Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: W.S. Gager

Please join me in welcoming award-winning author W.S. Gager as the special guest blogger at Thoughts in Progress today.

W.S.’s latest book is A CASE OF ACCIDENTAL INTERSECTION (ISBN: 978-1-892343-70-3). Here’s a brief synopsis of it: “Mitch Malone hates hospitals, but when a suspicious traffic accident lands a comatose victim in the hospital, he must put that aside to find the truth. The surface looks smooth but the more the crime beat reporter looks the more bodies pop up, including a private detective and his own editor. Can he get to the truth before the surviving victim is murdered in her hospital bed and an elderly witness has a heart attack? Will he get his exclusive printed before he's the next victim?”

W.S. stopped by to talk about “creating mysteries in her head since second grade.”

I was asked recently about the first mystery I’d ever read and if that is why I write mysteries. I had to think a long time about that and realized the first mystery I remember was the “Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler. I didn’t read it but my second-grade teacher read a little bit to us every day. I hated it when she finished for the day and always at a cliffhanger. It was the year I hated my new school and was mad at everyone because I’d left my best friend behind.

That book opened a new world to me to fill the void of my loss. I knew I could do just as well as those four fictional kids but where would I find a boxcar to live in? I went on to read every book in the Boxcar series and then went through Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Why is this important? Is that why I write mysteries? Maybe, but I think the bigger reason is I have always looked for the mystery in life even when there wasn’t one. I’ve always created scenarios where I solved a crime because I was observant of some important fact. (Unfortunately, my observations were never needed in real life.) This was how I entertained myself when I didn’t have a book to read. To this day I still love to watch people and make up events that fit their actions.

I’ve told very few people how my mind really works because I
would scare them. I see something seemingly harmless and can create some crime or criminal to fit. That attention to detail that I used to keep myself occupied as a child is what I exploit to make my characters come alive in my books. It has helped me layer in clues and give suspects attributes that could make them appear guilty or not at my whim. I try to make the reader race to the end to see who the killer is.

My job as a mystery writer is to entertain and keep you guessing until the final reveal. I’ve done my job when the reader smacks their forehead at the end of the book and says: “why didn’t I think of that.” The best compliments I hear are “I couldn’t put in down until the end,” or “I stayed up all night to finish it.” That is when I know I’ve done my job.

My early creations of killing people off might have been therapy for a mixed up kid. I can now only be thankful for that set of circumstance that let my imagination travel down the road of crime solver and not criminal. I want to keep my readers guessing just like I sat on the edge of my seat in second grade waiting to see what happened to the Boxcar Children.

What authors do you remember making you crazy until you could get back to their story?

W.S., thanks for blogging here today and sharing this background with us. Mysteries like you described - the ones that hold you captive until the very end - are the best.

Now for a little more background on W.S. She won first place in the Public Safety Writers Association Writing Contest - Unpublished Novel - 2010.  She 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 past life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realizing babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. 

Since then she has been honing 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.

The first installment in the Mitch Malone Mystery Series is A CASE OF INFATUATION. For more on W.S. and her writing, visit her website at or her blog at A CASE OF ACCIDENTIAL INTERSECTION is available for order at most bookstores, as well as in ebook for Kindle, Nook and other forms.


  1. W.S, thanks again for blogging here today. It's always interesting finding out when and how writers got started. Wishing you much success.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting W.S.

    W.S. - Thanks for sharing that connection between your childhood and The Boxcar Children and your choice to writer mysteries. I think most mystery novelists enjoy inventing scenarios like that :-). I wish you much success with A Case of Accidental Intersection.

  3. W.S., Boxcar Children is a good inspiration. Mine was the Little House books.

    Mason, Another great writer guest. Thanks.

  4. As a mystery writer, I totally relate. I don't even reveal to my husband what goes through my mind sometimes. I'm always thinking of ways people can die. I think that's why I'm so paranoid about letting my son out of the house - do you know how many ways he can be killed just crossing the street!? That being said, I really enjoyed the interview.

  5. If that teacher only knew how she was creating such a lifelong influence with her reading, building a writer in the process!

  6. "I see something seemingly harmless and can create some crime or criminal to fit."

    Love this! I write mystery, and my mind works like this, too.

    Thanks for hosting her, Mason.

  7. Nice to meet you W. S. Your process sounds interesting and your books sound intriguing.

    In other news:
    Thank you, Mason, for your comment on Clarissa's blog about my post.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  8. What a terrific piece!
    Mitch Malone sounds like my kinda guy!

  9. This book sounds utterly wonderful! Right up my alley!!! Woohoo!

    I have to say that I too am pretty good at creating crimes and criminals in all kinds of totally harmless-seeming scenes and scenarios! ha ha--I thought that was a great thought! :-D

  10. Thank you all for your wonderful comments and a special thanks to Mason for hosting me. Sometimes it is scary to be so honest about how you think. It is good to know that I'm not crazy.

    A special thanks to Clarissa. I'm going to force my son to read your comments because I am so paranoid too and at 17, he isn't very happy about it. He's ready to break out of my jail and I want to throw away the key.

  11. Amazing what teachers can do in children's lives! I'm glad that second grade teacher started you on your way to the life of a mystery writer.

    Thank you, Mason, for hosting W.S.

    Best to you both,

  12. I like the concept of your book series. The plot on this particular book sounds great.
    I know how hard it is to figure all the ins and outs of a mystery.

    Morgan Mandel

  13. Morgan and Monti: Thanks for stopping by. In mysteries you definitely have to have your details down. I learned from the masters that kept my nose in a book!

  14. Bet she's fun at parties. Everyone would be guilty of something!

  15. Only if you could read my mind! I don't always want people to know who I want lying bruised and bloody on the floor. Just gets a bit messy!

    Thanks for stopping by Alex!

  16. I've always liked reading mysteries, but have a difficult time concocting mysteries in my imagination. I have a real appreciation for an author who can keep me guessing and wallop me with a good surprise in the end. W.S., your book sounds very interesting.

    Mason, good guest spot. How about finding authors from A to Z who you can host in April? Now there's a challenge for you.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  17. Arlee: Thanks for the comment. I would love to hear if I accomplished it or if you figured it out...

  18. I haven't thought about the Boxcar Children in years. They spurred my imagination when I was a kid to the point that I actually searched the woods, hoping to find a boxcar of my own.

    Thanks for bringing back some good memories!

  19. Hi Mason! I noticed your comment at Caren and Cody's place regarding my book and I headed over. What a great blog you have! I think I'll kick up my paws and have a look around.

    Do you review humor books written by sassy grannycats?

  20. Hi all, thanks so much for stopping by.

    Lee, lining up authors for the A to Z Challenge would be a challenge, but intriguing.

    Fin, nice to meet you and thanks for the kind words. Hope you enjoy your visit and come back often. I'm always interested in reading humorous book, but can't say I've ever read one written by a sassy grannycat. :)

  21. I work with doctors, which is a great place for a mystery writer to discuss ways to die. The questions I've ask make the look at me sideways sometimes, but they all agree they don't ever want to make me mad.

  22. Yeah! I hosted Ms. Gager not too long ago.

  23. Thanks for stopping by Gwen and I still pop over and check out what Diane is doing. I just love "spunk."


  24. Hi Mason and Wendy .. love the way you learnt early on to build up your characters, your scenes and how your thoughts led you on - creating those layers .. the little things that aren't apparent, but are so important to the plot.

    Love the idea of racing to read the book - you're right those are the ones that entice us on towards the conclusion and the satisfaction of a really good read.

    It certainly sounds as though you're true to your word and will keep us guessing to the end .. I look forward to reading your books ..thanks - Hilary

  25. Hilary: Let me know if the books keep you guessing and pulling an all-nighter to get them finished. I love reader feedback!
    W.S. Gager


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