OLD Media Moves

Writing a business book about an unwilling subject

July 9, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Tad Whitaker of the Marin Independent Journal has a nice story about Wall Street Journal journalist Julia Flynn Siler, who recently published a book about the Mondavi wine family but encountered a number of hurdles along the way.

Julia Flynn SilerWhitaker wrote, “Flynn Siler had always wanted to write a book and knew the Mondavi story had the makings of a great story. But she didn’t sign the contract until after hashing out the idea with her mom.

“‘It was a very big commitment because she had two children,’ Grant Flynn says.

“During the seven months in which none of the principal characters submitted to interviews, Flynn Siler traveled to Italy for background research on the Mondavi family roots, combed through tens of thousands of pages of legal documents and discussed sections of the manuscript with members of her writing group. It was a difficult time that tested her ability as a journalist.

“‘I was just hanging in there,’ Flynn Siler says.”

Read more here. The book, “The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty,” came about as a result of an agent seeing a Journal front-page story Flynn Siler had written about the company.

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