A big welcome to Kayte who has stopped by The Australian Bookshelf for a chat. Kayte Nunn is the author of Rose’s Vintage, a love story set in the fictional winemaking region of the Shingle Valley. It was released today by Black Inc Books.
Hi Kayte, can you tell us about your journey to publication.
I had always harboured a secret desire to write, but always doubted myself. One winter, I found I had about a six-week gap between freelance editing projects. I’d read a couple of what I thought were fairly ordinary ‘chick-lit’ books and thought ‘well I can do better than that’ (little did I know just how hard the process was!), and a friend had recently finished a novel. I’d written a couple of short stories and loved how writing them made me feel. They’d also been shortlisted in a couple of competitions.
With all that in the back of my mind and a big case of the ‘now or nevers’, I sat down and began to write. Nearly a year later and I had a very rough draft and began querying agents and publishers. Several asked to see the whole manuscript, and one agent offered me plenty of feedback and took me on.
I worked on a second draft for several months – changing the nationality of the protagonist and her name – and then my agent began sending it out. Several publishers liked it but said it was too close to a couple of their other authors, and one gave me more feedback, which I took on board and wrote a third draft. All of this took the best part of a year.
Then, Black Inc, which was starting a new women’s contemporary fiction list, read it, loved it and offered for it, and a second book which I had begun writing. Rose’s Vintage, and a follow-up – The Angel’s Share – have also both sold to Piper verlag in Germany. I remember I was filthy from scrubbing out cupboards when the call from my agent came through!
How did you choose the setting for Rose’s Vintage and where did you get your inspiration?
I was sitting in a Bondi café one miserable, rainy day and began to wonder what it might be like if you rocked up from the other side of the world but found that it was nothing like you’d expected. For a number of years I edited a wine magazine – Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE – and got to visit many of this country’s incredible wine regions and meet plenty of the characters and communities that make up the industry. They say ‘write what you know’ and it seemed obvious to set the novel in such a beautiful setting.
How can readers relate to your heroine, Rose?
She’s hopefully a well-rounded character with plenty of faults – she’s superstitious, impulsive and occasionally grumpy and overreacts when pushed too far, but also generous, loyal, kind and patient. She’s the sort of women you’d want to be friends with I hope.
How would you describe Rose’s Vintage in 5 words?
Delicious, fun, absorbing, entertaining.
And just for fun, a quick Q&A (brief answers) when writing do you prefer…
Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Tea – Twinings Australian Afternoon (even in the morning)
Plotting, pantsing or both? A bit of both.
Quiet solitude or background noise? I can work with either. Years of working in a busy magazine office has meant that I am easily able to shut out background noise, even if it is my kids yelling for me!
A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? For writing: a rainy day. That way I don’t feel I’m missing out by not being outside. I also love the moodiness of rainy days.
Typing or pen and notepad? Typing. But pen and notepad for middle-of-the-night inspiration.
Thanks for stopping by! Rose’s Vintage is available from all good bookshops and Target, Big W etc, and online at http://www.booktopia.com.au, ibooks and at http://www.amazon.com. For more information about Kayte and her writing, go to http://www.kaytenunn.com.