The Winemakers: Inspiration for Settings from Napa, Tuscany, and Paris, by Jan Moran
Today’s article is presented to you as part of the virtual book tour for The Winemakers. Jan Moran’s newest release is a murder set in the wonderful wine country of Italy. On her tour, hosted by Italy Book Tours, the author can be found at many different websites from April 18th through April 29th.
Check out her full schedule here at the author’s page at Italy Book Tours.
The Winemakers: Inspiration for Settings from Napa, Tuscany, and Paris
By Jan Moran
“Life was not determined by the gifts a child was given; life was determined by what the adult did with those gifts.” From The Winemakers
Every story has to take place somewhere, and setting plays an important role. Writers need inspiration; before I began writing The Winemakers I visited Napa Valley to immerse myself in the flavor and history of the region. I began by observing the terrain and learning about the terroir, the soil and environmental conditions that endowed each wine with its unique character.
For The Winemakers, I needed a location for the Rosetta family home, winery, and vineyards. I culled inspiration from my experiences, such as a wine tasting at Moone-Tsai winery, which is burrowed deep into the side of the mountain, and became the prototype for the Rosetta family wine caves.
A vision soon formed in my mind of the winery, which I named Mille Etoiles after the vast, starry night sky visible from the uppermost perches of Veder and Howell mountains. The fictional home, which I imagined as an imposing stone structure fashioned after a French chateau, was inspired by the Chateau Montelena Winery, the Hess Collection winery, the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, and other wineries. I snapped hundreds of photos to spark my memory of tiny details—the color of burnished leaves and ripened grapes ready for harvest, the scent of the sun-baked soil, the feel of gnarled bark on a mature grapevine.
My travels to Italy and Paris also influenced my writing, and I hope the settings come to life for readers as they did for me. I threaded the views, flavors, and scents of Tuscany through the novel—the rolling hills and undulating vineyards as viewed from the peak of Montalcino, the local meals accented with garlic and oregano, the robust flavor and garnet-color of incomparable Brunello wines.
In Paris, I included some of my favorite locations, along with the city’s fashions, perfumes, sights, and sounds. Closing my eyes, I conjured memories—the thrill of arriving by train in Paris, the feeling of a languid weekend morning, the romance of a late evening stroll.
If you’d like to explore more of my visual inspiration, check out the portfolios on my Pinterest boards, where I post visual cues as I’m writing. You’ll find boards for The Winemakers, such as interesting vineyards and fashions of the 1920s and 1950s for Ava and her daughter Caterina. I clipped images for everything from the cars my characters drove to the dogs they kept, as well as the vineyards, wines, and cities that were woven into the fabric of the story. And in case you wonder how the dog got his name, I ran a Facebook post and asked my readers for their ideas. Vino won—so now you know.
Book Description for The WineMakers:
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.
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.