Tag Archives: Tina Wainscott

Naples Novelist Gives Readers a Rush

On her new website, Jaime Rush offers readers her Naples post office box address. A series of photos marks her striking resemblance to Naples author Tina Wainscott. Indeed, the copyright page in the advance uncorrected proof for her book, A Perfect Darkness, reveals that Wainscott is the copyright holder. Often, publishers and agents recommend the nom de plume gambit when a writer veers off in a new direction. They fear confusing the existing fan base. My own guess is that the new series by “Jaime Rush” will draw readers who never heard of Tina Wainscott, and that Wainscott readers will have no trouble enjoying the Jaime Rush offerings.rushtitle

Tina Wainscott is a Naples girl. In her youth, the future novelist made up stories to tell her friends and relatives. She would also, with her friends, script and act out what she calls “mini-movies.” At nineteen, a couple of years out of Lely High School (class of 1983) and taking business courses at Edison Community College, Wainscott (her last name was Ritter until marriage) became more serious about a writing career. She took an adult education course in creative writing, and then she took it several more times. The course, led by Betzi Abram, got Wainscott more focused: she had to turn something in every week, and the criticism helped her develop the tough skin one needs as a writer. Her first novel, On the Way to Heaven, was published in 1995. She has been going nonstop ever since.  Several of her novels have Florida settings.

Wainscott/Rush crafted paranormal romances earlier in her career, while romantic thrillers have been more frequent in recent years. With the series launched by A Perfect Darkness, this prolific author for the first time envisions a multi-novel saga.

The term “paranormal” connects with “supernatural” – with an emphasis on unusual psychic powers. The characters in A Perfect Darkness have an arsenal of shared as well as unique abilities. One of them can see ten seconds into the future, another can converse with the dead, yet another can image the future and release the vision in eerie paintings. And one can set fires through psychic energy. The paranormal characters in this novel are particularly sensitive to one another and can communicate – and more – across time and space. This is because they are connected as the children of an extended family: in part biological, in part the collective result of experiments that have produced or altered them.

They are known as The Offspring, and their common goal is to trace their origins, master their special gifts, and discover – perhaps to defeat – the ends for which they were engineered.

We meet them as adults, some of whom have been long aware of their special gifts and others who are just discovering them. The novel’s central character, computer repair genius Amy Shane, is in danger, and what threatens her brings her into contact with some of her para-siblings. They mine their shared memories, putting some of the pieces together.

The reader discovers, along with the characters, that some kind of rogue government project has brought them into being. Like so many projects of super-patriots, The Offspring were designed to serve the national interest – but something has gone wrong.  They pose a threat to those who would be their controllers, and The Offspring themselves seem to have divided into potentially adversarial groups.  The controllers strive to exploit the supernatural abilities of The Offspring, conduct further experiments, and destroy those whom they cannot manage.

Sorting this all at will take Jaime Rush several novels, but she is off to a strong start, balancing revelations with new questions that keep readers guessing and turning  pages.  

The hook for romance readers is – believe it or not – paranormal sexual intimacy. A romance between Amy Shane and Lucas Vanderwyck – the artist and leader of the Offspring – develops in their interactive dreams, and in these shared dreams they know sensual rapture and emotional bliss. The lurking question: will it be this good when it’s not a dream? An intriguing question that interacts with many other questions in the novel.

Jaime Rush has set A Perfect Darkness in Annapolis, Maryland. This setting, a relatively small town not far from Washington, DC, seems a good choice for evoking the corridors of power without getting bogged down in iconic urban landscapes. While more could be done with the setting (state capital, sailing and seafood mecca, home of U. S. Naval Academy), the important aspects of setting and environment in this genre are the extensions of the what-if premise. And on these Rush is masterful, as she is in developing a cast of intriguing characters defined through vivid dialogue and action.

Aside from Amy Shane, whose talents include sensing and interpreting the emotional “glows” that emanate from people, the author provides readers with Eric and Petra Aruda – strikingly attractive twin Offspring whose psychic powers complicate their all too normal jealousies and frustrations. There is the mysterious Rand, whom the team must attempt to rescue late in the novel. And there is a host of villains, most notably Gerald Darkwell, over whom The Offspring must prevail. There is also an old friend of Amy’s father, a man from whom she seeks protection and guidance.  But “Uncle” Cyrus seems to have compromised loyalties and uncertain motives. Which side is he on? Riddle follows riddle.  tina-wainscott

Jaime Rush sums up the appeal of the series as “X-Files meets Friends.” She’s on target here, and it’s a potent combination. A Perfect Darkness is due from Avon Books in late January.

BEFORE JAIME’S BIRTH, Tina Wainscott was doing just fine. You can find several Book Beat Columns about Tina, and also, more recently, a brief review on another title by Jamie Rush. Run the names in the web site search box, right sidebar.

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BOOK BEAT 68 – Tina Wainscott (3)

BOOK BEAT    Naples Sun Times    May 15, 2008                                                   

by Philip K. Jason

On a superficial level, Tina Wainscott’s new “What Lies in Shadow” resembles her recent “Until the Day You Die,” the New England setting and the obsessed stalker motif being the two most obvious points of comparison. However, the two works are radically different in tone, complication, and characterization. And the dilemma that Wainscott’s protagonist, Jonna Karakosta, falls into has no resemblance to anything in the previous novel. Jonna has blogged herself into danger. 

She begins innocently enough, developing a more adventurous version of herself, “Montene,” who entices an internet audience with her confessions and aspirations. Obliquely, through the Montene persona, Jonna reveals the unsatisfying state of her marriage. She and her husband have somehow been blocked from the kind of intimacy Jonna craves, and the blog that Montene generates brings forth an electronic suitor, Dominic, whose courtship of Montene via the blog turns into the preliminaries for an off-line relationship. Montene’s readers are privy to this affair-in-the making, writing in their own advice at each step of Montene’s journey and living vicariously through her adventure. The blog that Jonna has created is a huge success, with an audience ravenous for each successive entry.

And so Wainscott’s audience is hooked as well.

Jonna enjoys the excitement of her veiled popularity; she has certainly found a vein of frustration and yearning among her comment-posting readers. However, unknowingly, she has set herself up to be a victim of the man who calls himself Dominic. And once she finds out, which is soon after she decides to meet him, her excitement becomes tinged with and then dominated by terror. Jonna’s story, then, is a moral tale of the “be careful what you wish for” variety. 

Wainscott artfully shifts narrative point of view, giving us glimpses of what Dominic and other characters are thinking without ever giving away too much. Provided with partial revelations about Dominic, about Jonna’s husband Rush, and about her best friend Beth, the reader attempts to anticipate and ride the waves of the unfolding plot.  And this plot, revealed in part as a string of disguised motives, carefully guarded secrets, and formative influences from the characters’ early lives, moves swiftly and steadily ahead, sometimes in unexpected directions.

It is also a story of insecurity, suspicion, and betrayal. One of the novel’s strengths lies in the convincing dramatization of the emotional masking and distance that has paralyzed the relationship between Jonna and Rush. The mix of attraction, duplicity, and mistrust that swirls through each of these characters keeps readers longing for a breakthrough: “Hey, dummies, just be honest with one another.” But we all know how difficult that can be!

Another dimension of the story that works well is the efficient way in which Wainscott paints the working lives of Jonna and Rush. Jonna has a budding business as an event planner and Rush is co-owner of AngelForce, a company that finds investor funding to nourish young technology companies. There is just enough detail, just enough integration of their working lives into the characterizations and plot, and yet not too much. This material builds the credibility of the characters, connecting them to others in both commercial and social ways, and making them more than merely emotional bundles in a crumbling relationship.

“What Lies in Shadow” is a satisfying thriller by an established professional who just happens to be our neighbor. Find out more about her at http://www.tinawainscott.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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BOOK BEAT 49 – Tina Wainscott (2)

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   July 18-24, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

There are plenty of thrills and chills, twists and turns, in Tina Wainscott’s new suspense novel, “Until the Day You Die.” A young real estate agent, Maggie Fletcher, feels somewhat guilty for not trusting the complaints her sister had made about being the victim of a stalker. In order to make sure the alleged murderer, Colin Masters, meets justice, Maggie succumbs to the temptation of giving false testimony that leads to his conviction.

While the cased against him is being developed, Masters starts threatening Maggie in his skillful, unprovable manner. By the time Masters is convicted and sentenced, Maggie’s relationship with the prosecuting District Attorney has been ruined, her employer has been harassed, and she has begun to fear for her own life and that of her son.

Maggie relocates to a small town in New Hampshire far from the initial setting of coastal Portsmouth. She feels that she has no choice but to erase almost all traces of her past, take on a new identity, and start again. However, after three years pass uneventfully, she discovers that Masters was retried because of a technicality in the original trial – and this time found innocent.

Not only that, he has already found her and initiated his diabolical plan of revenge. He even cleverly ingratiates himself to Maggie’s young son, another well-drawn character. Wainscott baits the hook skillfully, but I will give away no more.

One of the pleasures of the book is the way Wainscott has developed her characters and story line through a shifting point of view. Maggie’s chapters are told in the first person. Thus, we can know directly what she is thinking and feeling. She confides in us, and she gains our sympathy. Colin Masters and other characters are presented in third-person narration, giving us somewhat less access to their interior lives. Still, we will discover much about the grotesque psychology and distorted genius of Masters. For all his hideousness, he becomes in Wainscott’s hands a magnetic center of interest. 

“Until the Day You Die” is another step in Tina Wainscott’s ongoing transformation from author of paranormal romance to mainstream romance to romantic suspense to outright thriller. The psychological suspense element is paramount. Yes, there is a romantic dimension to this new novel, but I wouldn’t expect to find it on the romance shelves in the bookstores.

Wainscott did a good deal of research to insure the authenticity of her novel. She revisited Portsmouth, a town she has used in an early, unpublished manuscript. She also had a relative do additional research for her. For Ashbury, she did internet and map research, eventually visiting there as well.

This dedicated author also researched the psychology of stalking as well as the prosecution of stalking cases. She even connected with a police officer in the county where the novel is set. These explorations helped her with the police and court angles, which took the most time.

All of this preparation paid off, as Wainscott has delivered a first-rate crime novel with a strong sense of place, intriguing characters, and a high degree of verisimilitude.

In her next novel, Tina Wainscott returns “to the land of moral ambiguity.” The tentatively titled “What Lies in Shadow” is due out in January: “A lonely housewife reaches out in her anonymous blog and finds someone reaching back…in a deadly way.”

Naples native Tina Wainscott was one of the early subjects of the “Book Beat” column. For biographical information and comments on her career as a writer, go to naplessuntimes.com and use the search tool to find the August 2006 column. Also, visit her website tinawainscott.com.

Meet Tina Wainscott as she signs her new book and other titles on Saturday, July 7 beginning at 2pm at the Naples Barnes & Noble.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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BOOK BEAT 6 – Tina Wainscott

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   August 16-22, 2006

 by Philip K. Jason

 Tina Wainscott is a Naples girl. As a child, the future novelist made up stories to tell her friends and relatives. She would also, with her friends, script and act out what she calls “mini-movies.” At nineteen, a couple of years out of Lely High School (class of 1983) and taking business courses at Edison Community College, Wainscott (her last name was Ritter until marriage) became more serious about a writing career. She took an adult education course in creative writing, and then she took it several more times. The course, led by Betzi Abram, got Wainscott more focused: she had to turn something in every week, and the criticism helped her develop the tough skin one needs as a writer.

Short stories came first, then the novels. Her third attempt won a prize in a Romance Writers of America competition, and this distinction helped her find an agent in 1993. The manuscript was sold in 1994 and published the next year. The success of On the Way to Heaven led to a demand for a sequel, which Wainscott had already finished, so Shades of Heaven appeared only six months later. Paranormal romance was Wainscott’s first genre specialty, but she has branched out into wider realms, capturing wider audiences with suspense novels, though the romance element is pretty much a constant. 

 Wainscott’s seventeenth title, Until the Day You Die, will be released in July of 2007. Wainscott describes it this way: “It is about is about a woman who lies to put away the man who assaulted her sister. When he’s convicted, the danger really begins.” Her last novel, In Too Deep came out in October of 2005, so this is probably the longest that readers have had to wait for a new Wainscott release. It’s not that her disciplined writing schedule changed, but rather that the necessary give and take among author, agent, and editor took a bit longer than usual to reach a happy conclusion. Negotiations were complicated because the author decided to try something different – always a risk when readers are enjoying what you are already doing. After Until the Day You Die, the wait for her next title will be a scant six months.

Both of the forthcoming novels are set in New England, though Naples readers interested in introducing themselves to Wainscott’s work may get special pleasure out of the ones with Florida settings. Back in Baby’s Arms features a small Florida Gulf Coast town; A Trick of the Light takes advantage of her life-long residence in Naples; and I’ll Be Watching You fictionalizes Everglades City. This Naples treasure, Tina Wainscott, expects to set another novel in Naples in the not-too-distant future.

Meanwhile, readers can enjoy In Too Deep (set in Miami Beach and environs). The protagonist is society writer Winslow Talbot, a woman who feels that her life is a sham. Her beautiful face is the creation of plastic surgeons after a car crash. Her wealth comes from a generous stepfather who’s funded a life she finds increasingly superficial. When Winslow learns of a hit-and-run boating accident that leaves a young Cuban girl disfigured, she becomes determined to make a difference by helping the child. Of course, this effort leads to trouble. Most of Wainscott’s books, like this one, have been published by St. Martin’s Press, the rest by Harlequin.

Readers can also enjoy Wainscott’s participation in the multi-author “serial novel” I’d Kill for That, recently available in paperback, in which each contributing author wrote a chapter and then passed the manuscript on to the next author, who added her own twists and turns. Marcia Talley conceived of the idea and set forth the basic storyline and characters.

 Characterization is the hard part of writing for Wainscott, the real work. The “what if” premise and the plot come to her rather easily. She says that discovering the “what if” is the most exciting part of the process. When the untarnished, uncritiqued inspiration hits this talented author, it literally gives her the chills. Months or years later, after the writing process is completed and the book is in print, it gives readers a jolt as well.

 In November of 2004, the Naples Press Club honored Tina Wainscott with a special dinner at which Councilman John Nocera presented her with the symbolic key to the city. She has for some time now had the key to her readers’ hearts.

 Keep track of Tina Wainscott at tinawainscott.com. And receive writing tips from her in February when she leads a workshop for the Naples Writers’ Conference at International College.

 Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy. A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club. Send him your book news at pjason@aol.com.

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