Interview with Susan L Spahn

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. We had wonderful neighbors and it was a great place to live. We also had a cottage up north at Lake Camelot, which is where the accident happened. My brother and I knew this story needed to be told, and we finally decided to do it. This is an educational book, as well as a true account of my brother's life. Bill Spahn has been paralyzed twice in his lifetime, once by a diving accident and the second time was due to surgical error. Bill retired at the age of 45 as a multi-millionaire - he overcame great odds to become a very successful businessman. Our family never told Bill that he would never walk - no one ever gave up on him.
What's the story behind your latest book?
At the age of 12, my brother Bill Spahn dove into the lake and broke his neck. Every doctor we saw told my parents that Billy was a quadraplegic and he should be put in a nursing home. My father never accepted this prognosis and he invented equipment and he, my mother, my sisters and I pushed and exercised Billy every day. After four months he came home from the hospital and my father worked with him every day, until he was able to walk and regain his life. Bill retired at the age of 45 as a successful businessman. This is a true testament to what love, hope, courage and faith can accomplish. This is a memorable, truly inspirational success story you will not soon forget.
When did you first start writing?
In 2008 I was taking courses at a local university trying to finish my degree. When I took the writing course, it felt right. One of our assignments had to do with making up a book cover, front and back, and I came up with writing a book called Never Give Up, the true story about my brother's life. It took me eight years of interviews, researching and taking writing and publishing courses to finish the book. Hopefully, it will save many children and their families from the pain and heartache Billy had to endure.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I took several classes and have read many books about writing and publishing. Having spent eight years writing this and having so many wonderful friends helping me along the way, I decided being an indie author suited me. This project has been at the top of my To Do list for so long, I didn't want to turn it over to anyone else. Hopefully, I made the right decision!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing this book for me will be when I hear of children whose lives have been saved because of this book. And meeting parents who decided not to give up on their loved ones because of this book. That will be the greatest accomplishment I could ask for. Since the book was published I have had several people tell me that they have changed the way they use their swimming pools and are more watchful when at the lake. I have had one father or a young man who was in a motorcycle accident and paralyzed from the waist down, who had given up, tell me that he and his son read my book and it changed his whole outlook on life. Most people who read this book tell me once they start they can't put it down. Many have told me they have laughed and cried - in fact, everyone has cried at some point while reading my book.
What do your fans mean to you?
I hope to educated people about diving and drowning and that there are times when doctors are wrong. That if you're told you should put someone in a nursing home - that you don't listen - that instead you put forth your love, interest and time into doing anything you can to change that person's life. I hope people learn to never give up on themselves or their loved ones.

A fan, to me, will be someone whose life is changed by reading this book. And someone who recommends it!
What are you working on next?
I have been asked to write two other biographies. One is also about my brother - how to become successful in the face of adversity and overcoming so many hardships. The other is the story about a woman who has faced unbelievable hardships in her life - from being kidnapped and locked up in a basement and given only Cheerios and water for months to becoming an alcoholic and drug addict. She became pregnant and completely gave up on alcohol and drugs, only to have her child kidnapped. I need to gather more information on both stories to determine which one will be my next project. I would love to write a book some day for children on how to choose the right animal, and how to treat dogs (or other domestic animals) from puppies to the point where they become your best friend. I love dogs so much, it's a project that would be very close to my heart.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Stephen Frey, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts and Stephan King.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Although I wish I could retire and write all day, I have to get out of bed every day to go to work!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love my dogs and enjoy tossing a ball or Frisbee around the yard, taking them to the dog park or for a walk. I enjoy spending time with my family and love fishing with my dad and brother. I don't use any bait - I go for the conversation and just to relax and feel the sun on my face. I also read at least one book a week. I love watching my grandson playing football or wrestling and when I can find the time, I relax by knitting or crocheting in front of the fireplace.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I always check out the Recommended for You section. I like to read new authors, and will read several series books in a certain genre before I look for a different author to enjoy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Never Give Up is the first story I have ever written.
How do you approach cover design?
I searched for hours and days to find the perfect cover for my book. I think it's just perfect. I wanted the cover to look realistic - and it looks like something my brother would have worn swimming up at the lake. The boy actually looks like my brother - although he has blonde hair and his hair was never that long !!! I have had many people ask me if it's my brother on the cover. It amazes me, but nobody in our family has a photo of Billy diving into the lake. I paid $25 for the photo - but it was worth it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle Fire.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have plans, but until the book is published I've just been advising people on Facebook. I have numerous book signings set up and had a lot of ideas!

I would like to get this book into schools - for children between the ages of about 10-14 - it seems like that's about the time that kids make decisions that, at the time, they don't realize can have terrible consequences on the rest of their lives.

So far, word of mouth and I've had several people call me and ask me to do book signings - these always work out well. Next week I'm going to send out some letters to television shows, magazines.... If you don't try - you don't know what will happen. And I was raised to ....Never Give Up!!!
Describe your desk
I have a beautiful roll top desk in my home office with a very comfortable leather chair. However, my desk is generally the coffee table in my living room, sitting on the couch between my two dogs!
Published 2016-10-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Never Give Up
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 39,900. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
On July 3, 1975, Billy dove into the lake and broke his neck. His family was told he was a quadriplegic and he should be put in a nursing home. His family never accepted that prognosis and they never told Billy that he wouldn’t walk again.