One of the things I envy other writers is the research that must have gone into some of their books. I have several historical series that I love reading not just for the characters and plots, but for the details of the periods in which they are set. Whether it’s Charles Finch’s Charles Lenox Victorianmysteries or Lana William’s Medieval romances or the Scotland of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander , I never get tired of stepping into another time along with a great story.
But history isn’t the only thing authors might research. In A Road Back to Grace, I didn’t need to step back in time since it’s a contemporary tale. But I did need to learn a little more about wine making. The main character, Claire, is a lover of all things red (cabernet, merlot, etc.), although I haven’t actually written her turning down white or rose...so it’s hard to say where that line is, or even IF it is!
How fortunate for Claire that she fell for a guy who owned a Colorado winery and vineyard. As an ‘almost’ native of Colorado, I was already familiar with our western slope wineries in the Palisade area, and I knew the valley beneath the sandstone Book Cliff mountains, that is nurtured by the Colorado River. It was a natural setting for my book, with a few tweaks here and there. But what did I actually KNOW about making wine?
As some of you may know, my sons own a brewery...so I already had some appreciation of what may go into it. Still, some research was called for and, frankly, I can’t say it wasn’t fun—it was! Mr. Google had links to tons of info, plus I made connections with a few wineries I’d never heard of before and learned, through them, more about the process. I never was able to go for anything ‘hands-on’, unfortunately...but I’m hoping someday to make up for that.
In the meantime, I’m literally savoring the fruits of that labor (aside for the book), and looking forward to my next research project...but that’s another blog.