We all leave a little of ourselves on the page and today Taryn Elliott shares with us how a particular time of her life was a catalyst for her latest novel.
Writing Through the Pain
ASHES AND WINE has a very difficult subject matter to overcome. One that I know some people can and will shy away from. Even my best friend told me that if it hadn’t been my work, she would have avoided the book. I think that’s pretty telling. Those harsh emotions that make up a good story are the same kind of emotions that people don’t want to face, even in fiction. I lived through something pretty similar to what Royal Andreas does in ASHES AND WINE.
And I used some of that personal knowledge to build on the pain and frustration of watching someone close to you die. I took it a step further and added a father/son dynamic that added another level of discomfort. How do you fight for your independence, your individuality, and still live with your all-encompassing need to take care of your family at the same time? If that’s not hard enough, let’s throw falling in love into the muddy mix of emotions.
This story is about falling in love, but it’s also about finding the strength to come to terms with taking what you need. Royal Andreas has become the head of the family far quicker than was planned thanks to his father’s cancer. He’s suited to the role of caretaker and takes the mantle of responsibility far easier than he takes falling in love with Tessa Winter.
He’s so worried about his family and the Andreas Winery that he puts aside all of his own needs. Once a month he travels out to Tessa Winter’s bookstore, As You Wish, to host a wine tasting. The business angle takes care of his responsibilities to his family, but he really uses the visit to get his Tessa fix.
They’d met at his winery and enjoyed a bottle of wine and a flirtation that spoke of much more than a business arrangement. The problem? Royal met his dream woman just a few days before his father found out he was sick. His sense of responsibility to his family shored up walls against falling in love with Tessa. He doesn’t want to bring her into his situation, doesn’t want to burden her with a man with that much baggage.
But for years he’s seen her once a month and wondered what it would be like to let her in. And Tessa has wondered why the Royal she met that summer day three years ago has become so different and so reserved. With each visit her own feelings have grown though he makes sure to keep things strictly business between them. But there’s a part of him that wants to reach out to her and they use new wines and a mutual passion for them to keep that uncomfortable stasis of half-interest between them.
Until one night—come on, you know there has to be a catalyst—the one night that he can’t walk away. That he can’t force himself to walk out the door and go home to his empty house and take up that mantle of responsibility again. And it comes about because of that caretaker part of him. What man doesn’t want to rescue the damsel in distress?
She’s in a bind for a musician and Royal’s only passion besides the winery is his guitar. Things at home are coming to a head and every part of him should just walk away, but he can’t walk away from her again. Beat down with years of loneliness of his own making, he puts himself out there and another brick in the wall crumbles. What comes next is everything he could have asked for. And everything he’s been denying himself.
In the midst of it all, he has to find the strength and the bravery to accept this woman and a love that he deserves—that they both deserve. And realize that there’s a woman out there that is even stronger than he imagined. Strong enough to accept him and love him and teach him that there’s room for one more person in his heart.
Cancer might have been the basis for the story, but two people finding love is the part I want you to take away with you. And writing through the pain and the loss of my own mother and father to cancer gave me this wonderful story to share. And the amazing love between my parents gave me the foundation to create a fitting tribute to them with Tessa and Royal in ASHES AND WINE.
What do you leave on the page?
C. Hope Clark is with us on Friday to talk about Love and the Mystery Writer.
Before Tessa met Royal Andreas, her bookstore was on the verge of sinking. And before Tessa met Royal Andreas, she didn’t mind being single. But Royal brings in business with monthly wine tastings featuring his family’s signature vintages–and brings Tessa’s heart to a standstill with intense gray eyes that look on her with nothing but cool indifference.
Yet one searing kiss between the stacks gives Tessa a glimpse of the passion smoldering beneath–and a secret pain further revealed when Royal fills in as the musician at a tasting event. Every note of Spanish guitar tells a story of family tragedy, loss, and ongoing suffering that’s made Royal afraid to lean on anyone…even if he needs Tessa’s sweet flavor more than the richest wine. Only her strength can save him when his world crumbles to ashes. But has Royal learned trust too late to claim Tessa as his own?
You can find Taryn on her website, Facebook, Twitter and her awesome Tumblr!
- Weekly Lecture Schedule from September 24th to September 28th
- Men Chime in on Romance
- Long Journey to a Small Press with Debut Author Susan Boyer
- It’s All About the Happy Ever After – with Joyce Lamb
- Love and the Crime Fiction Sleuth with C. Hope Clark