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Interview: Susan Wingate, Author of Spider Brains: A Love Story

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Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, Spider Brains and Drowning each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. Drowning won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books.”

Ms. Wingate has written 11 novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel Drowning  (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan Wingate offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing, and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.

Readers can learn more about Susan Wingate by visiting the following link:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon Page

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

I’d love to. Well, if one were to bake the story Spider Brains into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit! A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.

After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim, a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on the teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she begins visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner?

A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, Spider Brains poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

The actual working title for Spider Brains was Speider: The E is Silent. It was a bit of a mouthful and the publisher wisely asked me to rethink the title.

As for the cover, the publisher involved me every step of the way.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

Maybe this Nano-excerpt will give you an idea of Spider Brains:

ONE – SPEIDER: The E is Silent


Super human kid by night, regular high school teenager by day. I’m a junior. Well, next year.

My name is Susie Speider. The E is silent. My name is NOT pronounced speeder. For crying out loud. We are not a family of racers. Sheesh.

My problem? There are two major-stager problems in my life. My meds, for starters. They say I’m ADD. Yeah. Like, so, I concentrate on the moment du jour. What’s wrong with that?

Then, there’s the issue with my grades. They suck. And, my teacher, Ms. Morlson. She hates my guts! She holds my going or not going to the U in the palm of her cold calloused clammy hands.

But, with the new glasses my mom got me and my new meds, maybe I can improve over the next two years enough to bring my grades up to pass with something decent.

The problem? With these new glasses now I look like a short amorphous geeky version of the svelte coolamundo Morticia from the Addam’s Family but not in a good way and certainly not with her way cool clingy clothes. Plus, with my braces, Lord, I look like the empress of geeks on planet Nerd-O-1.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

Well, I’m pretty active online through social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I also teach a bunch of writing workshops throughout the country and do readings at libraries. Plus, I write guest posts and interviews for other blog sites like this one while on blog tour.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I get up, get a cup of tea, sit down at the computer, check my email, write a blog posting then I start writing on my book du jour for a few hours.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

I like to take my dog, Robert out for walks and I like to organize my house and to just sit and gaze out the window at our beautiful environment. My husband and I live on five acres in the country that sits on a huge ten-acre pond. The pond attracts all sorts of wildlife. It’s a little bit of Heaven.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Most authors who don’t garner huge returns for NY publishers. That’s like 98% of every kind of writer out there.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Kurt Vonnegut. He comes to mind first. I’d like to meet him because he wrote with an acute talent for minimalism. This minimalism never suffered from a lack of meaning, emotion or metaphor.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

I’m currently working on two projects–a companion book to Spider Brains and also an apocalyptic thriller.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I time travel. If I tell you any more, I’d have to kill you.  

Thank you so much for the interview. This has been a delight.

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About April Pohren

  • Thank you so much for having me on your blog today.