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WORD: Ski towns inspire Wendy Clinch debut ‘Double Black’

Judging by the gridlock we recently encountered over Donner Summit, there’s a ton of skiers and snowboarders who will be interested in Wendy Clinch's debut novel, "Double Black: A Ski Diva Mystery" that she launched with Minotaur Books this month. Literary fiction aficionados may recognize Wendy's name as she's married to novelist Jon Clinch, author of the award-winning "Finn" (Random House).

Double Black is about a young woman who moves to a Vermont ski town to take up the ski bum lifestyle. Clinch used the cultural clash between locals and out-of-towners at Vermont ski towns -- Bay Area ski bums will recognize the trend in their jaunts to the Sierra Nevadas -- as a backdrop for her novel’s financial intrigue, family warfare, and yes, even murder.

"I've always found the culture and environment of small Vermont ski towns particularly fascinating," she said. "There's a real contrast between the locals, who are trying to go about their ordinary lives, and the out-of-staters who come to the area for short periods of time and then go back home. Each depends on the other, yet both have entirely different perspectives. It's an interesting culture clash. I thought it would be fun to develop a story where both of these groups have to work together to solve a murder."

Double Black is set in an unnamed ski town at a fictional "Spruce Peak," which Wendy says made her imagine "the layout of the town and ski area and naming the ski trails and businesses."

A former partner in an ad agency in suburban Philadelphia, Wendy says she found herself living vicariously through her main character, Stacey Curtis.

"In many ways... Stacey is the person I never gave myself the chance to be," she said. "I graduated from college, got married, went straight to work, and pretty much traded in skiing for the pressures of daily life. Not that I've regretted a minute of it, but I've always wondered what course my life would have followed if I'd taken a less-conventional path."

An avid skier, Clinch is the owner of TheSkiDiva.com, the leading online community for women skiers. She previously operated an ad agency in the Philadelphia area with her husband, Jon Clinch, author of the award-winning "Finn" (Random House, 2007), and "Kings of the Earth," coming from Random House in July, 2010.

Wendy will be meeting readers signing books in Vermont during February, including at:

The Book Nook, Ludlow, February 5; Aspen East Ski Shop, Killington, February 6. For updates on her appearances and more information about "Double Black," visit her website at www.wendyclinch.com.


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