Sunday, 28 May 2017

Welcome to The Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock

Hello Julie and welcome to the blog. As a French native, I am always delighted to read novels set in France, and even more delighted when the location is a little different. Alsace is a beautiful region but I must say that I haven't read many novels set there yet.

I absolutely love this cover. Can you tell us a little about the novel?

The Vineyard in Alsace is a second chance at love story between Fran and Didier who were in love at university but split up when she went to take a job in London. She returns to Alsace after her fiancĂ© cheats on her and finds herself working on Didier’s vineyard. Little by little, they fall in love all over again but they have to overcome a few obstacles obviously before they can have their happily ever after.

A vineyard... How lovely! Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m a contemporary romance author and to date, I have independently published two novels. Setting is especially important to me so my first novel, published in 2015, travelled between Dorset and Nashville, and my latest one is set on a vineyard in Alsace in France.

I love to travel but most of the time, I live in Bedfordshire with my family.

Tell me, Julie, where do you get your ideas for your stories?

So far, my books have been inspired by my love of travel and also my interests. So my first book was about singing and country music, and my love of all things Nashville! My second book came about through my love of France and the French language, and also the fact that I used to work for a mail-order wine merchant some years ago. My next book is set in a restaurant – can you see a pattern emerging?!

Yes indeed! In three words - What kind of man is Didier, your hero?

Aidan Turner lookalike!

In three words - What kind of woman is Fran, your heroine?

Determined, independent, loving.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to write? (quiet, music, an empty house?)

I need to know where the story is going! I’ve just been suffering from a bit of a block but today, I came through it and now I can see where I’m heading again.

I am a complete pantser, so I can sympathise when you say you get stuck sometimes. I often have to backtrack and change everything. What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on my next book – the one set in a restaurant - and I’m about a third of the way in. I have written an outline but things never quite seem to work out the way I plan... I have my plot planned and I know who my main characters are but my characters always seem to take the plot a different way!


day light; busy; time.
night awake; darkness; quiet.
winter dark; cold; long.
summer sun; rain; salad.
romance heart; happiness; together.
writing joy; hard; achievement.
music essential; happiness; singing.
hair grey; nightmare; short.
love family; music; food.
ring wedding; union; eternity.

Thank you very much, Julie, for being my guest today, and I wish you lots of success with A Vineyard in Alsace.

Thank you very much for having me as a guest on your blog, Marie.

Is there really such a thing as a second chance at love?
Fran Schell has only just become engaged when she finds her fiancé in bed with another woman. She knows this is the push she needs to break free of him and to leave London. She applies for her dream job on a vineyard in Alsace, in France, not far from her family home, determined to concentrate on her work.

Didier Le Roy can hardly believe it when he sees that the only person to apply for the job on his vineyard is the same woman he once loved but let go because of his stupid pride. Now estranged from his wife, he longs for a second chance with Fran if only she will forgive him for not following her to London.

Working so closely together, Fran soon starts to fall in love with Didier all over again. Didier knows that it is now time for him to move on with his divorce if he and Fran are ever to have a future together. Can Fran and Didier make their second chance at love work despite all the obstacles in their way?

The Vineyard in Alsace is a contemporary romance set against the enticing backdrop of the vineyard harvest in Alsace in France.

‘Here, you can have this back!’ I wrenched my engagement ring from my finger and flung it in the general direction of their naked bodies, huddled together under the sheet on the bed. Our bed. ‘I obviously won’t be needing it any more.’
‘What the hell, Fran?’ The thunderous look on Paul’s face as the ring pinged against the metal bedframe almost made me doubt myself. I closed my eyes briefly. Don’t let him control you. You are definitely not the guilty party!
I took one last look at him and then I turned and ran. I kept on running, as far and as fast as my legs would take me, blood pounding in my ears, my long hair whipping around my face. The whole time my mind raced with thoughts of his double betrayal.
Eventually, my body couldn’t take any more and I stopped on the pavement near an underground station, doubled over and panting from the effort. Once I’d got my breath back a bit, I gave Ellie a call. She picked up on the first ring.
‘Hey, Fran, how are you?’
That question pushed me over the edge into full-blown sobbing and once I’d started, I couldn’t stop.
‘What’s the matter? Where are you? Is Paul there? Talk to me, please!’
‘Hold on a minute,’ I managed to choke out, wiping my face on the sleeve of my t-shirt. ‘I’m at the Tube station and I need a place to stay. Paul…Paul…well, there is no Paul and me any more.’
I heard her sharp intake of breath before she said, ‘Of course you must come here. Will you be okay on your own or do you want me to come and get you?’
‘No, I’ll be okay. I should be about half an hour. Thanks, Ellie.’ I rang off and made my way down into the depths of the Tube, grateful that I would have somewhere to stay so I didn’t have to go back home tonight. Afterwards, I couldn’t remember finding my way to the platform. I was so distracted by all that had happened and in such a short space of time but the next thing I knew, I was squashed into a seat on a crowded rush-hour carriage, trundling north on the Northern line.
No-one spared me a second glance on the train. It was oddly calming to be sitting among complete strangers in my misery and to know I didn’t have to explain myself. I wrapped my arms protectively around my body. Why on earth had Paul done this to me? I wracked my brain as the train rattled on, but I could make no sense of it.
When I arrived at Ellie’s, she scooped me into her arms at once for a hug, which only made me start crying again. She patted my back comfortingly, and eventually the tears subsided.
‘Why don’t I get us both a drink and then you can tell me everything that’s happened?’

Author Bio
Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She indie published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and has just published her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace. A follow-up novella to From Here to Nashville is also in progress, as well as the next novel.

She blogs regularly on her website, 'My Writing Life.' You can also connect with her on Twitter and via her Facebook Author Page.
She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Society of Authors.
When she is not writing, she works part-time for a charity as a communications officer, and freelance as a web designer and supply teacher. She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.


  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Marie. It was such a pleasure to be here :)

    1. It was a pleasure, Julie! Good luck with the book.

  2. Lovely interview, Marie and Julie. The word association test is fascinating! x

    1. Thank you, Kate. I do like these word associations too!

  3. Lovely interview, Marie and Julie. I love books set in France and there are not many set in the wonderful Alsace region. Love the cover, too!

    1. Thank you, Helena. The Alsace location is unusual, isn't it? It is a beautiful region, and very famous for its wine and good food!

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