Friday, May 16, 2014


1. Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?

RS – That changes each day. Right now, Robert Rotenberg has been helping me take my writing to the next level. He's a master craftsman and a natural born teacher.

2. What are you working on now?

RS – A few things. My novel-in-progress is either a medical thriller or science fiction. (Hopefully once it's done I'll know the answer.) I'm writing Rob Ford fan fiction on Wattpad, which is kind of off the wall but great to vent strong emotions through the lens of an obnoxious misogynist. And I'm devoting a chunk of time/writing energy to a local environmental cause, in opposition to the BC government who wants to turn the wild, serene fjord where I live into an industrial alley with smog and pollution.

3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?

RS – Clare Vengel is a combination of the fearless chick I wish I was and the reckless twentysomething I used to be. We both ride a motorcycle, we both abhor being boxed in by rules and social conventions. And we're both much more sensitive than we try to let on.

4. Are you character driven or plot driven?

RS – Both drive me equally.

5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

RS – I fly by the seat of my pants through my first draft, then try to outline from there.

6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

RS – Depends on the book. Dead Politician Society was pure fun, so my only goal was entertainment (and maybe some political jabs at public figures who frustrated me). Death's Last Run was a bit darker but still fun, exploring issues like drug laws and addiction. The one I'm working on now is also a fast-paced adventure, but its tone is far more serious than any of the Clare series. I guess I hope a reader takes away the emotion I put into a book, whether that's rollicking laughs or an exploration of evil. Or both. I also want to leave them sleep deprived—my favorite compliment is “I was up all night flipping pages.”

7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?

RS – Right here in my office, overlooking what I hope is still serene wilderness with fishing boats and dolphins arcing instead of a smog-filled industrial alley. I don't really care if I achieve crazy sales or bestseller status, but I do want to push myself forward as a writer, trying new things and taking more chances, to keep trying to write the best books I can as I get older.

8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

RS – I am not a risk taker. A lot of people have read the Clare books and thought I must be wild at heart. I do love adventure, but I approach new things with extreme caution. Just ask my husband, who rides the black diamonds while I cruise easy runs on my snowboard, and who would love to take our boat across the Strait of Georgia to the west coast of Vancouver Island, but is waiting for me to lose my fear of open water. (Which will happen as soon as I've studied charts and statistics to comfort myself. And I'll probably insist we wear survival suits.)

9. What do you like to read for pleasure?

RS – Smart, fast-paced contemporary female fiction. Gone Girl was a recent favorite, as was Kim Moritsugu's The Oakdale Dinner Club.

10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet

RS (borrowing from DJ McIntosh's blurb of Death's Last Run) – A racy tale of drugs and murder in Whistler's snowbound fast lane.

Robin Spano is the author of the Clare Vengel mystery series published by ECW Press. She lives with her husband in Lions Bay, BC, where she's hard at work on her next novel in between gardening breaks.

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