June 1, 2013

Radine Nehring

Come to a Wedding with Radine Nehring

There is something about a wedding . . . .  Maybe my interest in the subject stems partly from the fact that--since a small but traditional wedding--Radine and John Nehring have celebrated many happy years together. We're living a great marriage and an evolving interest in many of the activities human life offers.  

We even share involvement in my writing career since John is now my business manager and record-keeper. At first it was mostly me, though my interest in writing for publication rose out of a shared passion--living close to nature. After mid-life, we succumbed to that passion and bought rural land in the Arkansas Ozarks only a hundred miles from our home and "pressure-full" jobs in Tulsa. Together we built a two-room cabin and spent most weekends there. I loved the Ozarks and Arkansas so much that words to share that love with others began bubbling in my head and, though I had never written for publication before, I was soon selling essays and feature articles about people and the natural world in the Ozarks. I wrote from Tulsa, then, after we moved to our Ozarks home (now named Spring Hollow) I continued this writing and selling. Eventually I added text to a collection of my articles and wove them into a love story about Radine and John sharing their love for all they were seeing, hearing, and learning at Spring Hollow. The result--a non-fiction book, DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow--was released in New York in 1995.

Since I have been an avid reader of cozy mysteries since Nancy Drew first poked her detective skills into my childhood, I then decided it would be fun to try writing a mystery, and the "To Die For" series featuring Carrie Culpeper McCrite and Henry King was born. More book sales meant more work for John as my business manager as well as for me, and now we both have full-time jobs as my writing career expands. Which leads me to the novel featured here, A WEDDING TO DIE FOR.

The featured wedding is Carrie and Henry's, though the path heading there is far from smooth. They are both mature adults, each with one marriage behind them. (Carrie, a retired librarian, is a widow. Henry, retired as a major from the Kansas City Police Department, has been divorced for many years.)  Carrie, whose name fits her caring nature but not necessarily her curiosity about what she observes, too frequently gets involved in other people's problems when she notices they are in some kind of trouble. Henry has the knowledge and training to help her in her "detecting" but, more important, supplies a cool-headed caution Carrie badly needs. As they work together, their reluctance to get involved in a second marriage is overcome by deepening love. Hence, wedding plans. But what is an appropriate wedding for a mature couple? Carrie wants all the frills, including a wedding gown. Henry wants simple. Carrie, with the help of friends Shirley and Eleanor, wins (of course) and a wedding in the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, (real place) is planned. But then--the shop of one florist is bombed, another florist is murdered, and, well. . . that's the story.

Writing this book was a happy experience. By time for the WEDDING I knew Carrie and Henry and their thoughts quite well. I simply opened up and began telling their newest adventure. It was actually difficult to leave them to fix a meal or do necessary chores, as my husband can affirm. (After a few books in the series, the dear man learned to warm up left-overs or cook simple meals from scratch. So he's really more than a business manager.)

In spite of my normally consistent devotion to story creation, it usually takes me at least a year to complete each novel. One reason for this is the extensive research required. Every novel is set in a real location, normally a popular tourist destination in the Arkansas Ozarks, and I need to be sure all details are complete and accurate so that the location, as well as the characters and their story, are honored.

I have been asked about naming characters. Hmmm, I can't remember it was ever a problem, though I did hit one difficulty in the opening novel. I had named the female star Callie. But the publisher who bought my series already had a series with a Callie as the protagonist. I changed to Carrie, and now I like that much better. Henry just "came" as did Eleanor, Shirley, and many more. Remember, most of my characters are mature adults, so were named before the current trend to other than relatively plain names. Younger characters like Robert, Carrie's son, and Henry's young half-sister Catherine, bear family names.  (My family. Brother Robert and sister-in-law Catherine.)

All-in-all, though "I kill people for a living" might be said of me as well as most all crime writers, this is a terrific occupation. You see, I get to discover the exciting things, the perils, and the triumphs in the lives of all my characters just as my readers eventually will.

There are now seven Carrie and Henry adventures in this series, six of them available in print, all as e-books. And yes, I am beginning work on number eight. You can buy any or all through your favorite independent bookseller as well as Barnes & Noble. For example, Trolley Line Books in Rogers, Arkansas always stocks all of my books, and currently even has copies of the out-of-print MUSIC TO DIE FOR, set in and round Ozark Folk Center State Park. Trolley Line is at 110 West Walnut Street, Rogers, AR 72756. 479-636-1626. moranbks@sbcglobal.net. On line, my latest novel, A FAIR TO DIE FOR (featured here last summer) is also available in its print version from Oak Tree Press, www.oaktreebooks.com. All books in print or as digital downloads can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or other e-book suppliers.

You're invited along on this adventure with me. Take a chance on a free copy of A WEDDING TO DIE FOR (USA only, please) by commenting about my contribution to Romancing the Heart Interviews. A winner will be drawn from those commenting and announced on this site.  Contact me with your e-mail address at springhollow@arkansas.net, or through my Carrie and Henry web site, http://www.RadinesBooks.com. You may also read the first chapters of all of my books on my web site.

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