Joanell Serra launches her blog tour of The Vines We Planted

Monday, April 30, 2018
...and giveaway!

In the heart of the California wine country, secrets seem to grow on the vines that Uriel Macon’s family have tended for generations.

Uriel, the winery’s young widower, steers clear of complicated relationships. He prefers the lonely comfort of his vineyard and his horses, until he is reminded of his love affair with Amanda Scanlon; a relationship that ended when she abruptly left the country years ago under a cloud of mystery.

When Amanda returns to Sonoma because of a family crisis, she tries to mend the broken relationships she left behind. In addition, she seeks the truth about her parents’ complicated history and her own parentage.

But Amanda’s unveiling of the past has devastating consequences. In the midst of California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley, the Scanlon family struggles to overcome harsh realities with dignity and grace.

Both Amanda and Uriel stretch to take care of their families, which are facing immigration issues, marital crises, and loss. While navigating these challenges, the couple must decide if they trust themselves to love again, or to finally let each other go.

A Sonoma local, author Joanell Serra’s debut novel is captivating, poignant, and uplifting, demonstrating how seeds planted long ago continue to grow. Sometimes into a strangling weed, sometimes offering a bountiful harvest.

Paperback: 288 pages
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Publisher: WiDO (May 8th 2018)
ISBN-10: 1947966022
ISBN-13: 978-1947966024

The Vines We Planted is available for purchase in print and as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of the print version of The Vines We Planted, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Sunday, May 6th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Joanell Serra, MFT lives with her growing children, husband and dogs in the lovely Sonoma Valley.

After years of publishing short stories, essays and plays, The Vines We Planted is her debut novel. She can be found polishing her second novel at a coffee shop, sipping a perfect Cabernet in a Sonoma winery or at her website:

Find Joanell Online:

-----Interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW: Thank you so much for being here and thanks for choosing WOW! Women on Writing to help promote The Vines We Planted.

I absolutely love working with WiDo authors -  You published The Vines We Planted with WiDo and I'm wondering if you can tell other authors what you learned from the publishing process and how you came to choose WiDo Publishing?

Joanell: Publishing your debut novel is always a journey! This novel started out as a series of short stories, but the agents and editors who read it had the same feedback: this should be a novel. This led to a total rewrite, of course. Next, like everyone, I hit some tough bumps on the path to publishing: an agent who wanted to work with me but “couldn’t sell literary,” editors insisted I should eliminate the multiple perspectives, etc. But I believed in the story, and knew it had to be told from diverse perspectives. Eventually, I heard interest from several publishers at once, all relatively small independent presses that I’d approached months earlier. After thorough research, I decided to go with Wido. It has been such a positive experience, I now can’t imagine it any other way. The team is very responsive and respectful of my choices, and I feel connected and encouraged by my fellow Wido authors.

WOW: So glad that you included us as part of your journey - thank you!

Your cover is lovely - how did that process work? Did you play a role in choosing cover art? Tell us more!

Joanell: Thanks, I love the cover too! Wido handles the cover with input from writers. I sent them some examples of covers I liked, and they worked with the artist. I did get a chance to give input, and we tweaked colors and fonts a bit, but I loved the overall concept right from the start, and it’s getting awesome feedback. The beautiful vineyards are of course the setting for the novel, and I think the artist shows the shimmering beauty we all love here in Sonoma, while hinting at the intricacies of the “tangled” relationships.

WOW: It's wonderful that you have input each step of the way.  Your bio claims you've seen your words come to life on stage - please tell us how that came about and how you felt being part of the process?

Joanell: I’ve been involved in the theater in a variety of ways over the years, most predominantly as the mother of a professional actor. When I saw a play-writing contest through the Redwood Writers branch of the American Writers Club, I decided to try my hand at writing a play. I was thrilled to be one of the six writers chosen. We had our short plays produced professionally at the 6th Street Theater in Santa Rosa. Honestly, watching the play come to life was one of the best experience I’ve had as a writer. I have recently completed a full length play inspired by the fires in Sonoma this fall. I’m in the process of submitting it to theaters, hoping to workshop this one as well.

WOW: I'm learning so much today - thank you for being so forthcoming about all you are involved in. Good luck with this submission! You've got our support and speaking of support, who has been most supportive in your writing and publishing journey and how so?

Joanell: Who supported and encouraged me on my writing and publishing journey? That’s a long list. My husband and children cheered me on through the rejection letters and rewrites. My writing group gave me the initial confidence to put my work out into the world. There were several key conferences that I attended that built my confidence, the most special being the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. At Squaw, I spent a magical week in the mountains with a small group of stellar writers I came to call friends, and heard enough positive feedback to push through the rewrites. Redwoods writers immediately offered resources and inspiration. Wido has been welcoming, encouraging and most importantly they said from the start that they loved the book.

WOW: I'm absolutely smiling ear to ear about all the support you have - no wonder you have some much enthusiasm for supporting and helping others!

What's next for you - personally and/or professionally?

I am deep into the first draft of the next novel, which is also set in Sonoma. While I wouldn’t call it a sequel, a few of the characters from the Vines We Planted will cross over in the next novel. After years of rewrites on TVWP, I’m loving the process of creating a brand new story. As I mentioned, I’m also working on a play, and am always writing smaller pieces. Personally, I’m excited for launching this novel into the world.

I’ll be throwing my energy into promoting this summer while working on novel #2, but in September I’ll put work aside to attend a woman’s retreat in Tuscany with Jennifer Pastiloff and her crew. Very excited for that! As always, my family’s growth is exciting to me as well. This year that means other “launches” - one son moving to NYC, a daughter graduating college, a wedding celebration, and a son starting senior year of high school. It is never boring at our house. Hopefully my husband and I will find a few quiet moments to enjoy a glass of Sonoma Cabernet.

WOW: Well I certainly knew you wouldn't be sitting idle watching the grass grow! Best of luck with all your plans and enjoy that Cabernet! Thank you again for sharing your time and talents with us here at WOW!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, April 30th @ The Muffin
Author Interview & Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 1st @ Word Nerd
Elizabeth at Word Nerd reviews The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra and interviews this popular author about her latest work!

Wednesday, May 2nd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole reviews Joanell Serra's The Vines We Planted for readers at World of My Imagination. Don't miss the opportunity to find out more about this fast paced novel!

Thursday, May 3rd @ Phytallic
Don't miss today's review of The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra. Readers at Phytallic will be delighted and intrigued!

Friday, May 4th @ Write Happy
Catherine Brown shares her review of The Vines We Planted with readers at Write Happy. You won't want to miss this opportunity to learn more about author Joanell Serra and her latest work!

Saturday, May 5th @ The Muffin
Crystal Otto reviews The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra.

Monday, May 7th @ Beverley Baird
Beverley Baird reviews Joanell Serra's latest work The Vines We Planted and shares her thoughts with readers at Beverley A Baird.

Tuesday, May 8th @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews Joanell Serra about her writing and her latest novel The Vines We Planted. Don't miss today's informative and encouraging author interview!

Wednesday, May 9th @ The Constant Story
Fellow author David Berner reviews The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra. Readers at The Constant Story will delight in learning about this beautifully written novel published by Wido Publishing.

Thursday, May 10th @ Coffee with Lacey
Readers at Coffee With Lacey learn more about the beautiful The Vines We Planted as Lacey reviews Joanell Serra's latest novel.

Monday, May 14th @ Choices
Joanell Serra is today's guest blogger at Choices. Her article about Mental health is one you won't want to miss. Learn about this and find out about Serra's novel The Vines We Planted.

Tuesday, May 15th @ Ellen Valladares
Fellow author Ellen Valladares shares her thoughts after reading Joanell Serra's The Vines We Planted.

Thursday, May 24th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Joanell Serra pens today's guest post with Kathleen Pooler - don't miss Serra's insight about mother/daughter relationships and find out more about her new book The Vines We Planted.

Friday, May 25th @ BookWorm
Anjanette Potter reviews Joanell Serra's The Vines We Planted and shares her thoughts with readers at BookWorm!


Enter to win a copy of The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget on Sunday, May 6th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Alex O'Donnell said...

Love the chance to get a copy and read this!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Wonderful interview, ladies!

Joanell ~ I loved learning about your publishing journey, and I'm so glad you believed in your story and didn't compromise your vision. It's always a tough thing to decide! WiDo is a great publisher and all of their books are phenomenal, and I'm looking forward to reading yours. :) I'm curious, how long did it take you to write TVWP?

Exciting to hear about your next novel, and I'm glad you're keeping some of the characters from TVWP and Sonoma as a setting. I Love that you're working on a play as well. Good luck on your tour and I'll be checking out your stops! :)

Crystal Otto said...

This is such a great book and thank you again Joanell for choosing WOW!

Joanell Serra said...

Thanks everyone! Angela - I almost don't want to tell you how long this book took! It started as stories and very slowly evolved into an novel...maybe three years? Not a quick one, but no regrets. I love the final product and I think each book takes the time it needs. Thanks for kicking off the tour Crystal, and the fun interview questions and comments. Good luck with the give-away. Readers: The book is out on Kindle at Amazon, all, and in print May 8. If you like it please show it some love and review. Thanks!

Unknown said...

This is an awesome interview! I loved learning more about Joanell and her writing journey. I just started her book and I can tell you she is a talented writer and story teller! Congrats Joanell.

Donna Jacoby said...

I'm looking forward to reading this. Thank you for the giveaway!

Buddy Garrett said...

Congratulations on your novel. It sounds like a great read.

Crystal Otto said...

Ellen, if you post your review this week or next, we will include it in the tour! Let me know :)

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