Could You Tell Us About Yourself?
I’m a California native raised in a family that spent most of our free time road tripping through the Golden State. My dad was a teacher who shared his love of discovery with me and I embraced every opportunity to travel somewhere new and learn. Documenting my travels came naturally after college and a career in writing.
What made you write your book (s)?
My wanderlust for California’s hidden wine gems quickly became more than a hobby. I took time off work to join an internationally renowned wine studies program. But, when I got beyond sommelier level, I was surprised that there were 8 chapters on France, 7 chapters on Italy, and only one chapter on California, Oregon, and Washington. I felt compelled to set out on my own learning journey to experience more of the Golden State as part of my own wine studies program.
What’s your favourite book?
So many but I think a classic, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway remains my favorite of all time because I can reread his style to refresh my senses of showing without telling. I also admire writers from our history that were feminists before it was common or popular.
Who is your favourite author and why?
Again, so many. I love the way Stephen Hawking can take a tiny nuance of a feeling or emotion and place it in a moment that exemplifies a catharsis in a character. True magic.
How many hours a day do you write?
Some days I can write all day and deep into the night hours. Others I just spend an hour or two.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Well, my last book took a lot of time at a tiny cabin in the woods with no internet or TV. It worked wonderfully. I may do that again.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I can get hung up on a word or sentence that I feel emotionally strong about that just doesn’t fit. I’ll try writing around it or circling back to it from a different approach. But leaving it on the cutting room floor is heartbreaking.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
I have a few pieces of wall art that I find inspirational. One is a plaque that reminds me of Robert Frost’s journey: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Another plaque is not a quote but reads “She believe she could so she did”
And finally, “Well behaved women seldom make history” from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?
Deep dark chocolate. Perhaps that’s because it’s the only caffeine I consume so it gives me a tiny jump of endorphins and enthusiasm.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I cry. If I’m not driven to tears after all the disciplined focused hours of work and the emotional bearing of my deepest feelings then I’m not doing it right.
Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s)?
No. Never. But I listen to music when I do almost everything else and that often sparks an idea. So, I often turn it off and return to the writing.
Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s)?
I was interviewing the most creative winemakers in the most stunningly beautiful scenery I’d ever imagined even in my dreams or my mind’s eye. It was my destiny to share beauty like that with the world.
What is / was your writing process like?
I kept blog posts of what I’m experiencing where so that I can return to that moment with the tiny reminders in my blog post and expand on those experiences, both internally and externally. By the time the blog posts were plentiful enough to use in a book, I’d review comments or questions and clarify as needed while weaving other themes through.
Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Giving readers what they want is how to sell books. I’m still broke.
What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s)?
Writing is by far my favorite. I can get so lost in a description, summary, or snippet that I forget what time or day it is. The least favorite part is selling and marketing something so close to me and cherished that it’s like I’ve given birth to it.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
The end. I must’ve written and rewritten the ending a hundred times.
How did you come up with the title for your book (s)?
It came bubbling up when so many people would ask me, “what else is there beyond Napa?” I’d say “I’m going to make you Drink Your Words” full of spite. And I did.
Would you and your main character get along?
Well, my main character is me so no.
If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?
I love you just the way you are.
What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
Good question. Initially, the book was all non fiction about wine travels and what I was learning about viticulture in different regions. It was my editors that asked how hard it was living on the road out of four pairs of shoes and always being the new kid in town, moving every month. That’s when I realized I’d manifested my heart’s journey and felt compelled to chronicle my awakening through the conflicts I encountered as a solo traveler.
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
Anyone who loves to road trip (vicariously). Anyone who enjoys adventure travel. Anyone who loves food and wine. Any city or corporate person who dreams of breaking free. But especially those who feel the spark of wanderlust (within them and the world).
What did you edit out of your book (s)?
Road tripping is all about being alone with your thoughts and the radio. Words in certain songs resonated at milestone moments and I’d included them in quotes but couldn’t get legal rights from the artists (or couldn’t afford them). So, I removed them but will have the soundtrack ready when someone wants to make my book a movie.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Sleep walking. It was like a dream state.
What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s)?
I hope it inspires them to follow their passion regardless of the costs. Passion is priceless.
Did you get some negative feedback on your book? and if so how do you deal with that?
Some readers wanted more technical details while others wanted me to cover other regions. I took that as fodder for my next book.
How did you feel when you first published your book (s)? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ?
All those as well as accomplished. Pride overpowered all my fear, nervousness, and excitement.
Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and Kindle, and soon many more ebook sites. I’ll post these on DrinkYourWords.com.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Yes, one is a punchy short book about what I’m learning with a broken leg. Another is a sequel to the book about California’s other wine regions.
After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers?
Follow that voice within you that sometimes doesn’t even use words. It knows.
What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them?
Hire good editors and listen to them. If you don’t like one editor’s advice, get a second opinion. Remember it is your book. Test the popularity of book cover ideas on social media and trust them. Reach out to people like Amelia.
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