Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Online Friends & Writers Series — Robin Spano

Please welcome Robin Spano to our online community. This is what you’ll find on her bio: Robin grew up in downtown Toronto. She loves books, poker, politics, and exploring on the water. She also loves her motorcycle, a 1987 Virago she bought with waitressing tips when she was 21. Her historical role model is Winston Churchill, more for his independent thinking than his drinking. Her secret dream was to be one of Charlie's Angels, but since real life danger terrifies her, she writes about it instead.

Robin’s a beautiful generous person and I’m grateful she has visited today.

Please tell us why you love writing, and sell your books/yourself to us.

I love writing because it makes me feel solid, like the world stands a chance of making sense. I also love the exponential potential for growth.

Writing Dead Politician Society, I didn't know anything about how to write a book, but I knew I loved writing and wanted to make it a career. So I kept things simple: I tried to plot well and write a clean, entertaining story. (Think Nancy Drew meets Charlie's Angels - not too deep, but hopefully you'll want to turn the pages.)

My protagonist, Clare Vengel, is at a similar place: she's a novice beat cop who doesn't know anything about undercover work, but she craves the excitement and really wants the job. Needless to say, she makes a lot of mistakes.

With each new book in the series, I'm pushing myself and Clare a bit further. Death Plays Poker (coming October 2011), challenges Clare's cop skills and emotional strength a lot more. We can see her learning, growing into her high-risk job.

The third book (untitled, in progress) is more emotional still. The death is more tragic, the motive colder, and Clare is forced to confront her own emotions like she hasn't had to before. The book is still fun and fast - that's the tone of the series - but as I push myself as a writer, I'm pushing Clare as a character, and I can feel both the series and Clare expand at the same time.

If you could travel back in time and talk to yourself, what age would you be and what would you say?

I'd go back to my 13-year-old self and tell her not to be such a bitch.

If you had the opportunity to talk to high school students, what would you talk about and why?

The power of positive thinking. In high school, it's cool to be jaded and negative. A bit of cool is fine - it's fun to try on different faces. But too much negativity thwarts growth, and can limit people's options if they're down on their skills when applying to university. So I'd try to figure out a way to show students how to grab control of their destinies by being positive about them.

There are moments in my life that I’ll never forget, the images are fixed in my mind and the emotions are vibrant and telling. It’s these moments that define who I am, can you share a defining moment in your life?

Seeing my husband smiling out from under his bandaged head after a precarious brain surgery.

What’s on your bucket list that would surprise your family and friends?

It would probably surprise them how little I have on the list. Yeah, I'd love to skydive one day, and travel to South America, and learn to fly a plane. But I can die without doing them. I'd love to have children, but I can't put something on my bucket list if it's out of my control.

What I'd really like to achieve before I die is total inner strength - acting out of compassion all the time, not letting other people's negativity drag me down. Wouldn't it be amazing to reach the end of your life knowing you were the best person you could be?

And, because we love them, do you have a ghost/supernatural story to share?

Tons. But those are better shared in person. Maybe if we're ever on the same continent and we have a bottle of wine, we can talk …

Where’s Robin?

You can follow Robin on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Thanks Robin! In my dreams you'll always be an angel. Please leave a comment and say hi, or follow Robin online.

Disclaimer: Robin hasn’t taught me to count cards, she didn’t give me a ride on her bike, and we didn’t stay up all night drinking wine and telling ghost stories (or did we?). She’s cool, and I wish her lots of success.

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