Susan Wingate, award-winning, bestselling author, has written nine novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest novel Drowning (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards.
Hi Susan, please tell everyone a bit about yourself.
Susan: I co-host the very popular talk radio show, “Dialogue: Between the Lines.” I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated from AZ State University in 1994 with an undergraduate degree in accounting. Three years later, I moved from Phoenix to an island in Washington State where I began to concentrate fully on writing. After the writing “bug” bit me, I quit accounting to write full-time. Since then, I’ve written several plays, one screenplay, two short story collections and nine novels. My amateur sleuth series entitled The Bobby’s Diner Series has received acclaim from reviewers and in book competitions. My pseudonyms include, Myah Lin (literary fiction) and JJ Adams (noir mystery). My gritty novel, A Falling of Law (JJ Adams) is often described as Chandleresque in style. Writing as Myah Lin, my novella, Camouflage was a Finalist and received an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2009 Textnovel Writing Contest.
As a lover of education and the arts, I teach writing, draw and paint abstracts using oil as my favored medium. I still live in Washington State with my husband and a bunch of crazy animals.
When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
Susan: My passion for writing really took hold in my thirties. I guess you could say I was a late bloomer. I always enjoyed writing but had some negative writing experiences very early on that colored my ambitions to the point of quelling the longing to write all together — for a while, that is. Then, it seemed nothing could keep me from putting pen to paper. At first I wrote poetry, then short stories, then on my move from Phoenix to Washington State, I formulated an idea for a novel, for the entire 1900-mile drive. The moment I set foot into my new home, I dragged out my ring-bound notebook and started to scribble. It felt like I hadn’t been alive before that moment. I knew writing would be my life from then on.
When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?
Susan: Well, our goals change as we grow in writing but my very first goal was to write a novel. It was like baby steps. I’d never written a novel and I really had no right to be writing one then! Only three years before my move, I’d gotten my bachelor’s degree in accounting but my life was undergoing a big metamorphosis. I honestly believe that the urge to write in me was so strong that I somehow created this metamorphosis and moved (under the guise of different reasons) in order to get to a place that would feed my muse and could free me to write. By the way, this is the first time I’ve ever expressed what happened to me, in words, written OR thought. So, thank you for the reveal — to your readers and also to me.
A message for readers? Yes. Always do what you love. Grab that brass ring. Now!
Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?
Susan: I’m nearing the close of a year-long book promotion for Drowning, which did remarkably well in sales and in competitions — Thank you, God! And, now my publisher is getting ready to release my debut YA novel entitled Spider Brains. We’re serializing Spider Brains chapter-by-chapter on my blog “Writing from the Couch” at www.susanwingate.com. Spider Brains is the first in a series of four companion books.
What’s the hook for the book?
Susan: Addition Problem: If you have one teenage girl plus a spider bite, what does that equal? Answer: Transformation!
If one were to bake the story Spider Brains into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman — but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit! A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.
Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?
Susan: In Spider Brains? I happen to think Matthew is the most likeable character.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
Susan: Well, my father was a very funny, loving person. He was also a writer. So, I guess you could say that I have inherited my father’s funny gene. He loved words and their usages. I remember many days whether sitting around the table talking or taking long drives through the Arizona desert, my dad would play this game — to make up new words and then give them definitions. I still play it today. In fact, Spider Brains has a few original words slipped in just to keep people on their toes. But, in Spider Brains, Susie Speider loves words too and longs to be the editor of the high school newspaper. The current editor, Tanya, is Susie’s idol.
Today, I live in a home that sits on five acres of lush water-soaked land on an island in the Pacific Northwest. I look out my windows and see snow spattering the ground and patches of grass sneaking through the icy layer. Deer visit each morning, each afternoon for rolled oats, corn and pellets. Eagles perch on an enormous Noble Fir and they peer down into the massive pond for fish and ducks. My windows create a total encapsulation of nature at every turn of your head. It’s like heaven here and I get to sit and write about it. That’s my environment.
Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.
Susan: One that stands out from the crowd just happened, for Spider Brains , I’m happy to say. It was written by another Amazon bestselling author and award-winning novelist, Joshua Graham. This was what he had to say about Spider Brains:
Simply put, Susan Wingate is a master of the written word. In Spider Brains, she weaves a heart-warming tale full of wit and intrigue: a nod to Kafka’s Metamorphosis in a quirky blend with The Princess Diaries. There are laugh out loud moments with the teenage protagonist, Susie Speider, whose voice was well executed and credible. But there are also moments that tug at the heartstrings and even bring a tear to the eye, as we see Susie’s angst when she faces pain from the past, as well as redemption through the relationship with her mother. Whether or not you’re a fan of YA literature, you’ll love Spider Brains. But don’t expect anything ordinary!
I kind of like that one! OMGeee. Who wouldn’t? Right? Thank you, Joshua. J
What are your current projects?
Susan: I’m currently working on an Apocalyptic Thriller entitled Eschatos: The First Witness. I love this story. It will be such a joy to put the final period on this one and then send it out to publishers.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Susan: They can find me all over the internet: at my website www.susanwingate.com, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads, EZRead.com, Amazon.com, B&N.com and Smashwords. My print books can be found in libraries and bookstores across the country as well.
Thanks for joining us today, Susan.
Susan: Thank you so much for hosting me! I’m thrilled to have been asked to contribute to Literature & Fiction.