Monday, September 14, 2009

Author Interview with W.S. GAGER

W.S. Gager has lived in West Michigan for most of her life except for stints early in her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Now she enjoys creating villains instead of crossing police lines to get the story. She teaches English at a local college and is a soccer chauffeur for her children. During her driving time she spins webs of intrigue for Mitch Malone's next crime-solving adventure.


Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

Narrowing it down to one person is tough. I would have to say my mother. She never let the fact that she hadn’t done something before stop her. While she didn’t write a whole lot, mostly Bible studies as I was growing up, she always went into everything with a positive attitude. Can’t was never in her vocabulary. She was never afraid to try anything and jumped in with both feet. I never knew there was another way until much later in life. She always told me to do what you like to do. My writing has always been like that. Something I did because I enjoyed it. If it hadn’t been for her attitude about just going after your dream, I would have given up before finding a publisher. When I get frustrated, I just think back to the crazy things she volunteered to do and how they always came together at the end. Some of those bizarre experiences will befall characters in my books.

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

I have been writing since before the eighth grade. I don’t remember much before that. In eighth grade I was named editor of the class newspaper. I worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers for a decade then did some marketing, speech and public relations writing for a while. I have been seriously working on getting a novel done and published for more than three years. When I started my first novel, I thought I would be a romance writer because that is what I read all the time. A friend at a writing group read my manuscript and convinced me I should write mysteries because that is what took over my first romance. I chalked that manuscript up to a learning experience. Following her advice, I started a mystery and have had much better luck. That book just came out in June and is called A Case of Infatuation. It is an amateur sleuth mystery.

Early in your career you worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. What made you switch to mystery novels?

I loved working for newspapers. You never knew what you would be doing and no two days were a like. The only bad thing was it was long hours and a lot of nights and weekends. It was great for a while but then I started a family and running out to crime scenes and chasing stories wasn’t conducive for child care. I tried some 9 to 5 jobs for a while but they were a lot of work and left me exhausted and didn’t allow me much creativity. I had some down-time after surgery and started writing. I knew this time I couldn’t let it go. I reassessed my job and life and rearranged it to fit in writing. I’m a much happier person when I am writing. Now I get the best of both worlds. I can live vicariously the life of a newspaper reporter through Mitch Malone’s antics in the pages of my book but without getting up in the middle of the night to cover crime.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Trying to get published. You work really hard to get your manuscript the best you can get it and then you send it out and all you get is a form letter that says, thanks but no thanks. It can really drag you down. The thing is: you have to believe in yourself and keep submitting. That is where writing groups can really keep you going and give you positive and negative feedback to improve.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My book is called A Case of Infatuation. It is about loner Mitch Malone, a crime beat reporter who thinks he is the man of mystery working as an objective observer until he tries to impress a pretty intern who captures his interest. Mitch finds himself accused of murder, saddled with a pint-sized witness and his “infatuation” woman. It is a bit overwhelming for him and he is on a vengeance to solve the crime and get his simple life back. He has run-ins with cranky contractors, angry terrorists, and the quest for the perfect hamburger. A Case of Infatuation is available at,, and

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I am working on the next in the Mitch Malone Mystery Series with a working title of A Case of Identification. It is another opportunity for Mitch to walk away after completing a simple story, but he can’t do it. He finds himself hiding from his new editor, chasing a story that takes a turn into alternative lifestyles of the rich and famous, and helping a damsel in distress, Mitch’s biggest weakness. It will be available in spring 2010 from Oak Tree Press.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

The best tip I can give is when you have written yourself into a corner and feel like you have writer’s block, I always think about what is the worst thing that can happen. (I wish this was my idea but came from another writer at a mini writer’s conference but it works!) Then send your story in that direction and you will soon find yourself back on track with the creative juices flowing. The great thing about this is that your characters really show their true colors when forced to react to their worst nightmare.

What writers organizations claim you as a member? How has membership helped your career?

Membership has definitely helped my career. The networking, support, and writing help will really make your writing pop and help you get your prose in front of publishers. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Grand Rapids Area Writers Group, Public Safety Writers Association and a couple of small critic groups in my home town. I would encourage anyone who is serious about getting their book published to find a writing group. If you have a question, someone else has an answer or knows where to find it. They can be a great time saver and networking to get your name out there.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I will be at Barnes and Noble on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, MI on Nov. 17 from 6-8 p.m. and at Robbins Booklist in Greenville, MI, on Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. 2 pm. Come see me …

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I really enjoy making a mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat and keeps you guessing until the end. Give A Case of Infatuation a read and see if you can beat Mitch Malone to solve the crime. Then let me know what you think, shoot an email to

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):


  1. Great interview, ladies! And huge congrats on your first release, Ms. Gager! :)

  2. Congrats, WS! Great Interview!

  3. WS, Can't wait for your next book.


  4. I'm hoping to re-interview WS and post more news about her as it happens...