I’m not exactly sure how one experience translates to another, but I know it goes through a process called “Kim’s imagination” and then it comes out the other side. Take this experience for example. I am home alone, my family out of town. The weather takes an ugly turn, and the rain and wind beat at my door. I am writing my first novel Circle of Sun and take a break for dinner. To set the record straight, I don’t have a winery in my house, but I do have a good imagination. Instead of eating at my dining room table. I enjoy my meal with a glass of wine at my little bar downstairs. The bar is made from wood with a brass foot rail. The bar top itself is smooth with a small narrow shelf on one side, and a wooden dowel at the opposite end. They support a little overhead to hang glasses from and it even has a little lantern. We have only really used it as a bar a few times, but it goes with the décor of our family room. My husband was not too keen on the purchase. I found it on Craig’s list for $75. I don’t even know how much it weighs, but if my husband’s mutterings were recorded when we were transporting it . . . you get the idea. I wish I could tell you I am a gourmet cook and whipped up something fantastic for myself for dinner, but the honest truth is I enjoy a break from cooking when the family is gone. The Smart Ones frozen pasta with ricotta/spinach was not placed on my brick oven (ummm don’t have one of those), allowing the artisan cheeses to melt to perfection, it was hastily prepared in my silver microwave oven. I did prepare a salad, had some bread and a yummy cabernet. I have a distressed vintage wooden tray propped up on the bar with the words “Langford Cellars” painted on it. (see picture) This became the inspiration for the family that owns the winery in White Oak, Carolynn and Adam Langford. The lights are low and I light a candle while my Pandora station plays some smooth jazz. There I sat eating my dinner with my computer and here is how the scene worked out in my book.
My heroine Quinn is meeting her friend at a restaurant called Bordeaux’s within Langford Winery, to fill her in on the accident that happened just that afternoon.
“I check my visor mirror quickly as I arrive windblown at Bordeaux’s. I work my fingers through my hair for a quick lift, and apply lipstick, all the primping I have patience for today. Tera is a natural Latin beauty with dark eyes and olive skin. Her image will be amazing, as usual, and she won’t say anything about my appearance, under the good friend clause.
Bordeaux’s itself is lodge-like in design and surrounded by large oak trees. The heritage of Langford Winery goes back to 1851 when the family emigrated from Germany to join other Germans in Missouri. Langford’s is my favorite winery among the several in the area of White Oak, with Bordeaux’s being the main reason… A portion of Bordeaux’s is built into the bluff. Some of the wine storage barrels sit here. Hearty oak booths, low lighting, limestone walls and bountiful faux grape vines and soft jazz create a relaxing ambiance…. Carolynn serves our meals, a feast for the eyes. The steaming Ziti is tossed gently in Bordeaux’s own marinara and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. A toasted baguette with goat cheese rests alongside a salad with frilly lettuce, artichokes and olives and dressed with Bordeaux’s own savory recipe of olive oil, basil, oregano and lemon.” The meal and the wine are enjoyed over the conversation that quickly takes top billing. A mystery woman makes a purchase in Quinn’s bookstore and leaves. Quinn discovers a revealing and threatening note left in the store by her. The woman is run down and killed before Quinn has a chance to question her.
The scene is written, the wind is howling, the candle burns softly and the music is mellow. Guess I’ll have another glass of cabernet. It’s been a great evening.