Writer Robin Spano Answers The HN Questionnaire

Writer: Robin Spano, author of the Clare Vengel Undercover Novels. The first, Dead Politicians Society, was published in 2010. The next in the series, Death Plays Poker, is due out in October 2011.

Currently residing in: Lions Bay, BC

Website: www.robinspano.com

On Twitter? I love Twitter. I’m @Robin_Spano

What’s going on in your writing life right now? I am fighting with a manuscript that’s due at the end of the summer. Not sure who will win.

What’s your writing routine: I write first thing in the morning and keep going until my brain atrophies. Sometimes this happens at 10 a.m.; other times it keeps working until a civilized drinking hour, so I pour a glass of wine and keep on going.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? Always strong black coffee, but the food changes each day. Sometimes I poach my husband’s cereal so he has to make another bowl. Other times there will be a delicious lemon square in the fridge that calls my name. But for brain food, I think my favourite working breakfast is dense rye bread with hummus.

What good books have you read recently? Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann, The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson

What did you eat for dinner last night? Chicken fajitas.

Writing rule you live by: I try to choose the shortest word that does the job. In every way, I aim to be the opposite of Conrad Black.

Foodstuffs you’re fiending these days: Saltspring Island coffee, Howe Sound beer, Whole Foods entire meat counter.

A scene or piece you’ve written that features food: In Death Plays Poker, Clare meets her handler at a downtown Vancouver restaurant to discuss a new murder. Clare is annoyed that the place is too precious to have “normal” food, like burgers and club sandwiches. Her handler suggests the pollo pancetta panini, claiming it’s like a club sandwich. Clare orders it, but doesn’t care much for the sandwich or her handler.

Favorite restaurants: Dinner: Amici in West Vancouver, BC
Lunch: Green Lemongrass in Richmond, BC
Breakfast: Cimona Cafe in Steveston, BC

Cioppino from Amici

Three formative books from your youth: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.

Three formative books from your adulthood: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (feel free to make fun of me but I loved that book), The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Dishes/recipes in regular rotation in your cooking repertoire: Bouillabaisse, grilled halibut with ratatouille, giant salads with tons of protein.

Random bit of writing advice: Don’t be afraid to write badly – just make sure you edit well.

What do you do when not writing, eating or reading? Ride my motorcycle into town for groceries while listening to music; explore Vancouver’s waterways in our clunker of a boat, Little Trollop; snowboard on the local mountains (I’m a really bad snowboarder but I have so much fun doing it).

What’s your idea of comfort food and comfort reading? Chicken cacciatore & an Elizabeth George novel.

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