Welcome back to another day at The Mustard Seed. Author Radine Nehring is a guest today. She's also doing a book giveaway. Hope you can stick around to visit. Let's meet Radine...

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Radine Trees Nehring is one of those late blooming writers who's first feature articles, essays, and poetry were published regionally, nationally, and internationally after she was old enough for AARP.  Her first non-fiction book, DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow, came out in 1995, followed by, in 2002, her first cozy mystery novel featuring mature adults Carrie McCrite and Henry King.  This "To Die For" series now includes seven novels telling the stories of how senior citizens find strength, courage, and . . .  fun!  Radine was the 2011 inductee into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame, and her books have earned, among many other awards, the Arkansas Governor's Award for best writing about the state, "Best Mystery" at Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc, and the national Silver Falchion for best mystery at Killer Nashville.  She is a member of Authors' Guild, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America.

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UNIQUE CHALLENGES FOR SENIOR CITIZEN COUPLES PLANNING A WEDDING

Many mature brides, especially those marrying for the second time (or more) choose a sedate dress or suit for wedding attire. The long gowns, frills and fluff available to young brides?  Nope, not for them.

Except . . . except . . . .Widow Carrie McCrite, preparing to wed for the second time, wants ALL the frills she didn't have at her first wedding.  A religious ceremony? Yes. Long bridal gown? Yes! Henry in a dark suit? Yes. Lots of flowers? Yes.  Family and friends as guests? Yes. White cake with elaborate icing decorations? Yes. Huge buffet? Yes, oh yes. All of it!   

But, where to start?  Ah! Bridal magazines, of course. There will be lots of dresses and ideas to choose from. So--off to the grocery store to buy magazines dedicated to wedding plans and fashions for today's bride. Back at home, turning pages, Carrie's excited happiness sinks out of sight. Page after page of every magazine has photos of young, thin brides in flowing gowns. Most gowns expose abundant cleavage. All hug slim bodies. Not one-single-magazine has one-single-photo of a mature, roundish bride. Mothers of brides--yes. Women like her as brides? No. Tears sneaking down Carrie's face tell her how much she cares, and how much she does not feel like an old woman pretending to something she cannot hope for.

Dear God, why can't my happiness include looking like a dream bride? Why are all the goodies reserved for these brides who don't look a day over twenty? Why do these magazines tell me,"This is reserved for the young?"

When Carrie's best friend Shirley (down-to-earth, Ozarks native Shirley), stops by and sees the stack of discarded magazines, she guesses why Carrie is so quiet, and calls in Eleanor, another friend, from up the road.  

"I kin make your dress," Shirley says, and begins describing a simple ivory gown with a small jacket, and a skirt flowing free to the floor from a back bow. "Easy enough, I made wedding dresses for both our girls."   
 
"How about the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs? " Eleanor says. "Beautiful place, bridal consultants on staff, over four hundred weddings a year held there. That's where we'll have your wedding."

But now, irrationally, Carrie is fuming. It's her wedding, hers alone to plan, and these two friends have taken over.

What next, for goodness' sake?
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Message for all of us:  Be grateful for what you are given. Though the road to Carrie and Henry's wedding is about as bumpy as it can get--at least in fiction--in the final pages of the novel the expected wedding does, at last, take place. And, it's all a mature bride could hope for. My sincere wish is that no bride, mature or not, will have to go through what these people do before Carrie and Henry finally stand up to say "I do." But perhaps their adventurous journey will be of interest to others -- especially mature couples and, if available, their adult children.  (I do know of a bride who ordered her wedding dress made according to the one Shirley describes in A WEDDING TO DIE FOR.)

See you at the wedding? 

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Radine, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us! Let's chat...What are the top five random facts about yourself?

1. It didn't occur to me that I'd ever write and be paid for it until I was over fifty.  
2. I was so uplifted by everything around me after we bought rural land in the Arkansas Ozarks that I HAD to share it. That's what began my writing career.  
3. I do the best I can on the Internet, staying in touch and sharing information about my writing, but "it ain't easy."  (And I don't have a teenager near by to help!)   
4. My husband--spurred on by the fact I can have my nose in my computer at 5:30 and he got tired of asking when supper was going to appear--has learned to cook, or at least to warm up already prepared food, casseroles, and so on. (This began after we'd already been married over fifty years. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?)  
5. My life is happy, and my favorite occupation is creating stories, but the work of being a full-time author can be frazzling at times.

What's best about being an author?  

I love what words can do! It's tremendously gratifying to be writing a story, be totally involved in the characters' lives, and to feel the emotions you are writing about. I grew up with an active imagination, and, due to life circumstances, spent much of my time with imaginary playmates.  (I wonder . . . do most fiction writers have a type of "split personality?" Living their own real lives and, at least while in a story, living the lives their characters do?)

I love that about authors having "split personalities" and I might have to agree with that one in my own life! ;) Who's your favorite author of classic literature?  

I guess the definition of classic means various things, depending on who's using the term, but my classic would be "Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand.  ("Love, I love beyond breath, beyond reason, beyond love's own power of loving. Your name is like a golden bell that rings in my heart . . . "), and--I do enjoy most all of the lighter Shakespearean plays.

What's your favorite novel?

"This Rough Magic," by Mary Stewart.

Do you have a fond memory of a reader's comment?

The eighty-three-year-old woman who surprised the heck out of me by saying she imagined my main character, Carrie McCrite, as being in her 80's, and she was so glad I didn't write about decrepit old people, but about someone who had "SPUNK, VIM AND VINEGAR."  (Her caps.)

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Please tell us about your book, A Wedding to Die For.

Carrie has problems. First, she needs to figure out what the wedding of a 'mature' bride and groom should look like. Second, she's invited Henry's half-sister to the ceremony before learning why he's never wanted to see the woman. Then the florists they've hired are shot at, their flower shop is bombed, and someone is murdered. If that weren't enough, Carrie and Henry keep catching glimpses of a ghost dressed in a red bridal gown...an omen? Join Carrie McCrite and Henry King as they chase a killer and try to salvage their dream wedding at the historic Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. 

Sounds like a great book. Where can readers find your book online? 

Find A Wedding to Die For on Amazon
I will also have a new series book out by June (cover art not available yet) and will include information about that later.

Radine, thanks so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you. 

If you are interested in participating in Radine's book giveaway, please leave a comment for Radine. 


 
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