Q&A with Nan Reinhardt, author of Meant to Be
Tell us about one of those defining, aha moments when, as a writer, you were in the place you needed to be.
If you mean those “oh, that’s how I’m going to write this scene!” moments, then for some weird reason they always seem to come to me when I’m driving of all things. It’s awkward because then I either have to stop in a parking lot or on the side of the road to make notes. Fortunately, I’m never without paper and pen. But if you mean, literally a place that I know is a story in itself, I’d say on my first trip to Frankfort, Michigan.
What heroine in what favorite book would you like to talk to, maybe have lunch or a glass of wine with? What would you talk about?
Unquestionably, Anne Shirley and Marilla Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have tea with them on the porch at Green Gables and talk about Prince Edward Island and writing and Avonlea? Maybe Matthew and Gilbert might join us later. Sheer heaven!
If trends and marketing weren’t things you had to consider, what book would you like to write?
A NY Times bestseller? Seriously, I think I’m writing the books I want to write at the moment. I have a women’s fiction novel and a time-travel story in me, I’m sure, but right now they’re still brewing, so until one of them comes to the top of the cycle, I’ll continue with contemporary romance.
You’re not only a bestselling author but an editor as well. Do the two jobs ever get in each other’s way?
The editor slows down the writer, I’m afraid, and that’s often discouraging because I’m driven to reread what I write and to edit as I go along. That means sometimes I lose steam in storytelling. I’m working on that.
Share a paragraph you’ve written that you particularly love—whatever the reason.
This is silly and it’s more than one paragraph, but I love the scene in Meant to Be when Sean and Megan are driving home from their disastrous double-date and he tries to explain Vinnie using an analogy from the movie Up. I loved his rationalization and her complete rejection of it.
He glanced over at Meg, who appeared focused on navigating the curvy driveway into the winery property. “Here’s the thing”—he side-eyed her as she pulled into Char’s driveway—“Vin is like... like that dog in Up.”
She switched off the car and turned to face him, her expression incredulous. “What?”
“You know the dog in that movie Up? We watched it with Ali at Christmas?” His point was valid if she would just open her mind, so he explained further. “The dog had a great ball that he was playing with—having fun, enjoying himself. Loved that ball. Then a squirrel ran by and he was completely distracted, dropped the ball, and chased the squirrel.” He grinned, hoping to get some kind of positive reaction.
She rested her elbow on the steering wheel and cupped her chin in her palm. “So, I’m the ball in this scenario?”
“And Vin is the dog?”
He nodded. She was getting it.
“And Gia is what? The squirrel?”
He threw his hands up in exultation. “Yes, exactly.”
She gazed at him for a long moment, “I’ve heard you say some really dumb stuff over the years, Sean Flaherty, but that has to be the dumbest. Stop defending him.”
I know you researched heavily for both of your series. Do you remember anything particularly surprising you learned?
I was surprised when I learned that Indiana was one of the very first places that grew wine grapes and sold wine commercially. I had no idea our state was so steeped in wine history.
Do you ever feel pressured to write something you don’t want to—by publishers, readers, or the little voice in the back of your mind?
I did when I first started writing and trying to sell romance. My agent sent me a book from another client of hers and told me to “write like this.” I tried, but it wasn’t me. That’s a big part of the reason I went indie with my Women of Willow Bay series. But Tule, my current publisher is amazing and gives me lots of freedom. I love working with them.
What’s something we don’t know about you?
I love Big Band music and the songs from the Great American Songbook. Sinatra, Crosby, Tony Bennett—they all make me swoony. I would love to learn how to dance the way they did back in the thirties and forties when that music was popular. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know much about today’s music or artists…I’m hopelessly stuck in the musical past.
Tell us about your favorite day in all the world, whether it’s already happened or you’re still hoping.
This is so trite I know, but my best day ever was the day my son was born. We’d waited so long and tried so hard to have him. He’s been a blessing from the first moment he took a breath.
You love traveling, right? So what’s on your bucket list for trips not yet taken?
Prince Edward Island with my bestie, Liz. We’re definitely going to do it in the next year or two. I’d love to go back to Ireland and France, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that. Liz and I do writing trips together once or twice a year and those satisfy the wanderlust.
A few short ones here just to get people acquainted:
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite song: Anything from the Great American Songbook
Favorite movie: Little Women, the Denise DiNovi version with Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder (Yes, I’m a true sap!)
Favorite wine: Armida Winery’s El Campo Estate Field-Blend zinfandel (I know that’s scary specific, but it is amazing wine!)
Coffee or tea? Coffee mostly, but I love Harney and Sons’s Paris tea
Any tattoos? Nope and nope it remains for all eternity.