My Figure Skating Mystery series of five books, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop, and Skate Crime, were released as paperback originals between 2003 and 2007. When it came time to re-release them as ebooks, I decided to knock it up a notch and turn all five into enhanced ebooks.
I secured a deal with the Ice Theatre of NY, who gave me access to their entire video library, meaning that I no longer had to just describe my characters skating. I could actually show it in footage right alongside the text.
Of course, since the books were written first, I had to find skaters whose looks matched what I'd already established. I knew one particular character would be the most challanging to match.
Antonia "Toni" Wright initially appears as a supporting character in On Thin Ice, and becomes a major one in Skate Crime. I based Toni on the legendary Mabel Fairbanks, ice show star, noted coach, and one of the first African-Americans in figure skating. (Read more about Mabel, here.)
Unfortunately, there aren't that many more African-Americans in figure skating today. And, to make "casting" her even more difficult, I'd written that Mabel once performed with a white pairs partner. Quick, name an elite pairs team featuring a black woman and a white man. Yup. Exactly.
But, I got lucky. As it happened, Ice Theatre had a number, Once Again, starring Tyrell Gene and Alyssa Stith that fit the bill perfectly. Watch it below.
Tragically, Stith committed suicide this past November, at the age of 40.
Ice Theatre will be honoring her memory, as well as Black History Month, this Wednesday, February 25 at 1 pm as part of their 2015 Skate Concert Series at Rockefeller Center in NYC.
The performance is FREE and open to the public. More information at: http://www.icetheatre.org/upcoming-events1.html.
To win a FREE copy of Murder on Ice as well as Elizabeth Harmon's skating romance, Pairing Off, click here.