Crushed, a novel of wine and love by Deborah Coonts
Publication Date: March 9, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins.
And in the pursuit of perfection, dreams and hearts can be crushed.
Sophia Stone is a widow on the brink of an empty nest, stuck in an unsatisfying job managing the vineyard for a mediocre Napa vintner. Faced with an uncertain future she wonders how do you choose between making a living and making a life? Between protecting your heart and sharing it? Five years ago, after her husband was killed in an accident, Sophia put her heart and dreams on ice to care for those around her. Now her home, her dreams, and her family’s legacy grapes are threatened by the greed of the new money moving into the Valley. Sophia has a choice—give up and let them take what is hers, or risk everything fighting a battle everyone says she can’t win.
Nico Treviani has one goal in life: make brilliant wine. A woman would be an unwanted distraction. So, while recognized as one of Napa’s premier vintners, Nico finds himself alone… until his brother’s death drops not one, but two women into his life—his thirteen-year-old twin nieces. In an instant, Nico gains a family and loses his best friend and partner in the winemaking business. Struggling to care for his nieces, Nico accepts a job as head winemaker for Avery Specter, one of the new-money crowd. And he learns the hard way that new money doesn’t stick to the old rules.
Welcome to The Book Bag today Deborah! I love it when authors answer my 'voices' question. Their answers are always so much fun to read and gives us all a little look at their writing process.
I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?
Yes, this is my world. I hear voices and play with imaginary friends all day everyday, in the shower, on a walk, at night. I dated a psychologist once and you should’ve seen the look on his face when he asked me what I intended to do that day and I replied, “Play with my imaginary friends.” After some thought he told me that to most in his business, I would be an annuity. No, we didn’t last long:)
In real life, as in my imaginary one, I’m very visual, so I translate all of my stories into a running movie reel in my head, then I write down what I see and hear. Most of the time this works pretty well. I’ve run into trouble with my first series when people ask me what my protagonist, Lucky, looks like. The book is written in her point of view, so I never saw her in my head. I was always looking at life through her eyes. Yep, had to find a mirror so she could comment on her attributes and inadequacies.
The Napa series is told in the third person, which presented it’s own challenges. Being able to crawl inside different characters and wander around in their thoughts made me feel like the Whoopi Goldberg character in Ghost. The more I did it, the more characters started queuing up for their chance to talk and to be heard! In CRUSHED, Nico, the male lead, has a particularly strong voice. He threatened to take over the story. I had to shush him quite a bit:) Now, CRUSHED, is the first in the series and, as I envision it, each of Sophia’s friends (including her daughter, Dani) will get to be the star of her own book, but all the women will be present in some capacity in each story as well. So, lots and lots of competing voice. The challenge is to amp up the one’s I want.
Most of the time, listening to all my characters works out fine. Other times a character simply refuses to do what I think they ought to. Since these are imaginary friends, you’d think I’d dream up ones who are a bit more compliant! But, then they wouldn’t be all that interesting to write and read about, would they? In the third book in the Lucky series, a French chef simply hijacked the whole story. I knew where I wanted the story to go but I couldn’t get past him. I tried everything. Finally, one night in a hotel in San Antonio, lying awake in the darkness listening to my then husband snore so badly I thought someone would call security, the French Chef finally told me his story. And it’s a great one. So, despite my intentions to the contrary, he became a major player in Lucky’s life, complicating things dramatically, as temperamental French chefs are won’t to do. Had the same thing happen with Lucky’s best friend, Teddie—Las Vegas’s premier female impersonator, who also happens to be straight. He was not happy at being the sidekick, the jester, if you will. And his determination to play a larger role made the stories so much better.
Through all of this, I’ve learned, I need to listen to my characters. When they seem particularly adamant, they usually are right. And they have taken the stories off on unforeseen roads that lead to much better adventures and complications!
So, the story ideas come to me, through characters, through an intriguing setting (Vegas, Napa), a Ted talk, a conference I attend with a friend because it’s about something I know nothing about, through a casual comment, through one of the myriad of things I read everyday. Life is full of stories. The key is recognizing them.
All great fun—the very best job ever.
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