Monday, August 24, 2015
Nina Croft Discusses Vineyard Life, Story Plotting and Her Latest Release
I’m Nina Croft. I’m English, but I live on a very remote almond farm in southern Spain, between the Mediterranean and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
This week sees the release of book 5 in my Dark Desires series, Blood and Metal, and I will probably be drinking some of my own wine to celebrate. I usually spend a lot of time talking about writing, so I thought I’d take a break and talk briefly about wine-making instead.
All the farms around here have their own vineyards, and traditionally just about everyone made their own wine (the local wine is known as costa and is definitely an acquired taste and very potent.) Though that’s changing a little as the old ways vanish and the young people move away in search of work.
On the farm, I have a small vineyard, which clings to the side of a mountain (so steep it has to be ploughed by mules) where I grow grapes and make red wine (my beverage of choice). Not on a big scale, just enough to keep us going – 500 litres or so a year.
I love making wine, it’s like magic, and it’s really quite easy as long as you have lots of sunshine. All you do is grow the grapes, pick them (that’s the hard work, and we normally get the neighbours in to help), crush them, squeeze them, put the juice in a big barrel, and that’s it. There is natural yeast in the atmosphere here (in fact we’ve come to the conclusion that the air is around 14% proof—that’s my excuse anyway) so you don’t need to add anything. And about thirty days later—you have wine. Then you drink it!
Okay, so there is a little more to the growing, but vines are amazingly hardy plants. We prune them in the springtime, just before they start to grow. After that, the mules come in to plough the land, and then about two weeks after the vines come into growth, we sulphur them to protect against mildew.
I think I might have been lying under a fig tree, imbibing some of my wine, and consequently thinking that absolutely anything is possible, when it came to the plotting of my Dark Desires series.
The novels are set in a future where man has fled to the stars and follow the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of the crew of the space ship, the Blood Hunter. The books are a mix of paranormal, science fiction and romance.
In this future, they don’t have wine; in fact, alcohol has been banned as deleterious to health (I’m not quite sure what I was thinking of with that bit of world building.) Though like me—the crew of the Blood Hunter brew their own. Here’s a little snippet from Blood and Metal, where Fergal is offered a drink
Rico got up and paced the room. Pausing, he leaned down and pulled a bottle from below one of the seats. After taking a swallow, he handed it to Fergal.
Fergal took the bottle and lifted it to his lips with caution. He had a vague memory of accepting a drink from the vampire last time. It had nearly blown his head off. Taking a sip, the liquid burned down his throat and heated his belly. Deciding it wasn’t going to kill him, he took a gulp and almost choked.
Everyone was watching him. Was it a test? He caught Daisy’s gaze and held it while he took another swallow. This time he felt it in his brain, like a warm buzz. He walked over and handed her the bottle. She didn’t look away as she raised it to her mouth—her lips red against the whiteness of her skin.
Okay time for a glass of that wine…
A Dark Desires Novel
Release Date: 25 August 2015
Copilot of the Blood Hunter, Daisy is a newly-turned vampire, and she's hungry. Really hungry and it’s interfering with her plans for revenge. Unfortunately, the only thing that can distract her from said hunger is sex...which is a problem when she can barely refrain from draining any man dry within moments. But old flame Fergal Cain might just be the sexy-assed solution to her problem.
Part human, part cyborg, and with a poison coursing through his system, Fergal's running out of time to find the scientist who has the cure. Unfortunately for him, the misfit crew of the Blood Hunter put a serious kink in his plans. And if the poison doesn't kill him, the hot little vamp he can't resist might do the honors herself...
About the Author:
Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of nine-to-five work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
Nina writes all types of romance, often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.