The Birthing of the Mitch Malone Mystery Series
By W.S. Gager
How can the best and worst days of your life be on the same day, the same minute? It was more than six years ago when I met with a woman who was critiquing the novel I’d spent the last six months writing and editing. I was so nervous. I was sure it was perfect and the next best seller but writers always carry that secret fear that no one will get what you are saying.
I had written my first romance. I’d chosen romance because I had read thousands of Harlequins and knew I could easily copy the formula of the heroine’s journey. I’d researched publishers, book lines and editors and was so ready to submit. This was my last step. A bit of editing from the critique and I was ready.
“Honey,” the woman said grabbing my hand to keep me from bolting from the booth with her next words. “You’re not a romance writer. You are a mystery writer.” I was crushed and managed to get through the rest of the meeting, but I don’t remember much of what she said. I took the marked up pages home and set them on my desk and didn’t look at them for a week. Then I sucked it up and started reading. She was right and pointed to several parts that demonstrated it.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I enjoyed about writing the first book was about the crime that had brought my couple together and that they had to solve to have the happily-ever-after moment. The Mitch Malone Mystery Series was born a few months later. I searched for contests to enter to get feedback on my manuscript because I didn’t know anyone in the mystery community. I won the Dark Oak Mystery Contest in 2008 for A CASE OF INFATUATION garnering a publisher contract as the prize. I’m still stunned by how fast that book was published. I wasn’t ready and could hardly believe it.
My third book is A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES and the ideas for mysteries just keep coming. While I wanted to die after with the initial comment about my romance manuscript, it was the best critique I could have received. I am a mystery writer and I challenge you to see if you can figure out whodunit in my books. Let me know what you think?
“A Case of Hometown Blues” Birdseye view:
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.
A CASE OF THE HOMETOWN BLUES by W.S. Gager (Oak Tree Press, $14.95)
The third book in this series finds Mitch Malone, twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize Investigative Journalism Award, returning to his hometown of Flatville, MI, to give a seminar on investigative journalist techniques. The seminar is the same weekend as Malone's high school reunion. When a classmate's body is found and Malone becomes the prime suspect he realizes he must track down the real killer to keep his butt out of jail.
Leave a comment each day on all of our blogsites. The group is giving away over 50 books, either during the tour or immediately afterwards. I’m giving a signed copy of my cozy mystery THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE and a signed copy of THE FOXY HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL. Names will be drawn by random from those who take time to leave a comment.