Kris Bryant interviews Georgia Beers:
Blend: I read it and really enjoyed it. Your writing is so smooth and you’ve done a wonderful job of character development. I feel like Piper and Lindsay should be friends of mine. I’ve known you for several years now and your love of wine. I know nothing of wine, and your book did a great job of educating me about wine without me even realizing it. Tell us how you came up with the idea for this book. Is it loosely based on a real place you know, or just one you would like to have sprout up near you?
I will answer both of these together. First, thank you for the kind words. I’m so happy that you enjoyed the book! Second, I love wine bars. They’re a fairly recent discovery for me within the past three or four years. When I first searched here in Rochester, I only found a couple, which was disappointing. And then, by total fluke, I discovered one that was right under my nose the whole time, nearby, and I never knew it. Needless to say, I went immediately. It’s called Via Girasole, I instantly fell in love with the place, and as I sat there, the idea for Blendstarted to form in my head. Wine is kind of romantic anyway, and my love for it isn’t a secret. Seemed like the perfect pairing to me. So I introduced myself to the owner, Nicole, who was amazing and wonderful and is somebody I now consider a friend. She let me eavesdrop on her meetings. She let me taste wine she was tasting for the first time. She really opened her mind and her business to me so I could research. I now call her wine bar my Happy Place.
Piper is a hard-nosed professional who doesn’t like to show her emotions at work and even has a hard time showing them outside of work. Lindsay wears her heart on her sleeve. I know writers like to sprinkle a little bit of themselves into their characters. Where does Georgia Beers fall?
I am definitely more Lindsay, though, amusingly, I have always wanted to be more Piper. At least in my younger days. I’m a sensitive person, very empathetic. I cry easily and often. I don’t hide my feelings well. I’m a terrible liar. I used to think of all of those qualities as detriments or weaknesses; I always wanted to be a little cooler, a little stronger, a little tougher. But as I get older, I am learning to appreciate the qualities I have. I’m actually glad to be the person I am. I feel my feelings and I’m glad that I do. I think that being sensitive and in touch with how you feel makes you stronger, not weaker. So I’m definitely much closer to being Lindsay than Piper. Today. Ask me next week. J
Your love for animals is evident in everything you write. In Blend, you write about Edgar Allen Poe, Piper’s cat, and Rocket, Lindsay’s golden retriever. Edgar wants only the necessities and love on his terms, whereas Rocket is loveable and friendly all of the time, like Lindsay. I think they mirror their humans quite nicely. Was that on purpose?
I hate to say that it wasn’t intentional, but it wasn’t. Although, I do wonder if things like that happen subconsciously. Maybe? Yeah, I think I’ll go with that. It was subconsciously on purpose.
You are back with Bold Strokes Books, which I am very happy about. I look forward to being on panels and readings with you in the future. What made you return?
It was time. Self-publishing is awesome and has so many benefits. But it’s also a ton of work. There is so much that you, as the author, must take care of on your own, so many people you need to find/hire/pay that it takes a lot of time away from the actual writing, and that can get tedious and frustrating. It did for me. I know BSB well enough to know how great its marketing is, how solid its business model is. It was time to turn the other stuff over to somebody else so I could focus on the writing, and I’m very happy with the decision.
What events will you be at this year?
The easier question is probably what events will I not be at this year? I did the Lonestar Lesfic Festival in April (but just as an attendee, not on any panels or anything). I’ll be at GCLS in Las Vegas in July. Less than two weeks after that, I’ll be at the Romance Writers of America conference in Denver. I’m doing Women’s Week in Provincetown in October. And a new romance event in Dallas in November. Whew! I’ll be racking up the miles in 2018.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a writer, in your eyes?
I think it’s the confidence in my work that I have now. When I used to look in the mirror and try to tell myself I was good at what I did, it was a struggle to accept it as fact. I honestly wasn’t sure. But time has marched on, I’ve written more than twenty novels, and I’m still here. From what I can tell, people still want to read my work and most of them still enjoy it. Now, when I tell myself I’m good at what I do, I believe it. That’s a big deal for me.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a woman?
Definitely my independence. I had a tumultuous childhood and grew up with not much in the way of self-esteem. I still struggle with confidence, despite what I said above. But in the end, when I force myself to look at the cold, hard facts, I am an independent woman with a successful career in a field that’s tough to break into. I’m pretty proud of that.
What does Georgia Beers do for fun? I know a writer spends a lot of time alone, some by choice. Tell me a typical day off for you. Day 1: spring with the temperature in the 70s. And Day 2: winter when it’s 10 degrees out.
Hmm. These are interesting questions, because, as many people know, I’ve made some drastic changes in my life over the past two years. I am also an introvert, and while alone time doesn’t bother me, I do find I need to force myself to leave my apartment sometimes. So I find myself currently searching for new hobbies and things to do. A spring day in the 70s is the absolute perfect weather for me, so I’d be outside. Maybe in the sunshine reading a book. Maybe walking along the canal or taking Finley on a hike in a park. In the winter when it’s 10 degrees? I’m inside. Probably under a blanket. Probably watching Netflix or reading (or alternating between the two). If I could hibernate like a bear until spring, I absolutely would.
I love movies, so I go see them often. I also love plays and musicals, so when something fun comes to my city, I go. I have also developed a newfound fondness for going to the gym. Spin classes and yoga are favorites. I also work with a trainer and I’m really enjoying the act of getting in shape…much more than I expected to.
What inspires you?
Love. A beautiful woman. A riveting conversation. Movies, TV, and books. I can find almost anything inspirational.
Who inspires you?
People in general. My friends specifically. Other writers.
You are on a desert island with one person and three things. Who is it and what are the things?
Oh, man. That’s such a hard question! Let me tackle the three things first. They would be: First, my dog, Finley. Second, a large Swiss Army knife (so I can make a spear to catch fish for Finley) (that’s all the hunting I’m doing, FYI, I will eat trees) (also, you never know when you might need a tiny corkscrew…a stray bottle of wine from a wrecked ship could conceivably wash up on shore). Third…I wanted to come up with a book that would impress everybody with how intelligent and worldly I am, but there are just too many to choose from. Instead, I would want to have a thick, blank journal and several pens with me (can I count all of that as one thing? because I am) so I can write down my thoughts, feelings, and adventures.
For my person...God, that was hard, but I’m going to go with Michelle Obama. I want somebody who’s fun to look at, of course, but who is also smarter than me and, thereby, can challenge me intellectually and can keep me interested in conversation. I think she ticks all those boxes nicely.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with your money?
Off the top of my head, I would pay off the houses of my family members, put some away for retirement, and give a ton to charity, specifically animal rescues and sanctuaries, and causes that help the environment. I’m sure there are other things I’d do as well…
A pile of puppies or a night out with a friends who live in town?
Is this even a legitimate question? PUPPIES! (Sorry, friends, but did you really think you’d win over PUPPIES? I mean, come on. Have you met me?)
Thank you, Georgia, for sharing a bit about yourself with us. I loved Blend and I highly recommend it! Even if you don’t drink wine, it’s the perfect romance with heat, clever dialogue, and all the feels blended together in a sweet, emotional read.