Friday, February 10, 2012

Please welcome Author Robin Spano

How/why did you start to write?

I started writing when I was a kid. I think it's always been my favorite way to make sense out of human traits that baffle me, like greed or pettiness or people acting out of short-sighted self-interest. Whether the confusing trait is in myself or in someone else, I've always found fiction a good way to explore it in a safe – and generally entertaining – way.


How did you become an author?

I wrote a book from start to finish – as in, I found a premise that compelled me forward and kept me at my desk, because it was fun to write. I then connected that manuscript with a publisher – a cool and quirky guy at the other end of an email in Toronto.


What was your first published piece?

Dead Politician Society. (My first novel.) I know you're supposed to start with short stories and literary journals and stuff, but I never got that memo. I was clueless about the writing industry until I had to dive into it.


Where was it published?

ECW Press – a Toronto publisher I really like working with.


How long ago?

September 2010


What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I waitressed and bartended for years after dropping out of university. This was a good job for me – it got me out of my introverted shell and taught me how to interact with a huge range of people. To do the job well, you have to find real things to like about the people you're serving and working with – genuine points of connection go a long way toward making people comfortable. I credit this with helping me write multiple point of view characters with a range of ages and backgrounds.


What inspires you?

Morning. I wake up excited to get to my computer, to check in with my characters in that half-fresh, half-still dreamy brain state. I get pretty grumpy if someone gets in my path to my computer first thing. Though if my husband is around I will make him a latte first. He's worked hard to help me create this writing life; I like to send him off to work feeling well looked-after.


Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Playing cards for Death Plays Poker. I give cards away at signings and events, and I'll mail packs to people who post honest reviews online.

They're a popular gimmick because they're both useful (people play with them) and relevant to the book. And they're a promotion that keeps on giving – ideally, when a reader cracks out the deck to play cards with them, their friends will say, “Hey, what's that book about?”


Parting words

If you're in Toronto on November 24th, consider yourself invited to the launch party for Death Plays Poker, hosted by ECW Press at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St. 6-8 p.m.

And if you'd like a pack of playing cards, feel free to get in touch!

Author links:

Twitter: @Robin_Spano

17 comments:

Kathleen said...

I enjoyed your interview, Robin! It's always fun finding a new author. Great tip for promo, too.

All the best;)

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for commenting, Kathleen. And I can vouch for how well her tips work. I worked a table with Robin at a writers/readers event. People love Robin's playing cards. :)

Robin Spano said...

Hey thanks Kathleen & Leanne. These were fun questions. Those cards really are a lot of fun. I love hearing stories from people who play with them - especially when they win.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

When I showed the cards to my husband he thought they really cool. When I suggested that we play with them. He told me that they were too special and should be kept for when we have guests. So now, thanks to you Robin, we have company playing cards. :)

Dave P Perlmutter said...

Nice post and blog, have become a follower, check out my blog and also follow if you wish..

http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com/

Great to connect...

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for commenting. I did check out your blog and plan to add it to my blog roll.

holessence said...

Great marketing technique!

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for your comment, Laurie.

Sherry Isaac said...

Hey Robin!

So cool to meet with you at your Toronto launch, and excited to have you at Romance & Beyond later this month!

Bar tending sounds like a great cure for shyness! I've always wanted to, but I'm certain I could never hear drink orders over music.

Robin Spano said...

Sherry, maybe you can bartend at our mythical wine bar/bookstore. I'm thinking soft jazz or funky classical would be good background sounds there.

I'm looking forward to hanging out on the Romance & Beyond blog later this month...every time I write a scene between two lovers I am now thinking of you. Wait that didn't sound good...

Colleen Cross said...

I love Robin's books - and those playing cards too! I can't bring myself to remove them from the cellophane because they're so special :)

Great interview!

Robin Spano said...

Hey I love that these cards are so cherished...but if any of you commenters would like a second pack so you can keep one in the cellophane and play with the other (or a 1st pack for those who don't yet have one) - feel free to message me - robin at robinspano.com - and I will gladly send a pack or two your way :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the excellent posts!

Benni Chisholm said...

Robin is a rare author who had her first novel published without first collecting a dozen rejection slips. What a coup. Having read Dead Politian Society, I can see why that happened. It is a delightful mystery.

Leanne Dyck said...

Yes, a 'no rejection slip' track record is truly amazing. And I enjoyed reading Robin's latest mystery Death's Last Run from the first word to the last.

Robin Spano said...

Benni and Leanne, you guys are wonderful. It's gray here today and chocolate isn't doing the trick, but your comments sure are. Thank you!

Leanne Dyck said...

What comes around, goes around. Write a good book--readers appreciate it. Support other authors--other authors support you.
Keep smiling...