Nina Wright came to fiction in a roundabout way. While acting, she began to write plays, which led to fiction writing. As a result of her acting, she writes driving fiction that focuses on her audience’s emotions through dialogue and scene-staging. Nina also teaches fiction writing workshops. Check out her website at http://www.ninawright.net/.
EBD: Your last Whiskey Mattimoe novel, Whiskey and Water, was published in 2008. Are you continuing the series with Midnight Ink?
EBD: Is Mattimoe a Native American name? (But Whiskey is a blonde?)
NW: Actually, Mattimoe is an Irish name. I first encountered it during the 1990s when a local candidate by that name posted his campaign signs. Like most writers, I collect names that interest or amuse me, so I added Mattimoe to my stash.
EBD: If so, what’s in store for Whiskey this time and what is the title? And when can we expect a release?
NW: The good news is that all five Whiskey books are being e-published by Ampichellis for Kindle and Nook, which means they’re affordable and readily available to readers everywhere. The not-so-good news is that I’ll need a new print publisher in order to continue growing the series.
EBD: Your secondary characters are unique and strong. What’s the secret to writing memorable characters?
NW: Thank you! My first creative writing was for the stage, following a short career as a professional actor and director. I credit my theatre experience for teaching me that secondary characters are vital to building a compelling story. If I do my job right, readers will look forward to seeing a secondary character again and even wonder what s/he will do next. Although the fictional personalities I write are sometimes grounded in real-life observations, they evolve according to the tone, setting and situation of my story or series. I like to imagine personalities capable of both simplifying and complicating the protagonist’s journey.
EBD: The Whiskey Mattimoe novel has strong voice; a deadpan sarcastic-wit characterizes the series, which I love. But your youth series has an entirely different flavor. Having seen the trailer on your website, why write adult humor/mystery and youth/paranormal?
NW: Maybe that’s the actor in me, longing to play drama as well as comedy. In life and art, I definitely lean toward the humorous—especially the darkly humorous. Clearly, the Whiskey Mattimoe books are written more for laughs than for chills although I strive to deliver genuine suspense in each book. The paranormal elements in my teen fiction grow out of a strong interest in phenomena that defies logical explanation. I think it’s a natural fit for younger readers because they tend to be fascinated by the larger mysteries and untapped possibilities of life. I should add that as a playwright, although I write more comedy than drama, I often strive to give audiences a theatrical experience that moves them from laughter to pathos and back to humor again.
EBD: Your Whiskey series is set in upstate Michigan where you live. The paranormal series is set in St. Augustine, Florida. Why did you set the series there?
NW: In the mid-2000s, I briefly lived on the west coast of Florida. During that time, I impulsively drove over to St. Augustine and was smitten by the historic section. I wandered all day and late into the night through the narrow streets, drinking in the ambience. Although I have always loved old communities, the haunted aura of St. Augustine almost overwhelmed me. I knew immediately that I would write a book set there. Over the next few years, I made many trips back, even after I returned to living up North. While I was writing Sensitive, I befriended a man who led ghost tours in St. Augustine. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a font of knowledge about alternate belief systems. Meeting him was a sign to me that I was telling the story I was meant to tell.
EBD: Your book, Homefree, started the youth paranormal series, but you also wrote a sequel, Sensitive. Does this mean you may start a series?
NW: I loved writing about Easter Hutton and the organization called Homefree, which recruits teens who have paranormal abilities they don’t understand. Flux, a division of Llewellyn, published the first two books. My editorial team changed after the second book, as did many major things in my personal and professional life. I’m a firm believer that the books we write are deeply tied to the time in our lives when we write them. In other words, we couldn’t have written them either sooner or later than we did. That’s not to say that a series can’t extend over many years. However, I’m working on a book now that’s not part of the Homefree saga. Even so, I wouldn’t rule out revisiting Easter’s world and continuing her story.
EBD: The trailer you have for Sensitive is quite good. Can you tell us about how the trailer was made?
NW: I was fortunate to meet a young fan of Homefree who was learning to make book trailers. She showed me what she could do, and I hired her on the spot. She has gone on to work for many authors.
EBD: Are you represented by an agent? How did you get published by Midnight Ink? Do they publish cross-genre, such as my book—a paranormal romantic mystery?
NW: David Dunton of The Harvey Klinger Agency represents me. However, I was originally represented by the Wylie-Merrick Agency, who sent my first Whiskey Mattimoe mystery to Llewellyn just as they were gearing up the Midnight Ink imprint. Whiskey on the Rocks has the distinction of being the very first book published by Midnight Ink, which focuses on publishing cozies.
EBD: Does Midnight Ink hold the electronic rights to your Whiskey series?
NW: No, I’ve sold those rights to Ampichellis—a new and aggressive player in e-publishing. The folks at Ampichellis used to run the Wylie-Merrick literary agency, so they’re savvy about publishing and marketing.
EBD: I didn’t understand your publishing links on your website. On Amazon, the publisher of your paranormal series is listed as Flux, but on your website it is listed as Flux/Llewellyn. What’s the story there?
NW: Both Flux and Midnight Ink are imprints of Llewellyn Worldwide.
EBD: Did you find that you could work with both/all publishers easily?
NW: Yes. Although both imprints had completely different editorial teams, I found that I could adapt well. I’m a quick learner who prides herself on being highly flexible. Frankly, it’s a job requirement.
EBD: In addition to your blogs and website, how do you promote your novels?
NW: I do book signings and also sponsor my own modest tour for each book as it comes out. I consistently incorporate book sales with my play readings, workshops, and other events.
EBD: You teach workshops? In any particular place or are your workshops on-line?
NW: Although I think it might eventually be worthwhile to evolve into teaching online workshops, as a seasoned performer and teacher, I’m very well suited to leading lively “live” workshops. I enjoy the process of customizing the material and presentation to the audience. Most recently, I worked with a talented team of young actors in Chicagoland who were writing their own opera.
EBD: You made the switch from acting to writing. Why?
EBD: Do you like life as a writer?
NW: I love it! For a brief period, I was able to afford to do it full time, and I hope to figure out how to make that happen again. For better or for worse, at this point in my life I need a full-time day job, so the writing must be fitted around that. Most writers have to work that way. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about what I love doing.
Now that I’m hooked on Nina’s Whiskey series, I’ll have to go cold turkey until the next release. But I’m going to read her youth paranormal series, since I’m writing a paranormal romantic mystery, to understand how she crafts it. Look for Nina’s blogs at: http://www.whiskeymattimoe.blogspot.com/, http://ninawrightwriter.blogspot.com/, and her teen fiction blog at: http://mrfairlessrules.blogspot.com/.
If you have a question for Nina please post a comment and when you do also wish her a Happy Birthday!
WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Sasscer Hill on 5/18 and Carolyn Mulford on 5/25. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at email@example.com.