Before Tessa met Royal Andreas, her bookstore was on the verge of sinking. And before Tessa met Royal Andreas, she didn’t mind being single. But Royal brings in business with monthly wine tastings featuring his family’s signature vintages–and brings Tessa’s heart to a standstill with intense gray eyes that look on her with nothing but cool indifference.
Yet one searing kiss between the stacks gives Tessa a glimpse of the passion smoldering beneath–and a secret pain further revealed when Royal fills in as the musician at a tasting event. Every note of Spanish guitar tells a story of family tragedy, loss, and ongoing suffering that’s made Royal afraid to lean on anyone…even if he needs Tessa’s sweet flavor more than the richest wine. Only her strength can save him when his world crumbles to ashes. But has Royal learned trust too late to claim Tessa as his own?
1. Wine and books...what could be a better combination. Where did the story idea for Ashes and Wine originate from?
It started with the bookstore actually. One of the longest jobs I've ever had was working for Barnes and Noble. I love book stores, but sometimes the overwhelming corporate side gets in the way of that intimate one on one customer interaction. I visited SoHo with some friends and really fell in love with the eclectic feel of the shops and BAM! That's all it takes. I love the sibling dynamics and always wanted to write about a winery. Seemed like a good combo.
2. Spanish guitar music is very beautiful and really smolders with passion. Are there any songs in particular that spoke to you as you wrote the book?
Yes. I'm a music junkie. Every one of my stories (published and otherwise) has a playlist. Most of them can be found on my Spotify account which you can access off my website. They allow a play feature which I've embedded into the Ashes and Wine page.
But this song is what got me obsessed with the Spanish Guitar. Some might recognize the name. Richie Sambora's been the lead guitarist with Bon Jovi for almost thirty years, but he's also done some solo stuff. He wrote Ava's Eyes for his daughter and it just BLEW me away.
Ava's Eyes - Richie Sambora
Kiss Quick - Matt Nathanson
3. What are some of your favorite wines?
I like the fruity wines like Tessa does. Moscato and a small winery that I tripped over at a wine tasting party, Tanglerose. It's a sweet American Rose from Phoenix Vintners. They're part of The Traveling Vineyard. It helps small wineries get more business. And I'm utterly in love with the wine. I drank an entire bottle myself. And I'm so not a drinker like that. Well, not since college.
4. Red wine vs. White?
I like the sweet whites and rosés.
5. Cheese vs. fruit?
Don't they go hand in hand? LOL But I'm a cheese lover if I have to choose.
6. What one thing would you tell someone who was interested in becoming a writer?
Be prepared to work. It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done, but it's also the hardest. Dig deep and find a story that makes you lie awake at night. That won't let your mind shut off. Those are the stories that will resonate.
7. What are some of your favorite authors that have inspired your work?
I'm a Nora Roberts junkie. She's the author that actually got me writing. I've always loved to read, but the first time I picked up one of her books I was bowled over. The family dynamic, the tension between characters, the page-turning style--all of it sucked me in. I used to get the Intimate Moments in the mail from Silhouette/Harlequin and I got her book in the mail. Night Shift--about a Radio DJ who was getting stalked and the cop that had to come in and protect her. Oh...I even still remember the characters names. Boyd and Cilla. *sigh* Man, I was SO hooked. I've re-read that book a couple dozen times.
Currently, Victoria Dahl, is on my auto-buy list. I've been slurping up every one of her books that is out there. My fave trilogy of hers was Talk Me Down, Start Me Up, and Lead Me On. I'm salivating for her new one at the end of August. Talk about funny and snarky heroines. My FAVE.
And Cari Quinn. As far as I'm concerned, that girl can do no wrong. She can twist you up, spit you out and make you fall in love with men you'd never think could be redeemed. One name--Spencer. *sigh* It will always be Spencer. (Provoke Me is the book. LOL)
8. What are you currently working on?
I just finished a submission for a Christmas novella for Entangled. *crossing fingers* That it will get picked up. And I'm working on a new trilogy set in The Hamptons. My girl is a roller derby dress maker named December and her rich playboy, Heath. She's going to take him down in the best way possible. ;) The boy won't know what hit him.
9. How hard was it to write your first romantic scene?
The first one ever? Oh it was easy. I love that push and pull of emotions and the skin on skin interaction. It's utterly cringe worthy though. LOL Holy purple prose, Batman! Waves crashing and sighs, with a side of falling off a cliff. LOL Now? They're damn hard. But I'll never be a closed bedroom door writer.
10. How much does music influence you when you write?
HUGELY. It's the heart of the emotions of my stories. I choose songs for their lyrics or for the mood they put me in when I'm listening to it. Sometimes the playlist changes halfway through a book. Because I'm a seat-of-my-pants kind of writer, the tone of a book might change in the middle. Or because I find a new artist. It's a tool for me, and an invaluable one.
Thanks so much for joining me today on the blog!!