September 29, 2012

Arkansas mysteries TO DIE FOR with
Radine Trees Nehring …
For more than twenty years, Radine Trees Nehring's magazine features, essays, newspaper articles, and radio broadcasts have been sharing colorful stories about the people, places, events, and natural world near her Arkansas home. She's also the author of a book of essays set in the Ozarks. "DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow" was published in 1995.
"Until I began to write about Carrie McCrite, I'd dealt only in facts," she says. "What fun it is to take those facts and the settings I love, add people entangled in problems and seeking answers to important life questions, and come up with mystery fiction that shares my world with readers everywhere."
Nehring's research takes her to the places her characters go. She's visited Arkansas tourist destinations, hiked hills and hollows, crawled through caves, spent time in jail (while training for the jail ministry), and--as a news reporter--interviewed officials in every branch of law enforcement. She and her husband John live in the Arkansas Ozarks.
Nehring's major at Principia College in Illinois was Fine Arts. She's done post-graduate work in English and creative writing at the University of Tulsa, and in the University of Iowa Summer Writing Program.
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I love the heart border I see on this site, since my continuing romance with my husband is key to my life and, in part, key to what I write. (And, of course, hearts are a symbol of that.)
          However, romance in writing or not, I didn't write seriously (for income) until about 35 years ago, though I did write as a volunteer earlier than that, including editing a college newspaper and contributing feature bits and essays to newspapers.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
          I first sold written work after my husband John and I bought land in the Arkansas Ozarks. I was so thoroughly in love with the Ozarks that it fired a renewed urge to write. For several years I wrote and sold essays and feature articles about people, places, and things in the Ozarks to magazines and newspapers regionally, in the United States, and, a few times, internationally. That led to being a broadcast journalist with my own program of news from the area where we now live, and--eventually--to writing and selling a book about our transition from city life to Ozarks country life. (DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow, 1995; available in print and for e-readers--as are all my books.)
What main genre do you write in?
          After DEAR EARTH came out, I decided to try writing a traditional mystery. Why? Because I love reading mysteries. The “To Die For” series featuring Carrie McCrite and Henry King was born. The seventh novel in this series was released by Oak Tree Press in June.
Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Carrie, I have learned, is who she is because of who I am. Though our life circumstances are certainly not the same, the yearning to be a strong woman exists in both our hearts. We just look for and demonstrate that in different ways. When the first novel in the series opens (A VALLEY TO DIE FOR), Carrie has just been widowed after about 30 years in a marriage of convenience to a wealthy criminal lawyer, Amos McCrite, in Tulsa, OK. Their son Rob was born early in this marriage so--as a friend comments in my most recent novel--”At least you did connect once!” After Amos is killed, seeking to prove she can make it on her own, Carrie decides to move to land in the Arkansas Ozarks she and Amos had purchased for retirement. Her adventures, and the continuous growing of strength within herself begins at that point, continues to the present.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
In my case it's always a happy experience. For one thing, my novels are now set at specific tourist destinations in the Arkansas Ozarks. For another, I have learned that people at those locations--park rangers, information officers, various staff members--love talking about their specific (and terrific) place on the map. Most end up having as much fun with research as I do, sometimes becoming thoroughly involved in the story. A couple of them have appeared in novels by name, one wrote the epilogue to a novel, others ask to write blurbs. They all remain great friends!
Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer? Or Still do?
          I am involved in a full-time writing career, but, unfortunately, these days that does not mean I write full time. Internet work and arranging other promotion venues takes more than half of my time in the office. (I have my own office in our home.)
Current Release Details:
In A FAIR TO DIE FOR, we learn that Carrie and Henry King, a retired Kansas City Police Major, have been married for almost a year. When a mysterious (and previously unknown) cousin of Carrie's comes to visit, trouble explodes. “Cousin” Edie reveals a connection to drug dealing, and insists she is on the side of law enforcement. Henry is suspicious of her motives, especially after men claiming to be from the FBI come to their door looking for her.
The background for this story is the (real) War Eagle Craft Fair in N.W. Arkansas, where Carrie's best friend, (and my readers' favorite character, after Carrie and Henry), Ozarks native Shirley Booth, has been accepted as an exhibitor. Carrie is helping Shirley with sales at the fair, but, while there, she begins noticing a number of peculiar people and happenings. Scary things begin to darken around Carrie, Cousin Edie, and others, until Carrie herself is caught in the web of danger. Henry's reaction to Carrie's disappearance and peril is obvious, and indicative of his deep love for her.
What is the best or worst advice you have ever received?
          The worst advice I have ever received is two-fold: (1) Never write dialect, and (2) never write from the point of view of a character you have not been. In other words, if you are a woman, don't write from the pov of a man. Nonsense!
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I founded a critique group in the small town nearest us a number of years ago. Membership has changed, with me the only constant through the years, but it has always been helpful to me and, as my own experience grew, given me the opportunity to help other writers. I am grateful to say that two members of the group have recently received publishing contracts.
Not only do group members give me terrific help with my own work, knowing I want to have something ready to read for each meeting is a good spur to produce writing.
Just as I now mentor other writers, I received invaluable advice and mentoring from Peggy Fielding, a writer, teacher, and one-woman support group in Tulsa Nightwriters. I joined the group when I lived in Tulsa, and my membership continues to this day. I could never be grateful enough for Peggy's help and encouragement.
You can learn more about me and my books at If you click on book covers on the home page, that will lead you to excerpts from each novel. Also, keep up with me on Facebook, and on my blog,
It's October, craft fair season in the Ozarks, and Carrie and Henry are helping their friend Shirley sell her quilts and Baby Cuddlies at the War Eagle Craft Fair.

After a mysterious cousin with ties to drug dealers appears, danger stalks the fair. When Carrie is abducted by killers following a breakfast at War Eagle Mill, she's afraid she won't escape because--though her aim in life has always been to help others out of problems--no one who can help her knows where she is.

"There is no me out there to help me."

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