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Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

Spotlight on Susan Wingate

Susan Wingate is a prolific, award-winning novelist. Author of twelve novels, including two "Bestsellers" on Amazon, Spider Brains: A Love Story and Drowning, Susan also maintains a blog and the Internet Radio program Dialogue: Between The Lines, where she and Joshua Graham chat with authors and industry professionals.

Also a sought after public speaker, Susan can often be found leading workshops, speaking events, and book signings. Click here for her schedule.

I had the pleasure of presenting with Susan at the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference, and I know her to be an absolute powerhouse for PR and understanding the business of being a writer.

Read below for Part II and scroll down for Part I

The Interview Part II

Scroll down to read Part I of my interview with author Susan Wingate!


What do you know now you wish you had known when you first started your writing career?
Patience. Many more things, of course, but me and patience hadn't even met up when I first started out in this business.

You credit Michael Collins as your mentor, how did that relationship work? In what ways did it improve your writing?
Yes. Without Michael Collins I don't believe I would've finished my first novel. The process over two years was through email and phone call. I would submit work to him. He read the work and then we chatted about it. Basically, he concentrated on the good parts of my writing, encouraging me to continue in my own example of good writing. Of course, I had his writing to review as well and many other great authors who I would look too for writing examples. That encouragement is what I was lacking early on when I initially wrote. Not to complain, I'll just skip those days but Michael's teaching ability really stuck with me. He was tender and strict at times. He basically told me, "Just write the damn thing." I have toned down his quote but having someone tell you that, someone of his caliber telling you that you can write and should write. Well, you just do it. And I did.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on two things. Refining work on a mainstream fantasy called THE DEER EFFECT. I'm also about 1/6th of my way into an apocalyptic thriller with a working title called THE ESCHATOS CHRONICLES.

Final Words of Wisdom
Don't quit. If writing novels is your dream, just write and keep writing. The more you write, the more you will have in the way of inventory to sell, either through your own indie publisher or to traditional publishers. In the words of Michael Collins, "Just write the damn thing."

The Interview


Part I

You successfully navigate multiple genres, mystery, YA, contemporary women's fiction ... what are the pros and cons of working in more than one genre?
I love this question. It speaks to the heart of many writers who complain of too many voices in their heads. Or, better put, too many ideas popping into their heads. I'll answer the cons first because although they seem serious, I believe their serious nature can be overcome.
Cons: Readers, publishers and booksellers don't know how to categorize you. With readers, the problem isn't as great. If you tell them, "Look! Now, I've written a mystery novel." They tend to just say, "Cool. I love mysteries." Or, "Eh. Not today." Their concerns are fairly black and white--they'll either read your genre or the won't.
With publishers and booksellers, they may not pick you up to sell you or publish you if you tend to scatter yourself across genres. It's difficult to stay with a publisher because of this and booksellers definitely don't like splitting up their authors across genres. They will but they don't like to.

Pros: You have a greater breadth of a reading audience. You can write whatever you wish because those readers who have become your fans will read whatever you're likely to write. When I write what I enjoy, which may be a YA Fantasy one day and an apocalyptic thriller the next, the readers don't seem to care. They just want to read.

Your most recent book, the YA novel "Spider Brains" recently received "Bestseller" status on Amazon. I know you are amazingly proactive in the PR for your work, what are some of the methods you have honed to make you so successful?
Well, for starters, you must sell your youngest son to a Pharaoh for day labor and give him your eldest daughter as the queen's handmaid. Not really. I believe that a writer will get lost in the flotsam of all the other fabulous writers out there if said writer does not market herself. Plus, you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Amazon has an incredible promotional machine with algorithms that will knock one of  NASA's rockets out of the blue. The algorithms push books within their parameters up the charts when authors go exclusive with them through KDP.Select and also through CreateSpace. If you use a CreateSpace ISBN, Amazon will distribute to more markets than if you use your own ISBN. That's just one example of an author's marketing tactic. There are so many that I could write a book! Ha. I made a funny.

What is your writing process like?
Wonderful. It's the only thing I truly enjoy in my work day. I find it freeing and invigorating. When I write, it takes me a few days to settle back onto the earth. I once wrote a novel in 8 days. It was exhausting but fascinating. I didn't want the story to end but I was working toward the publisher's deadline--which was 8 days away. I don't suggest trying it.

Check Back August 15th for Part II!