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Interview: Susan Wingate, Author of Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner

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Susan Wingate, born in Phoenix, AZ, began life with adventure.  At the age of five, Ms. Wingate attempted to fly from the roof of her family home, using only newspaper, wire hangers and scotch tape.  Don’t panic – her mother came out and stopped her in the nick of time.  However, Ms. Wingate’s dreams of flying continue to this day.  Following that adventure, she stuck with dance lessons, on the safety of solid ground, before moving on to acting, drama club, even participating in a two-month acting tour with a fly-by-night troupe called The Robinhood Players, as well as teaching aerobics, waitressing and bartending.  All this before the age of 20!

Susan Wingate went on to graduate from AZ State University in 1994, with an undergraduate degree in accounting.  It didn’t take long for the writing bug to bite and when it did, Ms. Wingate decided to take on the adventure of running a bed & breakfast, on an island in Washington State, for three years, to help support her writing career.  However, she found herself closing the doors to the b&b soon after September 11, 2001.

Ms. Wingate’s writing career has taken off on broad wings of success, including several plays, one screenplay, two short story collections and seven novels –  four of which have been published and another two slated for publication in 2011 and 2012.  Susan Wingate’s amateur slueth series, “The Bobby’s Diner Series” – Bobby’s Diner (book #1) and Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner (book #2)–has received acclaim through literary criticism and in book competitions.

Susan Wingate also writes under the pseudonyms of, Myah Lin (literary fiction) and JJ Adams (noir mystery).

She resides in Washington State with her husband, where she also posts a monthly column about writing and the publishing industry in her local newspaper, The Journal of the San Juan Islands.  In addition, Ms. Wingate posts weekly discussions about the writing industry for the regional online newspaper, the PNWLocalNews.com site.  Readers can find Ms. Wingate’s discussions by clicking on the “Entertainment” tab and then finding her discussions under the “Blogs” section of the Entertainment Page.

Readers can find out more about Susan Wingate and her work by visiting her website as well as emailing her at: susan@susanwingate.com.

Please tell us a bit about your book: Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner – characters, plot, etc.

Well, this is one of the little “sound” bites I was asked to do for the book. And, I really think it sums up the story nicely without giving too much away. It goes like this, “Life at the diner had gotten complicated for Georgette… again. After a whirlwind romance with Hawthorne prompts from him a 3-carat diamond ring, one of her closest friends is found brutally murdered. The wedding announcement seems to irk Willy, Sunnydale’s police chief. But, wait! Where’s Gangster, her beloved cat? As people begin to point fingers, Georgette is certain Hawthorne isn’t involved in the crime. That is, until, he goes missing too.”

Georgette Carlisle is the main character and ever since she inherited Bobby’s Diner from her late husband, it has been the number one locale coveted by Zach Pinzer — a land developer from Phoenix, Arizona. I guess you could say that Pinzer and Georgette are arch enemies. However, I’m not really sure Georgette is aware of that fact.

If you could meet, in person, any of your characters, who would it be and why?

Oh boy. This is a tough one. There are so many juicy characters in the Bobby’s Diner Series. But, I’d have to say, the one I would like to spend time with mostly is Georgette. She’s a kind-hearted soul and just a nice lady.

If you could fictionalize yourself and put yourself in any situation, how would it play out? Could you give us a scene/scenario of such an occurrence?

Well, I know what my fictional name might be: Rayette Chandler! I love Raymond Chandler… obviously. Okay. How would it play out. Well, see, I’d be in this here bar, ya know, waiting for some guy. Any guy. Dress? Blue. Blue as the Hope Diamond and with a slit from my ankle to the top of where the devil doesn’t dare tread… (and it would go on something like this for a while!).

Do you have any particular habits that you do while writing? Places you write the best, foods, drinks, etc that help set your “writing mood”?

I work either in my bed or on the couch. Some comfortable spot so I don’t have to worry about posture or anything, just words. I drink an inordinate amount of Earl Grey tea while I’m working. It keeps me awake without making me feel all jittery.

What are you reading right now?

Darkly Dreaming Dexter and I Thought You Were Dead.

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?

Raymond Chandler, Kurt Vonnegut, Truman Capote, Margaret Atwood, Joan Didion, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jane Austin, Ann Sewell, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, Anthony Conan Doyle, the list is long and diverse.

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Oh man. It’s a toss up between Kurt Vonnegut, Edgar Allan Poe, Truman Capote and Raymond Chandler. And, if I really had to choose only one ’cause I could invite them all over for a smashing dinner if they’d just resurrect themselves, well then I’d have to say Truman Capote. I think Truman Capote would not only teach me some wonderful things but he would make me laugh wildly too.

Okay, here are a few “get to know you better” questions:

Please share with us a favorite memory.

Eating cherries in his blue truck and chasing thunderstorms with my dad.

Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present.

At home devouring stuffed grape leaves, hummus, tabouli, and baklava for dessert. My husband and me, candlelight, and swing music in the background.

What are some of your favorite ways to relax?

Oddly, I like making my house look pretty so sometimes puttering around cleaning and polishing relaxes me. When my house starts getting dirty, I start to get very anxious. I don’t know why but it really bothers me to see a bunch of cat ‘tumbleweeds’ and grit on the floor.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Well, this comes with a bit of an explanation. Right now, we live on five acres on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. It’s gorgeous here so I’m already living where many people would love to live. I have 30 animals — cats, dogs and birds — plus hordes of wild animals who I tend to on a daily basis. I don’t think I could ever willingly leave this place… however! If I had no ties whatsoever, no animals, no husband, no family commitments, I would love to live in a small funky apartment in Paris or somewhere from Provence north to Paris. I love France.

If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol.

Jonathan Safran Foer. This is a really unfair question! LOL!

Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.

Gosh. I think if we have dreams, then by nature they’re still works in progress. I have many dreams — career dreams and non-career dreams that I like to call “life” dreams. My life dreams are so completely unattainable that I tend to write about them, they culminate into stories. My career dreams tend to be more practicle and are completely attainable.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Feeding wildlife around the property.

If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?

I’m quoting here but this is my favorite “life” wish: “Let brotherly love continue: for when you entertain strangers, you may have entertained angels unawares.” I think I took a bit of liberty and paraphrased this great verse from Hebrews 13:1.

Thank you for allowing me time to ramble and become completely self-absorbed! LOL. -Susan :)

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About April Pohren

  • http://www.susanwingate.com Susan Wingate

    Thank you so much for posting my information today. Your effort and time mean the world to me.
    All my best, Susan.

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