“Slack Tide,” a novel by Beaufort resident Nancy Ritter is being released by Charleston-based Evening Post Books on March 15.
“Slack Tide” is about a woman who moves to Beaufort to “start over” after the death of her mother, loss of her job, and end of a long-term relationship. On her first day in town, her dog disappears. The story takes place over a nine-day period, as she searches for her dog. Along the way, she meets and befriends a quirky cast of characters who help her grapple with the possibility that she may never know what happened to her dog.
My last job before I retired and moved to Beaufort was at the Department of Justice, where I did a lot of work on the nation’s missing-persons crisis. That’s where I first learned about the concept “ambiguous loss,” which experts say is a very different kind of grieving that is unique when a person doesn’t know — and may never know — what happened to their loved one. In this case, the “loved one” is a 20-pound rescue dog named Wink.
I was volunteering at the Pat Conroy Literary Center about five years when a couple came in for a tour. We really hit it off, so I invited them to my home that night for a glass of wine. They told me about their dog, who had recently gone missing and their heart-breaking search for him. That night — and for many nights thereafter — I simply could not shake their story. I became sort of obsessed with what I would do if my dog went missing. How far would I go to find him?
I was a journalist for much of my professional career. I had decades of experience as a nonfiction writer, but writing fiction is a whole different animal.
I am completely enthralled with the Lowcountry, but I’m a Northerner and didn’t really know if I could pull off a story set here. So, in many ways, placing the story in Beaufort was a personal challenge — a challenge to my powers of observation and connection to this unique environment that we’re privileged to call home.
Although the main thread of the novel is a woman’s search for her missing dog, the story is ultimately about community, grace, and forgiveness.
“Slack Tide” will be available through my publisher’s website (EveningPostBooks.com) and the usual large online bookseller websites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. However, I encourage local folks to shop at one of our town’s amazing three independent bookstores. Also, I extend an invitation to come to the Conroy Literary Center on the evening of Saturday, March 18 for an open-house, drop-in event, where the book also will be available.
Nancy Ritter, Author
“Slack Tide” Novel
Conroy Center Open House March 18, 2023
North of the Broad Hosted by Robyn Zimmerman
Filmed On Location at the Pat Conroy Literary Center
601 Bladen St, Beaufort, SC
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