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Guest Author Post: ROBIN SPANO on Birds!

September 14, 2010

Please welcome Birds and Words’ first Guest Author Blog Post, by crime writer Robin Spano.She joins us as part of her virtual book tour. Her novel, Dead Politician Society (ECW Press), hit bookstores (and, etc) on September 1.

Robin Spano grew up in Toronto, studied physics in New Brunswick, and dropped out to explore North America on her motorcycle. She met her husband while working as a waitress and helped him run his Toronto pool room until they moved to Vancouver. She writes full time, plotting murder and living vicariously through her undercover protagonist.

Ever since I’ve developed a thing for birds, I’ve been envious of Robin’s name. She has the love of birds inscribed in her very name! I can only imagine how richly birdful my life would be if my mother had named me Blackburnian Warbler, for instance, instead of plain old Julia. Anyhow, I was thrilled to learn that Robin Spano also has an intimate relationship with birds! And….a bonus: if you comment on this post, Robin will answer!


Birds: My Forgotten Acknowledgments

My writing life has lots of birds in it. Some birds inspire me and others get under my skin. Both are useful: we need inspiration to write, and we also need conflict. I am grateful to the following birds, which I forgot to include in my acknowledgments at the end of Dead Politician Society:

Bald Eagles: They glide through the sky and they look like pure freedom. There are a couple who hang out in a nearby tree, and others who nest on Shady Island, in the river across the street. I would like to thank bald eagles for making me feel, metaphorically, like I can fly, and do anything I want in life.

Herons: Wow, do they creep me out. They’re so ugly, but it’s a majestic kind of ugly, and I can’t stop staring at them. I like it when they dive down for a fish, because then I can’t see them for a few seconds while they’re underwater, and it breaks that creepy trance. I would like to thank herons for keeping me in touch with the magic of the truly ugly.

Swans: Swans send tremors of fear through me. When I’m rollerblading into Steveston, there is often a swan or two hanging out with the ducks beside the road. I go very, very slowly (I don’t want to alarm them) and I give them as wide a berth as possible. I’m very afraid that they will bite me, though no swan ever has. I would like to thank swans for keeping fear alive in me, an important emotion when you’re writing crime fiction.

Ducks: Adorable. The way they walk, the way they’re whores for food. They’re just so cute. Thanks, ducks, for keeping my heart light to write lighthearted fiction.

Chicken: Most nights I eat fish for dinner. Sometimes I have steak. But there is the odd time when I feel like something in between. I would like to thank chicken, particularly free-range, hormone free, for being that in-between meat.

Geese: It took me a long time to realize these were geese, because they’re white, so I thought they were gulls. Every year, they gather in the farmer’s field outside my window, preparing for migration. They’re not too bright, because they practice for weeks before they get it right. They’re loud and repetitive; they are probably the biggest disturbance in my quiet writing life. But I work though their loud squawking anyway, and I would like to thank these odd white geese for helping me with both patience and perseverance.

Gulls: Nobody likes gulls. I feel bad for gulls for this reason. Not bad enough to like them, but bad enough to thank gulls for making me feel empathy, probably the single most important resource in a writer’s emotional repertoire.

If you would like to chat more about birds, words, or dead politicians, come on down to the book launch for Dead Politician Society. It’s tomorrow evening—Wednesday, September 15th, 6:30-8:30p.m., at Nicholas Hoare Books in Toronto. Julia and I will both be there, and we would love to meet you, if only to find out who is reading Julia’s snazzy non-birder’s bird blog. No birds or politicians will die at this event.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 7:08 pm

    First time I’ve ever read a dedication to birds, Robin – well done!

  2. September 15, 2010 9:24 am

    Ha ha. Thanks, Alex! Julia and I have been friends since high school, so we really wanted to find a point of connection between my book and her blog for this tour. It was a bit of a stretch, but the emotions I feel for those birds are sincere!

  3. September 16, 2010 9:07 am

    What a charming and entertaining tribute to birds, Robin! I have likewise been inspired by birds, but they take a central role in my Bob White Birder Murder Mysteries. And Julia, I’m with you – who knows what heights of accomplishment you’d be able to reach with a moniker like Blackburnian Warbler? Though that sounds like a downright villianous name….hmmm…maybe I’ll use that in the next novel….

  4. September 17, 2010 12:53 pm

    Ha ha! Pleased to meet a real birder who writes murder!

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