I am happy to present Susan Wingate. Susan began writing as a child when she learned her father was a writer.
A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about faith, the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive in this extremely volatile ePublishing industry. She enjoys chatting with folks about her books at writing conferences, libraries and book stores around the country. She also loves to visit with book clubs for more intimate talks.
1.Tell me a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career? Which writers inspire you? Or something that you feel you need to share?
I was such a nerd in high school and always felt out of touch with the cool kids but as I learned later in life, nerdism varies on some continuum that moves from desperately nerdish to nearly cool nerdish. One dear friend from high school contacted me a few years back. We hadn’t talked in a lifetime and he told me that he thought I was cool. Isn’t it funny how we view ourselves? It makes me wonder what the cool kids thought about themselves.
As for English? No, I wasn’t that into the subject. English was my dad’s and sister’s strong study. My strong studies fell to the sciences — algebra, calculus, biology, geology. English and reading felt like being dragged through sludge. Although, when I think back I had read more than I thought. I read all the Nancy Drew mysteries, Black Beauty, Charlotte’s Web, Old Yeller, The Incredible Journey and most of the Hardy Boys books.
Nowadays, my ambitions remain the same as they did when I first thought of writing as a career. I just want to write and create, dream up new ideas and publish my work. Writing better with each new story remains a goal. No fluff. Just guts.
Kurt Vonnegut, Raymond Chandler, Leo Tolstoy, Anne Sewell, Alice Sebold — these authors inspire me to write better fiction. Although, just lately, I read a blogger whose writing is critically awesome. Wish I remembered his site, his name. All I remember is that he stated he’d been genetically altered with puppy DNA. I think that’s hysterical.
2. What was your life like before becoming an author?
I used to be an accountant. When I moved from Phoenix to where I live now, I dropped the numbers game and took up the pen.
My life before now was eight-to-five at a business office. Now, I spend my days in sweats, sitting on the couch and writing my brains out. I love my “now” life. It suits me. Several cats, a dog and birds keep me company and add music to my days. Right now, I’m listening to a ringed-neck dove calling from the other room, a gentle cooing that can sometimes sound like an owl and other times like a woman laughing.
3. Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
The character. Usually. Character issues (in my humble opinion) make or break a story. If the character lacks complexity, a reader will lose interest in her. If she lacks background and off-scene action, readers tend to feel the character isn’t real and we, as writers are charged by readers to suspend their reality if for only 300 pages or so. I believe that suspension of reality comes from a solid character with a yummy problem.
4. When did you decide to become a writer?
I think I always wanted to be a writer. My dad was a writer and I wanted to be like him. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I realized my passion in the written word. A couple of years before my dad died, I started dabbling with poetry. Poetry led to short stories and shorts led to novels.
5. Why do you write?
Heart attack. My heart would stop beating if I didn’t write. My thoughts, prayers, my words and actions all lead me to writing. Without it, I may as well dig my own grave.
6. So, what have you written?
I’ve written everything from poems to novels and back again. My latest novel, SACRIFICE AT SEA is the third book in one of my fiction series entitled the Bobby’s Diner series.
HOTTER THAN HELEN and BOBBY’S DINER respectively precede SACRIFICE AT SEA.
I have a collection of short stories as well called RAVINGS OF A MAD GENTLEWOMAN. And, last April one of my poems, “The Dance of Wind in Trees” made it into the Virginia Quarterly Review. That was a pretty big deal for me. Quite an honor, that.
7. Where people can buy or see them?
People can find me at my website, susanwingate.com and on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and in brick-and-mortar bookstores around the country.
8. Give me an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Georgette Carlisle, the main character of the Bobby’s Diner series is a southern gal who has lived all over the U.S. but who settled in a little town called Sunnydale, Arizona. In each story, Georgette faces personal internal battles as well as external ones that tend to lead her into perilous circumstances. As the head chef at her diner, Bobby’s Diner, most problems arise locally but when Georgette goes on a cruise with her new boyfriend and two other friends, the peril finds her out at sea.
In this thriller series — one that leans toward women’s fiction — Georgette often comes face-to-face with death. Georgette is a woman’s hero in that she is a loner when the vogue is to be coupled, she’s a fighter and a true friend.
9. What sparked the idea for your book?
My husband’s previous relationships and mine. I have one previous marriage. My husband has two before me. As me and my ex grew to be friends, my husband’s exes, have remained stalwart and basically combative. I think it’s a shame. I don’t understand how people who have loved deeply can end up hating one another. Of course, this only goes for relationships where the couple has not been physically or emotionally abusive — my husband is neither. He might be the kindest man I’ve ever known. In fact, I’m sure he is.
10. How do you market your book?
All the modern ways! I market my books mostly through online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn and my website and blog.
11. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
My advice to authors will be to gather as many friends and contacts one can on all sites and to blog regularly — no fewer than twice a week. Connecting with your fan base is key in today’s publishing landscape. Our fans will be your greatest allies.
12. What do you do to get book reviews?
I ask for them. Also, I hire book publicists such as Nikki Leigh to help me promote a title and to get reviews. Book publicists are wonderful people with awesome connections. I highly recommend hiring a book publicist for the release of a new title.
13. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Keep writing and producing stories. A writer’s books are her inventory. We’re in the publishing industry — a huge billion dollar industry — made up of many businesses. Bookstores, publishers, literary agents, and authors are business people in this industry. We as writers must think like business people. If you don’t have product to sell, you won’t sell anything.
Write. All. The. Time. 🙂
14. How can readers discover more about you and your work?
- Website: http://www.susanwingate.com
- Blog: http://susanwingate.wordpress.com/writing-quirk-fiction-from-the-couch-with-susan-wingate
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorsusanwingate
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/susanwingate
- Lnkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanwingate/
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanwingate
- Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Wingate/e/B003CMMERK/
- Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorsusanwingate
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://amzn.to/1e1dEq8
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1856034.Susan_Wingate
It was a great privilege for me to get to interview Susan Wingate, who has inspired me in many different ways. Thank you Susan!!! Good Luck with everything!
P.S. You can read my review of SACRIFICE AT SEA here!!! :):):)