Monday, September 30, 2019

Special Risk by Sandy Nork

It's my pleasure to introduce a fellow Pennwriter, Sandy Nork, and her first in a series novel, Special Risk. She weaves facts in with her fiction as she introduces a fascinating new investigator

For Readers:

Special Risk is Book 1 of 3 planned for the Risk Series starring protagonist Valerie Sloan, a Japanese-American insurance investigator from Philadelphia. The book is a mystery centered around the search for a missing guitar and the involvement of an Asian crime family.

Special Risk took form when I read Tokyo Vice by journalist Jake Adelstein about his life in Japan as a reporter working among the Yakuza. I was intrigued by the idea that Yakuza members were able to come and go in the United States without much interference.

In addition, my husband is a musician who can play pretty much anything with strings. He knows a lot about guitars. He took me to the Great American Guitar Show, which I mention in Special Risk. At one of those shows, he took photos of the Gibson Les Paul guitar that I use as the missing guitar in the book. The “real” one was for sale and the asking price was $250,000.

You might also want to know that “special risk” refers to an insurance clause that covers a musician’s instruments when they take them out of their home to play at a gig.

For Writers:

I’m a plotter, not a pantser.  At one point during the writing of this book, I tore it apart and restructured it completely. That was a terrible mistake and cost me a lot of time and momentum to discover that my initial plan of how the book should flow was correct. From that frustrating experience I’d like to think that I learned the lesson of listening to my own instincts when it comes to building a book.


In the mystery Special Risk, Japanese-American insurance investigator Valerie Sloan searches for a missing guitar in Philadelphia. During her investigation, she confronts an Asian crime family and discovers a connection to her past.

Amazon link:


Sandy Nork is a writer, librarian, and musical tourist who lives in New Cumberland, PA, with her musician husband and his collection of guitars. Recently she vacationed in Nashville, the home of country music. While there, she researched at the Nashville Public Library, several museums, and – of course – the local restaurants. She plans to include anecdotal souvenirs from that trip in her next book, Flood Risk.

You can find Sandy’s website at She is also on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter as @novelgal.

Did you know musical instruments could be worth so much money? Have you ever heard of 'special risk' insurance? Are you a plotter like Sandy or a pantser?

8 comments: said...

Hi Sandy, good luck with your trilogy, and it is true, the old saying ‘write what you know’ 🤗

Heather R. Holden said...

Congrats to Sandy on her new series! So true about the importance of listening to your instincts. It can be way too easy to second-guess everything sometimes and make changes that actually aren't for the better...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm also a guitarist! That is one special Les Paul with that kind of price tag. My most expensive guitar was only $3500.

nashvillecats2 said...

Congrats to Sandy, I too have been to Nashville some years ago, had a great time. Enjoyed the post Susan.


betty said...

Sounds like an interesting book; I might have to try it out. My husband is also a musician and owns about 10 guitars of varying value :) Good luck with the book!


Pat Hatt said...

Sometimes it is sure better to follow ones instincts than to ignore them.

messymimi said...

My Sweetie is a gear head/tone freak who can relate to how much those special instruments mean to musicians. His stuff is not special enough to warrant extra insurance, but he sure does dream about someday.

LibraryAnn said...

Great book! I would recommend it to anyone. Good job, Sandy!