My guest today is W.S. Gager. She has lived in
for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and won't let anyone stop him, supposedly. Michigan
Anne – Welcome to my corner of the blogsphere, W.S. What activity (cause, charity, organization) consumes your time when you’re away from the keyboard?
W. S. - I’m passionate about literacy. For years I worked as a volunteer tutor to teach adults to read. Now I channel that same energy into teaching developmental English classes in reading and writing. These classes help adults who want to go to college improve their skills so they can be successful. When I hear their stories of what happened to them while they were in school I want to hang some teachers. They think they can never learn to read and what I do is give them a bunch of different strategies to use to decode words and meaning. They pick what works for them. There isn’t a better high in the world then when they realize they are reading and understanding the words they thought they were too dumb to ever get.
Anne – How true. One teaching method rarely fits all students. Tell us about your most recent release.
W.S. - In A Case of Hometown Blues Mitch returns kicking and screaming to the town of his childhood to teach a seminar on good reporting. He hasn’t returned since his parents’ funeral while he was in college. Nothing goes as planned including drowning his troubles at the local pub only to walk in on his class reunion.
Things begin to look up when the homecoming queen takes a shine to him and he may enjoy his week in Podunk after all. His luck crashes the next morning when the cops come to arrest him for the beauty queen’s murder. A bully who tortured him in his teens now holds the rank of police chief and is pleased with solving the crime so quickly.
As he fights for freedom he encounters friends and foes offering help. As he digs deeper into the town’s politics, he finds a murky undercurrent. Could the Mayberry existence he remembers be a mirage? Mitch must come to terms with the demons that drove him away to find the true killer.
Anne - I often write while sitting in my car. Parked. In my driveway! I call it my “cone of silence”. My very own writer’s cocoon, if you will. Do you have a unique place to write? Tell us about it.
W.S. - Anne, I knew you and I had a spiritual connection! I do some of my best writing in the car but it is with my husband at the wheel. With two children involved in a variety activities and sports, we are forever on the road. Family is also at least an hour to two and a half hours away. So while we are en-route, I am on my computer working away. The radio is blaring, my kids are strapped in their seatbelts and can’t readily kill each other and are usually either sleeping, reading, texting, or listing to a sporting event.
I can’t do anything but write! I love vacations and the farther the better for me--maybe the 24 hours of driving to
for spring break. Something to consider now the cold air has really taken hold in Florida . The other beauty of car writing is I don’t have the Internet to distract me. Michigan
Anne – Oh, I SO hear you about the Internet being a distraction. Do you belong to any writer’s organizations, critique groups, and/or depend on beta readers?
W.S. - I was blessed to have three women cross my path when I was trying to get published. We met weekly in the local coffee shop and each brought unique skills to the table. My writing improved so much from their help. Two of us are published, one will have a young adult book out early next year and the fourth is shopping her literary fiction book to various agents. The downside is two of us have moved. While we are meeting on-line, I miss the crack of the whip of accountability and the smell of fresh-brewed coffee followed by turkey artichoke sandwiches and chocolate no-bake cookies. My creativity needs those on a weekly basis! Finding a good critique group is essential to improve your writing.
Anne – We are kindred souls! I had a wonderful critique group years ago, but moves ended it too. I miss it, and like you, learned so much from them. How long did your journey from wannabe writer to published author take?
W.S. - Probably not long enough. When I started writing, I wrote two romance novels in a two year period. After having a writer friend critique it for me, she told me I wasn’t a romance writer but a mystery writer. The first manuscript I finished after that I submitted to a contest to get some feedback. I won the Dark Oak Mystery Prize and received a publishing contract. I don’t think I was ready because I didn’t have any mystery contacts or know any organization or conferences so have been playing catch up since.
Anne - Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?
W.S. - Elsie Dobson from A Case of Accidental Intersection is tops for me. (Although I really like my main character Mitch Malone, he is a bit pushy at times and I get annoyed with him.) Elsie appeared in the first chapter as a witness to the accident. That was it. Problem was this spunky senior citizen didn’t return to her dirty dishes but baked cookies for Mitch, prodded him to investigate and then called him to rescue her. Turned out she became a major force to be reckoned with during the entire book. If you want to see what she was like, look at Earl Skaggs blog for his December 2 post for a passage.
Anne – She sounds wonderful! Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?
W.S. - I am so a half-full kind of girl. I don’t know how to say it can’t be done even though it is impossible. It comes from my mom who always did some amazing things when we grew up and I didn’t know that other moms weren’t able to do so much. She taught me well and I will be forever grateful.
Anne – Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?
W.S. - My two children. I don’t tell them, but despite my best efforts and long periods of ignoring them while at my computer, they are turning out pretty well. My son is a freshman at
and while I have not seen his grades, he tells me he is studying and learning lots. I have not clarified whether the “lots” has to do with his studies or drinking games. My daughter is a junior in high school and works very hard at her studies and on her swim team trying to always better her times. Central Michigan University
Anne – Where can readers reach you online?
Anne – Last but not least, tell us about your Mystery We Write Giveaway.
W. S. - Leave a comment to win. At the end of the tour, I'll draw two names to receive the book of their choice.
Thank you so much for letting me appear here today, Anne. We need to do a road trip and we don’t have to even go a mile. I might have to try the cone!
Anne – It’s a deal! I look forward to it!
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AKA Update: I’m visiting Jackie King today. Please drop by her blog, and leave a comment to win one of three e-copies of Frank, Incense andMuriel, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. The winners will be announced December 9.
Tomorrow on Day 10 of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour my guest will be Alice Duncan.
Comments are always appreciated and welcome, have a super day, and happy reading!
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