I’m a Late Bloomer – Radine Trees Nehring

Anyone here under fifty?  Okay, WHO here claims to be a SENIOR CITIZEN? 












These days–when people all around us are celebrating hundredth birthdays and beyond–I am befuddled about where senior citizenry begins.


Never mind, I’m enough beyond fifty to know I am an “SC” and also know I’m a late bloomer, since I’m not o

ne of those many authors who grin, and tell the interviewer (showing dimpled modesty), “Oh, I wrote my first book when I was six.”

My first book didn’t appear until I was fifty–exactly.

Oh, I did well in English in school, wrote bits for free that were published in local papers, even edited a college newspaper. But, writing to sell? Never occurred to me until about 1985, when my husband and I were getting ready to move to Spring Hollow in the Arkansas Ozarks. Truth be told, I loved the Ozarks so much I wanted to tell everyone about the place. I sold my first essay set here in 1986, and continued to sell articles and essays to magazines and newspapers regionally, nationally, and even internationally until the mid 90’s. That collection became my first book, the non-fiction “DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter From Spring Hollow,” published by Brett in New York.

When I looked around, wondering what to do next, I was offered a job researching and presenting a fifteen-minute weekly news program for an Arkansas radio station. While I was doing that (for ten years) I also began writing–for fun–a mystery novel who’s beginnings were set at a place called Blackberry Hollow, so much like the Spring Hollow of DEAR EARTH that the two were indistinguishable. (Write what you know.)

My main characters, Carrie McCrite and Henry King, are retirees. Their friends (and side-kicks in mystery solving) are definitely part of the “SC” crowd, but no wimps there, no grannies in rockers. They’re side-kicks who can be kick-butt ferocious when circumstances call for it. They rely on wit, knowledge of humans, and a genuine caring for others to solve crimes as serious as murder, and have been so successful that they’re still at it, seven books into the series relating their adventure stories.

Readers comment a lot on how much they like Carrie and her friends. “She seems so real,” is a frequent comment. And, y’know what? I think Radine being a senior citizen is part of the reason Carrie and Henry fans feel this way.

For you see, I’ve LIVED! I’ve been out in the world. I’ve watched, listened, interacted, and absorbed how humans feel, act, speak, and think. It doesn’t take overhearing a cell phone conversation for me to be aware of why people do what they do, feel as they feel. Being around on this earth for a decently long time does this for most of us. For me, and probably for most of you, living, experiencing, observing, and absorbing life is natural, even done without thinking about it.

 That’s one of the beauties of being a late blooming writer. Carrie McCrite says she gets involved in helping solve crimes because she notices things. She sees people in trouble and reaches out to them when most folks want to run the other direction. She observes peculiarities when others look away. And, she attributes her interest in what’s going on around her to her own senior citizen status (whatever her age may be). She knows a lot about people, and often recognizes motivation, problems, and characteristics the young-uns don’t see.

In other words, being a problem solver can be an outgrowth of long living.

And, writing about problem solving as I do is a result of long living as well.

Don’t ask me Carrie’s age. I have learned readers tend to identify her age (and Henry’s and the others) as similar to whatever their’s is. So, my book people don’t tell their ages any more than I do mine. It’s sufficient to identify us as senior citizens which is, after all, a convenient term to use.

Radine’s web site

Radine’s blog

Journey to Die For Amazon


20 thoughts on “I’m a Late Bloomer – Radine Trees Nehring

  1. What a fun interview!! There are so many of us who didn’t start writing professionally, at least, until we were on the downside of our career to make $$. Well, we still try to make $$, don’t we, but it’s not exactly the same–just more enjoyable.

    Radine, good writing.

  2. Although I’ve wanted to be a mystery writer since I was a youngster, a corporate career intervened so my goal was to have my first book published by the time I was 60. It was released 3 months before my 60th. I absolutely agree with Radine. My protag and her mother (a crucial secondary character) benefit from my years of observing people and their interactions. On a humorous note, when I first created my protag I was 42 and I made her 39 with a 62 year old mother. Now that Mom and I are almost the same age, Mom is having alot more fun in the sequels!

    Great post, Radine. And I love you cover!

  3. I think senior citizanry begins when a person starts saying, No, I can’t do that, or No, I’m not interested in that…in other words never for you, Radine!! And yes, you have lived/are living…

  4. As one “SC” to another, I loved this blog. I also was a late bloomer. Too busy raising 5 kids and doing other things to realize what I really wanted to do was write. Read? You bet, and all those years sneaking in a few pages of my latest find at the library while I raised the kids and made a lving for us taught me how to do it. I don’t think I’ll tell my age, either, just sufice it to say “there with us. There’s an old saying “there’s life in the old girl yet.” I just love old sayings

  5. One of the reason I wrote a senior sleuth is that I had worked at a nursing home. My main character Agnes, is seventy-two and he partner in crime, Eleanor, is eighty-two. I’m kinda sick of people portraying someone sixty as senile. Are you kidding me?? I know of folks in their nineties that are totally with it. While I’m not near any of you girls ages, I’m 48, I have much to live up to it seems. Good luck to each and everyone of you!

  6. Great post, Radine. I did want to be a writer and get published from the time I was 7–but my first novel came out on my 64th birthday, and my album of original songs, OUTRAGEOUS OLDER WOMAN, is just out, about six weeks before my 68th birthday. (Though that’s nothin’–my Aunt Hilda will turn 100 in April, and she still plays tennis.) I like telling my age–the bigger the number, the more impressive the ongoing pizzazz. See you at Killer Nashville this summer!

  7. Radine,
    I’m a senior. So is my sleuth, Lydia Krause, though she’s younger than I am. In A Murderer Among Us and Murder in the Air, Lydia solves murders, makes new friends, and finds romance the second time around. One reason I have an older sleuth is I want the world to know that we “older folk” are active and vital and still making waves.

  8. I’m very much a senior, and I’ve loved writing about my senior sleuths, Andrea Flynn and Kathleen Williamson in Moon Signs and other mysteries. Many thanks to Radine for suggesting the Spunky Seniors group of Facebook. I’m headed there to join right now!

  9. Radine, Will definitely add your book to my recommedned reading list of novels featuring “mature” characters! I’ve been teaching a course for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina designed to show that more books (and movies) are beginning to feature older heroines and heroes and portraying them quite differently than the fuddy spinsters of old. My 52-year-old heroine in DEAR KILLER is fit, smart and sexy and she’s passed the half century mark.

  10. My favorite books are those that include the whole range of life–children on up to seniors. I don’t live in a world that is made up of only young people, and the seniors I work with (and I am one too) are just as active, intelligent, and sharp as the younger up-and-coming group. The only time I know I’m a senior is when someone else points it out.

  11. I’m going to be 72 this year and hope that I have my first book published by the time I am 75.
    I keep trying to get my organized so I can spend considerable time on writing. I am not a writer but have a lot of life experiences to tell.

  12. That’s great Shirley! My main character in my book is 72. Being organized is something we all need to strive for. It’s a losing battle for me, but I try. Yes, writing does take time, but if you focus on writing 1,000 words a day, I believe it won’t cut too much of your time out. What are you considering writing non fiction or fiction? I think most of us start writing at a later age because for one thing you have more time. Another reason is you really have experienced a variety of things throughout your life that you can put in a book without anyone ever knowing you’re talking about yourself. At least if you write fiction. We do put a lot of ourselves into are writing whether we admit it or not. 🙂

  13. I’ve enjoyed your work (and you!) for a long time, Radine, and I’m delighted to hear “your story.” Not only are you writing great stories, but I’m so impressed you’re even tweeting! Take that, Gen X and Y! You’re a role model for us all!

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