Over three years ago I had the inspired idea to write a book. I became fascinated with the study of the history of wine grapes since this seemed seldom discussed versus the voluminous amount of writings about wine’s every aspect. The spark came from a little known story about the origins of the Chardonnay grape as the natural crossing of a very well known grape and a very obscure grape that made such an awful wine France attempted to ban its cultivation. This one vignette launched a zillion Google searches on my part to find similar stories about grapes and the history surrounding how they came into existence and their journeys to the present day.
So to me, friends I talked with, and customers in the Deerfield Ranch tasting room that I served, everyone felt these stories made a strong basis for a book. I started formal research reading every book I could find on the topic, downloading numerous articles, and reading more scientific papers than I ever thought I would touch. At the end of two years I had over 600 different sources all meticulously cataloged into a database to cross reference specific quotes and data so that the book could be appropriately footnoted. Time to start writing.
I formally began writing the first chapter in the winter of 2016 while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Sitting at a large table in our condo and staring at the blank page on the screen looking for the inspiration for those first few words. It took awhile to get the initial sentences on the page but once started the writing would come in torrents. Life intervened so the chapters flowed in a stair step versus linear pattern with major pauses punctuating vigorous writing. My wife would claim that I was locked in my office for days on end, a virtual hermit, and she is probably right. Weeks became months and as fate would have it, a year later I found myself at the same large table in Cabo writing the final chapter of the book.
Hallelujah! Done! Of course it was perfect. Narrative flow complete, no extraneous plot lines, every piece of punctuation in place thanks to MS Word. Big sigh followed by bottle of Deerfield Ranch wine. The hard part was over. I had my cathartic release and now it was ready to share with the world. Oh Happy Day!
Naturally I was entirely wrong. What felt like coming to the end of a long journey was really just the path to a door that opened onto another road, actually several different trails that somehow I had to travel down in parallel. The real work was now at hand that would in many cases involve skill sets far afield from being an author. At times this labor of love had become a burden that I just wanted to shed as quickly as possible. Many times it was necessary to walk away and get some perspective that only time and distance can provide.
As I write these words, I am yet again tantalizingly close to the book being complete and moving toward that most elusive of goals: publication. Subsequent posts will give more detail on the saga from writing and as I move through the editing process, creating a book proposal, looking at the question of traditional publishing versus self-publishing, finding an agent, selling the book, and all that follows.