We’re joined today by award winning mystery author and former newspaper reporter W.S. Gager. 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, the fourth book in her Mitch Malone series about a crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer will be out this February. Learn more about W.S. and books at http://wsgager.com and her blog. – AP
Killing people in books keeps me from killing people at work
A friend has a tag line on her email signature that says: “Writing is cheaper than therapy.” That is so true for me. A couple of years ago I was working at a real estate office that was suffering some growing pains. It was splitting and individual realtors needed to decide if they were going to stay or go to the other office. The realtor I worked for decided to stay.
With the office staff being cut in half, the support staff would be reduced and while I worked for a specific agent and just followed him, the other people weren’t so lucky. It was everyone for themselves and the back-stabbing began. It went on for two months as everything sorted itself out but was sad to watch three people, who were friends, dissolve.
I hated working in that atmosphere. What I found really helpful was writing about horrible people. I created a battle-ax of an office manager at a real estate office who got to be horrible to anyone she didn’t want to talk to.
I believe that was the inner me dying to bang some heads together at my real job. It really helped my stress level at work to be able to have her be mean to my main character, Mitch Malone, as he came to ask questions about the explosion in the office.
There were days I didn’t want to go to work. The four hours were shear torture, but the emotion I channeled in the next four hours as I wrote A Case of Volatile Deeds was worth it in hindsight.
Not only did I get a great book out of the turmoil, but the writing also helped me deal with the emotional stress and be nice to everyone while I was there. I knew I could write all the nasty things I wanted to say when I got home.
If I hadn’t been writing, I might have gotten fed up with the back biting and said something I might have regretted. I was able to hold it together until everything settled and keep working with at least somewhat of a cool demeanor. If they only knew that when I came home, my characters take on murderous intentions. In the beginning of the book, bodies start piling up fast. Could it be that I was killing off my coworkers? You will have to read the latest Mitch Malone Mystery and let me know what you think. Have you ever wanted to kill somebody (or seriously maim someone) and used a pen or keyboard to do it?
A Case of Volatile Deeds:
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.