Author/actress/activist Denise Nicholas (Room 222, In the Heat of the Night, Let's Do It Again, etc.) is busy working with the University of Missouri theatre department on a play development project.

"I'm a writer on the Freedom Summer play", Nicholas told "It will debut next spring!"

Nicholas' real-life experiences as a founding member of the "Free Southern Theater" in 1960's Mississippi and Louisiania have parlayed as characters and circumstances in her acting and literary work. Her first novel, Freshwater Road, told the story of a Michigan college student traveling to Mississippi to work as a voter registration volunteer during the summer of 1964. "On Freshwater Road," Nicholas explains, "there are incidents that are factual representations of actual events and there are composites."

Nicholas perfectly mastered her southern accent imitation during her stay in Mississippi. Years later, it served as an invaluable skill during her tenure with the In The Heat of the Night television series. Nicoholas noted that she "did not work with coach but I should have. It was extremely difficult to be consistent."

Nicholas added that "God willing, I will write another novel. It will be a completely different...everything...hopefully."

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