The Security Girls

Monday, May 26, 2008

Keys . . . to the Future

by Nina Wright

I’m ready to go. Again.

Last week I flew to the Lone Star State. This week my destination is the Sunshine State.

Sound like fun? Not entirely. This is all business travel, all the time. Of course I promote my books wherever I go; however, my reason for traveling is pure survival: I need a new day job, so in order to get one, I’m going where the jobs are.

Where the jobs aren’t is here in my corner of Ohio. Sadly, we have the foreclosures to prove it. My lovely oak-lined street has become a depressing place to take an evening stroll because so many homes are now abandoned. This is what you’d call a “nice neighborhood”—situated near a large park and a major university. Unfortunately, people can’t afford to live here because they can’t find jobs here anymore. We're hearing the old joke way too often: "Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights?"

The up side of my situation is that I’m going to have a new series of adventures, probably in a part of the country where I’ve never lived before. And I'm sure it will inspire me to write something completely different because that's what happens every time I move.

The down side is that I have to move. Again. But after moving four times in the past five years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I’m ruthless when it comes to deciding what I can live without, a practice that has made me bolder at cutting the flab from my fiction.

Although I'm starting this adventure alone, my fiancé plans to join me. He has a house to sell, and he needs a new job, too. We didn't foresee the problems that make this move necessary; they've complicated our lives. Nonetheless, he's proud of me for being resilient, and I'm proud of him for being adaptable. Many of our friends haven’t changed jobs or homes in twenty years or more. They can’t imagine psyching themselves for interviews and new careers in faraway places.

This much I know: even when you don’t think you have choices, you always have choices. For starters, you choose how to look at every moment of your life. And you focus on the fact that things get better. They do, they do.

Plus, it's all grist for fiction.

Tomorrow I’ll be in the air before the sun comes up. Even if the power goes out as I’m leaving my apartment—which happened last week—I’ll be able to get my automatic garage door open and my car out; I’ve learned how to handle that small emergency. Even if I lose my keys in the parking lot of one airport and don’t discover they’re gone until many hours and miles later when I’m in another airport—which also happened last week—I won’t worry. People find keys, and they turn them in.

Even if nobody found my missing keys, I would have keys again.

Please tell us about your "keys"--your survival strategies, recoveries, or contingency plans. We all got 'em, or we don't get far. My father taught me that lesson long ago. It's still working for him, I might add: today he turns 96!

Happy birthday, Dad, and happy travels, everybody!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Clooney & Redford: The (First) Video

I shot this 40-second video the day after two kittens became brothers: Clooney, the five-month-old Birman, and Redford, the three-month-old Devon rex. One of my (catty) friends wondered whether Clooney would know that Redford was a fellow feline. . . . You have to spend a little time around Devons to get that one. Or maybe you can tell by watching my mini-video.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rules of Engagement

by Nina Wright

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this blog post. I got engaged . . . to be married. Here I was, all set to blog about “unexpected guest” characters—you know, those fictional folks you don’t see coming who nonetheless show up on the page and change everything—when my significant other slipped a ring on my finger. A very nice ring, I might add.

The Unexpected Guest Character post will have to wait because my new status as fiancée has filled my head with entirely different notions. And I’m not talking about wedding plans although The Event will certainly require some forethought. Not to mention the fact that we're contemplating a move to another part of the country. No, what I’m thinking about now is the way my attitudes toward love and lust manifest in what I write.

During the years when my previous marriage—a long one gradually destroyed by his preference for booze over employment—was in decline, the women in my fiction were either leaving their husbands or coping with the death of their husbands. That includes my first teen novel and my first Whiskey Mattimoe mystery. In the years following my divorce, I wrote about women falling into passionate love with thrilling but inappropriate men. Let's just say I enjoyed the research.

My ex insisted he never saw the divorce coming. Being drunk most of the time made it hard for him to keep up. He might have got a clue if he had read Whiskey on the Rocks or Homefree, or even considered the titles. One of my plays offered a big tip: the heartsick protagonist leaves her husband for a fictional character. My protagonist was more desperate than I was.

Enough about what came before. What’s happening now is that I’m engaged to a tender, funny, generous man who puts family and friends first. Although more into sports than literature, he used to be a professional speechwriter; thus, he respects my work. I met my fiancé when I wasn't looking for love, yet I knew almost immediately from our ease with each other that he was Mr. Right. Never mind that he wasn't my “type,” and I'd never written about loving a man like him.

In the movie Definitely, Maybe the hero concludes that finding the right partner may be more a matter of when than whom. Put another way, you have to be ready. I opened my heart and recognized a fine man when I met him. The rest was easy. But if I'd met my guy a couple years earlier, I doubt we would have clicked. Timing, as they say, is everything. And I'll go a step further: anything I've ever tried to force has failed, be it a relationship, a storyline, or a laugh.

Fiction is the realm where I play with my fears and fantasies. But life is where I live them, and it offers more surprises than I can make up.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Books by Nina Wright

Click here for more information about these titles.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Summer's Done

Cause for deep sighs: a swimming pool closed for the season.

Fortunately, I’m a natural optimist and a native Midwesterner, so I know how to appreciate change, including the shift from glorious summer to frosty fall. That doesn’t mean transitions come easily for me, but I’ve learned to find payoffs in the inevitable. Crisp morning walks and indoor swims will take the place of sunny days at the pool and beach. I’m not yet ready to contemplate the next step, winter. One shift at a time, please.

Although Whiskey Mattimoe and I are both strong swimmers, she would beat me in competition. Nonetheless, I have saved my own life in deep water more than once. My close calls didn’t involve solving murders, and they took place in Lake Erie as opposed to Lake Michigan. But I draw on those experiences whenever I toss Whiskey into the waves, as I did in Whiskey and Water, the fourth book in the series, due out just before next swim season.

The real reason a closed pool makes us sad is that it signals the passing of time: one less summer left in this life of oh so finite summers. On the sunny side—and I’m looking for payoffs here—my desk is more inviting in October and November than it is in June and July. Shorter, colder days spell fewer external distractions. When the furnace is running, my fiction engine kicks into high gear.

The pool may be closed, but for me, new doors are opening. I spent Summer ’07 moving, recovering from an injury, and falling in love. Yes! Last spring I met a man who changed the way I thought about my future. Lo and behold, I changed his outlook, too. When summer ended, and it was time to close the pool, we realized that our connection was far more enduring than swim season and way more fun.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Flannery, my Demon Devon

Sure, she looks relaxed, but this kitty can wreak havoc. Flannery has been the inspiration for several cat characters I've written, including Yoda in Whiskey and Tonic and Ruby Tiger in The Fine Art of Following Cats.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blissfield, Michigan: It's a Real Place

This is where the Security Girls (Sam and Dessie) live with their Security Cats (Fiona Whiffer and Ruby Tiger). Well, the jury's still out on Ruby Tiger....

CLICK on the map to enlarge it. Then look for these locations:

Can you find the River Raisin? Gorman Road? South Lane Street?

These are actual places--in both the real world and the fictional world of The Fine Art of Following Cats by Nina Wright.

Read the book and follow along on the map. See where Fiona Whiffer leads Sam and Dessie!