Monday, January 31, 2011

Mitch Malone Mondays - Alina Adams

Today my guest on the hot seat is Alina Adams, author of the figure-skating cozy mystery series of books including “Murder on Ice,” “On Thin Ice,” “Axel of Evil,” “Death Drop,” and “Skate Crime.” She also has a background working on web publications for Proctor and Gamble for a couple of soap operas. Let's see what kind of inside scoop I can get her to reveal.

Alina, my sources tell me you've got a whole different kind of book. A book with movies in it. Can you explain how that works?

This is an e-book that you can experience via the Kindle app on your iPad, your iPhone and/or your desktop computer. You download it just like an e-book, and you read it just like an e-book, but, at certain points, you can also watch a video that pertains directly to the story. It's really a one-of-a-kind thing. No one has ever done anything precisely like it before. Because my background is both novels and television (I've worked for E!, ESPN, TNT, ABC Daytime and ABC Sports - the latter as a figure skating researcher, just like my series' protagonist), I have naturally been fascinated with the potential of enhanced e-books ever since the idea became technically feasible. However, most of what is currently available is either non-fiction or, if the enhanced book is fiction, it features extras like author interviews, music, special effects, or historical context (one exception is a Jude Deveraux novella: I was itching to make the added videos an integrated, vital part of the story itself, like I had with my on-line work. “Skate Crime: Multimedia” fits that bill. It’s not exactly a book and it’s not exactly a movie. I see it more as Storytelling for the 21st Century.

Storytelling for the 21st Century huh? Interesting. How did you come up with this idea?

I got the idea after spending ten years as Creative Content Producer at TeleNext Media/Procter & Gamble Productions. While at P&G, I developed two on-line properties for them, and Mindy’s Twitter, which told serialized, romantic stories in a combination of words and video clips. Basically, a part of the story was written as narrative, but, along the way, there would be clips from the shows to help illustrate a point, draw a parallel, or serve as a flashback. I thought that if it worked for on-line soap-operas, it would be even better for figure skating, which is such a visually-oriented sport. You can describe a skating routine all you like, but nothing compares to actually seeing it.

So, if I understand this right, you took the work you did for the website and applied it to your book? Is it more than just dropping in video clips from the The Ice Theatre of New York?

Selecting the clips was a major process! "Skate Crime: Multimedia" deals with the murder of a skating coach the night before his televised tribute, and the suspects who've come to praise (or is that bury?) him. One of them is his former pairs partner, an African-American woman whom he was romantically involved with when they were younger. Thanks to Ice Theatre of New York performers, I was able to "cast" the parts, so readers can see not only their performances, but the chemistry between them, as well.

All in all, I must admit that the road to creating an e-book hybrid proved rather nerve-racking. I had no blueprint or precedent to follow. It’s not like I could say, well, this author did it this way and this publisher did it that way, let me see what I can learn from everyone and incorporate it into my own project. I had to start from, more or less, scratch. It wasn’t so much a matter of learning a new storytelling language as inventing one. And the only way to test out if it’s understandable is to see what an audience thinks!”

That ice is awfully cold. Do all your books deal with ice skating?

In addition to the five Figure Skating Mysteries, I've also written four romance novels, two non-fiction titles, and three tie-ins to "As The World Turns," (Oakdale Confidential and The Man From Oakdale) and co-written one for Guiding Light (Jonathan's Story).

Can you skate?

No. I don't like to fall down. However, my younger brother was the 1996 US Open National Novice and 1997 Collegiate Junior Ice Dance Champion. I spent many years driving him to the rink and waiting around for him to finish practicing so I could drive him back. You pick up stuff...

Thank you Alina for sharing your ice skating and video experience with us and your new book. To check it out for yourself, check out Alina’s website:


  1. You and Alina might enjoy, where you can add information, images, video, music and links to illustrate and explore your books.

  2. Thanks for commenting Hector. I'm not sure I'm ready to go multi media like Alina.