“It’s almost like an addiction. Once you start, you can’t stop,” Nick Lewis said.
Despite spending more than 40 years in the news business, Lewis didn’t write a single word until the end of his career. As a former editor of the Richmond Register, Lewis began writing columns for the paper around 2004. He found himself with an urge to write that grew after his retirement. Currently, Lewis has written five novels and more are in the works.
Most of Lewis’s career in fiction tells the story of a brash Irish-born detective named Carla McBride. “The Gold Fedora”, “The Black Rose”, “Chasing Truth and Redemption”, and “Quandary” all see the fiery police detective tackle a variety of cases. Some of the action takes place in a small town in Kentucky named Oakmont which is modeled after Richmond. His other completed novel “Where Eagles Soared” is loosely based on Lewis’s life story. He is the favorite author of his creations.
“The detective series grew out of my role as editor of the Richmond Register,” Lewis said. “That’s where my passion for writing started…Before that, I had never written anything. I ended up writing a lot of commentaries and I got pretty good at it. When I retired in 2013, people told me I still needed to write.”
A year later, in 2014, “The Golden Fedora” was written. Lewis said it was inspired in part by his role as a newspaper publisher.
“During my years as a publisher, the media and law enforcement didn’t necessarily get along. What if a publisher and a detective joined forces to solve this particular crime? That’s where the story started and was continued by the first two books,” says Lewis.
The town of Oakmont in which the Carla McBride series is based in Richmond. City stalwarts like The Paddy Wagon, Purdy’s Coffee and the University Club of Arlington make appearances in Detective McBride’s adventures. As Lewis grew as a writer, Oakmont began to grow. Become a kind of composite city for all the other cities in which Lewis lived throughout his life.
“When I wrote the first book ‘The Gold Fedora’, I wrote it with the city of Richmond. After talking to a number of people who had written books before to figure out what you want the city to either,” Lewis said. “There are other places like a Honky Tonk beer joint across town in one of the books is a reference to where I lived in Huntington, West Virginia… But people who read the book who live here will know it’s the Paddy Wagon or Arlington.”
Lewis writes most of his writing during the winter months. He wrote the first three novels in the Carla McBride series before sending his books to a publisher, as having several books already written was helpful in finding a publisher. Lewis now has a contract with Pen It! Publications.
The upcoming fifth entry in the Carla McBride series will arrive in the fall. It was inspired by an unsolved murder that occurred while Lewis was working at a newspaper in Ohio. According to the author, it seems to be one of his new favorites once released.
“I was in a newspaper in Mariette, Ohio in the early 90s. There was a young woman – 18 or 19 years old – found in a drainage ditch at the cemetery. She had been murdered and her body mutilated. what I knew when I left this area, this case was never solved. This is what I started the fifth book on. It happened in a way that I would never have thought I’d take a story. It’s probably going to be my favorite at the time,” Lewis says.
Lewis is currently working on a story inspired by Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” which sees a famous author start hitting items on his to-do list when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The author did not know where this second career would take him. And encouraged others to embrace their passion the same way he did.
“It really makes me feel good because of what I’ve actually accomplished. Writing a book is hard,” Lewis said. “I look forward every day to see where my mind will take the book… I pinch myself sometimes that I did this and I only started writing in 2014. If you have a passion and a dream, no whatever your age, if you are in a financial position that allows you to pursue that dream, then do it.”
In parting ways, Lewis has some advice for all up-and-coming writers. It came to him from another writer in Texas who told him not to worry about pleasing others with his writing.
“She adopted a philosophy of ‘I write for myself.’ Enjoy. I’ll write what I like. The rest is icing on the cake,” Lewis said.
The Carla McBride series as well as “When Eagles Soared” can all be purchased online from various retailers including Amazon or through her website, www.nicklewisauthor.com.