“I’ve led an interesting life,” said Lake Placid writer Anne Nichols Reynolds. She’s been a teacher, an artist and a public speaker. She was one of the founders of Interlake Academy, a Christian middle school in 1978, where she taught English for 14 years. Her interest in education led to her appointment to the District Board of Trustees at South Florida Community College. She and her husband were in the cattle and citrus business. She traveled extensively, enjoyed lobstering in the Florida Keys, worked with archaeologists on a pre-Columbian village site located on her property, and participated in a dig in Israel. But her true passion was writing, and this resulted in the creation of books she hoped would help readers appreciate life and the importance of making the most of the time they’re given.
Reynolds’ interest in writing started early in life. “As a child, I wrote poetry and fairytales,” she said. “I was a voracious reader and always loved writing.” While attending Florida Southern College, she compiled a list of 100 goals she wanted to achieve. One was to write a novel, but she lacked the confidence to pursue that dream. Years later, she decided to take a writing course at a local college, and that changed everything.
I’d been working as a staff writer for a magazine, but I wanted to learn about creative writing,” she recalled. “The professor invited me to join her critique group. I also joined the Florida Writers Association, a group of writers helping writers.” With their support, Reynolds was finally able to cross one item off her bucket list when she completed her first novel, Winter Harvest, in 2014. A romance set on a cattle ranch in Colorado, Winter Harvest is the story of Dana Winter, a bestselling writer, and her journey to acceptance, wholeness and new love. Winter Harvest was followed one year later by another romance novel, A Will of Her Own. The tale of a young girl’s involvement with an influential Florida family, A Will of Her Own placed second in the Royal Palm Literary Awards.
Reynold’s next book, Mast Island, is a thriller set on an island off the Georgia coast where Abby Parsons, an up-and-coming artist, discovers a devastating secret about her past. According to Reynolds, “The story just came to me from beginning to end. I guess I have a vivid imagination and some inspiration from a higher power.” The thing she liked best about the book is the way her main character gets to step out of her comfort zone and have an unforgettable adventure. “Getting emotionally involved in my characters’ lives can sometimes be difficult or uplifting,” she said. “I shed happy tears when a character is forgiven, and I celebrate their triumphs. The characters live on in my mind after their story is told.”
Her final novel, Shadow of Death, is a murder mystery set in North Carolina. It involves an estranged set of identical twins, one of whom is murdered and the survivor’s search for her sister’s killer. “My books always involve a spiritual journey,” Reynolds explained. “I want to see growth in my characters. Like real people, they aren’t perfect and sometimes require forgiveness and redemption.”
A common thread in all Reynolds’ novels is the importance of perseverance and being true to one’s beliefs and values. Reynolds believed that “perseverance is a necessary part of being optimistic about life’s outcome.” This was reflected in her outlook on her life as well: “I’m happy with my books and I’m happy with life, and as long as readers enjoy my stories and care about my characters, I’m satisfied, and I’ll keep writing.”
For more information, visit Anne's website at www.annenicholsreynolds.com.