Nina Swartzwelder spent her early childhood in northeastern Kentucky. By the time she reached high school age, her family moved to a very rural area in southern Ohio. The second oldest of five children, she could most usually be found curled up somewhere reading one of the dozen or so books that she checked out from the bookmobile as it made its bimonthly trip to her school. All the books in the world could not have prepared her for the turn her life would take as she married and raised a large family.
Nina and her husband, Bruce, currently live in Destin, FL. Married nearly forty years, they have raised ten children. Many of the stories that Nina writes about have been taken from events that occurred during the course of raising her family. In fact, her children were most often the inspiration for her writings. Although her children are now grown, there are many grandchildren who visit on a regular basis and provide fresh inspiration for writing.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my earliest years in Northeastern Kentucky. By the time I was a teenager, my family had moved across the river to Southern Ohio. I was one of five children and we lived on a farm in a very rural area. We had a commercial poultry business with over 30,000 chickens. We each had daily chores and quickly learned a very strong work ethic. Our nearest neighbor was nearly a mile away; there were no cell phones and telephone companies hadn't yet been deregulated. Long distance calls were expensive and only made in an emergency. Our phone was a phone party line that we shared with a dozen other neighbors. I rode a school bus 13 miles to school every day and it was long distance to call any of my classmates. I loved school - it was my escape! Summertime was spent working on the farm and occasionally hanging out at the area lake where all my friends went daily. There were no local libraries, but the bookmobile from the county came once every two weeks. I would check out enough books to last until the bookmobile made its return. Once I began reading a book, my mother would be hard pressed to get me to do anything around the house until the book was completed. Although that would seem to have been a miserable childhood, I have fond memories of family, classmates and more innocent times. Having lived and had responsibility at such an early age taught me a wonderful work ethic and gave me a "never give up" attitude. It also provided me with many stories and insights to fall back on in my writing.
When did you first start writing?
Initially,I thought I first started writing in 1992. I had a large family (at that time nine children). One day one of my friends was having a terrible time controlling her children (she had four). She made the comment, "I don't know how you do it." That afternoon, I was thinking about her comment and realized that I did have a lot of information and experience to share. Perhaps even some funny things that would let other mothers of young children realize that that stage of life isn't forever. Things and circumstances change and yes, you can do it. You can make it. Looking back, I now realize that I began writing much earlier than that. I had been gifted at an early age with writing skills. Math was another subject. Throughout high school I had been the news reporter for every club that I had been in. I wrote columns for each club every month for the school newspaper. I don't know how that fact escaped me all those years, but it has continued throughout my life.
Willie and his family have company. Baby Kelley has come to visit and life will never be the same. You'll cheer as Willie struggles to maintain control and keep his cool. Hold on to your seat as Willie and his brothers once again take you on a journey of laughter and excitement. Baby Kelly has come to visit and there is no end in sight to the mess she can make or the hearts she can break.
Willie wanted to please his father. And what did he have to show for it? A picture window broken so badly that it looked a giant spider web.
It seemed that everywhere Willie turned, he was in trouble. Today had been no exception. The Little Boys, “Mystery of the Missing Newspapers” is the first in a series of books highlighting eleven-year-old Willie Little and his 6-year twin brothers.