Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Visit with Radine Trees Nehring

 Former news reporter and broadcast host, award-winning author Radine Trees Nehring sold her first article when she was 50. She now writes the "To Die  For" series.

Radine, how did your To Die For series come about?

After my non-fiction book, DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow, was published, I began looking for a new writing project and thought -- "I enjoy reading mysteries, why not try writing one." So, I did. The title came when my publisher wanted a change in the working title for the first series book. An agent had suggested I link a mystery series together with a single motif in the title, and at that time, everything grand or great in the female world seemed to be "to die for." (Oh, my dear, that diamond was to die for.) The "To Die For" series was born.

Tell us about your latest novel in the series.

A Fair to Die For was such fun to write, though, to be honest, I always say that about my most recent novel! I was familiar with the War Eagle (Craft) Fair in Northwest Arkansas, and had attended it many times, beginning when we lived in Tulsa. The fair has been going strong since 1954, and now draws up to two hundred thousand visitors each year. Craft work certainly suited my series's most popular secondary character, Shirley Booth, so I "saw to it" that she became an approved vendor at the fair, selling her baby quilts and "Cuddlies." Carrie, her best friend, and my female protagonist, would be helping her. Another visit to the fair last year, for observation and interviews, and I was off and running. Carrie's mysterious cousin, Edie, and the possibility of drug dealing at the fair showed up as I was planning the story.

How did your broadcasting career and news reporting careers evolve?

For about ten years, my writing was in the form of essays and feature articles about the Ozarks sold regionally, nationally, and even internationally. I also reported local news for a Northwest Arkansas newspaper, and was eventually asked to research, write, and read the same type of news for an area radio station. At that time I wanted the feeling of a "regular job" so I accepted. That's how "Arkansas Corner Community News" was born. The fifteen-minute twice-weekly program ran for ten years until the station sold. By then my mystery series had taken off, so news broadcasting and I parted company.

Why did you decide to write senior sleuth novels?

I'm not exactly a sleuth, but I am a senior, and felt I understood "Prime Time" adults, as someone has so graciously put it. I also wanted to write about a strong woman, and created Carrie McCrite, a woman who has been sheltered all her life and, after her husband is killed, decides it's time for her to prove her own strength. So, she "jumps into the water," so to speak. She moves from Tulsa, OK, to land in the Ozarks that she and her husband had purchased for a retirement home, and begins life on her own. You know, women who are widowed and facing an entirely new life style often need to find themselves just like teenagers sometimes do. That was Carrie's quest.

You've won quite a few writing awards. Which one means the most to you? Why?

Two awards are equal. The first, in 2010,  is the National Silver Falchion, awarded at Killer Nashville. Winners area chosen by their peers for (I am told) excellence in writing and service to the writing community. I am still awed by this award, and deeply honored. The second is being chosen as the 2011 inductee into the Arkansas Writer's Hall of Fame. This means so much because it is an for an Arkansas author! (And who won this honor the year before? Charlaine Harris!. Others area also "up high" names in my view.) I am awed to see my name on this list.

How do you feel about your celebrity status in your home state? Has it caused you any problems?

My only regret is that my mother didn't live to see this. She is probably somewhere saying" I told you so." For most of my life as an introvert )I even sometimes spent part of my birthday parties reading in my room) she was my big encourager, and went foverba9ord with praise and believing I could do whatever I wanted. I discounted her feelings because, after all, she was my mom. And now . . .

Otherwise, of course it's a great feeling, it would be for anyone. What's especially fun (since my picture has been in newspapers and magazines and elsewhere) is to be sitting in a restaurant and see people looking at me, then turning away if I notice them. I have done this myself so many times--and still do--when I recognize a person! If a certain degree of celebrity has caused any problems, it's increased requests for talks and from writers who are seeking help. I do what I can, but I can't say "yes" to everyone. That makes me sad."

What do you enjoy most and least about novel writing?

I really enjoy the writing part. I love being in a story with my characters, and inventing all kinds of things. It's almost like play, though one must, of course, take it more seriously than that. (I think?) I'm used to this kind of creating. Since life circumstances meant I played alone most of the time as a child, I invented imaginary playmates. Guess I am still doing it.

Least would have to be Internet promotion. Living in Spring Hollow means we have absolutely no access to high speed Internet, yet I must communicate and promote in many places--Facebook, my blog, and much more. I spend at least half of my Internet time waiting for connections, and, on some days, can't connect during much of the day. Frustrating, which, of course, means that, though I like connecting with people this way, the end result is frustration and a "least enjoyable" experience.

Advice for novice writers.

MAKE FRIENDS. You never know when a previous contact, or someone you chat with at an event, will be willing to help you with research, publicity, or more. Notice what others write, buy their books, and comment on their work if you enjoy it. If it's not to your taste, don't comment at all. And, of course, perfect your craft, learn the business, go to conferences if you can, join a critique group, write, write, write, and DON'T GIVE UP.

You can learn more aboutr Radine at the following and

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cheryl Kaye Tardif Revisited

Cheryl Kaye Tardif's work is called Canadian suspense with a killer twist. The bestselling suspense author from north of the border tackles sensitive and terrifying scenarios that most people wouldn't want to consider. From psychic investigations to serial  killers and assisted suicides, she delves into the human psyche and spotlights our worst fears.

Cheryl, how did your first novel, Whale Song, come about and had you written/published anything prior to it?

Whale Song was in my head for two years before I ever wrote down the title. In fact, I wasn't even sure I was going to write it. At the time, I had pretty much given up hope of getting published; I had tried for years. But the story of Whale Song haunted me. I couldn't shake the characters or the plot. Finally, a friend said, "Cheryl, don't worry whether it gets published.Write it for yourself. Write it because you have to." That was the best advice I've ever been given.

Since Whale Song, which was first published in 2003, I've had six more novels published  (Children of the Fog, Devine Intervention, Devine Justice, The River, Lancelot's Lady and Whale Song: School Edition), as well as Skeletons in the Closet, Other Creepy Stories, and Remote Control, a novelette. All my works are available in ebook editions and all but the novelette are out in trade paperback. I've also had a short story published in What Fears Become: An Anthology From the Horror Zone.

You've written in a number of genres and under a pseudonym. Which genre do you prefer and which has been the most successful?

Suspense is my forte. And any combination of suspense, mystery, paranormal has been  successful for me.

Why do you think all your novels have made the bestseller lists?

In general, readers don't like predictable, formulaic works. They'll never have that with my novels. I strive to be unpredictable and I don't use any kind of formula when writing my books. My stories are a mix of plot-driven and character-driven tales. And I bring emotion into each story, whether it's fear, sorrow, happiness, excitement or another emotion. I want my readers to feel  like they're right there in the story, seeing everything, feeling everything.

How do you promote your work?

I have two main websites and a blog, plus I belong to various social networks. Most of my marketing is done online through various websites and promotions. And my books are promoted via Imajin Books, my publishing company.

Why did you decide to go the indie route with your own publishing company and how long was it before you began publishing the work of other writers?

I began my career as an indie published author, self-publishing three titles from 2003-2005. With their success I was able to secure a New York agent and a traditional publisher. I recognized a lot of serious problems with my publisher early on and ended up removing my books just before they went under. My experience wasn't entirely negative though; I learned a lot from them--especially what NOT to do as a publishing company.

After leaving my publisher, I decided to return to indie publishing and set up my books again under my publishing company, Imajin Books. Over the next year or so I was approached by other authors who asked me if I'd consider publishing them. I said no, but it made me think. I realized there was a need for what I could offer.

So, on January 15, 2011, I opened Imajin Books to accept other authors. We now have a great group on board; some will be publishing their second book with us this spring/summer.

How does your publishing company differ from other small presses?

Imagin Books is an innovative company. We offer a hybrid form of publishing, kind of a cross between indie publishing and traditional. We offer a small advance and much higher than average royalties on ebooks and trade paperback sales. We consider ebooks to be primary rights, with print a subsidiary right. We only secure these rights so authors are free to purse film and other rights.

Our authors have more input into the creation of their books. We go through various editing stages, which they're part of, and they have input into their cover and trailer as well. We treat our authors like partners. Yet they pay nothing up front. We are NOT a subsidiary publisher. We focus on ebooks sales and market accordingly.

How do your print books sales compare with ebooks? And when did your ebooks begin outselling print editions in Canada?

Print sales are a small percentage of what we sell. Our ebooks far outsell our paperbacks. Last time I looked at the numbers we were selling 50 ebooks for every paperback. We have always sold more ebooks than print.

What's your work schedule like?

I work six to seven days a week. My hours vary, but I rarely work less than eight hours a day and often more. I love what I do and I take frequent breaks, so it doesn't really seem like I'm working that long. The great thing is that I can take days off when I need them.

My schedule is divided between answering email, reading submissions, coordinating editors and authors, assigning covers to designers, checking back with everyone, arranging our promotions, updating the website and blog, and anything else that comes up.

Advice for novice writers?

Facebook account BEFORE you query a publisher or agent. A book won't sell without consistent marketing on the part of the author.

Thanks, Cheryl. You can learn more about Cheryl at her websites: and and http://www.imajinbooks.comHer blogs: http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.comand http://www.imajinbooks.Twitter: and and