Sunday 6 October 2013

An Interview with Susan Spann

Today an interview with Susan Spann, author of the Shinobi Mystery series. A series that is high on my wishlist.

Today is also the last day of the Between Dreams & Reality - Pearls Cast Before A McPig Event on my blog. There will be a last post tomorrow on Between Dreams & Reality. So don't forget to leave some author love in the comments, because I'll be picking an event winner on October 13th.

Welcome to Pearls Cast Before A McPig, Susan.
Could you tell a bit about yourself for those people who don’t know you yet?

Thank you for inviting me here today!

In addition to writing the Shinobi Mystery series, I’m a California publishing attorney – a transactional specialist, which means I don’t sue people or spend much time in court. When I’m not writing, I work with authors, publishers, and businesspeople on contracts and other document and business-based legal issues.

But mostly, I love to write.

Could you tell a bit about your books?

The Shinobi Mysteries feature the ongoing adventures of ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Together, they solve crimes in 16th century Kyoto.

The first book, Claws of the Cat, involves the murder of a samurai in a Kyoto teahouse. Book two, Blade of the Samurai, forces Hiro and Father Mateo to catch a killer stalking the shogun’s compound, and each additional book in the series will feature a different samurai-era setting.

How many books will there be in the Shinobi Mystery series?

As many as my publisher lets me write! At present, I have twelve books outlined and at least as many more in “rough idea” form. I love Hiro and Father Mateo, and hope to spend many years in their company.

Are there any other projects you’re working on at the moment?

Yep. But if I told you, I’d have to kill you. What I can say is that the new project is also series-based and that I expect fans of Hiro and Father Mateo will find it as exciting as I do. I’ll say more as soon as I can!

Have you ever used people you know as characters in your books?

Not as entire people, but I have borrowed character traits. For example, Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, has a distinctive habit of saying “HM” before speaking when she’s frustrated. I borrowed that trait from my father (who’s now deceased). There are others, too.
Distinctive personal traits are easy to carry over without forcing the character to “match” a real person. For me, it’s the best of both worlds.

If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

Probably not. I’d love to live in Hiro’s world as I’ve written it, but my age and my gender would make life in 16th century Japan substantially harder for me than it is for Hiro.

Plus, I’m not a big fan of the whole “squat toilet” thing. I like my indoor plumbing.

Where can you be found when you’re not at your desk writing?

Usually with my nose in a book or my arms shoulder-deep in my marine aquarium, feeding the seahorses. I’ve heard there’s a “world” outside the walls of my house, but I’m treating that as a dangerous, unconfirmed rumor.

What did you do to celebrate the release of your first book?

I had dinner at a favorite Thai restaurant with my family and a few close friends. I ate cupcakes. I danced naked with a unicorn under a full moon.

Well, ok, one of those is a lie. I’ll leave you to figure out which.

What authors have been an influence to you?

How much space do we have? The entire list would take pages to relate, but I’ll give you a few of the highlights:

In terms of “inspiration from afar,” I love the works of Michael Crichton, Lee Child, James Rollins, and Laura Joh Rowland – I read their books and I aspire to write as well as they do.

Closer to home, I have author friends who inspire me to keep writing and who urge me to stay on the path when things get difficult. Heather Webb, whose debut novel BECOMING JOSEPHINE releases in January 2014, is one of those, as is my friend and critique partner Marci Jefferson (author of GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN, which also releases in early 2014). Kerry Schafer, who recently had an interview here for her debut fantasy novel, BETWEEN, is another. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful group of supportive author friends who encourage and inspire me.

And have you read any books lately that you want to share with us or have you been too busy with writing to read?

Again, too numerous to mention! The highlights, however, would have to include James Rollins’s THE EYE OF GOD, Kerry Schafer’s BETWEEN (I’m eagerly anticipating her upcoming sequel, WAKEWORLD), and J.A. Kazimer’s FROGGY STYLE, which I just picked up at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold conference last weekend – FROGGY STYLE has been out for a while, but I wanted an autographed copy so I waited because I knew she’d be there to sign it for me!

Are there zombies or pigs in any of your books or will there be any in future books?

I’m afraid there weren’t many zombies in samurai-era Kyoto (death by beheading tends to limit the Zed population), but there will be pigs! In fact, I’m toying with the idea of a pet pig for one of my supporting characters later in the series. The biggest roadblock to that so far is the fact that most Japanese pigs eventually ended up the “honored guests” at family dinners, and I didn’t want my audience getting attached to someone I knew would become an entree. (Sorry, Sullivan!) If I can find a way to keep the pig alive, I’ll make it happen.

Thank you again for inviting me here for an interview – I’ve had a great time!

Thanks for dropping by.
And you are right. No pig is better than a pig who ends up as food.

About Claws of the Cat:

When a samurai is brutally murdered in a Kyoto teahouse, master ninja Hiro Hattori has just three days to find the killer before the dead man’s vengeful son kills both the beautiful geisha accused of the crime and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest that Hiro has pledged his own life to protect. The investigation plunges Hiro and Father Mateo into the dangerous waters of Kyoto’s floating world, where they quickly learn that everyone from an elusive teahouse owner to the dead man’s dishonored brother has a motive to keep the samurai’s death a mystery.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


Don't forget to leave a comment:
I decided to have an event wide giveaway on my blog for commenters.

At the end of this event I'll pick one commenter on any author post of this event at random and that person will win a book of his/her choice as long as bookdepository ships to where you live, you're legally allowed to enter, and the book costs no more than 10$

And drop by Between Dreams and Reality as well for more great author posts.


Mary Preston said...

I'm loving the idea of a crime series set in 16th century Kyoto.

Maia said...

I haven't read a lot of books set in Japan, only The Tõkaidõ Road by Lucia St Clair Robson, comes to mind. But this sounds interesting. I'll keep it in mind

miki said...

The idea of a detective team in the 16th japan is calling to me^^ i'm curious about how they met

thank you for this discovery ( and i do hope the pig will stay alive^^)

Aurian said...

A new mystery series for me to discover, thanks for the interview ladies! I have read James Clavell and that time period is so intriguing.

Susan Spann said...

Thank you so much for hosting me, Sullivan! This was a really fun interview, and I appreciate the chance to talk with you about the book.