Welcome Wednesday guests for October:
10/01 Finding Sky author, Susan O'Brien;
10/08 Award-winning Hank Phillippi Ryan (Truth Be Told);
10/15 Indie authors Polly Iyer (Backlash) and Ellis Vidler (Prime Target);
10/22 Murder by the Month author, Jess Lourey;
10/29 Marilyn Levinson, Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery author.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.

Don't miss this month's release of Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays on October 7th, in which WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances") have short stories.

KM Rockwood's
short stories will appear in two anthologies released in October. They are: "The Lure of the Owl" in Swamp Mansion and Other Dark Stories, to be released as a ebook, and "Aunt Olga and the Werewolf" will be included in the third Creatures, Crimes and Creativity anthology release by Intrigue Publishing. at their conference in October.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nina Wright Interview

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?

NW: Actually, Midnight Ink published the fifth book in the Whiskey Mattimoe series, Whiskey with a Twist, in 2009. As so often happens in publishing, there was a “regime change” that year—just as I was poised to move the series in an exciting new direction. Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read the fifth book: Whiskey reunites with her first husband, Jeb Halloran, just long enough to conceive a child, but they break up again before she can tell him the news. Suspecting that Jeb is still the womanizer she divorced him for being, Whiskey hesitates to include him in her parenting plans. As you might imagine, I’m stoked with ideas for Whiskey’s pregnancy, delivery and beyond.

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?

NW: The glib answer is that I wanted to have a garden and a dog. Professional acting, as I knew it, meant touring in shows most weeks of the year. The complete answer is that I didn’t want to be an actor as much as I wanted to be a writer. I was born to be a writer who sometimes acts, rather than an actor who occasionally writes. Essentially, I am a story-builder—part lone wolf, part exhibitionist.

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!

7 comments:

Warren Bull said...

Happy Birthday. I think your story illustrates that writers need to be quick on their feet to make it through the changing publishing and open to new opportunities as they present themselves. Did you dance as well as act and direct?

Nina Wright said...

Hi, Warren, and thanks for the birthday wishes! Yes, I also danced --and I firmly agree that writers need to be agile and open-minded as well as open-hearted. Fortunately, the world stands ready to feed us inspiration. Take care.

Pauline Alldred said...

Great interview, Nina. I find myself acting out characters I'm writing in the privacy of my home I hasten to add and when I act them, I experience more fully their emotions. Occasionally it's painful enough that I have to drag out a scene over a couple of days. I'm looking forward to starting your series. One great thing about Elaine's interviews is that she introduces people to some fascinating authors.

E. B. Davis said...

As strange as this sounds, when revising my ms, I try to act/pretend as if I'm someone else who has never seen my ms before. It's hard to do after writing and rewriting, but I try to see my writing as others might see it. That being said, I'm glad that I have a critique group. You share a birthday with my Dad who is 90 today. Happy Birthday, Nina--and write some more Whiskey books for me.

Nina Wright said...

Pauline, thanks so much for your comment--and for reading the WWK blog. Yes, I absolutely have to read my work out loud, especially the dialogue. Hearing those voices spring from the page tells me whether they sound "true." Happy reading and writing!

Nina Wright said...

Elaine, happy 90th to your dad today! Thanks again for this opportunity to talk about Whiskey (Mattimoe, that is) and the process of writing. Three cheers for your blog and for good critique groups everywhere. It's a challenge to see and hear our own work in progress as a fresh reader does, but it's a skill we can hone in tandem with trusted peers.

Ellis Vidler said...

I like your character names. Your idea for Whiskey's life changes are interesting too. This was a good interview and it made me want to look up your books. I'm glad they're available on Kindle.