My guest today is one of Linda Rosen’s characters from her second novel, Sisters of the Vine. Please help me welcome Liz to the interview hot seat! Let’s take a look at Linda’s bio and then we’ll find out more about Liz.
Linda Rosen’s books are set in the “not-too-distant past” and examine how women reinvent themselves despite obstacles thrown their way. A central theme is that blood is not all that makes a family– and they always feature a piece of jewelry! Her debut novel, The Disharmony of Silence, released in March 2020 and her sophomore novel, Sisters of the Vine, one year later, from Black Rose Writing. Linda was a contributor to Women in the Literary Landscape: A WNBA Centennial Publication for the Women’s National Book Association and has had stories published in online magazines and print anthologies. She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and the Women’s National Book Association where she is Selections Coordinator of the Great Group Reads committee which curates a list, published annually, of novels and memoirs perfect for book clubs.
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Betty: How would you describe your childhood?
Liz: I had a happy childhood. My parents adored each other. Everyone should have a marriage like theirs. I was close to my older brother and my little sister. Even when she was a pain, she was fun. And then, everything changed in my senior year of high school. My mother got cancer and…well, she died before I graduated and I sort of became Kristin’s mother. Daddy didn’t want me to but I couldn’t help it. She was my little sister and he couldn’t do everything a mother would do, like go shopping with her, one day buy a prom dress. That’s why I didn’t want to go away to college. like we had planned. But I did. My father insisted. And, that’s another story.
Betty: What kind of schooling did you have? Did you enjoy it?
Liz: I had a great time in high school, even junior high and elementary school. I had tons of friends and was a decent student, Bs, a few Cs in math, and an A, now and then. And, as I said, I went away to college. That’s where I met Rick – the other story I mentioned. I fell head over heels in love with him and he was graduating, getting a teaching job and wanted me to marry him. So, I quit college after freshman year. Totally against my father’s wishes. And, to be honest, for a really long time, I felt very guilty about it. I wanted, no, I had to make it up to him, to prove I could be something he’d be proud of, even without a college degree.
Betty: When did you have your first kiss and with who? How did it go?
Liz: Now that’s a nice memory. I was in fourth grade, maybe fifth, and was on my friend Spencer’s screened-in porch. I think we were hiding from other kids. All I remember is lying on our stomachs and Spencer turned his head to me and said something. I looked at him and he kissed me. On the lips! Then he kissed me again, real slow. It was so nice. I don’t remember anything after that. Probably nothing happened, not until junior high school when I made-out with my boyfriend, not Spencer, for the first time. We were in my basement when my parents weren’t home. Oh, those innocent days. Great memories.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest achievement? Why?
Liz: Making my first bottle of wine. Rick thought I’d never be able to do it without him. He was sure the vineyard would fail and I’d go running home, penniless, to my father. I showed him! And, made my dad proud of me.
Betty: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Liz: When I got my hand stuck in the wine press, for sure. I should have known better. That was so scary. I almost lost an entire batch of wine, aside from my hand!
Betty: If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be and why?
Liz: People probably expect me to say I would have stayed in college, but if I did that I’d never have the gorgeous vineyard and winery I have today. I wouldn’t be the successful business woman that I am. Or have the most special friends a girl could have. They’re more than friends, they’re sisters. So, what would I change? Maybe to have woken up earlier and not been so blind about my husband.
Betty: What’s your greatest fear? Who else knows about it?
Liz: Failure. I failed at one thing. And I never want to fail at anything else, ever. I’m pretty sure Bobbi knows. We don’t have to talk about it. It’s there, with me, every day.
Betty: How much of your true self do you share with others?
Liz: Good question. If you ask my sister, she’d say I don’t share anything but Bobbi, my best friend and assistant, would disagree. I can talk to her. And to Sandra and Susan. The grapes are their babies, too. They’ve crawled into their hearts, got under their skin. Even if I don’t say anything, they know what’s going on. They know the real me. We’re family.
Betty: Are you close to your family? Do you wish your relationship with them was different in any way? If so, how?
Liz: Even though I don’t see my brother often, we’re close. He helped me deal with Rick, when I needed it most. And my dad, we are incredibly close. I can count on him for anything at any time. I just wish I hadn’t disappointed him so. And yes, I have a good relationship with my sister. She’s of a totally different generation from me, much more feminist than I ever thought I was and I’m learning a great deal from her. At first, I thought she was nuts, but I realize how right she was, and is. And my non-blood family, my sisters of the vine? I wouldn’t change anything. Well…maybe a little.
Betty: What characteristics are you looking for in a potential lover/spouse?
Liz: Actually, I am not looking for anyone. I did have a boyfriend, after my marriage broke up, but he couldn’t understand me. My family, human and plant, come first, before any man. Someone would have to be able to deal with that. Sure, it’d be nice, but I don’t think I’ll ever find a guy who can take second place, or, actually, third.
Betty: How do you like to relax? What kind of entertainment do you enjoy?
Liz: Relax? I’m not sure I know that word. Though it would be nice. I don’t have time for entertainment, other than television at night with a glass of wine. Maybe one day…
Betty: If you could change yourself in some way, what change would you make? Why?
Liz: I wish I had been a better mother. Now my kids are grown and they are becoming wonderful adults. I hope the fact that I spent so much time in the vineyard and on my business, leaving them home alone way too often, hasn’t hurt them. And I hope Bethany is a better cook than I am.
Betty: What do you think you’re good at? Bad at?
Liz: I’m good at making and selling wine, talking to customers, growing grapes. I also think I’m good at mentoring women. I’d like to do more of that one day, when my business grows. I want to help other women grow and attain their dreams. What am I bad at? Marriage.
Betty: What items do you carry in your pockets or handbag?
Liz: I spend most of my time in my office or vineyard so I rarely carry a handbag. Though, recently, I’ve been out promoting our wines to stores and restaurants so I have bought a beautiful soft leather shoulder bag. It holds my wallet, keys, checkbook and pen, and business cards, of course. There could be some tissues and hard candy floating around in there, too. And any articles about my winery that might help make the sale with a prospective vendor.
Betty: What foods and beverages do you routinely have in your refrigerator?
Liz: This is embarrassing. My kids would say there’s nothing but that’s not true. We have lots of frozen foods, like TV dinners, pizza and pot pies. There’s always eggs in the fridge, easy for the kids to make, and American cheese, Coke, orange juice and milk for cereal. I guess you can see that I’m not much of a cook. We don’t go hungry though. There’s always hamburger helper and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. And wine.
Eight Hundred Grapes meets A League of Their Own. The story of one woman’s determination to keep the land she loves and the sisterhood formed around her. And, yes, there’s wine! As best-selling author Hannah Mary McKinnon says, “SISTERS OF THE VINE is not only a beautiful tale of self-discovery and reinvention, but one of female triumph, too. Filled with characters you’ll love, and some you’ll love to hate, this feel-good story will have you raising your glass to the heroine and her delightful crew.”
Thanks to Linda for letting Liz come by and chat with us today! There is something about a story set at a vineyard that I always find appealing. Maybe it’s just the wine…
Happy reading, everyone!
Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories
Visit www.bettybolte.com for a complete list of my books and appearances.
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