Hot Seat: Featuring Debut Author, Nan Reinhardt

Welcome to Hot Seat, an interview process where you, the reader, get the chance to ask the author whatever you are dying to know about the book, the writing process, craft of writing, behind the scenes of publishing (like the non-existent three martini lunch and the six figure advance on royalties), personal information (the author can ignore or fudge on the details), or perhaps the names of pets, or favorite color and style of pajamas.

At the end of the week I will send your questions to the author, who will then get the chance to supply the answers in the next week’s blog post. So here we go. In the hot seat, and incredibly cool, calm, and collected, is debut author, Nan Reinhardt                   I don’t know Nan personally, but we met online through the BettyVerse, a blog created by author Lani Diane Rich. I was drawn to the tone and word choice in Nan’s blog comments and had no idea she felt the same way about mine. She reached out and emailed me, and we began an internet friendship. Then I learned she is a freelance editor. I thought, no wonder her writing is so great, but what does she see in mine? My grammar is not always spot on. We decided it was tone. We’re about the same age, but Nan grew up in the United States, and I grew up in Australia. Yet there were often times she would write something and I would be shocked. She sounded JUST LIKE ME, only better. Dammit.

I had the good fortune to recently read one of Nan’s manuscripts, and offer whatever critique I could. Believe me, there was not much to suggest. She has a lovely voice, a subtle humor, and a descriptive way of invoking an impression without getting heavy handed. Her debut book, a contemporary romance: Rule Number One was released last week by Siren Bookstrand, and is a delightful read. To learn more about it please visit: www.bookstrand.com/rule-number-one

                                    Story Excerpt for Rule Number One by Nan Reinhardt   

“You really are a Renaissance woman, aren’t you, Katy Gilligan?”

“That’s me, Jack,” Katy replied, trying to ignore the little flicker of heat low in her belly. “Stage a house. Refurbish an historic building. And then serve up the beer. What can I get you to drink?”

“I’d love a Guinness.” As she turned toward the bar, he added, “But only if I can watch you pull it.” The look in his eyes said plainly that he was interested in more than just filling a glass, but as he followed her to the bar, he said innocently enough, “I’ve heard that pulling a Guinness is an art. Is that true?”

Katy’s heart pounded in her chest, but she walked calmly to the bar, too aware of Jack following a few feet behind her. Just be cool, Katy, she reminded herself in spite of the deluge of heat his presence created.

***

Jack watched her move in front of him, fighting the urge to simply grab her and pull that lovely behind up against him. He could feel every muscle tighten, some more than others, as he imagined putting his arms around her. Letting his hands wander over her warm, flat belly, maybe tug that T-shirt out of her jeans and allow his fingers to explore her soft skin—

“Jack! Watch out!” Katy’s voice brought him up short.

Damn! He’d almost run into the bar. Very smooth, Walsh, smash your face into the brass pole, that’ll impress her. After all, you’ve already damn near dumped a beer in Jeff’s lap. What a putz! He forced himself to look composed and smiled at her. “Okay, so what’s this mysterious process?” he asked as he stepped behind the bar with her.

“Aye, well, ’tis an art, pullin’ a pint o’ Guinness.” Katy’s brogue was a perfect replica of Doyle’s. Jack was immediately enchanted. “It takes years o’ practice to perfect it. I’ve been workin’ at it since I was a wee lass.” She shook her auburn curls off her forehead and grinned at him.

Oh, my God, she’s flirting with me! The ever-cool Katy Gilligan was actually smiling and batting her lashes at him. Jack’s composure slipped another notch or two. Katy pulled a glass from the rack under the bar, smiling at him over her shoulder. He could feel heat rising.

“Okay, step one, start with a cool, clean, dry glass—not a warm one fresh from the dishwasher, mind ye.” She twisted slightly, holding the wide-mouth glass up for him to examine. The movement brought her full breasts into contact with his arm. But she didn’t move away from him. What’s this? So Rule Number One doesn’t apply if we’re on her turf?

“Step two, hold the glass at a forty-five-degree angle.” She demonstrated as she put the glass under the tap and continued in the broad Irish brogue that Jack was quickly falling in love with.

How would it be to hear that sweet brogue whispering wicked things in my ear? His imagination got to work picturing Kate naked and soft, murmuring Gaelic endearments as she squirmed under him in a big four-poster bed.

“Are ye payin’ attention, man?” Katy’s brogue interrupted his fantasy.

He smiled into her dark-chocolate eyes. “Aye,” he imitated softly.

She swallowed hard. “Step three, bring the handle slowly towards ye ’til the glass is aboot three-quarters full.” She pulled on the handle, watching the brew fill the glass. “Let the beer flow smoothly down the side o’ the glass and don’t be getting’ the spout in it.” She slowly created a foamy head, then set it down on the drip tray below the tap. “Now, step four, ye let it set fer ninety seconds.”

Jack moved in closer so his body was touching hers. He put his hand on the counter behind her as he leaned around to watch the beer settle. “So why are we letting it sit for ninety seconds?” he asked, his tone deliberately much more intimate than the question.

“Be–because,” she stuttered, losing her brogue completely. She looked past him and took a deep breath. “’Tis how the gas settles out,” she said finally but her brogue was a little shaky. “Ye get a better head on it and a richer taste.”

“Ahhh, okay.” Jack grinned. He was getting to her. The realization made his blood heat up even more. This woman makes me crazy hungry. “I’ve always wondered why bartenders did that with Guinness.”

He moved even closer. Now he was pressed against her hip. Katy trembled but stepped away neatly, reaching for the glass of brew. “Step five,” she began, but he stopped her with his hand on hers.

“No, not yet,” he said, bringing her hand down between them. “It hasn’t been ninety seconds.” He didn’t let go of her hand. Instead he curled his fingers around hers and let his thumb gently massage the delicate flesh of her wrist.

Katy allowed the touch, turning her body to his slightly, but only for the briefest of seconds before she pulled her hand from his and turned back to her task. “That’s just an estimate.” She picked up the glass. “Step five, fill the glass to the rim, but this time push the tap back—that allows a slow steady pour.” She filled the glass with the dark brew. “And that’s how ye get the creamy head.” She let the glass overfill slightly, then grabbed a coaster and set it on the bar. She looked up at Jack with a smile. “There ye go, Sir, step six, enjoy.”

Fabulous! Your writing makes me smile. Congratulations again, Nan. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Please, feel free to ask Nan anything about her journey to publication. I’ll turn on the fan just in case it gets warm in here.

Nan Reinhardt is a romance writer and an incurable romantic. She’s also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and almost a grandmother. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last fifteen years, has earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. But writing is her first and most enduring passion. Rule Number One is her debut novel. Two other novels are currently with her agent, Maureen Walters, of Curtis Brown Literary Agency in New York. Like Jo March, she writes at night, after the work is done and her household is asleep. Talk to her at www.nanreinhardt.com

Share
This entry was posted in Life. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Hot Seat: Featuring Debut Author, Nan Reinhardt

  1. Robena Grant says:

    Welcome, Nan.
    Did you spend a lot of time with each writing session going back over the work and editing and tweaking, or did you find a way to shut down the editor part of your brain and just get that first rough draft out?

  2. Pingback: Nan Reinhardt » Blog Archive » In the Hot Seat

  3. Nancy says:

    Hi Nan,
    I can’t wait to read the whole book after that little taste.
    I know how excited you were when it was accepted for publication, so congratulations again.
    My question is: Is writing something you have wanted to do all your life, or is it something you decided to try for a certain reason?
    I love Robena’s process question. I always wonder how others write.

    Also the friendship you 2 formed reminds me of myself and Renee (also from the Bettyverse connection) We instantly “recognised a kindrid spirit”.
    Very Anne of Green Gables of us all with a very modern internet twist!

  4. Robena Grant says:

    Nancy, I love your question, and your comment. The BettyVerse, http://www.bettyverse.com has created wonderful friendships for so many of us, and all due to the generosity of Lucy and Alastair. Fun times. : )

  5. Dee J. says:

    Great excerpt! Really loved it! Congrats on the release! How long have you been writing?

  6. Good luck with “Rule Number One”! It’s a cute cover and the excerpt was fun to read!!

  7. Hi Nancy!
    What I’d like to know is the research part. Are you a bartender? If not, where did you go to find your steps to pulling the beer? How do you fight off the urge to share too much research in your story?

    Loved the excerpt. Best of luck on the new book.

  8. Nan – I haven’t had a chance to read the whole book yet but the excerpt makes me ask – have you ever been a bartender?

  9. Robena Grant says:

    Judy and Lynne, I found you both in moderation and asking the same question. I had also asked it in my mind. : )
    I want to hear all about Nan’s time working in a bar…or was that dancing in a bar…or dancing on a table in a bar? Hmmmm? Questions. Questions.

  10. Mary Stella says:

    Hi Robena and Nan,

    What fun. I like asking questions. First off, Nan, do you know that you look like you could be Mariah Stewart’s sister?

    Secondly, do you have any writing “rituals” that you follow? (i.e. style of music, candles, scenery, dancing naked under (and displaying) a full moon etc?)

  11. Maria says:

    Very much enjoyed the excerpt and I’d like to know if you are someone who writes a rough draft and then revises, revises, revises? Or do you plot it all out and then write a fairly polished first draft and revise very little? I love the title of your book Nan.

  12. Gina B. says:

    Hi Robena and Nan!

    Nan, congrats on the release of your book! I enjoyed the excerpt! My question for you is…what was your inspiration to write Rule Number One? (I love that title!)

  13. Liz Flaherty says:

    Hi, Nan and Robena – Nice to see you. The excerpt is great. Nan, do you feel as though your books are your niche in writing or do you have other preferences? (I ask this from a selfish perspective, of course, because I love writing essays.)

  14. Chery Brooks says:

    LOL! Who knew pullin’ a pint o’ Guinness could be so sexy! Congrats on your debut. Here’s wishing you many more successes to come!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks for coming by Gina, Liz, and Cheryl.
      It is a fun excerpt, isn’t it?

      And Liz, I went to hear memoirist Wade Rouse speak. He started out as an essayist and then began to put those together as the musings of a memoirist, and is now very successful. So. Keep on writing.

  15. Carol says:

    Hi Nan & Robena ~
    Congratulations on the debut novel. How exciting.

    During your writing process, did your characters talk to you, giving you a line and moved the story in another direction?

  16. londonmabel says:

    I never have questions, but I enjoy reading the result of these. 🙂

    By the way, I used to get you and Nan mixed up in my head all the time. There really is something about you guys that’s alike! So cute.

  17. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks, Mabel. I know what you mean. I’d often read what Nan wrote and think it sounded like me. Maybe it’s the voice of ladies who are in their prime? ; )