Meet award winning mystery author W.S. Gager, Author of Humorous Whodunits. She has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was a reporter, traipsing the countryside, interviewing race car drivers and professional women golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until she realized that babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she has honed her skills in other forms of writing and pursued what she always wanted to do with her life…write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter, always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer. Her third book, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES, was a finalist in the 2012 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. A CASE OF VOLATILE DEEDS, her fourth in the Mitch series will be out this February.
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to become a published author?
I’ve always written but mostly in non-fiction. I was a newspaper reporter for a decade and then did other forms of marketing to help pay the bills. When I was recuperating from surgery in 2004, I had all day long to do nothing but watch TV and read. I couldn’t do house work or go to my job. The kids were in school all day and I couldn’t drive. I had a whole pile of books to read and the more I read, the more I realized I could do it better than what I was reading. So I picked up a pen and started working. After I returned to work, I was hooked and vowed to finish the book which I did. I wrote three and a half books that I’ve never published before starting the Mitch Malone series.
If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.
Name three things on your bucket list.
Travel back to Europe, travel to Australia and travel to Russia. After chocolate, travel is my number one favorite thing to do. Problem is it doesn’t fit my budget.
In what genre do you write? If you were to choose another genre, what would it be and why?
I write amateur sleuth mysteries. When I started writing, I wrote romances because I’ve read thousands of them in my lifetime and I understood the formula that they follow. My problem was that I couldn’t get the emotional tension right. I have three romances that need to be totally rewritten. I’ve learned so much since then. I could rewrite them and they would be pretty decent now but they would be romantic suspense. I could never totally leave the mystery angle out.
What is the most adventurous thing you've ever done?
I went white water rafting for the first time on class five rapids after four days of intense rain. The river was just a hair under flood level and the trip was so intense. Our raft flipped and I was flown out the front, two other guys never came up and the guide came up behind the raft. I tried to swim to the raft but she said to get to shore. That was impossible because the river was so fast. I managed to wedge myself between two rocks until another raft could rescue me. The two guys that never came up were in an air pocket under the raft hanging on for dear life as the river tried to drag them under. They were rescued when the raft went in an eddy a half mile down the river. We were given the option of ending our trip by hiking out or getting back in the raft and continuing to the pick-up point. The two guys thought it was a great adventure and their best trip of a half dozen they’d taken. When I agreed to go back in the raft, one of the guys decided right then I was a girl he wanted to marry. And he did.
What is something you wish you could do better?
Edit. I am a horrible editor for myself. I just can’t pick out my own typos and wrong words. I’ve had plenty of practice and just don’t seem to improve. I’ve read my stuff backwards and forwards and it still has mistakes. I’ve studied grammar and still can’t get it correct.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? Who gave you this advice?
In my writing career, it would be the woman from a writer’s group who critiqued the first novel I completed. As I mentioned, it was a romance. She reached over and grabbed my hand (to keep me from bolting out of the restaurant’s booth)“Honey,” she said with a slight southern accent. “You are not a romance writer.” I felt my heart stop and my self-esteem plummet. I felt more pressure on my hand and she continued. “You’re a mystery writer. The mystery just takes over your book and it would be much better if you dropped the romance.” We spent the next half hour talking about how to change the book into a mystery.
Who is one of your favorite authors?
Catherine Coulter’s books are my all-time favorite reads. I’ve devoured everything she has written in both mystery and her romance. I first found her with her historical romance series and switched to her FBI series when it first came out. I’ve been hooked ever since.
What is one of your favorite books? What do you love about this book?
Scruples by Judith Krantz is the first that popped into my head. I read it in high school right after it came out. The story was about a fat kid with an unhappy childhood who goes to France and becomes thin and beautiful. She decides to do something with her life. It mirrors my high school right down to studying French. I still have that book and I sometimes read it if I’m having a tough go at life. It showed me that I didn’t have to settle for who I was. With hard work and determination, I could do anything I wanted with my life and I have.
If you were going to be stranded on an island all alone for a year, and you could only take three books with you...which three would you choose? Why?
The Bible because I want to read it cover to cover but don’t ever have the time and I need to make time to do it. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (I have this four-inch thick volume.) because a college professor turned me on to him and the beauty of words and hidden meanings behind his jests. Again, I’ve never had time to go through all his plays and that would keep me engaged and could be reread over and over with each reading getting a deeper meaning. The last one is a tough one. I want a book of poetry to puzzle over. I am not a big fan of poetry and being all alone, I might be able to get through it. Poetry takes reading at a minimum of three times and lots of thought. I might be able to appreciate it after a year on my own. I’m not well versed in poetry to pick one writer but maybe a compilation of several poets would be good. I would take suggestions if you have any?
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Website: http://wsgager.comBlog: http://wsgager.blogspot.com
W.S. Gager will be giving away a single copy of each of the first three books in the Mitch Malone Mystery series: A CASE OF INFATUATION, A CASE OF ACCIDENTAL INTERSECTION, and A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES from comments made on her blog: http://wsgager.blogspot.com or on her guest blogs from the Murder We Write Mystery Tour.
A Case of Volatile Deeds - Coming February 2013
A CASE OF VOLATILE DEEDS Book Blurb
Mitch finally scores a weekend dinner with a cute receptionist, but true to his reporter instincts an explosion in a high rise office building makes him stand up his date as he runs for an exclusive. When he investigates, he learns his date is the only casualty in a botched robbery at a real estate office. When femme fatale Patrenka Petersen returns, Mitch learns that much of what he knows about his date and her work aren’t what they seem. His world continues to twist when the police captain asks for his help and a city hall informant is found floating in the river. Mitch must keep his head down or a cute dog with a knack for finding dead bodies will be sniffing out his corpse.
“A Case of Hometown Blues” Synopsis
When Pulitzer-winning reporter Mitch Malone's editor presses him for a favor, Malone breaks his vow to never return to his hometown. It seemed simple enough--lead a seminar for Flatville, MI's newspaper, keep a low profile and get back to the city post haste. But memories of his parents' death swarm him, and, to avoid solitude, he stops for a beer. In the crowded bar, Mitch is dismayed to see many of his former classmates--including the still-lovely Homecoming Queen, Trudy. Once the object of his teenage crush, Trudy joins Mitch. He quickly realizes she is upset and inebriated. Always the gentleman, Mitch sees her safely home, and returns to his B&B, still trying to shake memories of his parents' sad demise. The next day, he is stunned to learn Trudy was murdered and he is the prime suspect. The locals treat the murder charge as a slam dunk, and Mitch realizes he must track down the real killer to keep his butt out of jail. As he investigates, facts he thought he knew about his family unravel, and danger ratchets up. Can Mitch discover the truth that will allow his parents to rest in peace, or will he be resting with them?
A Case of Accidental Intersection