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Suz Winspear Creature Feature

Mistress LC Harrison is delighted to introduce you to beloved confidante of Tenebrous, Suz Winspear. 

Suz Winspear Photo Courtesy of Adrian Butt

"I don't think I have a side that ISN'T tenebrous!...

Of course I've always been drawn to that which is dark and beautiful, 

to the transgressive and the subversive, to all things weird and bizarre . . . 

I can't imagine myself ever living a 'normal' lifestyle; 

I don't follow the crowd - 

I go with my own interests, and I dress how I want, 

no matter what pressures society exerts towards conformity. 

I'm goth, and I'll always be goth, 

and I don't care what anybody else thinks about it!," 

~ Suz Winspear.

Heralding from the English city of Worcester, that she describes as "an ancient English city with a beautiful medieval cathedral and many historic buildings," the amazing Suz Winspear, resides in a repurposed disused church with carved Gothic pillars and leaded windows, surrounded by cluttered stacks of books, and favorite essentials of this eclectic which include: masks, costumes, Japanese magazines, signed photos and posters of Visual Kei artists, artwork, skulls, Victorian playbills, puppets, dolls, and toy theatres, where she creates her own unique discourses.

Suz Winspear is known for her poetry and prose. She is often found at events in Worcestershire and the West Midlands performing her work. She frequents an event  in Worcester called 42, where there is a monthly genre fiction night. Suz also writes flash fiction, that she describes as, "a form that is growing in popularity - these are micro-stories told in fewer than 300 words. They're difficult to do, but very satisfying." 

Suz can't imagine being anything other than the writer she is. "I've been writing all my life, since I was first able to hold a pencil - I remember writing stories when I was 6 years old, and writing was the only thing I was ever going to do, despite the efforts of parents and school to make me a bit more 'normal' and suited to conventional employment. My imagination was too strong to put aside, even when my mother tried physically to stop me writing by taking away my typewriter (I still had paper and pen!) . . . Essentially, I was born a writer, and can't not write - it's a bit like being possessed, a sort of compulsion - sometimes I'll go into 'Total Writing Mode', when I have to carry a notebook with me wherever I go in order to get it all down when it comes streaming through my mind . . . At times like that, I can write wherever I happen to be, no matter what else is going on - a couple of years ago, there was a Sunday afternoon music event in Worcester when I was in Total Writing Mode, and a friend took a photo of me writing in the middle of a crowd of people who were all eating, drinking and talking, and I was completely oblivious to it all!"

She describes her most recent novel as "a long, complicated tale of transgender vampires from Victorian London to 1930s Germany." Of this novel, Suz says, "That is now doing the rounds of agents and publishers, although I may have to self-publish in the end. After all this time, I've become totally obsessed with my characters and don't want to let go of them, so I'm now in the creative depths of a new novel, set in the same imaginative world as that story, but set a few years earlier, among the travelling shows of Victorian England. It's a bit more steampunk than the first novel, but still with plenty of vampires!"

Suz takes inspiration from Nineteenth Century theatre. She says, "When it comes to the people and things that inspire me and the themes I return to, I think a major one is Nineteenth Century Theatre - I have a passion for everything theatrical, as well as for history, and the Victorian stage is something that has long filled my imagination for its sheer theatrical exuberance, from the great spectacular productions that Henry Irving staged at the Lyceum, and his mesmerising acting style (and yes, that's one of the inspirations behind Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'), right down to the anarchic, dirty dangerous Penny Gaffs of the city slums - the Victorian stage is a long-term obsession of mine - I even spent five years researching and writing the history of the Worcester Theatre Royal, and regularly do a performance about it for local history clubs."

Another great inspiration for Suz is Visual Kei, of which she says, "Visual Kei is another unending inspiration - I came to it several years ago, I was already into manga and anime, and fascinated by Kabuki theatre, but hadn't looked into Japanese music - Then I saw the photo of a band called Versailles - and was immediately captivated! So I went onto You Tube . . . . and the first thing I saw of them was the PV for 'The Revenant Choir'- and was absolutely astounded! This was what I'd been searching for my whole life - it had everything I wanted - fantastic music, vampires, costume, theatricality - I felt as though it was made for me personally! Once I'd got hold of all Versailles' recordings, I started to search for more visual kei - soon found Malice Mizer, D, Phantasmagoria, Kaya . . . . It didn't take me long to become a total VK addict - I'm constantly discovering new bands or re-discovering old ones, and I don't think my enthusiasm for the genre will ever fade, as it is constantly giving me fresh inspiration and stimulation - I'm currently getting very excited by the prospect of a new LiphLich album!"

 "Performance is a major part of my creative existence," says Suz, "There's a lively spoken word performance scene in the UK, and performance poetry is thriving."  Speaking of her own performances, Suz has this to say, "I do prose performances as well as poetry - performing prose effectively and well is particularly difficult; it's much harder to engage an audience, and easier to lose their attention. For this, I devised my Gothic Monologue form - these are stories told in the first person that can equally well be read from the page as stories or performed in front of an audience."

Known for dressing to perform, Suz has much to elaborate on her style. 

"I always dress up to perform, and spend a lot of time making new performance-costumes. I've always been a flamboyant gothic dresser; I've never felt any urge to wear mainstream fashions. I think that dressing to perform makes for a more interesting show for the audience, and shows that the performer is making an effort to present her or his work. The initial inspiration for performing in costume came from the fact that so many of my Facebook friends are musicians on the visual kei/visual rock/goth scenes, and after every performance there are always photos posted of everybody in costume and make-up, looking extraordinary, and of course I thought 'I want some of that!' - and it struck me that the fact that I was performing words rather than music was no reason not to get into costume . . .  I've long thought that our poets should be as glamorous and alluring as rock stars, and that's what I aim to do! . . . . I know that some people on the spoken word scene are uncomfortable about performing,  but I love being on stage and engaging an audience; that feeling when you have the attention of everybody in the room and can channel it into your own performance, taking the performance to another, unexpected level is priceless - and I'm sure the musicians who read this will know exactly what I'm talking about!"

When asked about her favorite place to write, the lovely Winspear has this to say, "My favourite place for writing is on the stone window-seat, overlooking the garden, preferably with a cup of tea or a glass of red wine."

Mistress can easily picture Suz Winspear sitting upon that window seat creating fabulous tales of vampires and gothic narratives. Suz has made a few submissions to Tenebrous that may be found in The Poetry Parlour and in The Athenaeum.

This is a spi Productions Inc. project.
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