Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Authors on Tour: A Conversation with Jen Estes

Omnimystery News: Author Interview
with Jen Estes

We are delighted to welcome crime novelist Jen Estes to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Partners in Crime Tours. We encourage you to visit all of the host sites on her current book tour; you can find her schedule here.

Jen is the author of the "Cat McDaniel" mysteries. The second book in the series is Curveball (Camel Press, October 2012 trade paperback and ebook formats).

We recently had a chance to talk to Jen about her new book.

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Omnimystery News: We read the first book in the series, Big Leagues, and made a note in our review that you left the door open for a sequel. What prompted you to continue with the character in your second book?

Jen Estes
Photo provided courtesy of
Jen Estes

Jen Estes: As a reader, I'm a series fan — I like open-ended stories because I emotionally invest characters and their journeys. I have to know what happens to them next, where they go from here and if they live "happily ever after." As a writer, the continuity is a lot more work but the payoff is well-developed characters that I, and hopefully my readers, truly care about.

OMN: Tell us a bit about the story in Curveball.

JE: Curveball was inspired by the real-life exploitation of ballplayers in Latin America. It was certainly eye-opening — I can't believe how differently players are recruited based solely upon their nationality.

OMN: Sports stories, including some mysteries and thrillers, have made for some terrific films. If you were producing a film or television adaptation of your books, what names would be on the promotional poster?

JE: This is my go-to daydream! I have to admit that I tend to change my mind quite a bit, especially with the male leads. If I was the casting director, they'd have to prompt each episode with the time-honored soap opera tradition, "Tonight, the character of Benji will be played by …" But I'm pretty staunch about my vision for Cat in the actress/writer/producer Felicia Day. Not only does she look the part, she's a fantastic actress with an incredibly loyal fanbase.

OMN: An advantage your character has is she can report the news from almost anywhere. How do you handle the different settings in your books?

JE: I try to only make up what I have to and even then, I put a local touch on it. For example, if I'm making up a street name, I coin it after a piece of regional history or a famous resident. But I hate to tamper with geography — maybe it's because I've seen too many movies that show "Chicago" with a gorgeous mountain range in the background.

OMN: What are your hobbies or outside interests? Do any of these make it into your books?

JE: Obviously, baseball. But I also enjoy running, eco-activism and sci-fi. I couldn't see making my main character a Trekkie; it just wasn't her MO, but I was able to bring that out in her boyfriend by giving him a Peter Pan complex. So when he goes to ComicCon or rattles off an insult in Klingon — readers can know that's actually my inner fangeek sneaking into the story.

OMN: Give our readers a list of your Top 5 ballparks.

JE: East to west: Fenway Park (Boston), Yankee Stadium (New York City), Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore), Wrigley Field (Chicago), and Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles).

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Born and raised in Illinois, Jen Estes started her writing career as a baseball blogger in 2007 and expanded to freelance sports writing in 2009. She is an active member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), Springfield Poets & Writers and the National Writers Union (NWU). Curveball is the second in a series featuring sassy sports writer Cat McDaniel. When Jen isn't writing, she enjoys running, yoga, traveling and watching baseball with her husband and cat.

Learn more about the author and her books on her website, JenEstes.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Curveball by Jen Estes

by Jen Estes
A Cat McDaniel Mystery
Publisher: Camel Press

It takes balls to survive spring training …

Baseball reporter Cat McDaniel specializes in exposes. Now that very talent has left her unemployed. Desperate to get off the bench and back into the lineup, she is thrilled to land an interview with the Buffalo Soldiers' General Manager Roger "Rakin'" Aiken — Baseball legend, eight-time All Star … and oblivious father to a Major League bratty co-ed named Paige.

Aiken offers Cat the team writer position for the following spring, but the opportunity is tempered by a curveball of a caveat: she must first spend the winter as a blogger reporting on the Latin American training facility. She is also supposed to look out for Paige, nominally the team's newest scouting assistant. Being a glorified babysitter and chaperone still beats being an out-of-work sportswriter. Cat reluctantly leaves behind her gorgeous boyfriend Benji and accompanies the party girl to sunny Santo Domingo to balance baselines and conga lines.

Paige falls for Chance Hayward, an agent who plays hardball — the figurative kind. Joining them on the field is Paige's ex, Junior DeLeon, one of the coaches who'd really like to score with Cat. When an aspiring player turns up dead, it is up to Cat and Junior to devise a game-changing strategy. Will Cat's snooping work in her favor this time, or will she strike out ... losing her job, her boyfriend and her life?

Amazon.com Print and/or Kindle Edition  Barnes&Noble Print Edition and/or Nook Book  Apple iTunes iBookstore  Kobo eBooks  Indie Bound: Independent Bookstores

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Jen Estes Partners in Crime Book Tour


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