Book Spotlight: The Lady of the Vineyard

Hi, all! Today Aardvark magazine is celebrating the release of The Lady of the Vineyard, a new novella by local authoress Kellyn Roth. It’s slated for release on September 10th, but you can pre-order it here. The story itself is a historical fiction set in 1930’s Europe, and, well, we’ll just let it speak for itself now…

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Judy has lived with her egocentric mother since her parents divorced when she was a baby. When her father, Troy Kee, shows up at her sixth birthday party and whisks her away to his vineyard in France, Judy is more than happy to go with him. But Adele, Judy’s mother, isn’t quite ready to give up her daughter. Can Judy forgive Adele? More importantly, can Troy?

Here’s an excerpt:

Adele unlocked and opened the door to her apartment.

“Can you come in for a minute … have a cup of coffee, maybe, Hal?” she asked her fiancé.

“I’d love to, but it’s dreadfully late, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Just after eleven,” Adele replied, examining a diamond-set wristwatch, her fiancé’s most recent gift to her.

“No … I guess I’d better not,” Henry Acton decided resolutely. “I’ve a busy day tomorrow. You have, too.”

“True,” Adele said, yawning.

“Night, love,” he murmured, bending down to give her a kiss.

“Night!” she called as he turned and walked down the hall. She watched him go, then closed the door, and kicked off her high-heeled shoes. They flew across the room and banged into a wall. Taking off her hat and coat, she walked slowly to her room.

I’m so happy, Adele thought as she began removing makeup and clothing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy since I was a kid, before all this stuff happened to me. And I’m doing the right thing if it makes me happy. I wouldn’t be happy if I were doing the wrong thing … right?

She shook her head to rid herself of her dismal thoughts. She was happy, and nothing else mattered. Nothing else had ever mattered, and she had been an idiot to try to make anything but her own happiness a priority.

    Of course, I’ve got Judy to think about, Adele admitted reluctantly. She didn’t really like to think of herself as a mother. Or as twenty-nine, for that matter. Twenty-nine wasn’t exactly old, but it was almost thirty, and thirty required a certain level of maturity that she wasn’t quite willing to adopt.

She resolutely forced her lips to smile. They weren’t very fine lips, but a bit of rouge fixed that problem quite well. She thought this fault was compensated for, though, by her skin, which was naturally tanned. She would be eternally thankful to her great-grandmother for marrying that rich Italian.

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There are 16 other blogs joining the fun this weekend, so come and check it all out at kellynroth.wordpress.com!

And now, we’re super excited to share with you a personal interview with the author, Kellyn Roth. The interview was conducted by two of our writers, SJ and SB, whose questions are in italics. Kellyn Roth’s answers are in purple.

SJ: Today we’re here to interview Kellyn Roth about her novella, The Lady of the Vineyard. Thank you for coming, Kellyn.

KR: Thanks for having me!

SJ: Tell us a little about yourself.

KR: Well, I like pink, and horses, and butterflies. There you go.

SJ: Very cool. What’s your book about?

KR: The Lady of the Vineyard is about a little girl who lives in England with her mother, and on her sixth birthday, her father—who divorced her mother—who she has not really met comes and sees her and he asks if she can go spend the summer with him and she says she’d love to and basically it’s about them all having a good time in France, I guess.

SJ: How long did it take you to write The Lady of the Vineyard?

KR: Well … do you mean when did I start it or when did I actually write it? Because that’s a very different thing. I start the first chapter and then I never write it for months, and then I write it. Yup.

SB: So how long did it take you when you actually started writing?

KR: I’d say about a month? It should have taken me less because it’s a novella.

SJ: What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?

KR: I think … figuring Adele [the main character] out. She’s so crazy and complicated. I had to listen to “22” like 15 times before I could even bear her. I think I was sitting here and I thought, “There must be some reason for her. Alright! She’s just happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical.”

SB: Oh, yeah.

*All burst out laughing*

SJ: How are you publishing your book?

KR: I’m publishing it using Createspace and KDP, which is Kindle Direct Publishing, and … yeah.

SJ: What are your views on the advantages and disadvantages of that kind of publishing—aka ‘indie’ publishing?

KR: I think it’s good to be able to have the rights, have the copyright. Everything is yours, y’know. It belongs to you, you wrote the book, who else is going to take it from you? It’s your book! It’s your stinkin’ book! But I also think there is a lot of credibility and everything behind traditional publishing and it’s just really well founded. A lot of publishing organizations can get you a lot farther but I say it would be such an incredible story if you could get where you want to go with self-publishing. So, I’m with that. Always.

SJ: What genre(s) are your books?

KR: Well, they’re generally historical fiction.

SJ: What draws you to this genre?

KR: I read a lot of classics. And I hate the modern world. I just want to travel back in time to the early 1900s and live there forever. Actually, we wouldn’t have computers and that might be a little problem. We wouldn’t be able to blog about it!

SJ: Who are some of your favorite authors you feel are influential in your work?

KR: Unfortunately, Gene Stratton Porter has influenced me a lot.

SB: Unfortunately?

KR: She has the worst plots! I’m sorry, Gene Stratton Porter. But I just love her. And yeah, her plots just kind of go everywhere. Like mine. They just kind of fan out, like they start with one plot and then kind of branch out into another. Or it will end kind of oddly, or something like that. Or they’re a little bit too contrived, like I have been told that I do … a lot. But yeah, she influences me a lot. And I’d really like to write romance like Maud Hart Lovelace who wrote the Betsy Tacy books. And of course Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Jules Verne. I like Jules Verne. I want to write an adventure novel like Around the World in Eighty Days. Sorry, guys, I’m going to make this a long one. You can’t ask an author what her favorite authors are and not get a really long list or something! But I’m just going to say one more. I’m going to say Shannon Hale and C.S. Lewis.

SB: One more?

KR: And also maybe a little bit of, um, Elizabeth Goudge—she would be my fantasy author if I were ever to [write it].

SJ: Do you have anything you wish you knew when you started writing—what would you tell your past self?

KR: You don’t really need to make Miss Chattoway happy. You don’t really need to make any of your characters happy! They’re fictional, Kellyn! They’re all fictional! And you don’t have to write your books around them! You can write them around your books! You can change them! They can be changed! Okay? You can change anything you want in the story!—I tell myself that.

SJ: What was the hardest thing about writing The Lady of the Vineyard?

KR: Adele.

SJ: What was the easiest?

KR: The easiest thing was starting it. It’s always so easy to start books. And anything with Troy was really easy. I was wading through these scenes with Adele and then I’d type really fast and finish something with Troy, and then I’d wade through Adele’s scene, then I’d type really fast and get done with Troy, and … yeah. For some reason Adele would not be conquered. She was unconquerable. Told you about that “22” thing, right? Had to keep on singing “22” all the time. To get accustomed to that girl. It’s crazy.

SJ: How do you make time to write?

KR: I don’t. I make time to do other things. Writing’s my life and I make time for my other life!

SJ: If you made The Lady of the Vineyard into a movie, who would you want playing your characters?

SB: They can be dead, too.

KR: Oh, okay. Let’s see. I would have Troy be that one dude … in my head he’s kind of a goofy Clark Gable. That one dude from the forties—he was, like, the tall man and a bunch of others. Anyway, I’d have him do it. Except I’d dye his hair. Then I’d have Kiera Knightly be Adele. And I don’t know about Judy. She’s impossible. I don’t know very many child actors, I’ll be honest.

SJ: What’s your beverage of choice?

KR: Milk. You want me to be honest, right?

SJ: New or used books?

KR: New. Everyone else is like, “Don’t you like that old book smell?” And I’m just like, “I have no feelings about the old book smell. It doesn’t bug me. It doesn’t make me happy.”

SR: Do you think you’re a plotter or a pantser?

KR: Both. I’m a disorganized plotter is actually what I’ve figured out. Like I’m a social introvert. I’m a disorganized plotter and a social introvert.

SJ: Do the meanings of the characters’ names factor into the naming process?

KR: None of my characters have specific names that mean anything, though I did choose them based on something they meant to me.

To me Adele means a fussy high-class lady who’s really classy, I think Adele is really classy. I mean, I know she’s Adele but she’s still really classy.

And then Judy is just really sweet. Nothing to do with Judge Judy, trust me. And nothing to do with Zootopia. Zootopia came out after I’d already planned this novel, so….

And then Troy is just a cool name. He’s a cool guy. He’s cool. I love Troy. I would marry Troy. I don’t know what’s wrong with Adele. Why didn’t she marry him? I guess she did marry him and then divorced him. Why would you do a thing like that to poor Troy?

SJ: Okay, so here’s the question that everyone’s hankering to know. Seriously, they’re going to be swarming us.

KR: Okay….

SJ: Is Troy … ever going to shave his mustache off?

KR: Oh my gosh.

SJ: Is he?

KR: I don’t know … you’ll just have to wait for the sequel.

SB: There’s going to be a sequel?

KR: Who knows….

SB: That’s cruel! I’ll be waiting a long time. 100 years from now I’ll be like, “Oh, when’s the sequel coming out? I want to know if Troy shaves his mustache. But Kellyn’s dead now.”

KR: There’ll be flowers.

SB: Flowers?

KR: You’ll have to pull that secret out of me. Yeah that’s actually the truth though. The sequel has a lot to do with flowers.

SJ: Okay so the next question is, now that you’re rich off selling books, what are you going to do with all your money?

KR: I’m not going to donate it or anything, so don’t get excited.

I don’t know! Your saying I’m rich here has really put me on the spot here because I’m … not. But yeah, if I had a lot of money I would spend it … not on border collies anymore that was a long time ago. That border collie wish. Oh, I have to finish paying for a border collie, I guess. That’s odd that I am in debt for a border collie.

SJ: What are your views on positive or negative reviews?

KR: Alright, so negative reviews are evil, if anybody leaves them I’m going to hunt them down. Positive reviews are awesome. Actually I like it when people say things that are helpful, I just don’t like it when they say “It’s such a bad book. I don’t like it at all.” And I’m like “Well why not? What can I do to improve it?” And they’re like “I HATE THIS BOOK!” But of course I only have one bad review of The Dressmaker’s Secret and none of The Lady of the Vineyard.

SJ: What projects are you working on at the present?

KR: I’ve got to finish Ivy Introspective. I’m going to do it, guys! I’m going to do it! Anyway, I’ve got to finish Ivy Introspective, I’ve got to finish editing the short story for the contest, and I’ve got to finish outlining At Her Fingertips at some point.

SJ: What do your plans for future projects include?

KR: Other than The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy—let me do a little bit of a spoiler here, well, not really a spoiler, it doesn’t spoil. It’s just a plan. We have The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, that’s the one I’m working on right now. That’s The Dressmaker’s Secret, and Ivy Introspective, and At Her Fingertips, and there’s going to be six of them actually. And the I’m going to write one called Potato Picker. And then there’s one about Cassy, Alice’s best friend, called Sail Away. Yes I did base that off a song. That’s such a great song. And then there’s a series about, um, Alice’s mother-in-law. But I can’t tell you much about that without giving away major spoilers so I won’t … and there’s also a series about Alice’s daughter. Well, her adopted daughter. And there’s a series about Ruby. And another series about Ruby’s daughter. And then there’s also my fantasy novel Caught in a Spell. And then there’s a sequel called Magicked. Well, as you can tell, I’m kind of backed up here.

SJ: Do you have any parting words?

KR: Um, CHEEEESE!!!

 

author-photoKellyn Roth lives with her parents, two little brothers, incredibly needy cat, and faithful border collie Gidget on a ranch in the country. She’s a Christian, country girl, and professional skydiver (yes, we are playing two truths and a lie here). Ever since she could talk, she had a fascination with words, always making up songs and poems. Now a homeschooled highschooler, she spends her spare time (away from the real world) writing novels when she’s not procrastinating or blogging (which is just a higher form of procrastination) at kellynroth.wordpress.com.

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