This week you will meet Author
Natalie MacLean. She is sharing news of her new book,
Wine Witch on Fire.
Natalie is an accomplished author and recipient of many awards. Please check out her website below.
Read on, my friends.
Natalie MacLean, named the World's Best Drinks
Journalist, has also won four James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards. She’s the
bestselling author of Red, White and Drunk All Over.
hosts the NYT recommended podcast, Unreserved Wine Talk, and offers popular
online wine and food pairing classes at www.nataliemaclean.com.
Working Title: Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of
Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much. A Memoir
Synopsis: Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from
the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation, and Drinking Too Much is a powerful memoir about how one woman resurrects her life
and career in the glamorous but sexist wine industry.
MacLean, a bestselling wine writer, is shocked when her husband of twenty
years, a high-powered CEO, demands a divorce. Her year gets even worse when an
online mob of rivals comes for her career.
between despair and determination, she must fight for her son, rebuild her
career, and salvage her self-worth using her superpowers: heart, humour, and an
uncanny ability to pair wine and food.
questions her insider role in the slick marketing that encourages women to
drink too much while she battles the wine world’s veiled misogyny. Facing the
worst vintage of her life, she reconnects with the vineyards that once brought
her joy, the friends who sustain her, and her own belief in second chances.
The Story Behind the Story: This is a deeply personal, revealing memoir. Was
it difficult to write with such openness and vulnerability?
I try to get everything on the page before I think
of anyone else reading my work. I reassure myself that I’ll edit later.
Otherwise, I’d never write a word. It would be like flooring the gas pedal
while the brake is on. They’re two different mind states.
When I get to the editing phase, I do think about
how people react, especially those mentioned in the memoir. That’s why I had
friends and family read the book while it was still in development.
While I hope a broader audience will like the
memoir, I know that’s out of my control. This is a very difficult
statement for a control freak to make .
Fortunately, most of those who’ve contacted me
about the book have been positive.
Yes, I do feel more exposed. I’ve written openly
not only about the times when I drank too much in response to my divorce and
online bullying, but also about my issues with hyper-competitiveness and
That’s why, for the first year I spent writing this
book, I had no intention of publishing it. It was a private exercise in making
sense of what happened that year.
I realized, though, that keeping this story to
myself was a way of not connecting fully with others, like I had done with my
mother, partner and son. My life had great curb appeal because I had kept all
my imperfections hidden.
However, openness is the way to live a full, rich
life. Vulnerability in this story opens a door and invites people inside my
life to show them the cracks that they might recognize in their own lives.
Extending that openness to them is how I connect
with readers, letting them into my story. In turn, they’ve let me into their
lives with stories that have moved me deeply.
Putting my story — and my flaws — out in public is
also a way of holding myself to higher standard of accountability. Now if I
slip up, it’s no longer in private. But that’s actually reassuring as I have
more people supporting me than when I was going it alone.
**Why did you change your mind about publishing the book?
Many memoirists say they publish their stories so
that others feel less alone. I believe them, but what does that mean? How do my
words comfort someone when our situations can be so different?
As parents, we help our children to find the words
they need to articulate their feelings. We ask them if they’re hungry, tired,
sad, etc. Naming the emotion and talking about it gives them another way to
deal with feelings beyond crying and tantrums.
As adults, many of us lose touch with our emotions
or we haven’t developed the vocabulary for more complex feelings. Dr. Brené
Brown says we can usually name just three — happy, sad, and ticked off — but
there are actually more than 87 that she explores in her book Atlas of the
Just as a doctor must diagnose symptoms to treat a
disease, I believe we need to identify our feelings so we can deal with them.
Otherwise, they roam inside us like unnamed ghosts.
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote that,
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” He believed if we
can’t describe something, it doesn’t exist for us. I believe that, too.
The specifics of my story are different from
others’ experiences, but the feelings are universal, as is the need for
A question before you go, Natalie:
you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or desire, for your writing?
Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila? Neat
or notes everywhere?
I write from my home office overlooking a wide-open field and beyond
that, a river. It’s peaceful to rest my eyes on this pastoral landscape when
I’m weary from the computer screen.
I prefer quiet, but if I have music on while writing, it’s slow jazz or
classical with no lyrics. I have a large pot of decaffeinated green tea
constantly steeping. Caffeine would have me climbing the ceiling
My desk is bare except for the large screen computer, keyboard and a mug
of steaming green tea. Early mornings are when I get the best writing done
before the froth of emails and phone calls washes me out to a sea of daily
Get the free wine guide that suggests tips on organizing an informal wine tasting with friends and wines to pair with this book and other books at: www.WineWitchonFire.com/Guide
"Funny, zesty, edgy, intense, a page turner." - Frances Mayes, #1 New York Times bestseller of Under the Tuscan Sun
Thank you for being our guest this
week, Natalie. Wishing you continued success on your writing journey.
And a special thank you to all our Visitors
and Readers. We do it all for you….