Guest Post: Starting Over At The Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock


She’s proud, independent and about to be a single mum. Since his wife died, he’s become fiercely protective. Can they take another chance on love?

After being abandoned by her partner when she falls pregnant, Lottie Schell goes home to live on The Vineyard in Alsace determined to raise her child and to provide for them both without having to depend on anyone else.

Thierry Bernard is still dealing with his grief and guilt following the death of his wife two years earlier. He needs to move on from the tragedy of his past and to accept the truth of what happened.

When circumstances force Lottie and Thierry closer together and their attraction deepens, they both find it hard to compromise – and they’re both wary about trusting someone new with their heart.

Can Lottie and Thierry move on from their pasts, find a new beginning together and start over?

I am delighted to be joined on the blog today by Julie Stock, with a guest post about her latest book, Starting Over in the Vineyard in Alsace. I’ve not had chance to read the book myself yet, but I am very much looking forward to it, as I love a novel that whisks me away to foreign climes and Julie has kindly written me a post to explain how the settings of her books influence her writing.

How settings inspire my contemporary romance stories

I describe my writing as contemporary romance from around the world because it is always a setting that gets me started with the idea for a story. I have written books set in Nashville and Dorset, in Cornwall and Paris, in London and Devon. My latest book, Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace, is the second in a series of books set in Alsace in France, a place I know very well. 

It isn’t always the case when I have an idea that I know the place I’m going to write about very well though. When I wrote From Here to Nashville, I’d never been to Nashville and had to do all my research about it online. I don’t think authors should be held back by this though. As long as you’re prepared to do your research, it is possible to write about places you’ve never been to. As it turned out, I visited Nashville shortly after my book was published anyway, and was able to check that my research was accurate.

Since writing that first series, I’ve set my other books in real-life places but with a fictional location. So The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge doesn’t really exist but the village it’s located in is based on Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon, which I have visited and know pretty well. Just basing the village on a real place gives you a lot more freedom as an author to make the setting what you want it to be. It does mean that you can include details about local landmarks though, which makes it fun for readers who do know the area.

Similarly, The Vineyard in Alsace and Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace, books 1 and 2 in my Domaine des Montagnes series, are set on a fictional vineyard in a fictional village in Alsace. I write about lots of real-life places in Alsace but I don’t get bogged down in too many specific details, which allows me to make the vineyard and the village nearby exactly how I want them to be. In the end, the vineyard in my books is an amalgam of lots of vineyards I’ve visited together with their visitors’ centres and their neighbouring villages.

However, one thing in these books that does have to be absolutely accurate, is the detail about the work done in the vineyard. As I worked for a mail-order wine merchant for a few years, and studied for my wine exams while I was there, I am confident enough to write about that so that readers get a true sense of what life on a working vineyard would be like. It is possible to research that if you haven’t had the same background I have, of course, but it comes naturally to me with the benefit of my experience.

I was lucky enough to visit California earlier this year and we stayed in a lovely inn facing on to the Pacific Ocean for one of our stops. The name of the inn got me thinking about setting a future book in a bed and breakfast or a hotel. Apart from staying in lots of them over the years, I have no experience of what running a B&B involves, so there would have to be a lot of research for that book. But I think that could be a lot of fun! I’d just have to remember that at some point the fun would have to stop so that I could get on with writing the book! 


Thanks for that insight into the writing process, Julie, it is fascinating to see how other writers work and I look forward to reading the book soon.

Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace is out now in paperback and ebook, and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author


Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in 2015, after starting to write as an escape from the demands of her day job as a teacher. Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace is her latest book, and the second in the Domaine des Montagnes series set on a vineyard.

Julie is now a full-time author, and loves every minute of her writing life. When not writing, she can be found reading, her favourite past-time, running, a new hobby, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, glass of wine in hand.

Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

Connect with Julie:


Facebook: Julie Stock Author

Twitter: @wood_beez48

Instagram: @julie.stockauthor

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