We have a winner!
won a copy of
The Vines We Planted
Category: Fiction, 285 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Release date: 4/17/2018
In case you missed it
read the great Q&A with the author
by Joanell Serra
Category: Fiction, 285 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Release date: 4/17/2018
In the heart of the California wine country, secrets seem to grow on the vines that Uriel Macon’s family has tended for generations.
Uriel, the winery’s young widower, steers clear of complicated relationships. He prefers the lonely comfort of his vineyard and his horses. Until he is reminded of his love affair with Amanda Scanlon, a relationship that ended when she abruptly left the country years ago under a cloud of mystery.
When, due to a family crisis, Amanda returns to Sonoma, she tries to mend the broken relationships left behind. In addition, she seeks the truth about her parents’ complicated history and her own parentage.
But Amanda’s unveiling of the past has devastating consequences. In the midst of California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley, the Scanlon family struggles to overcome harsh realities with dignity and grace.
Both Amanda and Uriel stretch to take care of their families, who are facing immigration issues, marital crises, and illness. While navigating these challenges, the couple must decide if they trust themselves to love again, or to finally let each other go.
A Sonoma local, author Joanell Serra’s debut novel is captivating, poignant, and uplifting, demonstrating how seeds planted long ago continue to grow. Sometimes into a strangling weed, sometimes offering a bountiful harvest.
Born and raised in New Jersey in an absolutely colorful family, I came west as soon as I finished college.
I live, work and write in Northern California. I am a parent and licensed therapist as well as a writer. These many roles give me plenty of material!
Writing for many years, I’ve been very fortunate as a writer. I have had the pleasure of being included in excellent anthologies, seen my words come to life on stage, sat around the fire with a group of talented and kind writers at Squaw, been hosted for complimentary week at Santa Barbara Writer’s conference, and received encouragement from across the country as my stories have been published by highly regarded websites and literary magazines. The Bay Area is a vibrant place for writers, and I reap the benefits – whether I am reading in a small setting or being mentored by one of the wonderful local writers.
I love living a literary life, among so many inspiring writers.
Read more about the author and her writings on her website
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The book is out in pre-sale now, at the publisher’s site, on sale and with free shipping:
It is also on Amazon as a Kindle release April 17 and print release May 8.
It is also on shelves at bookstores near Sonoma, and can be ordered at any Independent bookstore.
Living in California, issues with immigration are really challenging for much of our community. In describing Gloria’s circumstances, I wanted to show the reality my friends, clients and colleagues face – being undocumented, even if they’ve been here since childhood, means almost constant fear. There are few avenues to “legalize”, but returning to a country they barely know, where there is no economic opportunity to even provide food for their children, is unrealistic. For now at least, they are caught in a very difficult bind. Rather than lecture, I wanted to show the absurd situations that arise. One of the characters is fighting for the “right” to work, while the child of her father, a citizen, chooses not to.
Years! I wish I could tell you it was easy, but it was a long labor of love. Initially short stories, I eventually realized the need for this to be a novel and went back to the drawing board. With a lot of help from editors and beta readers, I eventually shaped it into a novel, in which I hope the stories blend seamlessly.
The next book is about 50% done, but I’m again taking my time to make it as rich and engaging as possible. Many of the characters from The Vines We Planted re-emerge, and we are back at the winery! However the protagonists are both new to the readers, as is are some of the extreme circumstances they face, inspired by the real live events here in Sonoma this fall.
I really do. I do my “research’ for the book by visiting some of my favorite wineries. Lately I’ve heard a few life stories that sound so much like my characters’ I have to remind myself I wrote the book over a year ago – I’m not using these folks as material! But I find life and art are like that – more of a kaleidoscope than separate worlds.
Please check out my author site, follow my author blog about all things writing, Sonoma, and life, and “like” my Facebook, Goodreads, or Instagram feed [links above]. I love to hear from readers and of course really appreciate readers’ honest reviews.
1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret — a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.
Many years before, her mother’s hard-won dreams of staking her family’s claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.
From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.
Buy the book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ Chapters
Books-a-Million ~ Book Depository ~ iBooks
Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women’s fiction for St. Martin’s Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women’s fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.
The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at www.janmoran.com and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.
What genre do you write and why?
My favorite genre is the 20th century historical saga, followed by contemporary mainstream. The Winemakers and Scent of Triumph take place in the first half of the 20th century, a pre-computer technology period I find highly textural and engaging for storytelling. As for my contemporary books, I enjoy writing these because they’re a break from detailed historical research. With smart, sassy heroines, they’re also a lot of fun to write.
Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?
While I was writing The Winemakers, I admit I found myself tasting a little as I was writing to capture the feeling of the wine. Ordinarily I graze as I write, nibbling my way through writing sessions. If I’m being good, then I have tea, fruit, nuts, avocados, and crunchy veggies. Popcorn is a comfort food, as is good dark chocolate! And did I mention great vats of coffee?
Where do you write?
Variety is good for me; I write in bed, at my desk, in the library, quiet coffee shops – sometimes I even record spoken scenes on my phone as I’m walking.
Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?
I always write better with music; I like different types of music depending on what kind of scene I’m writing. As for editing, at the moment I’m partial to Spanish guitar because it keeps the mind sharp and alert. Maybe that’s why I wrote about Spain in one of my novels…
In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your books on paper?
If an idea strikes, I’ll write on anything that’s handy—napkins, receipts, envelopes, blank checks. Occasionally I’ll write in longhand at the beach, or by the fireplace on a wintry day. This helps me capture the mood of a scene.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
When I’m writing, I immerse myself in the music, history, and culture of the period I’ve chosen. If I could choose only one trip, I’d travel to the court of the Russian Tsar, because Tolstoy’s War and Peace has always been a favorite book. (I’m also a real sucker for Quantum Leap and Dr. Who television episodes.)
However, the best use of time travel for me would be to experience the time period I’m writing about. Imagine returning to Napa in the 1950s, or Montalcino in the 1920s, as we do in The Winemakers. Now that would be a truly immersive reading experience.
Win a $25 Amazon gift card
and Winemakers swag (USA)