HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: From the "never thought I'd live to see the day" file--I spent last Wednesday watching--hockey. Me. Hockey. The thing is, I have no idea of the rules, which is always detrimental when watching games of any sort. But all of Boston is enraptured by the so-far-so-good (knock on wood) success in the playoffs. (Tuuka Rask!) (If you dont know who that is, don't worry.)
Anyway, beacuse the world works in mysterious ways (don't we know it!) Wendy Gager's post for today--is about hockey! I mean--it's as if we PLANNED it. And we didn't plan it!
Talk about planning..there are certain things you cannot plan. And that's what happened in Wendy's new book!
"Hockey hits the pages of my last novel--
but the season was on ice"
WENDY GAGER: I must confess I’m not a huge hockey fan but I’m dragged kicking and screaming into the frenetic sport, so much so that it even graces the pages of A CASE OF VOLATILE DEEDS. This season is Stanley Cup fever as the hockey champ will earn the title any day now including a game tonight.
HANK: Well, yeah. I've been watching HOCKEY. Did I say that? Anyway.
W.S. GAGER: I’m from Michigan and Red Wing fever takes over the state for the snowy winter months and continues. When writing about an area, an author has to include local flavor and customs. My Mitch Malone Mystery books are set in fictional Grand River, the second largest city in Michigan modeled after Grand Rapids. As I was writing one part, I needed my reporter character Mitch Malone to butter up a source. Most people would talk about the weather but small talk in Michigan can be dicey because it changes so frequently. When the weather is nasty, it is just not a good conversation gambit.
The book is set during the fall which can be 80 degrees and sunny one day and a few inches of snow the next. Many people think of football as a fall sport, and it is popular in Michigan, but hockey is huge as evidenced by Detroit being called Hockeytown because of the Red Wings. The Grand Rapids Griffins are a farm team for the Wings and in lower leagues are the Muskegon Lumberjacks, Kalamazoo K-Wings, Flint Generals and others also drawing loyal fans.
HANK: See how we bring you new stuff here at JRW? I sure hope the fabulous Bryan Gruley is reading this. He'll be so proud of us. Anyway, Wendy, you were saying.
WENDY: Including real life people and events in your story is chancy because they can change. Players get traded, hurt or just retire. I also wanted something unique. I chose Justin Abdelkader. No one would ever forget that name if they heard it. Justin also is from Muskegon and returns to his roots often to encourage younger kids at the local ice arena. When I wrote the book two years ago, Justin had just been getting a lot of ice time with the Red Wings. We had watched him play for the Griffins after he helped Michigan State University win a national championship.
The irony for me was when my book was released in what should have been hockey season, it wasn’t because of the dispute between owners and players. Hockey did reappear in a shortened season that is finishing now. Since I put Justin in A Case of Volatile Deeds, he has become a valuable member of the Red Wings team. My daughter, who is a very vocal hockey fan, has referred to him as “Abby.” The culmination of the Hockey season is upon us with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Abby and my beloved Red Wings won’t be there this year having lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
But Abby will be a Red Wing forever in my book no matter where his career leads.
Do you like to read about local things in books? Does it stop you or throw you out of the story when something has changed?
HANK: And hurray: You don't have to ice the puck to win--or whatever they do--one lucky commenter will win a paper copy or a kindle version of any of the four Mitch Malone books!
A Case of Volatile Deeds
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.
W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan 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 and write mystery novels.
Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter single-mindedly hunting for a Pulitzer Prize. A Case of Infatuation, the first in the Mitch Malone Mysteries, won the Dark Oak Contest in 2008 and nominated as a Michigan Notable Book. A Case of Accidental Intersection took first place in the 2010 Public Safety Writers Contest in the unpublished category before its release. Her third book, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES, was a finalist in the 2012 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
She loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org or on her blog at http://wsgager.blogspot.com.