Easy as Pie at Bobby's Diner: Interview with Women Fiction Author Susan Wingate

Award-winning author, Susan Wingate, gets a monthly column about writing and the publishing industry in her local newspaper, The Journal of the San Juan Islands. She will also be posting weekly discussions about the writing industry for the regional online newspaper, the PNWLocalNews.com site.

You can view Wingate’s discussions by clicking on the “Entertainment” tab and then finding Wingate’s discussions under the “Blogs” section of the Entertainment Page.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona to James & Amie Ajamie (a writer and an artist, respectively), Susan Wingate tried to fly, at age five off the roof of their family house using newspaper, wire hangers and scotch tape. She’s been dreaming of flying ever since. Oh, by the way, she never jumped. Her mother ran out in the nick of time to stop her from take-off.

Wingate realized her dreams when she entered the world of writing. At first, she only wrote songs and poetry but then her writing blossomed when she tried her hand at fiction. In 1997, she devoted her days to writing and in 2004, she began writing full-time. Since then, Susan has written several plays, one screenplay, one short story collection and seven novels with two more scheduled to be written in 2010. In 2008, she started writing a memoir.

A lover of the arts, Susan draws and paints abstracts using oil as her favored medium. She has taken up playing the violin (it’s been a squeakly start) and she loves the theatre. Susan lives in Washington State.

Wingate’s novel, Bobby’s Diner, received three finalist awards in the following book competitions:

■2010 International Book Awards,

■2009 National Book Awards (USA Book News),

■2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

In May 2010, two of Wingate’s novels were released, they are:


EASY AS PIE AT BOBBY’S DINER (the no. 2 book in the Bobby’s Diner Series)

“Camouflage,” Wingate’s fourth novel (written as Myah Lin) received a Finalist Award and an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2009 Textnovel Writing Contest.

To date, Wingate has written seven novels, two short story collections, a memoir, hundreds of poems, a few plays for theatre and one screenplay.

Her books can be found online and in bookstores across the country and her articles, short stories and poetry can be found in magazines, journals and reviews.

Locally, Wingate volunteers with the San Juan Island Library. She offers workshops, readings and presentations at writing conferences, bookstores and libraries throughout the country.

You can visit her website at www.susanwingate.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Susan. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner?

What a great question. First off, I have been writing on and off all of my life but seriously, now, for over 15 years. I began writing full-time in 2004.

I love talking about this sort of thing and how Easy as Pie came to be published because it didn’t take the normal course people generally believe books take.

In 2006, I had just completed the writing of my very first novel--a 10-year project--and wondered if I could write another one. I really didn’t know. So, I challenged myself and wrote Bobby’s Diner (book #1 in the Bobby’s Diner Series). From start to finish, the writing took me just over four months. I proved to myself I could write another novel, and, much faster than the first. But, because I wrote the second novel so quickly (after having labored over my first one), I believed that no one would think it was any good. So, I filed it away.

Two years later, my husband and I were sitting down to a meal and talking about work I had recently published, some short fiction, poetry and articles. He asked me whatever happened to Kiss of the Doe—that was the working title of Bobby’s Diner before I changed it. I hemmed and hawed and he told me I should just send it out.

Well, it turns out he was right because it got picked up by a publisher for an ebook within 5 months and by August 2009 Bobby's Diner was in print.

However, I never intended the story to become a series. But, the publisher of Easy as Pie, Blue Star Books, had read Bobby's Diner. He called me one day in April telling me he liked it and offered me a 3-book contract to make it into a series.

Q: I love your title! Can you tell us why you chose it?

I get mixed feelings from people about this title. People either love it or hate it but everyone who reads Easy as Pie at Bobby's Diner, gets the title.

For the series, the publisher wanted to use a theme for title and because the series falls under the genres of women’s fiction/suspense/amateur sleuth, I thought using Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner would translate to the markets where the book might be shelved in bookstores or in libraries.

The title is tongue-in cheek. Nothing at Bobby’s Diner is ever easy.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

I think because the main character, Georgette Carlisle is so genuine and is always ending up in some sort of trouble. Her story is just a fun one to tell.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

Blue Star Books has set up most of the stops on the live book tour plus they sent out a large number of galleys to reviewers. But, really, the onus of publicity is falling ever more rapidly onto the shoulders of the author.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

The Bobby’s Diner Series has been spoken of as a younger Miss Marple investigating the crime of Capote’s In Cold Blood. The first book has been compared to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ©. But, the story is so completely different than that. I guess, it feels similar.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Trouble, trouble, trouble! And, loads of suspense. Roberta is explaining to Georgette that the police have found a dead body...

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. Many!

In fact, I just recently completed book #3 of the Bobby’s Diner Series. That book is called Rocky Roads at Bobby’s Diner. The manuscript is with the publisher now and the book is scheduled for release in November 2011.

As well, I’ve written seven novels to date. Four are published and I’m shopping around the other three plus I have another book--a young adult fantasy novel--scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Susan. Do you have any final words?

Thank YOU! And, yes, for all of those people who want to write but don’t know where to start, just sit down and start to type. Amazing things will come out of your fingertips if you just let them. And, if you get stuck, email me. I'm happy to help. Plus, my website is www.susanwingate.com. I post a blog there about writing and about the publishing industry. Thanks again for the wonderful questions.

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