. I’m writing a series based on the time I spent in New York City in the late nineties, called Girlfriends of Gotham. That’ll publish with Swoon Romance in the fall. That said, I’m not sure my life would be a romance so much… It’d be one of those cross-genre sagas that defy categorization, I believe!
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Well, Channing Tatum, of course.
But I’d probably need someone for conversation. I think I’d also pick Betty White.
And then I’d need a girlfriend to just hang out with and talk about Channing and how hot he is. I’m tempted to pick Salma Hayek. I’ve always thought she’d be fun to know, but she’s a bit too sexy and I’m not looking for competition on my island. If it’s between me and one other chick, I’m going to stack the odds in my favor. So I pick Oprah. No, I don’t think Oprah would like me, actually, and I don’t want to be insecure… Okay, I pick… Lauren Graham. I know she isn’t really Loralei Gilmore or the girl from Parenthood, but I think we’d get along swimmingly anyway. And maybe I’d even be willing to share Channing. But probably not.
Lol! I love the deductive reasoning! Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
I can twist my arms so that it looks like I’m praying behind my back. I can also procrastinate like nobody’s business and still get things done.
Ha! I think I know a few people with that procrastination talent! What’s your favorite line from any movie?
“I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” — Ron Burgundy (Anchorman)
Someday, I want to _________ (What?)
Take a Mediterranean cruise on a small boat with no small children anywhere to be seen. For at least two weeks. My husband will be invited.
Let’s take a peek at A Rare Vintage
Isabella DaSilva, a fiery grad student from Cornell’s wine program is eager to leave her past behind her and forge a future in the vineyards of the West as an apprentice at Chateau Sauvage, a winery seeking to produce wine like no other California wineries had so far — Rhone varietals.
She arrives at Chateau Sauvage to find that wine might not be her only interest. The winemaker, Jonathan Sauvage, is tall, dark, and handsome, and clearly in need of help. Together, they work to make a pioneering wine in an effort to keep the struggling winery afloat. Each struggles with their demons — hers in the form of a painful and mysterious past; his created by memories of what once might have been. In the process, they find that the pain of their shattered pasts fit together perfectly, making their union as perfect as the wine it produces.
A Rare Vintage features an intense and commanding hero who isn’t afraid to ask for help, and a woman who knows that while she might technically be the apprentice, she has plenty to teach Jonathan Sauvage.
This book is the first in the Wine Country Romance series. The second book, Redemption Red, will be out at the end of the summer.
Once they’d finished breakfast, Jonathan led Isabella back out to the barn as Roberto headed for the fields. The room was cool and drafty compared to the heat of the morning air.
Jonathan showed Isabella to a wall of several large barrels. “These are all Grenache,” he told her. “The bigger barrels work better than the sixty gallon ones,” he pointed at the racks on the far wall. “The bigger barrel lets less oxygen through and Dad learned the hard way that Grenache oxidizes quickly if you let it.”
Isabella was scrawling notes in a small notebook she’d pulled from her pocket.
“We’ve got two years’ worth here,” Jonathan said. “We only made Syrah last year, and not much of it. Dad got sick the year before that, and things really slowed down. Some things just didn’t get attended to. We’ll need to see what’s going on in these barrels at this point.”
“So the Syrah’s on the far wall?” Isabella asked, pointing at a rack of barrels that climbed the wall.
“Yeah. The Syrah gets fermented over there,” Jonathan motioned to two large open-topped tanks. “The oxidation helps it soften up.”
“We’ve also got small amounts of the Cinsault and Mourvèdre out here. And Dad sourced a little bit of Counoise from another winery that’s been experimenting with it.” He indicated a few barrels set apart from the others.”
“So you haven’t done any tasting or blending in a couple years?” Isabella said, not doing a very good job of hiding her shock.
“There’s a reason we signed on to the apprenticeship program, Isabella,” Jonathan told her, turning to face her. In the relative dark of the barn, her wild curls looked almost black and made the contrast with her pale skin more noticeable. Jonathan fought an urge to run his hand along the smooth curve of her face, to trace the high cheekbones with his thumb. He took a purposeful step back. “I need some help out here.”
“Roberto?” Isabella asked.
“He’s great in the vineyard, and he used to help Dad with the blending, but he doesn’t like to come in here now. I think he was as upset about my dad’s death as we were.” Jonathan searched her face. He saw something flicker at the mention of his dad’s death, but it didn’t look like sympathy. Her dark eyes were more liquid; she looked sad. She hadn’t even known his father. He wasn’t sure why she’d be so sad hearing about his death.
“Are you alright?” he asked her.
“I’m fine,” she said, rubbing her nose with the edge of her palm in a nervous way. “Shall we get started?”
“Absolutely. We’ll get back in here and start some tasting this afternoon. I want to show you the way things are laid out in the vineyards first.”
“Sure thing,” she said.
Outside the barn, Jonathan nodded towards a four-wheeler that was splattered with mud and looked like it had seen better days.
“You mind if we use that? There’s a lot of land to cover.”
“Okay,” Isabella said, sounding doubtful.
Jonathan slid a leg across the seat and started the engine. After a few moments of sputtering uncertainty, the ATV sprang to life. “Hop on,” he told her.
Isabella approached slowly and threw one leg carefully across the seat, sliding on behind Jonathan.
“You’re going to have to hold on,” he told her.
She looked around for a handle, her hands searching the sides of the seat.
“You’re going to have to hold on to me,” he corrected.
He could feel the length of her thighs pressed against the backs of his legs as she slid forward, and the heat radiating from what lay between them was almost more than he could take. He tensed as her arms went around his waist and he felt the careful distance she was keeping between them.
As he nudged the vehicle forward, she gripped him tighter, and as they flew down the narrow lanes, he tried to focus on avoiding the ruts and ditches, and not on the firm breasts he could feel pressing tightly against his back.
Delancey Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wine seller. Despite lots of other interests, she has always been a writer in some way, shape, or form.
A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler and story reader, as well as tech writer for a defense contractor and freelance editor. She tackles all these efforts at her current home in Southern Maryland.
Delancey Stewart is the author of Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 and the Wine Country Romance Series.
She is also working on the Girlfriends of Gotham Series for Swoon Romance. The first book, Men and Martinis, will be released in Fall 2013.