We thought Kayte Nunn‘s debut novel was delightfully delectable, and were excited to chat with her about it, as well as the process and research that went into her writing. You can read an extract and find out more about Rose’s Vintage here, or go check out Kayte’s Pinterest board to see the inspiration behind the book!
BR: Congratulations on your debut novel! What do you hope readers take away from Rose’s Vintage?
KN: A feeling of warmth and heart and faith in communities. That things do get better even though they might seem particularly bleak at the time.
BR: Having previously worked in magazines, what drew you to writing a book?
I’ve always loved to write – writing stories fills me up in a way little else does. It had been a secret dream to write a novel and I finally summoned up the courage to do it – it was a case of now or never and I didn’t want to die wondering. I’m so pleased I did!
BR: It’s easy to get hungry (and thirsty) while reading this novel. How much delicious research did you have to do?
I’ve always loved food and cooking (I worked as a cook in a ski resort briefly in my 20s) and I’d edited Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine before I had children, so I had a pretty solid wine background from that. It all came quite naturally, though I did make some return visits to my nearest wine region to make sure I’d got the details right.
BR: There aren’t enough novels set on wineries! Where did the idea come from for Rose’s Vintage?
In the course of the rather wonderful job I had editing a wine magazine I was lucky enough to visit many of Australia and New Zealand’s gorgeous wine regions and meet some of the people who live and work there and they were so interesting and had great stories to tell (some of which ended up in Rose’s Vintage!). Wine is also such a sensual product, and so it seemed an obvious place to set a love story.
BR: Many of the characters are facing new beginnings and dealing with unexpected life changes. Do you think those themes will ring true for a lot of readers?
BR: Rose has a bit of a culture shock when she first arrives in Australia! What was your experience of moving here from the UK?
I had a similar shock – I’d make jokes that had English cultural references and they would fall completely flat!
BR: There are plenty of wonderful side characters in this book: Henry, the Trevelyn sisters, even Isabella. Did you have any particular favourite to write?
Yes, once I got into the swing of it, I loved writing Isabella and tried to make her as impossible as I could without making her a caricature. Violet Trevelyn too, was fun to write – I love feisty old women who don’t give a stuff what anyone thinks of them and live and say as they please!
BR: What authors are you currently reading? And which authors have inspired you?
I’m reading David Nicholls’ One Day (I’d seen the movie years ago) and am absolutely loving the two characters he has created. Liane Moriarty and JoJo Moyes are two writers I look up to hugely – I love the humour and the heart in their novels, and they are both terrific story-tellers. I am also a life-long fan of Jilly Cooper – her early books Imogen, Harriet, Bella et al were much-read favourites in my teens.
BR: Will you be returning to the characters or Shingle Valley anytime soon?
Oh yes! I’ve finished a second in the series, The Angels’ Share, which will come out in 2017. It features some new characters in the valley, more about Jake, as well as continuing the story of Mark and Rose.