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From the Stage to the Page: James DeVita Takes on Role as Mystery Writer

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UW Press
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James DeVita has previously appeared on Lake Effect to talk about his role in An Iliad at the Milwaukee Rep.  This time, the core member of American Players Theater in Spring Green has taken on a new role as the author of a new mystery novel, called A Winsome Murder.

Writing isn’t brand new for DeVita. He has two novels for young readers under his belt as well as screenplays, which he wrote as playwright in residence at First Stage Children’s Theater.

"I've been in children's literature for so long...and I was a little frustrated with the business end of that, so I wanted to do something completely different," DeVita says.

He approached mystery writing in a new way. "I really had no idea how the book was going to go at all," DeVita says. "I started with a body...and then using your imagination as you come onto the scene things start to reveal themselves to you. It was about three years writing the book before I even knew who did it."

Despite the lengthy amount of time it took to complete the novel, DeVita used his previous experiences in literature and on the stage to take his project in the right direction at his own pace.

"As a writer, as an actor, as a performer...you have to not edit and judge yourself while you're doing the thing you're doing. Sometimes you have to trust those voices that come to you," DeVita says.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.