South Carolina author Sasscer Hill, an amateur jockey and horse breeder, writes mysteries in series – The Nikki Latrelle Horse Racing Mysteries (five volumes), The Fia McFee Mysteries (two volumes to date), TRAVELS OF QUINN, GRIPPING TALES OF FACT AND FICTION, and now a new series The Janet Simpson Cozy Mysteries, of which MURDER AT THE WILLCOTTS HOTEL is the third volume. This novella is short, but Hill’s ability to create memorable characters involved in a tight cozy mystery heightened with humor makes this book asset sail! The main character Janet’s observations are present in the opening lines: “I remember the afternoon Kate arrived at the Willcotts Hotel. It wasn’t that she blew in like a pink breeze, her hat piled with coral flowers and feathers. It wasn’t her small, prancing poodle, its collar encrusted with coral-colored rhinestones, and it wasn’t the bellboy staggering beneath her three pink suitcases. No, the memory is sharp because it was the day I met Paul Delaveev…’ The theatrical flair established, the cleverly designed mystery unfolds.
Stephen: today on Discovered Wordsmith, I have Sasser Hill. Sasser, how are you doing today? I’m
Sasscer: doing well. Thank you.
Stephen: Good. Yeah, I’m excited to hear about your book. But before we delve into that, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you live, and what you like to do besides writing.
Sasscer: am living in Aiken, South Carolina. I moved down from Maryland 12 years ago, which is where I did most of the horse business I was involved in for 32 years. And then I came here because it is a horse area and I knew it’d be a very favorable area for me to stick around with horsey people and see horses.
And it’s also a dog town and I love dogs and it’s every other car that goes by has a dog with its head sticking out the window. So it’s really a nice town.
Stephen: Nice. And when you say horse business, what exactly were you doing? I was
Sasscer: breeding foaling, raising, breaking thoroughbred racehorses.
And I was also an owner who raced them and I did that for 32 years.
Stephen: Okay I would expect there’s some horses in your books. Sometimes.
Sasscer: Oh, yeah. Are our horse racing murder mysteries. The ones that have been out and actually, they’re rather traditional mysteries. They have a little bit of.
Blood and guts in them, nothing too strong, but now I’m writing I’m trying my hand at a few cozy novellas, because they’re quick and easy to write, and cozy mysteries are so popular right now, so I thought why not see if we can get a little bit of that income as well as what I usually write, so it’s
Stephen: been fun.
Okay let’s delve into that. Talk about your books a little bit. So today we’re going to be talking about Murder at the Wilcots Hotel and this is not your first book. Is that correct?
Sasscer: No, it’s like maybe number 9.
Stephen: Okay. So are these in a series or are they just separate individual books?
Sasscer: Most of them have been my first series is a five book series about a gal named Nikki Littrell, female jockey, very young.
The next series I wrote, if you want to call it that, was a two book deal for St. Martin’s featuring a really strong character, female character named Fia McKee. But years ago, when I was in a Sisters in Crime group that I met, and I was taking we were doing critiques, this is when I was still up in Maryland the Sisters in Crime Chessie chapter, that was my chapter wanted to do a bunch of collections of mysteries.
So anthology. So I wrote two anthologies for two different two different stories for two, two different anthologies, and they did quite well. And they were both about a gal named Janet Sim Simpson, and she was a middle aged, if not beyond middle aged female. And they were actually cozy books and everybody said we’d like to see more of this, but then I rushed right back into racehorses and people, fighting with the drugs and fighting, when you have horse racing that has the amount of money that’s in it.
There’s a lot of room for graft and corruption, so my characters were always fighting that. They were always on the side of Thoroughbred Racing. But Janet is, Janet’s great. She’s my older character. She is like somebody out of a Mary Higgins Clark book. She’s smart and attractive and does everything right and never did anything wrong like my other characters.
And she was, had a domineering father, so she was sheltered, and then she married a domineering husband. And although she loved him dearly, he never gave her much freedom, and she always wanted a racehorse, but she was never allowed to buy one. And he finally passed away, and suddenly she’s an extremely wealthy.
Woman with very who’s naive and has very little world experience and that gets her into all kinds of problems that only, she needs her wits to get away from con men who want her money and that sort of thing. So those are the books.
Stephen: Okay. And where does the Wilcox hotel book fall in that set of books.
Sasscer: The 1st, 2 in the set are just the short stories I wrote for the anthology. So this is you could call it story or book number 3. And it takes place at the actual Wilcox with an X on the end hotel. Ah, okay. Which is a 5 star very well known hotel very popular visiting place and people come and it’s also near Augusta, where they had the masters golf tournament every year and they have people from Australia that book 5 years in advance and this town goes wild when they have the masters because we’re just.
Like a 35 minute drive. So that’s fun. And Janet has, she’s amazed when she gets to the hotel to discover that all these different people stayed there, especially Franklin Roosevelt, who had an affair with a woman and would come down by train and the train would mysteriously break down when it arrived at the Wilcox Hotel.
Stephen: Yeah. Okay. Nice. So are there horses in this one? Yes.
Sasscer: Okay. Because when her husband died, she got herself a racehorse. Finally. Okay.
Stephen: So she’s okay. Cool. And so I’m going to jump a little bit here. A lot of times they say for authors, write what you know. So do you. Is that why you wanted to write these books?
Why’d you choose mysteries for this type of book? And is it, did you put the horses in there? Could you have done something else? Dogs, or just whatever. Because it’s, it sounds a little bit like a Jessica Fletcher, every time she wakes up, there’s somebody having a mystery to solve.
Sasscer: Yeah I since I was involved in the horse racing industry for 32 years, And I loved it, and I know the horses so well, and I spent a lot of time on the backstretch and got to see the underbelly of horse racing. It was a natural, and I’ve always loved mysteries. It’s always been my favorite genre.
So it was just and as a kid, a kid teenager, I read everything Dick Francis ever wrote, because I loved his books, his horse racing murder mysteries. They were great books. And so I was drawn in that direction for sure.
Stephen: Okay. Yeah. And what are people saying about the stories that I’ve read so far?
Sasscer: They like them. They like the Janet books. And I, this book has not, it’s not actually supposed to come out. It’s hard to explain until October 1st, but it is available for pre order. And of course, I sent a couple of copies around and people that read them, love them. And I got two excellent reviews.
But it’s a hard business, there’s like a million cozies out and everybody’s clawing their way to try to get to the top. It’s a tough business as
Stephen: Are there any other books out there that you could think of that the stories and the writing is similar to yours?
Sasscer: Dick Francis very much, but also a lot of people say that if Dick Francis. And Janet Ivanovich had a daughter that would be Sasser Hill, because my books have a lot of humor in them. I love humor. Not, slapstick or anything like that, but just the occasional one liner that my heroine will think.
That’s very amusing. And people have laughed out loud sometimes reading my books. I also write a lot like Sue Grafton. I always loved her and I loved her style. So I guess that would be similar, but the other my favorite authors and books that I think I do sound like even though it might be very.
Ignorant of me to say this, but I love Michael Connolly, Robert Craze, Robert Parker was my first. I loved Robert Parker. And I, and of course, Sue Grafton and I do tend to prefer male writers. Most of the female writers, they’re always talking about food and babies, and that just doesn’t interest me.
That doesn’t interest me at all. Most of the female mystery writers, they have to have a mother and a child in there to really, get the tension up, but I don’t think you need to do that. I think there’s plenty of ways to get tension.
Stephen: And sometimes a dog.
Sasscer: Sometimes a dog, although I haven’t written a dog book, but I probably will.
Stephen: Horses, they, they, you always see dogs on the horse farms and roaming around and that. So it does seem to fit. I agree. They
Sasscer: do. They go together, hand in glove.
Stephen: Yeah, my daughter was taking horse riding lessons. So I’ve done my share of leading horses and cleaning stalls and all that.
Not racing them, but. So that’s good. Cesar, your books, let’s the Wilcott Hotel. Would you like to see this or the series turned into movies or a TV show if you had a choice?
Sasscer: TV shows, because I think that things that are streaming now are doing better. I think, I watch a lot of the mysteries on, the British mysteries on Acorn and the other one which escapes me at the moment.
And I really enjoy those. And a lot of them are like an hour and a half, and then they’ll have a second, and here comes the next chapter. Since books, you have chapters and they’re ongoing. And all those mysteries for so many years, starting way back with what was it?
The Hot Book in New York NYPD Blue. They always had ongoing series within the story. Each story stood alone, but, and I think that’s a great thing to do, and I think you can do that when you stream. I don’t see movies being something that’s going to happen to or for me. Most people have said.
Oh, your book should be a movie or why aren’t you on TV? I don’t understand why you’re not on TV. And I always say, you have to know somebody that knows somebody and then I always look at him and go, do you know anybody and they always know. It’s hard. I did have a producer agent for a while.
I sisters and crime did a whole thing. That was hello, Hollywood. And we went out there and we actually met some people that could put our books into TV or movies. But. That’s something you need to work at and work at. And just one trip out to Hollywood and then getting on a plane and going home is not, it’s not going to do it.
I don’t think.
Stephen: Oh, you’re incredibly lucky, . Or if you like, happen to have a real murder in your town and so the news agencies want to talk to you ’cause you’re the local murder writer, now you’re in the spotlight and suddenly someone wants to talk to you. .
Sasscer: No, and I’m I’m right across the river from Georgia and they’re, half the people in Hollywood have moved to Georgia.
Yeah. To film. It’s big. So much cheaper. Hi, I’m right here.
Stephen: Yeah. Back in the day, it seemed like British Columbia and up in Canada. There’s a lot Vancouver, there’s a lot of movies and TVs. Yeah, there’s so hard. Now it’s Georgia. I live close to Cleveland and part of some of the Marvel movies were filmed up there.
Like the first Avengers. There were sections of it. But I don’t know what happened. It seemed like there was a five year time period where we were getting tons of movies and then just died. The latest movie, a man called auto with Tom Hanks, there’s a train scene and that happened right here, the Tiger Valley scenic railroad.
So there’s still some, but yeah, it’s weird. The big bucks that could bring in, but then the government or, the city doesn’t want to give so many breaks or, they don’t want, they lose that George has been just hammering it.
Sasscer: Yeah that’s because they’re favorable.
It’s all about the money, and there’s. Producers and filmmakers, they’re going to go where they make the most money and if they go somewhere and they’re making a lot of money and then suddenly there’s politics get involved and people are shutting them down a little bit, they’re out of there. They don’t need to be there.
They’ll go someplace else.
Stephen: Yep. All right. Cesar, what are your plans for your next book or series?
Sasscer: I’m going to stick with the Janet Simpson books just for a little bit. The book that’s actually all but finished. I’m just writing the epilogue. Now is called murder in the bluegrass and that takes place in Kentucky.
And that, I think it’s. That’s a good book. I’m very pleased with it. It’s another novella and at the very end of the book the trainer for Janet Simpson says I’m taking the horses back to Aiken because, there’s a huge training center here and that’s why the first book takes place at the Wilcox Hotel because Janet comes down here to see, to watch her horse get broken and learn how to Do all the things that horses need to do, because there’s a beautiful training track right here in Aiken.
And so the trainer says, we’re going to take these horses, they’re young, they’re just two year olds, we’re going to take them back to Aiken, let them grow up a little bit. And then this summer, if they’re ready, we’re going to Saratoga. So one of the characters in the book says looks like we’re going to Saratoga next.
And it’s funny, it was a perfect setup. So that’s where the next book will take place. Okay,
Stephen: nice. Yeah, it’s a little foreshadowing without being a cliffhanger. Nice. So I was going to ask this earlier. I forgot. Do you find that a horse other horse people horse racing people farm that they’re attracted your books or is it still mostly just people that like mysteries and just so happens that yours have horses that and they’re enjoying it.
Sasscer: The horse people. Love my books. In fact, I won the Ryan Award. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. There’s, if you’ve ever heard of Ireland’s Ryan Air, it’s a huge concern. It’s an airline and Dr. Tony Ryan decided that there should be an award given to writers of Thoroughbred Racing books, be they fiction or otherwise.
And I was just amazed that I went out there and won this award, and I was up against Felix Francis Dick Francis son, and that was big competition. And my story won, and that was great, and you get a 10, 000 book award. Nice. Now, the Edgars don’t pay you anything except that you get sales. But that was so exciting.
That was one of the most exciting nights of my life. I might’ve had too much to drink.
Stephen: I don’t think there’s a law actually that about getting on a horse. If you’re drunk, you can’t drive when you’re drunk, if the horse can get you home in that, what they used to do, put them on the horse, let them take them home.
Sasscer: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Stephen: So if. If that your books were turned into movies or TV shows, just about every profession hates seeing movies with some of their profession in it. Because it’s never 100 percent right. There’s always things liberties. They take for the fiction in that, computers back in the day, they used to not even have wires hooking anything up and they would show somebody typing 1 line and the keyboard and it would do 2 million things.
That’s just not how it works. And cops complain all the time. Do you think you would want to, you would deal with them just getting things wrong about horse racing, or do you think you might be able to consult and help make sure that’s more accurate?
Sasscer: I would hope that they would let me do that.
I know about what you just said about cops. I went to something called Reuters Police Academy on two different occasions.
Stephen: Oh, I heard about that recently.
Sasscer: Yeah, and then you meet these guys that are just brilliant police, anything from FBI to CIA to DEA. They’re all there and they want you to call them up and ask them questions.
And I do, I’ll be writing a book and I’ll say, is this that I’ve written? Does this sound realistic to you? And they’ll go, yeah, but as far as the horses go a lot of the good reviews I’ve gotten Have been people writing, I am so sick of reading horse books where the author has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.
Not so assessor Hill. She really knows her stuff. That’s because I was in the business for 32 years. I guess I know my stuff. I should. So anyway yeah, I think, but as far as everybody I’ve talked to who’s had a movie done or anything like that. It’s gotten better. It’s gotten different. You have Michael Connolly, who’s now producing and completely involved in his movies.
And the more that happens, the better it is, because. A lot of authors have told me in the past, this is in the last over the last 10 years, just take the money and don’t even watch the movie because you will hate it. So I don’t know, it would be interesting to find out. I’d love to find it.
Stephen: And I think, though, that sentiment is changing a bit because I think the studios are finding that if they’re.
Much more if they stay to the heart of the story, I understand, as of 800 page Stephen King novel is not going to fit into a two hour movie and they have to strip it down. But if the heart of it is there and the main parts of it are there, it’s a much better received movie that people enjoy it.
It does well. But when they. When they cut the author out and cut the material down and change it so much, people don’t enjoy it as much. So I think that is changing. That sentiment of take the money and shut up, that Stephen King says that all the time. I don’t care what they do. They paid me, they bought the rights, do whatever they want.
I’ve still got my books. And that’s been the overall, but I think that is changing that they want to be more accurate to what the source material is.
Sasscer: Yeah, it’s definitely changed with Michael Connelly and Lee Child. He’s been involved in his Jack Reacher books. Yep. And I,
Stephen: that’s good.
That’s good. Jack Reacher is a great example because the movies with Tom Cruise We’re not received. Maybe they made money or not. I’m not sure, but they just weren’t talked about received. But the TV show that prime did Amazon prime, I thought was great and was very accurate. He was a big guy.
Yeah. But what I loved about the Lee child books is I just read last year, my first Lee child books. And what I loved about them was. His style of writing is so different than others. They’re short sentences, short words. He doesn’t use long sentences, doesn’t use big words. He doesn’t go into flowery descriptions.
It’s fast paced all the way through. Yeah, that’s what I like. Yeah, and it just keeps you
Sasscer: turning. That’s why I prefer the way men write because it’s the women who usually go off into these long flowery things about, I don’t know what.
Stephen: And Stephen King. Stephen King likes to go on and on. I don’t read
Sasscer: Stephen King.
I just think the guy’s kind of weird and I don’t really like his books that much. I got stuck in a revolving door with him one time and his wife at the Edgars in New York. Really? It was so funny because he had been the master of ceremonies and we got in this revolving door. It was pouring down raining and it wouldn’t move.
It got stuck. And I thought. I’m stuck involving door with Stephen King and his wife said, Stephen, that wasn’t so bad. Was it, because he doesn’t like that kind of stuff. They we got out, they got in a beautiful limo that pulled up and put them on. I got into a taxi cab that had in the backseat was sopping wet and I sat on a wet seat, but we went on down the street.
And we pulled up next to them in traffic, and I’m not making this up. I looked over. He has a flask and he is just downing it. Downing it. I’m thinking Stephen is getting better now.
Stephen: That’s hilarious. I love that. And I see, I believe that he doesn’t like that stuff. He has that. And that’s part of his writing is that down home.
Good old boy type writing. And I think his personality himself, I think that’s hilarious. Of course. Getting stuck in an elevator that, or a revolving door that won’t move, sounds like a Stephen King short story.
Sasscer: I know! That’s just what I thought! I thought that. And I’ll tell you one other interesting Stephen King thing.
I had a horse trainer for years who was from Maine. And when he was a little kid in school, Stephen King taught them music lessons. He was a teacher. And he would bring in these little magazines and what they were was like Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines. And he would read out loud from them and he would say, someday I’m going to be in one of these magazines.
How cool is
Stephen: that? That is pretty cool. Yeah. Okay. You mentioned one of your favorite authors a little earlier. What are some of your favorite books and authors? I
Sasscer: love the Lee child books. And I’m trying to think because we’ve talked about that. I’m trying to think there’s well way, way back in the day, there was a book called the far pavilions.
Which I thought was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and it was written by a woman and it was, they made that into a movie. It was a good movie. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that book, but it was took place in India, and it was a fascinating story. But. There’s so many good books.
There’s so many good books, and it’s hard I’m trying to think, who do I like recently? Oh, gosh, what’s his name? There’s a new author out. He wrote, he writes about a guy who has a little bit of post traumatic stress syndrome. And he hears like a noise in his head all the time, and I’m so sorry to bring it up because I can’t remember the name of the author at the moment, but he’s very good, and he’s newer.
So I would say he’s a favorite. And Craze, I mentioned Craze, but his book, Suspect, is just the best book. It’s actually about a, one of the characters, main characters, is a dog. An ex army dog that has post traumatic stress syndrome because his handler and everybody got blown up. So the dog’s always screwed up and the cop in the book is screwed up because his partner was killed and he’s really a mess.
And they find each other and they heal each other and the dog trainer is really worried about this dog. And he says, I think the dog is a little bit suspect. And that’s why he named it suspect. It’s a great book. I think anybody that loves a good mystery with action and excitement and loves dogs. We’d really enjoy that book.
Stephen: Okay. So have you discovered any bookstores down there that you love?
Sasscer: only one we have because I live in Aiken. We don’t have a bookstore in Aiken. I go to Augusta, Georgia to the book tavern, and it’s a really nice little down home cute Bookstore and the guy that owns it is great. And he’s been very kind to me and sold some of my books.
Nice. So it’s a nice bookstore, but it’s not, there’s a Barnes and Noble, but, I don’t even go in there. I just not really, they’re not personalized at all.
Stephen: Okay. So before we talk a few author things Sasser, if someone on this, Okay. Street your hometown saw you and said, Hey, I just heard that you write a cozy mysteries.
Why should I get your book and read it? What would you tell him? Oh,
Sasscer: I would say it’s because in all my books, I have never wanted to write the great American novel. I want to entertain and give you something that’s, maybe a little bit scary a little bit funny but always is a destination for a place to escape and be informed and also they are informative books because I always write about things about horses that people don’t have any idea and they learn a lot.
So I do enjoy doing that and I would say that’s why you would read them because I want to entertain you and I want to talk to you about. Chasing the dream, fighting the odds, and helping the helpless. Those are some of my, that’s probably the theme, the basic theme in every story I’ve ever written. I think that’s so important.
And my own personal mantra, which is also reflected in the books is, Stay strong and march on. Just keep going. Nice.
Stephen: Okay, great. All right. Let me ask you a few author things. We’ll chat a little bit about so you’ve written a series. Now you said 9 books. What are some things that you’ve learned over that time that you’re doing different now than you used to do?
Sasscer: When I started out, I had. I always got great grades in creative writing, but that doesn’t mean you know how to write a mystery novel, anything but. And I do have a first book that’s in a drawer where it belongs. And I didn’t have any help. And I remember the, one of the big gals in Sisters in Crime when I met her at a meeting.
She’s a one of the first authors that was a member of Sisters in Crime. And I’m so sorry I can’t think of her name right now. It’s but she was shocked when I told her that I didn’t join Sisters in Crime because I just felt like I wasn’t good enough and that I wouldn’t fit in and all these sorts of things.
And she was like, she, it never even occurred to her that anybody would feel that way. And I think a lot of budding authors are terrified. Why wouldn’t you be terrified? All people do is. Criticize and find things wrong with it and and then the ghouls that do reviews. Oh my God, these people are awful.
I think a lot of writers the one thing I learned was to get support, to join groups like Sisters in Crime. I would urge any author to do that. If you write romances, join Romance Writers of America because these people will help you. They’ll listen to you. They’ll listen to what you’ve written and they will support you.
And that’s so important because without support, you’re nowhere.
Stephen: Yes, exactly. And it helps. You feel better because a lot of people, you know that, oh I’m not a good writer and then you get people telling you, oh, we all feel that way. And you say, I love this, yeah, you’re absolutely right.
That support helps a lot. You mentioned the sisters in crime several times and before we started recording you were talking about. You meet with them through Zoom like we are now, and when you and I first jumped on, I usually use Zencast, and we had some trouble with that, so we switched over to Zoom.
So it’s a totally different world as far as authors go, and the meetings, and over the weekend I mentioned I, I went to a author panel in Pittsburgh, there was a festival of books, and JD Barker was there, and he goes, wow, it’s so good to see some people that aren’t Zoom people. But that has changed things.
So do you guys meet over zoom or do you do face to face or what do you do with that?
Sasscer: Since I left the DC area, Maryland my, my group was the Chesapeake chapter and they’re great. Oh my God. Those gals have won more awards than you can shake a stick at. They, Cleaned up in the Edgars, some of them were winning Edgars and gosh, I can’t think of what the other big award is.
I just was having to congratulate them all. One of the gals that used to be in my class has won every award there is to win for her short stories. And Barb Goffman, she’s very good. Writer and it’s hard not to be there with them. I used to go to Bethesda, Maryland, where we would all meet and it was a writing school.
There’s no such thing like that in making there’s just, you have to be in a big city. And I miss that, although I don’t miss being in the DC area. So
Stephen: it’s an interesting thing because I know. I’m a very much an introvert and a lot of times I’m just like, I don’t know if I want to be around people and that’s what zoom makes really well because there’s a lot of conferences now that you can watch via zoom or participate via zoom and meetings.
I was in a mastermind for a while where it was people from all over the country and we’ve met. Every week at the same time, and I can see, made friends and, it could see everybody because of zoom, but there’s something different about when you go live in your face to face with people.
And I’m doing a retreat this weekend with people live face to face. But I guess the new technology gives you that ability to stay with a group, even if you move out of the area, or be in a group I. The closest city for me, big city Cleveland is an hour away. So that’s a one way hour drive to do any meeting, which becomes very difficult to do very often, but it’s much easier to jump on zoom.
So I think it’s changing how we. As authors work with each other or things like these, meetings right here, that wouldn’t have been as easy years ago would have had to just be over the phone recorded on a little tape recorders or, there’s good and bad with it. Definitely. Do you have you done a conferences or anything via zoom or watching video?
Sasscer: I have done a few but I don’t like them as much as the real thing. I really miss going to voucher con, but since my husband and I are getting older, we’re trying to survive on Medicare. What’s the other one?
Stephen: Social security.
Sasscer: Thank you. Yes. You see what happens when you get older. And I don’t have the money that I used to have.
I can’t afford to. I can’t go to any meeting. That’s going to cost me less than 2000 dollars between the plane. Yeah. Hotel. And the food. And it’s just so expensive. I can’t do it anymore. And I miss Patrick Kahn. I have my annual picture of Lee Child and me and I have four or five of them pictures of me and Lee Child and that was so much fun and me and Michael Connolly and me.
And a lot of these gals that are very popular right now. I miss that. And sitting at the bar and having a drink with some of these people. Now that’s just terrific, you really meet people and get to know them if you’re sitting at a bar and just having a light drink and and everybody’s staying in the same hotel and nobody has to drive anywhere and it’s wonderful.
Stephen: That’s so expensive. Yes, and but the flight, the driving, the hotels, it’s all gone up, which, I’m okay. Yeah, I know it always does, but it seems like it’s jumped higher, faster recently. Yeah,
Sasscer: with the inflation, of course, it has.
Stephen: And for me, I write middle grade. So one of my aspects of marketing is visiting schools and talking to kids.
That’s fine for schools, within a certain radius around me, but I’m not going to be going to a school down in Georgia, like on a Wednesday, that’s a long flight or a car drive. It’s not just, it’s not feasible. So schools really only get the authors that are local.
Except for now, we’ve got zoom and there’s a lot of authors that do zoom meetings with the kids and the schools can get many more authors. And, I’m not saying it’s only about the money, but it’s easier for me to jump on a zoom call for half hour and then get right back to what I was doing rather than trying to drive and meet up at a certain time, et cetera.
And so the schools can get more authors in and authors of their choice, so that’s the technology there has definitely benefited something like that. I will say
Sasscer: yes, it has definitely.
Stephen: And I know like you, you mentioned that the con, but I’m not familiar with that one, but a lot of the cons offer both live and video to some people that, I can go to one or two this year and then I can do five of them on zoom or something like that.
You can still do it. Maybe.
Sasscer: Yeah. I still meet with the Chessy chapter gals up in DC on zoom. Because I missed some of those girls. I knew him for years. So it’s fun to see them.
Stephen: And it’s interesting. Like my mother’s a retired nurse and she gets together once a month with some of her friends for lunch and they do that.
But there’s a couple of them that have moved. Away with retirement and they’re like, why I can’t go my kids, their generation. They’re going to be so used to video everything that it’s like, it won’t matter. Oh, okay. You move. So and so we’ll just dial you in or whatever it is at the time. That they’ll hologram sitting in the chair next to him.
They’ll be able to join and be a part of that. So it keeps the communities. That you like and the people you get along with, you don’t have to just always just say goodbye. Yeah.
Sasscer: That doesn’t, that sounds sad. Always have to say goodbye. That sounds like a line in a song. It
Stephen: probably is. I, if we looked it up, I bet it would be there.
I bet it would be. All sasser, I appreciate you getting on and chatting today. Your book sounds very fun with horses, which I love horses. I don’t have any at the moment, but I still love horses. I’d love to go riding again. It’s been a while. I would too. I miss it. I miss it. Do you have any horses of your own now?
Sasscer: No, not now. We sold the farm. We sold everything. We lost everything in 2008 with that market crash that happened. And and move down here because my God, everything’s so much cheaper down here. It’s like a 3rd, it’s 30 percent of what it was in Maryland near D. C. Wow.
Stephen: Wow. Except for food. But and there’s another benefit right there.
You can write remotely. You can get on meetings and stuff remotely. So I’ve been doing a talk for parents with middle school kids saying. We are not preparing them for what the future is bringing. They’re not going to be ready. We’re not showing them how to use the tools that they’ve got now, let alone stuff 10 to 15 years from now for their life.
I make the point in the talk that as a database administrator, something I’ve done, if you wanted a job. With a big company, you had to go to a big city and now you don’t now you can do the same job remote because everything’s through remote computers. Anyway, whether I’m there or here and I showed the differences.
If I’m making, let’s say 100, 000 a year, a little point 7 acre 2 or 1 bedroom, 4 room house in Chicago is like 420, 000, but in my area, the same day it was a four acre six, seven room house with two bedrooms, and it was like 120, 000. And if I was making a hundred thousand dollars, but living remote, my costs are less, so I just think we’re not.
Our kids aren’t getting prepared for it because the adults don’t necessarily understand how that works nowadays. So I think horse raising horses, you can’t do remotely. That’s the problem.
So some jobs, you can not raising horses and training them, but, but those are the types of jobs that are going to need specialized people that know what they’re doing too. So that’s where our world’s changing using this remote and video stuff is changing the world drastically. And now with the AI and 5G phones and all sorts of things, you won’t even know when somebody’s not.
In a New York office, that they’re living in North Carolina yeah. All right. Hey I will let you go and I appreciate you being on. I wish you luck with your books. Do you have any last minute? Do you have any last minute words of advice for any authors out there?
Sasscer: I’ll just say what my mentor told me when I wrote my first book full mortality, which I have to put in this little.
My first book was called Full Mortality. It was nominated for both an Agatha and a McCavity First Best Book Award. And I was going along and I wasn’t sure what to do and she gave me some advice and then finally she just looked at me one day and she said, Keep going. And that’s it. Keep going. Don’t give up.
Keep going. And that’s the best advice I could give anybody. Great.
Stephen: Keep going. Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time and you have a wonderful day. You too.
Sasscer: Thanks so much.