words // Lin Stone
photo // Craig Thomas
Queens Never Make Bargains is Nancy Means Wright’s newest title and twentieth book, a historical novel published by Red Barn Books of Vermont. Fellow Vermont author, Alison Kirk, offered praise worthy of applause, “Nancy Means Wright has created a compelling multi-generational drama worthy, in breadth of historical and social setting, of a Masterpiece Theatre.” She continued, “The gallery of sympathetically drawn characters will stay with readers long after the final moving page, as certainly will the tales of the three passionate and resolute Scottish-American women who, each in her own way and in keeping with the calamities and constraints of her own generation, staunchly refuses to ‘bargain’ away the integrity of her innermost self.”
Wright, a prolific writer and second generation Scot, says, “I always write. I wrote my first so-called novel in fourth grade. It was a thinly veiled manuscript about my pesky older brothers.” Perhaps disappointingly, the manuscript escaped publication when discovered by her mother and promptly thrown out.
Although Wright claims to have been a shy child, “I was too frightened to ever open my mouth,” she began a study of brave smart heroines by carefully reading Nancy Drew stories where the female protagonist figured her way out of every predicament and solved every mystery.
A Vassar graduate, Wright continued a lifetime of putting passions to pen and wrote her first published novel, The Losing, which was later followed by what she referred to as “her bestseller,” Make Your Own Change, a humorous memoir about running a craft shop and its verity cast of quirky characters.
Wright’s prompt to author her own mystery series followed reading a newspaper story about two elderly farmers, distrustful of banks, who kept their money waddled up in barn rafters and mattresses. The farmers were burgled, beaten, and left for dead. The brothers survived, and the burglars caught when the money they proffered rabblerousing in bars left behind the telltale odor of a barn. Inspired by such an iconic Vermont true whodunnit, Wright began her own place-based mystery series with a smart female heroine and amateur sleuth, Ruth Willmarth. Wright holds an Agatha Award for best children’s young adult novel, The Pea Soup Poisonings, and was an Agatha finalist for The Great Circus Train Robbery.
A longtime teacher and actress, Wright now lives in Middlebury, Vt. with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats. She welcomes visitors at HYPERLINK “http://www.nancymeanswright.com” www.nancymeanswright.com.
Queens Never Make Bargains can be purchased at www.windridgebooksofvt.com/red-barn-books or ordered in local bookstores.