The Cotati novelist celebrates his fourth novel, his birthday and his wine
Barbara Quick and Wayne Roden have something to celebrate. His fourth novel is about to be published and three of his wines have recently won medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competitionconsidered the world’s largest North American wine competition.
So it is fitting that Quick’s novel, “What disappearstakes place next month on his birthday – his 69th – with a book signing and discussion followed by birthday cake and a 2021 Pinot Gris produced by Roden Winesthe boutique hobby vineyard located at home in the Russian River Valley appellation in West Cotati.
Roden, 73, a San Francisco Symphony Orchestra violist and winemaker for more than 15 years, swapped his usual wine label with the outline of a viola for a commemorative design for the book launch: a label featuring worth the cover of the book “What Disappears” with its representation of the Eiffel Tower.
Much of “What Disappears” takes place in Paris, where the main characters both get jobs with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, one as a seamstress, the other as an extra ballerina, all at middle of a story of mystery, intrigue, nostalgia, love, betrayal and the tragedy of the early 1900s.
In promotional material, the recipient of the American Book Award Stephanie Cowell, author of “Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet” and “Marrying Mozart”, noted that “What Disappears” is “difficult to put down and impossible to forget”. Maryland Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri praised Quick’s novel for its “musical complexity and vivid sensuality” and “captivating emotional appeal”.
Celebrate their works
The book launch is a complementary opportunity for Quick and Roden, who prefer their artistic activities to marketing and promotional activities. This is a time to celebrate their works – Roden’s double gold Pinot Noir, Silver Merlot and Bronze Cabernet Sauvignon and Quick’s gripping novel about identical twin sisters born into a Jewish family. in 1880 in Tsarist Russia who were separated at a young age and grew up apart, one in Chisinau, one in Paris.
Quick and Roden are proud of each other. He does not hesitate to praise his wife’s talents as a novelist and poet; it was she who encouraged him to enter the Chronicle competition, his very first.
She is also a fan of his musical talents, rarely missing an opportunity to see him perform at Davies Symphony Hall. Roden is now in his 48th season with the symphony orchestra, his senior member. “Nobody’s been here longer than me at this point,” he said.
The pair met on a blind date in 2008. They shared email correspondences after a mutual acquaintance – a classmate of Roden’s in the viticulture department at Santa Rosa Junior College – suggested the meeting. Quick was living in Berkeley at the time and remembers Roden visiting after his symphonic performances.
“He came in tail and his viola,” Quick said. “It was so romantic. He was like Prince Charming.
Roden burst out laughing. “It was work clothes for me.”
They – and their interests – were compatible. “I’ve always been interested in writing,” Roden said. “Barbara has a very good ear. Barbara is very perceptive in her musical tastes and opinions.
They tied the knot in 2011, with Quick moving to the quaint Cotati estate where Roden, an Alabama native, has resided for nearly 34 years.
Pursuits of wine and writing
Roden planted 500 vines in 2006, mainly Pinot Noir, but also Pinot Gris. Roden Wines has celebrated 14 harvests, with Roden obtaining his wine sales license in 2017. He is content with an amateur vineyard; less than a third of their 3-acre property is planted with vines. Its winemaker is Lisa Bishop Forbes, who works in conjunction with Roden.
“For me, it’s the love of making wine, the interest in wine,” he said. “I enjoy making good wine and being recognized for it.”
While music and wine keep Roden busy, Quick also devotes himself to his craft. She has won several awards for her writing, both as a poet and a novelist. Her 2007 novel,Vivaldi’s Virgins”, has been published in a dozen languages, made into an audiobook and is currently in development for a miniseries. Award-winning film and television director and screenwriter Agnieszka Holland is set to direct.
Quick’s accolades include the 2020 Blue Light Press Poetry Award for “Light on Sifnos», a collection of poetry. Five of his poems were recorded by Garrison Keillor for his daily podcast and newsletter, “The Writer’s Almanac”.
His first novel,North edge“, won the Discover: Great New Writers award when it was published in 1990. His works include “A golden canvas,” a novel for young adults set in 14th century Bologna, about the Western world’s first female anatomist, Alessandra Giliani.