For more than twenty years, Radine Trees Nehring’s magazine features, essays, newspaper articles, and radio broadcasts have shared colorful stories about the people, places, events, and natural world near her Arkansas home.
In 2002, Radine’s first mystery novel, A VALLEY TO DIE FOR, was published and, in 2003 became a Macavity Award Nominee. Since that time, she has continued to earn writing awards as she enthralls her original fans and attracts new ones with her signature blend of down-home Arkansas sightseeing and cozy amateur sleuthing by active retirees Henry King and Carrie McCrite King.
Website URL: www.RadinesBooks.com
Buy link for Portrait to Die For
Let’s Meet Radine Nehring
BMH: What is something you wish someone would have told you before you became an author?
RN: I have been asked this question before and have never been able to think of anything. Why? I joined a large writers’ group in Tulsa, Oklahoma before I had spent much time as a writer. They offered classes, meetings with good speakers, and companionable friendships. Tulsa Nightwriters was a tremendous help to me and gave very good information to budding authors. Nothing has come up since then that I wasn’t prepared for—except Internet promotion–since my first published works were written on an electronic typewriter! No Internet. Advice to all–join a group! (Local, regional, or national. I have been a member of at least six at a time throughout my career, several mostly on line now.) Attend conferences and conventions for writers whenever you can. Listen. Ask questions.
BMH: Why crime fiction?
RN: I write cozy mysteries because I love reading them. After working in non-fiction for around 8 years I decided to try writing a mystery. Took a bit of time for it to sell to a publisher, but after that I was off and running
BMH: Have you written in other genres?
RN: I began my writing career in non-fiction, and sold essays and feature articles locally, regionally, and nationally for several years. My first book, the hard cover non-fiction DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow, was published in 1995. Part memoir, part in support of environmental awareness, it is still available.
BMH: What is something you’ve never written about, but hope to some day?
RN: Can’t think of anything.
BMH: How big a part did your upbringing have on your writing?
RN: Upbringing? My mother read to me, even made up little stories for me. That insured my own interest in reading. But I didn’t began writing for publication until I was nearly old enough for AARP! I began writing because my husband and I visited the Arkansas Ozarks on a camping trip and fell in love with the area. The urge to tell others about this wonderful place burst out in the printed word!
BMH: What two words best describes your writing style?
RN: Intense. Focused.
BMH: How do you create your characters? How much of you are in your characters?
RN: My characters seem to have come out of an Ozarks mist. They “just appeared.” Two main ones are like people I have known all my life. Secondary characters are based on people I have come to know in the Ozarks, both newcomers and life-long hill dwellers.
BMH: Which is more fun to write, protagonist or antagonist?
BMH: Outliner or seat-of-your-pants writer?
RN: I am a “pantser.” I discover my plot as I write, though plot always grows out of the real Ozarks location I have chosen to feature in a novel or short story.
BMH: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
RN: I discovered my interest in writing when I fell in love with the Ozarks and had to give my love an outlet.
BMH: Do you have a daily writing routine?
RN: Initially I wrote every day most of the afternoon. Now, with email and Internet demands, time varies according to the business demands of a writing career.
BMH: How do you handle research?
RN: Research? On site. Detailed. I go the places where my characters will eventually go, even caves, abandoned mines, “haunted” buildings. Since location is of primary importance in all my stories, I spend several days at locations I have chosen, and work with people there. In all cases, employees at parks, museums, or entertainment venues have been wonderful research companions and often become enthusiastically involved in “their” novel’s creation.
BMH: How much editing do you do as you write your first draft?
RN: I enjoy editing and edit as I go. Going over the previous chapter or day’s work gets me back in the story.
BMH: How do you use social media to promote yourself?
RN: Deep question. I am, frankly, not a computer lover and can get a computer program messed up all too easily. As to promotion on social media, fortunately, I have a wonderful publicist who makes contacts for me and helps supply information. I do enjoy promotional blogs (after all, that is writing). Answering your questions is fun, too. I get many emails every day and generally two or three require fairly lengthy written responses. I do post to Facebook, and post and read Twitter, though those can be very time-consuming, can’t they! I post on some Yahoo groups occasionally. But most of all I enjoy face-to-face connections with people and enjoy book signings at many locations in my area during the year. (Most are not bookstores.) These events are quite profitable for me. At grocery stores where I set up, many people stop to chat and I have learned a lot of interesting things from them. One manager at a store where I have signed several times said recently, “Our customers love you.” Wow, did that add a sparkle to my day.
BMH: What comes first for you, characters or plot?
RN: Characters, definitely. I follow their interests, foibles, problems, and fears.
BMH: Why do you write?
RN: Initially began writing to give an outlet to my love for the Arkansas Ozarks. That’s till true for the most part. I choose locations I want to write about. Not all special places say “story” to me. The place, its history, and crime possibilities are important. Crimes in my books, while fiction, are plausible in the chosen location, and, in one case, actually true.
BMH: Who do you write for?
RN: Who do I write for? Interesting question. I hate to sound self-centered but my answer would probably be for myself first of all. It’s such fun to imagine these stories, and why would I write if it weren’t enjoyable?
BMH: You can go back in time, meet and chat with anyone, who would it be? What would you talk about?
RN: I would love to visit with several “dead British ladies” including Agatha Christie. I developed my interest in mystery novels in the pages of their books.
BMH: How about some hard-earned advice.
RN: Advice? Don’t write to make money. You might make some, but that is not a good reason to choose a writing career. Write to bring out your own ideas and understand them. Write because you love what your words can do. Write to share. And, if you hope to be published, learn how to tell a story and edit it so readers can follow smoothly.