Sideways author Rex Pickett talks about his new book, Vertical, and his love of Oregon wine country.
For the cover of this month’s Oregon Wine Press magazine, http://www.oregonwinepress.com/, I flew down to Santa Monica with Robert Holmes to photograph and interview Rex Pickett about his latest book, Vertical, the sequel to Sideways. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the author be similar to his now infamous character, Miles – or had success changed him to become more like his charming but philandering character Jack? While Rex could easily play either role, after spending a relaxed afternoon chatting about Oregon, pinot noir, and the life of an artist I can see how Rex could be a blend of both, weaving autobiographical details into many of his stories.
Rex has not had an easy road to success. Although the movie Sideways won an Acadamy Award for the best adapted screenplay, Rex only received a pittance of the profits. His struggles to get his first book published were monumental. He still lives very modestly; the cover photo and interview are in his one bedroom apartment in Santa Monica. I hadn’t read Vertical at the time of our interview, but I was curious how he would depict my hometown and the Oregon wine country I’ve come to know so intimately during the past ten years. Now that I’ve finished the book I won’t give away the details of which wines are featured or how the story unfolds, but I can say fact and fiction are balanced with comedy and tragedy, evoking a surprising range of emotions. Oregon pinot noir is celebrated throughout the book, and a variery of artisanal wineries are mentioned. How the book, or possible movie, will affect Oregon wine will be an interesting development. I’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment below . . .