Interview with Nan Alexander

What's the story behind your latest book?
Undisclosed is the second in The Winemaker's Daughters series, which takes place in California's wine country. The setting is extremely important to the plot and the feel of the books in the series. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the last few years have spent a lot of time on my extended family's vineyard in Sonoma County: pruning vines, picking grapes, and bottling. I wanted to put characters in a vineyard setting (the main characters in the series work in their family vineyard), to see how work challenges and sensuality would play out in such a romantic setting.
What are you working on next?
Undisclosed is the second in a three-book series called The Winemaker's Daughters. Each book is about one of three sisters. I'm currently beginning the third book and am enjoying developing Billie's angsty romance, while getting to play a little more with her sisters' love lives.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love to read because it's a way to learn about people--no matter what the genre, the writer puts characters in a challenging situation and as readers we get to know them and see how they respond. When I want an escape and to feel good, I read romance. When I want to challenge my world view, I read literary fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on a Kindle Fire. Love it!
Describe your desk
My desk is in a closet in my bedroom! (I prefer to think of it as a "nook.") Still, it works really well for me because it forces me to stick with the essentials: computer (PC), phone, book shelf and a small folder for papers. There's just enough space on the desk for a cup of tea and a Moleskin notebook. My favorite part of my desk area is the bulletin board at eye level that is pinned with inspirational notes, lists of goals and a couple of photos of my kids holding baby alligators (random, but somehow they found their way there).
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the sense of control that being an indie author brings. It's so much more fun--and sensible--to write directly for readers, not industry insiders. I also really enjoy being personally involved in the marketing aspect of publishing. I come from a magazine publishing background, so what has always driven me is the question, "How can this be presented in a way that's most satisfying and interesting to readers?"
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I find I don't feel like myself on days when I don't write. But my greatest joy comes during those moments when I read back on something from a just-let-'er-rip, no-holds-barred writing session, and I think, "Hey, where did this come from? It's pretty cool." There are many more of the opposite moments when I need to delete the "junk," but when I see something on the screen that pleasantly surprises me, it's magical.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is very structured. First, I take time to map out a plot. This usually requires a month of thought and playing with ideas for a romance (while I may also be writing another book). Then I go into a serious "volume" mode where I write 3,000 words a day. Without fail. No self-editing allowed. This feels a little paint-by-number because I already have mapped out the details of the plot and characters (though it's sometimes a cool surprise when things take on a life of their own during the draft). When the draft is complete, I go back and rewrite every chapter, a very heavy edit, and fix any structural or consistency problems. Finally, I get feedback from beta-readers, incorporate that, proof it carefully, and off it goes into the world!
When did you first start writing?
When I was 25 I inherited a small sum of money that allowed me to quit my job for a year and devote myself to writing a novel. I think then I was more in love with the idea of writing than the writing itself. Halfway through the novel, I killed off the main character by mistake and I got stuck. That was the end of that. It's funny, but I now find it much easier to finish books despite being much, much busier--with a husband, kids, and a day job. What I needed to learn was the commitment it takes to sit in the chair and just write, rather than getting caught up in the mystique and romance of thinking of myself as a writer. Now I know it just takes a deep desire to learn the craft and a ton of hard work.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Family time is most important to me--I have a wonderful husband, two children and a dog. When I'm not goofing off with them, I'm reading fiction. Most days I go for an early morning run, and that starts things off right. I like to cook, too, and am working on creating beautiful, "mindful" meals instead of just getting food on the table.
Published 2014-10-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Undisclosed
Series: The Winemaker's Daughters. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,420. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
Secretly renovating a house was Sophia's chance to show Robby she was just as capable and sophisticated as he, after he left her behind in Sonoma for his big-city dreams. But the longer she kept the secret, the harder it became to let Robby in on it. Until things went terribly wrong, and her inexperience put her and those she worked with in peril. She would need to call upon Robby for help.
Unnerved
Series: The Winemaker's Daughters. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,020. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A sexy stranger. An award-winning wine. A business rivalry. Anonymous threats. Kate’s new job at her family's vineyard has her stomach doing somersaults.
Unlocked - A Short Story Prequel to Unnerved
Series: The Winemaker's Daughters. Price: Free! Words: 4,800. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Kate Whitman is hiding from the real world for three weeks after her college graduation, on vacation with her best friend's family. But on her last day on Cape Cod, Kate connects with someone at a party in a way that stirs her so deeply she'll never be the same. This short story is a prequel to the full-length novel, Unnerved.