About

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan’s first novel, Claws of the Cat: A Shinobi Mystery (Minotaur Books, 2013) was named a Library Journal mystery debut of the month and was a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel.

The second and third Shinobi Mysteries, Blade of the Samurai (Minotaur Books, 2014) and Flask of the Drunken Master (Minotaur Books, 2015), also released to widespread critical and reader acclaim.

In 2016, Susan’s mystery series–now called the Hiro Hattori Novels–moved to Seventh Street Books, with the August release of the fourth installment, The Ninja’s Daughter.

Her most recent Hiro Hattori novel, Betrayal at Iga, released from Seventh Street Books in July 2017, and the next three Hiro Hattori novels are currently under contract for release in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

You can find Susan on Facebook and Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to provide legal and business information for writers.

For signings and author appearance information, check out the appearances page!

13 thoughts on “About

  • February 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm
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    i like ur blog, can i get it by email and a newsletter

    • March 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm
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      Hi Karen! I’m working on getting a newsletter set up, so hopefully you’ll be able to get the updates that way very soon!

  • March 5, 2013 at 10:52 am
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    Susan, what is a “Book club readers guide to…?”
    I’ve not heard of something like that before.

    • March 5, 2013 at 11:46 am
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      Hi Ann! A book club readers’ guide is a set of questions book clubs can use for discussion. It’s not something they have to use, but a lot of the book clubs I’ve talked with (and participated in) find it easier to pick and discuss a book if the author provided a set of “conversation starter”-style questions to facilitate the discussion. I’ll be updating the website very soon, and a readers’ guide (aka book club guide) will be one of the features. I’m very excited about it!

  • June 10, 2015 at 7:38 am
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    I found your website through the “Murder Is Everywhere” blog. I studied ninjitsu Iga style very briefly with Stephen Hayes back in 1981 and I find the art to be fascinating. I also went to Marquette University, which is run by Jesuits so I look forward to reading your series for a lot of reasons. (lol) Your first book is in our local library in Idaho Falls. I look forward to reading it.

    • June 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm
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      Fabulous! I’m so glad you found me – and I agree, the ninjutsu arts are very interesting. I hope you enjoy the book, and I’m so glad that we connected!

  • July 8, 2015 at 9:25 am
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    I just found your interview on Raven Haired Girl newsletter. I can’t wait to read your books. I would love to receive your newsletter.

    Have great and Blessed week and weekend.

    • July 27, 2015 at 6:25 pm
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      Thank you so much! I should be getting a newsletter together very soon!

  • November 4, 2015 at 3:47 am
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    Would you please include me when you start your newsletter. Delighted to have found this exciting new series.

  • January 10, 2016 at 7:28 am
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    Hi,

    I’d like to be able to follow your blog without going through Networked Blogs (I prefer not to open my friends to their posts). I don’t see any other follow option. Am I just missing something? Thanks!

  • September 27, 2017 at 5:49 am
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    Your comments on Genpuku, “Taking the Crown,” may back from February, 2013, were closed, but I thought I would mention mogi, “Adult Clothes.” Heian era females went through the ceremony in somewhat the same way as a cotillion in Western society. It was being “presented” in elegant clothing.

    In the Heian era the clothing called, junhitoe, was more than 12 layers and could weigh as much as samurai armor. A friend from World War Two was awarded a set as a gift for being a GI who taught English to Japanese. He said he was shocked that it weighed sixty pounds, hence the joke that it weighed as much as yoroi.

    The coming of age ceremony, as we all know, is a prom-like event that is still celebrated in contemporary Japan.

    Jill Liddell’s book, The Story of the Kimono, is well illustrated with old woodblocks, modern color photography, and texts that adds deep insight into the mode of dress in the kimono era. Japanese dye-makers were leaders in colors and patterns so that even the Chinese came to trade in order to get Japanese textiles before Japan was closed.

    • October 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm
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      Thank you for the comment! I’ve read about this ceremony – Heian era customs are fascinating. I love learning more about them – most of my research is focused on the time between the start of the Kamakura period and the end of the Edo period, so it’s great to meet people who have done in-depth research on the Heian!

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