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Blogger Noah JD Chinn recently reviewed Robin Spano's newest book in her Clare Vengel Undercover mystery series, Death's Last Run. After reading, he writes, "Death’s Last Run is a great instalment in a fine series of mysteries, and I look forward to reading the next one." He also adds that "It doesn’t hurt that her main love interest’s name is Noah"!
Robin Spano, author of the Clare Vengel Undercover mystery series, was recently interviewed by Canadian book site 49th Shelf. The article, entitled "Creating an Unconventional Detective Heroine: An Interview With Robin Spano", discusses how Spano brought her spunky underdog hero Clare Vengel to life, defying conventional gender roles, and the difficulty of crafting a twisting, turning puzzle of a plot for each new mystery. Read the excerpt below, and click on the link above to read the interview in its entirety!
Robin Spano's detective protagonist, Clare Vengel, has been described as "sexy, sharp-tongued, and smart as hell ... a fully three-dimensional badass" (Owen Laukkannen) and as "an older, less formulaic, slightly slutty grown-up Nancy Drew" (FNord Inc.) She's now captivating readers in the third book of Spano's series, Death's Last Run; we talk to Spano about what it's like to write Vengel and genre in this interview.
Kiley Turner: As a female author writing a female protagonist, are you conscious of gender stereotypes when you’re writing Clare?
Robin Spano: Clare is sexually adventurous, which I think is typical of twenty-somethings today. That throws some readers off—they're used to James Bond, but not women with healthy sexual appetites who take the lead in relationships. She's a great mechanic; she can shine in a man's world that way. I'm not conscious of gender conventions while writing, but I am committed to letting Clare be fully herself, gender roles be damned. Still, I had fun throwing her a cover role in Death Plays Poker that forced her to wear makeup and high heels. She fought, but she wore them well.
KT: How much do you think of genre conventions when writing and how much do you go off the beaten track?
RS: I break one major rule: the hero is supposed to be great at their job. Clare isn't—not at first. She has talent, but she shoots herself in the foot with her stubborn resistance to authority. The series is about her shedding her fears and evolving into a strong, confident woman—and only then will she truly shine at her profession.
KT: Do you write with an audience in mind? Or is it more “this is my thing and whoever reads it, reads it”?
RS: The series belongs to readers and me equally. After Dead Politician Society, readers said it was a fun read but they wanted to see deeper inside Clare. I liked that advice, so in Death Plays Poker I gave her more air time and more introspection. After those two books, readers wanted to see Clare interact with her family. I agreed with that too, so in Death's Last Run there's a scene where she's home in Orillia visiting her father in the hospital.
I don't heed advice if I disagree. One reader was appalled that there was a lesbian couple. She said something like, "When I came to the part about the same-sex relationship, I stopped reading and promptly deleted this from my Nook." Since I don't think she's my target reader, I wasn't compelled to tone down my liberal social views.
Author David Tsubouchi was recently interviewed about his new book Gambatte: Generations of Perseverance and Politics, A Memoir, for YorkRegion.com, a community website serving residents and businesses of York Region. Interviewer Chris Traber says of the book: "Markhamites, political junkies, York Region residents alike will enjoy the well-paced and fluidly written book. Layered with backstage insight, names and stories about private late-night Ontario Art Gallery tours with The Rolling Stones, Mr. Tsubouchi has, as the translation implies, achieved Gambatte."
All are welcome!
New YA novel The Lake and the Library by S.M. Beiko was reviewed in the May 18th, 2013 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. Reviewer Helen Norrie says of the book: "The Lake and the Library could be called a tribute to the power of books, and it is certainly an auspicious first novel by a new Winnipeg author."