Title: I’d Rather Be Growing Grapes
Synopsis: Sabrina Kerrigan is a sassy, independent woman who’s fiancé ditched her a week before they were to be married. Since then, she gives all her attention to a backyard filled with flowers and a spindly grape arbor. Her meddling twin, Lilith, thinks Sabrina’s had enough time to grieve the relationship that wasn’t meant to be. Lil registers her to be one of twenty-one
bachelorettes who will vie for one guy’s heart in an event called Pick Me. Sabrina is furious at Lil for immersing her in what is sure to be three weeks of nonstop chaos. The only reason she agreed to take part is because the entry fee goes to charity. The minute Sabrina arrives at the hotel a case of mistaken identity sets the chaos in motion. Millionaire winery owner, Beau Reinholt has had the worst luck with women. He seems to pick those interested in his money not him. His best friend, Marco Santaguida, the director for Pick Me, cons Beau into being this year’s bachelor. Beau agrees on one condition – the women aren’t to know his true identity until he either falls in love or finds extreme-like with one of the candidates. Everything goes smoothly until he meets Sabrina Kerrigan. She ticks him off right away. She also turns him on. The more Beau tries to focus on the twenty other women the more he’s drawn to the one who says she doesn’t want any part of him. Can two wounded people tune out the noise going on around them to listen to their hearts?
CH: Today’s Guest Author is Jan Romes. She is a hopeless romantic and writes witty contemporary romance. Welcome to my blog, Jan.
CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?
JR: My books will ease the tension of your day by producing a few belly laughs and hopefully a few moments of ahhh.
CH: This book has plenty of chaos and conflict. How did you come up with the premise for the book?
JR: I’m a huge daydreamer, Cheryl, and that includes hours of laying awake at night imagining romance taking place. After watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for several seasons I put together a story in my mind where a bachelor and a particular candidate do not hit it off, but he can’t send her away right off the bat. He was mandated to keep her on for a while. (I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give too much of the plot away) I tossed this idea around in my head for a long time before I actually wrote the story.
CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?
JR: There are times I have the title before the actual story. Then, there are times I start with a tentative title, but by the time the manuscript is finished, I have something completely different; which is usually the result of something I didn’t see coming in the story until it happened.
CH: Many authors have written about the Bachelor Contest concept. Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?
JR: Great question, Cheryl. For I’d Rather Be Growing Grapes the setting drove a lot of the particular situations I put my characters in. I staged the bachelor contest in Findlay, Ohio which is about an hour from my home. We visit Findlay a lot so I’m familiar with some of the cool places to go. I put my characters (including the other candidates in the contest) in these places and conflict arose without much prompting from me. (That may sound silly to some people, but there are times you have to let the characters take over)
CH: What are some of the emotional intricacies that are part of having been hurt in love and dealing with the possibility of a new love?
JR: Trust issues came to mind as soon as I read the question – ‘once bitten, twice shy’ fits perfectly here. Heroes and heroines who’ve been hurt by someone they gave their hearts to fear having it broken all over again, so they err on the side of safety by keeping people an arm’s length away. They also look for signs of being ditched or hurt, because they missed them with the former loves of their lives.
CH: Several of your books have a wine theme. Is there a special reason for the theme?
JR: I chose the wine theme because I prefer wine over most other adult beverages. And I think sharing a bottle of your favorite wine with friends or the one you favor is something very special. With friends, you sip and laugh. With your favored one, you sip and kiss.
CH: Which character was hardest to write?
JR: In this particular book, the hero millionaire Beau Reinholt was the most difficult. He has money, great looks, and he can get just about any woman he wants. He agreed to take part in the contest because Marco Santaguida (the contest director and his best friend) coaxed him to do it for charity. There’s a clause in his contract that says he doesn’t have to pick any of the women, if none of them stir his heart. The biggest difficulty came when he’s being fawned over by all those women. I had to keep him grounded. Sometimes he came off as a jerk. When Beau remembers his humble beginnings is where I hope most readers are able to relate to him.
CH: Which character was your favorite?
JR: The heroine—Sabrina Kerrigan—was my favorite to write. She’s a nice person who’s been pushed around a lot. She’s an introvert who loves reading, growing flowers and veggies, and grape arbors. The grape arbor is a common interest for her and Beau since he owns wineries.
CH: Since Sabrina is a twin and there is some sibling conflict in this book, how did you come up with the premise for it?
JR: I grew up in a large family, so there was conflict on a daily basis, none of it was insurmountable. We fixed the issues because we loved each other (and because our mom wouldn’t stand for her kids being mad). That’s what I gave Sabrina and Lilith. Lilith caused trouble but at the heart of the things she did, was love for her sister.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?
JR: I think my style is different in that I inject humor (sometimes it’s sarcastic humor, but humor nonetheless) in just about every scene. It can be a tense, heartbreaking situation but I can only let the drama go on for so long then I have to lighten it with something mildly funny. Let’s see…exciting…I hope my readers find excitement in the quest for the hero and heroine to resolve their conflicts so they can get their happily-ever-after. Since there’s always some underlying mystery in my stories, maybe it’s the answer to that they’ll find exciting.
CH: You’ve written several books. What contributes to your success as a writer?
JR: It’s a combination of many things: emotional support from family and friends, uninterrupted time to write, determination, stubbornness, knowing that life happens in the midst of writing a book but getting back on track when things settle down, and taking the process seriously but also knowing there will be up times and down times (weathering the storms of sales and publishing, etc).
CH: You seem to have quite a following for your books. So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?
JR: I’ve gotten some great reviews and some not so flattering reviews online, but it’s the private messages I get via email and on Facebook and Twitter that touch my heart. Many readers think Sabrina is a peach. They loved her personality and kind heart. They also loved her vulnerability. They thought it made her real. Some readers didn’t like Beau from the get-go but the farther they got in the story they changed their opinion of him.
CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?
JR: There are a few messages but the main one is that you have to let go of the past to enjoy the present. In other words, don’t let the pain of your past mistakes dictate your future.
CH: What has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?
JR: The most exciting thing is something very simple. It had to do with my book, No Sweat Pants Allowed – Wine Club (which is humorous women’s fiction). The four characters are in their forties and find themselves suddenly single due to divorces, a broken engagement, and a death. They find each other at a cash-for-gold event and become good friends. Anyway, I had a reader send me a heartfelt email about how she was starting over due to a divorce and was dealing with a broken heart. She read my book and saw herself in one of the characters. My book touched her and she thanked me for it. Getting that kind of feedback was incredible. It made me cry (and I’m getting misty-eyed now at remembering it) but it also told me that I was doing something right. It was tender validation and it encouraged me to turn that book into a series.
CH: Can you give my audience your website address?
JR: I’d be happy to, Cheryl. They can find me and my books at: www.authorjanromes.com
CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?
JR: I’d Rather Be Growing Grapes is currently exclusive to Amazon in the KDP program.
CH: How to find Jan Romes:
- Jan’s website: www.authorjanromes.com
- Jan’s Author Page: http://amzn.to/2h73yy5
- Jan’s Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2hoj7Rn
CH: Any closing remarks?
JR: I’d like to thank you for these amazing questions, Cheryl. They made me dig deep and reminded me how much I love what I’m doing. Writing stories and breathing life into characters is hard work, but it’s also brings me joy. It’s part of God’s plan for me. We all have stories to tell and I would encourage anyone who thinks they want to write their story to go for it. Don’t wait until you have the time, start it now. Even if you only get to write a paragraph or two a day, do it. You’ll amaze yourself, and who knows, your words may resonate with others. Learn from other writers, but always be true to your style and the stories you want to tell.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your time and blog with me, Cheryl. God bless you.
CH: Thank you so much, Jan Romes, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers. It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience. And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book. I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience to enjoy.
Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Jan Romes.
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