Welcome to the Self-Rescue Princess, we’re starting the holiday season by chatting with Merry Wynter.
Life is a little hectic. I own a real life American Castle in Western New York state; it was built by my lumber baron great-many-times grandfather and passed down through the generations, but because my dad died when I was just five or so, I never knew about that side of the family. I didn’t know anything about it until I inherited Wynter Castle from my great uncle Melvyn Wynter. I intended to sell it and return to NYC where I had always lived. I fell in love with the nearby town of Autumn Vale, though, and made friends, and ended up staying and fixing it up with my New York friends, Pish and Shilo.
The problem was, how to pay for living there. I tried a few schemes over the years, including my muffin baking and selling business, but it became clear it was going to take something big to make a go of it. Soooo…
Pish Lincoln, my dear friend, and I have partnered to create a performing arts center for a symphony orchestra and opera company. Kind of like Tanglewood is for the BSO.
But there is so much else going on! I keep finding trouble. I don’t mean to, but… it happens. Lately I was accosted in a neighboring town by a rude street preacher guy who kept calling me a Jezebel! He’s part of this fringe group who own a compound near town. It’s run by one of those doom and damnation cultish groups.
I’ve since discovered that a couple of good friends may have been lured in by the group and its leader. Between that and the missing girls my husband, former sheriff Virgil Grace, and his former deputy have been investigating, I’m worried, so I’m going to do something about it.
I just hope nothing goes wrong when my friends and I storm the compound!
What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?
I’ve been fighting the negative attitude some townies have of me and my New York friends… there have been a few unfortunate incidences over the last three years. Most in Autumn Vale like us, some have become truly great friends, and others are ambivalent, but there are a few who feel like we are out to change Autumn Vale, and they aren’t sure they want that. I try to do everything I can to help people and change minds. I want them to see me and the people I’m bringing into their lives as a good thing, for them and the community.
Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?
That’s a funny question! LOL. I’m no Wonder Woman. I’m just a former plus size model, turned fashion stylist, turned muffin baker, turned property developer, turned reluctant crime fighter.
Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?
Least pleased? Whoever is guilty, I suppose. My husband, even though I first met him in his capacity as sheriff of Autumn Vale, has been very good about not interfering when I’m on a hunt. He’s helpful, in fact, and now that he’s a private investigator, he can even help with resources.
Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.
I like that description! But for a long time I don’t think I was strong or confident. I met and married a fashion photographer when I was in my twenties, but after two blissful years of marriage he died in a tragic car accident. It took me a long time to move on… in fact it wasn’t until I came to Autumn Vale to have a look at my inheritance and met Virgil that I started to see a life beyond widowhood. My hero is Lizzie Proctor, now eighteen, who is the very essence of a strong confident woman. When I met her (when I first arrived in Autumn Vale) she was fifteen and troubled, and she is still in conflict with her mom much of the time, but she found her calling – photography – and is fierce in following it, and defending her friends in any situation. I respect her more than I can say.
What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. And if you decide to do something, do it with your whole passion. Don’t expect success in what you want to do to just come to you because you want it. You’ve got to earn it. You may or may not succeed, but the beauty and honor is in striving for your goals.
What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?
To not be afraid to butt in… truly! One of my friends that is in trouble, Gordy Shute, is an example. We could all see he was drifting away from us but we didn’t want to interfere in his life, and now he has ended up in that cult compound. I think I’ve learned… sometimes you need to butt in!
If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?
Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. LOL.
Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?
I have a feeling trouble will find me again… if things get too quiet or go too smoothly, my friend Pish can be counted on to get us into some fix! It’s always because he’s trying to help somebody. (Merry will indeed run into trouble again in Double or Muffin – coming in 2020. Pish agrees to host an opera competition reality show that has lost its venue, and… trouble ensues!)
If you’d like to read Merry’s adventure in Muffin But Trouble, you can find it here: