I have a confession to make.
From 1995 to 2000, I cheated on my first love, soap operas, with a brash young interloper: competitive figure skating.
I worked at ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBC as a writer/researcher/producer for their skating coverage, including the US Championships, the World Championships, the 1998 Olympics and several professional shows.
In 2001, I saw the error of my ways (primarily due to the fact that my constant traveling prompted my then 18 month old son to cease speaking to me, or even acknowledging my existence when I got home) and returned to soaps.
In 2002, I was offered the chance to author a series of Figure Skating Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. I accepted the offer, and then proceeded to turn my skating mysteries into soap operas. (I know, very sneaky of me.)
Although each of the five books in the series, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop and Skate Crime are stand-alones in that the mystery raised in the beginning is solved at the end, the rest is pure soap opera. Characters' personal stories, especially their romantic entanglements and deep, dark secrets flow from one book into the next, and reading the preceding one definitely adds to your enjoyment of the subsequent story.
Now, I am making the books even more soapy with the addition of enhancements such as video, courtesy of The Ice Theatre of NY.
As I revealed to the Crime Writers Blog:
“Skate Crime” features a prominent subplot about an African-American woman skating pairs with a white man at a time when that just wasn’t considered acceptable. And, what do you know? Several Ice Theatre videos just happened to feature the exact same combination skating together! To see how I worked the videos into the text, check out my $.99 cent excerpt, “Skate Crime: Multimedia” at: http://tinyurl.com/SkateCrime on Amazon. (You’ll need a reading device with an Internet connection and the ability to play videos.)
With other cases, I was forced to massage the text just a little bit to make it match up with the available footage. Obviously, I couldn’t change a character’s race (that would be one too many cases of Search and Replace, and utterly out of the question in cases where race was a key part of the story). But, I’ll admit, a few imaginary people did receive a quick change of hair-color just to make the juxtaposition flow easier.