The lovely Nadine Nettman was my guest last year when her first novel, Decanting a Murder, debuted from Midnight Ink. This May #2 in the series, Uncorking a Lie, debuted. We thought in honor of Nadine's second book we would reprint her original interview!
- Welcome Nadine! Tell us a little about your background
Hi Rocco, I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life and while I’ve had a few different careers, I’m so glad I’m finally able to combine my two loves – writing and wine. I also have a love for travel and I’ve been fortunate to visit wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany, and every region in France.
- Tell us a bit about your new series and the first volume, Decanting a Murder.
Decanting a Murder is about Katie Stillwell, a female sommelier who solves mysteries using her deductive wine skills. A large part of the sommelier certification process is blind tasting – looking, smelling, and tasting a wine to tell where it’s from, which grape, the vintage, etc. I thought it would be fun to apply this to a series in the wine world and Decanting a Murder was born. Every chapter is paired with a wine.
- You are a certified Sommelier in real life. How exciting is that and what prompted you to become one?
I’ve always had an interest in wine, but my actual wine journey started in 2010 when I was covering a wine and food festival as a travel writer. I was switching seats when Master Sommelier Fred Dame took my hand and led me on stage. He seated me on the wine panel next to Master Sommeliers and winemakers and I was terrified. I knew nothing about wine except that I enjoyed it. I managed to get through the panel but it sparked a desire to learn more, in fact, as much as I could. I began studying and passed Level 1, then passed Level 2 and became a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2011. I recently saw Fred at an event and was able to tell him how much he changed my life. It was a very cool moment.
- How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I use a character worksheet but I think it’s safe to say there’s a fair share of myself in Katie Stillwell. I’ve heard a lot of advice to write what you know and since the most common comment on my first four books (all shelved for the time being) was that they didn’t know the main character, I decided to put a lot of myself in Katie, though she’s still very fictionalized.
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I love writing by the seat of my pants, but I’ve found I spend a lot of time rearranging scenes so now I’ve switched to outlining.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
I’m a huge fan of plot.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Perseverance. There were so many times when I could have given up but didn’t. It took me ten years to get here, but I never wanted to let go of my dream of walking into a bookstore and seeing my name on a book. Which will happen in May. I’m so excited!
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
Yes! It took me a very long time to find an agent – ten years and five books – but I found my agent through the slushpile. I was so used to rejection that when Danielle Burby at Hannigan Salky Getzler emailed that she wanted to talk, I reread it three times before I allowed myself to celebrate. A few minutes into our first phone conversation, I immediately knew she was the agent for me, so much so, that I forgot to ask her any of the questions I had planned. She’s been amazing and 100% worth waiting for.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I’m currently working on book #2 in the wine series, tentatively titled Uncorking a Lie, and I’m also working on a domestic suspense. My future writing plans are to keep writing. I truly love it.
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
Every workday is different but I try to devote several hours a week to writing. My current goal is do to a 1,000 words every weekday.
- If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
That’s a tough one but I would go with On Writing by Stephen King, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, and J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton. I’ve read each of them several times and I love them.
- What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Never give up. Just keep trying.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Right after we got married, my husband and I stored 90% of our belongings, quit our jobs, and flew to Hawaii with two suitcases each. We planned to stay for about a year but we ended up staying for five years. Looking back, I still can’t believe we did that but it was such an amazing part of our journey together.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’ve played guitar for 20 years.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
This is my first interview so I’m not sure yet. Can I get back to you? J
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day – I’m definitely a morning person.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) – I’ve had cats all of my life.
Beach or Pool? Beach. I love the waves and the feel of the sand beneath my feet.
Steak or salad? Salad. I don’t eat red meat and I also happen to be a huge fan of salad.
Favorite Drink? Can I just say wine? ;) Okay, I’ll be more specific. For white wine, I’m a big fan of German riesling and for red wine, I’m a big fan of cab franc.
Favorite Book? Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I fell in love with the book from the very first line.
Favorite TV Series? The BBC One Sherlock series. The writing is brilliant as is the acting by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Favorite Movie? Psycho. When I watched it, I had no idea that Norman Bates was his mother so I got the full effect that Hitchcock wanted viewers to get and it completely stunned me. It’s been at the top of my list ever since.
Favorite Actor: Anthony Hopkins
Favorite Actress: It’s a tie between Rachel McAdams and Meryl Streep
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada
Hawaii or Alaska? Since I lived there for five years, I’d have to vote for Hawaii J
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be… Nora Ephron. I love her movies and her views on life.
If I had just one wish, it would be… for health and happiness for everyone in my life.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be… no one.