SALT LAKE CITY, UT October 11, 2017
When Raymond Spitzer first submitted his cozy mystery set in Ajo, Arizona to WiDo Publishing, he said it was the first in a three part series. That first book became Arizona Guy (WiDo Publishing, 2012). The second, Playing with Fire, came out two years later. The third Ted White mystery is now under contract with WiDo Publishing,™ set to be released in 2018.
Spitzer’s wife Susan was instrumental in helping him write and edit the books. She thought this one lacked the pizzazz of the first two, however, and encouraged him to do better. They discussed the problems she saw and brainstormed possible solutions. But before it was finished, Susan passed away.
For months after the funeral Spitzer could not get back into writing. “I threw myself into reorganizing the home, relocating garden boxes to a more secure area (javelinas had been regularly breaking through the fence), and in general not wanting to write,” he states.
Although Spitzer continued to think about the story and do work on parts of it, it didn’t feel the same without his first reader, his wife: “Susan lived larger than life. She made a huge impact on the community of Ajo. Hundreds attended her funeral. She lit up the people around her. She left too soon.”
Then one day at work, Spitzer’s supervisor shared an incident involving her neighbor, his dog, and lizards. Spitzer told her, “That’s it! That’s what I need to finish my book.” It led to research that enabled him to build up the climax, greatly improving the end of the story.
“From then on the writing went quickly,” Spitzer recalls. “My new first readers, my daughter and a blind friend (I read it to her, which helped me find mistakes), liked the story. I felt that the pizzazz was back and I was happy to submit it.”
His pattern for writing a Ted White mystery is to pick a crime currently afflicting the community of Ajo and develop a plot affecting his main characters. Playing with Fire is arson and this third book is illegal drugs. Spitzer plans on continuing the series “as long as there are mysteries for Ted to solve – and there will be. I’m considering an actual murder mystery for the next one.”
The author says, “We have humanitarian groups searching the desert for human bones, which they think are evidence of undocumented aliens who have died entering the country. A recent incident involved a group who parked their cars and explored on foot, only to find a body by their cars when they returned. I think I can use that as the basis for a murder mystery.”
All of the books are based on events and people around the town of Ajo, and Spitzer gets frequent questions about the progress of the next book.
WiDo’s Managing Editor Karen Gowen remembers the very first submission that Spitzer sent in. “WiDo was just starting out back then, building up our list, and Ray’s manuscript was pretty rough. But it had a charming style of writing, great characters who you wanted to see more of, and a plot that carried you along from one chapter to the next. And Ray was willing to do whatever it took to polish the book for publication. He’s easy to edit, works hard, and has a natural way of writing. We are happy to see another Ted White mystery from him and hope to see more in the future.”
Raymond Spitzer was born in California and resided in Japan and Montana before his parents saw the light and brought him to Arizona. He currently lives in Ajo, where Raymond is a 911 dispatcher for the sheriff’s department. He is in the planning stages of book #4 of the Ted White Mystery Series. Learn more about Raymond Spitzer at his website www.arizonaguy.simplesite.com