Sunday, December 4, 2011

Meet Alina Adams - "turning visual into words"

Welcome Alina. You've had a busy, prolific career and we'd like to know more about it and you, so the forum is now yours.

By Alina Adams

I spent close to a decade of my life working in figure skating: As a researcher for ABC, as a producer for ESPN, as a Contributing Editor for “International Figure Skating Magazine” and as a writer of non-fiction titles like “Inside Figure Skating” and “Sarah Hughes: Skating to the Stars,” as well as fictional mysteries like “Murder on Ice,” “On Thin Ice,” “Axel of Evil,” “Death Drop” and “Skate Crime.”
I spent close to a decade of my life turning something purely visual into words.
Now, I am in the process of turning words into something purely visual.
Because, after a decade of describing world-class skating, I came to a simple conclusion: World class skating is indescribable.
I like to think that my mystery novels (originally published by Berkley Prime Crime) do a pretty good job of introducing engaging characters, tangling complex plots, and generally making readers smile in both amusement and periodic “oooh!” surprise as we twist our way towards the final Whodunit.
What they don’t do a nearly good enough job of is conveying the beauty, grace, control, and raw power of elite figure skating.
Until now.
In the past, storytellers had no choice but to be limited by words, even when dealing with subjects where words were decidedly not enough.
But, with the advent of technology, a plethora of options have opened up that were inconceivable even a few years ago.
I no longer need to merely tell about the skating going on in my books. I can show it.
In partnership with The Ice Theatre of New York (, I am re-releasing all five of my skating mysteries as enhanced e-books, with real, professional quality skating videos embedded in the text as part of the story.
Ice Theatre gave me access to their entire video library (even routines by stars like Johnnie Weir).
Now, in a perfect world, I would write a story around the videos I had.
And I still intend to do that… down the line.
But, right now the world isn’t perfect (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed), and, in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.” (Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the world is currently so imperfect…)
Which means that I needed to take the edited and published books I already had, and the videos I got from Ice Theatre, and make the two fit together.
In some cases, I got lucky. “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: 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.
I plan to release “Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition” and “On Thin Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition” on Amazon this December 2011, with the last three books in the series, “Axel of Evil: Enhanced Multimedia Edition,” “Death Drop: Enhanced Multimedia Edition” and “Skate Crime: Enhanced Multimedia Edition” in January of 2012, just in time for the US Figure Skating Championships.
Please check them out and let me know how you think I did!

In addition to her Figure Skating Mystery series, Alina Adams has written romances for AVON and DELL (a reprint, "When a Man Loves a Woman" is also available as an enhanced e-book on Amazon), and NYT best-selling tie-ins for the soap operas, "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light." Her enhanced, nonfiction e-book, "Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments" was an Amazon best-seller in 2011. In addition, her company, Alina Adams Media, produced "The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition" by Dan Elish, a children's fantasy with an original musical score. She is eager to work with other authors to help turn their previously published works into enhanced e-books.



As the newly crowned 2011 US Figure Skating Team prepares to make its debut at the World Championships in Japan this coming March, 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,” has taken experiencing her books to an unprecedented next level by adding skating videos (courtesy of The Ice Theatre of New York; right into the text!
While all five novels were initially published as trade paperbacks by Berkley Prime Crime, only one, “Skate Crime” is currently available as an e-book.
“Skate Crime: Multimedia Edition” does not contain the entire text of the original but is, instead, a condensed excerpt enhanced with video clips. When figure skating coach Lucain Pryce is murdered on the eve of his own televised tribute, the suspects include his much younger wife, his resentful daughter, the student he guided to Olympic gold, as well as the one he drove to a nervous breakdown.
The portion high-lighted in “Skate Crime: Multimedia Edition” looks back at Lucian’s romantic relationship with his former Pairs partner… and why she might have had the best motive of all for wanting to see Lucian dead.
Adams got the idea to combine text and visuals 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 Lewis’ Twitter, which told serialized, romantic stories in a combination of words and video clips. 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.”
She also wrote the “New York Times” best-seller “Oakdale Confidential,” (an “As The World Turns” tie-in), and co-wrote, “Jonathan’s Story” (a “Guiding Light” tie-in), along with the romance novels “When a Man Loves a Woman” (DELL), “Annie’s Wild Ride,” “Thieves at Heart,” and “The Fictitious Marquis” (AVON).
Adams says, “I have been fascinated with the potential of enhanced books ever since the idea became technically possible. 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, or historical context. I was itching to make the added videos an integrated, vital part of the story, 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.”
“Skate Crime: Multimedia Edition” retails for $.99 cents in Amazon’s Kindle store at: and can be experienced through the Kindle app on iPad, iPhone, and your desktop.

Thank you Alina for being my guest and best of luck for your future success.



jenny milchman said...

Hi Alina! So nice to see you on Gerrie's blog. It's a brave new world--and you are doing such creative things with your very creative books.

Alina Adams said...

Good to hear from you, Jenny, and high praise indeed, thank you! I was thinking of you this weekend as I took my child(ren) to a bookstore!!!

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