Radine Trees Nehring’s broadcast and writing career began when she fell in love with the Arkansas Ozarks and beginning in the 1980’s, wanted to tell people why. Her many magazine and newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, and now, her multi award-winning Carrie and Henry amateur detective series, environmental writing, and short stories bring readers the gift of exciting adventures featuring right, wrong, human kindness, and redemption. Learn more about Radine and her books at her website and blog.
How Many Ways Can You Tell a Story?
I wanted a doll house. There was no money for one, so, using pick-up-sticks, I outlined rooms on my bedroom rug. I furnished my house with small, discarded containers, lids, and scraps of fabric. There is only one piece of my imaginary furniture left—a discolored and bent matchbox bed with my baby brother’s worn cotton diaper scraps for sheets. Various imaginary occupants lived within the house walls as I made up the stories of their lives.
Fast forward more than a half century. Though employed full time, I was now also an author writing a series about an amateur detective couple, Carrie McCrite and Henry King. Two Indy bookstores in my area, now closed, were among those that carried all my books. The owner of one store became a good friend, and I did at least four bookish events for her every year. One Christmas her window display featured toys along with children’s books. There was a wooden doll house in the display. I was seated at a signing table across the store entrance from the doll house window. The store owner noticed my reaction to that house. Pure love. She said after Christmas, I could have the house so she wouldn’t have to store it. She had paid $3.99 for it at a thrift shop.
In January I carried home my vintage, autographed Melissa and Doug solid wood Fold and Go doll house. It had been badly damaged. My husband, a master carpenter, repaired much of the damage, and where bits of wood veneer had broken off, I “planted” miniature flowers and vines to cover damage. We had yet to learn about Hobby Builders Supply, miniatures.com, or even the small doll house display at the local Hobby Lobby. So John and I created furnishings for our doll house. Four small wooden letter “I’s” intended for signs were bed posts. My husband cut shapes and glued. I made wall art out of costume jewelry and small pictures from magazines. Books were cardboard covered in colored shelf paper. Furniture was all wood, and unupholstered. You get the idea.
I still made up stories for miniature settings even as I wrote other stories on my computer. I was hooked by both ways of using creative ability and imagination.
The next problem was finding places for the Nehrings to display their miniature art. Some books had to go from living room shelves, and, in my office, my husband built and I decorated and furnished a two story log home that now sits on top of my filing cabinets. (I shingled the roof and am proud of that.) These days, interior furnishings often come from retail outlets serving thousands of hobby miniature builders around the world. As a miniaturist, as well as an author, I am far from alone.
Did you know that, in every box of plain Cheerios, there are a few small, round, brownish Cheerios? My doll house breakfast tables serve these “donuts!”
And, since my husband is gone now, there will be no more miniature settings. But I am still writing mystery fiction. The latest? Solving Peculiar Crimes is available December 1st, but you can pre-order the Kindle version now.
Solving Peculiar Crimes
This short story collection stars Carrie McCrite, her retired police detective husband, Henry King, and their Ozarks friends, (including, in two stories, pre-school twins). Included are thirteen unusual crimes ranging from “The Hanging” to an adventure with a tracking dog, to “Planning a Crime—and a Wedding.” The crimes range widely--from misdemeanor to murder--but each gives the reader an opportunity to enjoy spending time with characters who, one reader states, “you would like to have as your neighbors.” All stories lead to surprising resolutions!