Guest Post: Susanne Winnacker on Keeping up the Ruse

June 6, 2013 Author Feature, Guest Post 3

Susanne Winnacker, author of Impostor & The Other Life  [April’s review & giveaway of Impostor, Tabitha’s review of The Other Life] is joining us today to bring us some insight into her new book Impostor!

Today I’m pleased to share a letter from Tessa with you. It was her homework and it’s titled “Keeping up the Ruse”:

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I really don’t get why Summers wants us to write these ridiculous letters, but we can’t really risk failing Variation training, so here goes nothing. (Don’t show this part to Summers!)

This is box title

Dear Holly,

Today I’d like to tell you how to blend in, if you ever have to impersonate someone.

You can’t just copy another person’s appearance and that’s it. People are more than just the sum of their facial and bodily features. For their family and friends what really defines them are their quirks, habits, faults and virtues. They’re a puzzle and if you get one piece wrong, then it won’t look right.
So what do you do? (I realize that this won’t really matter to you, since you can’t, you know, absorb other people’s DNA, but maybe it’ll broaden your horizon, as Agent Summers always likes to point out.)

Once you’ve absorbed someone’s DNA, you have to make sure that you find out everything about their life. Get your hands on every little piece of information that’s available, using whatever means necessary. As you know, Major likes to employ Kate for these matters, but there are certainly other, more pleasant ways to reach your goal. Then write everything down and read it until you know it by heart. And I mean, by heart. You can’t risk calling someone by the wrong name. Not only would that be pretty awkward, but you’d mess up the mission and get your ass royally kicked by Major.

Learning names and dates isn’t the only thing you do, thankfully. There’s also the part of the mission where you have to stare at photos of strangers until it seems like you’ve known them forever.

But that’s just the beginning. An important part of keeping up the ruse is keeping a cool head. If you’re jumpy, people will notice. Stay calm, at least on the outside.

You have to forget what you want, because as long as you are someone else that shouldn’t matter. The person you’re going to impersonate loves liver and you can’t eat it without gagging? Well, you better build up your tolerance! People will get suspicious if their loved ones change all of a sudden. What if you are deadly allergic to nuts and your target loves peanuts… Maybe you can convince Major and Summers that risking your life like that would be foolish, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Better learn to pretend to eat. And if touching peanuts already gives you a rash? At least, you gave your best. Major and Summers will certainly appreciate that you gave your life touching a peanut.
Good luck!




Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.


Susanne WinnackerSusanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog that looks like a sheep and three bunnies that have destroyed every piece of furniture she’s ever owned in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.
She blogs for The League of Extraordinary Writers.   WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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3 Responses to “Guest Post: Susanne Winnacker on Keeping up the Ruse”

  1. DannyBookworm

    Love this post!!! And it shoes exactly the depth in Impostor. Even though we have this murder mystery and the X Men Kids we also have a lot about family and belonging..

    • pabkins

      I’m jealous, I haven’t read Impostor yet! I was amazed they didn’t have it at BEA. I know wasn’t that an awesome guest post? I bombarded her with crazy ideas. Luckily, I’m meeting Susanne on Friday so I’ll be buying a signed copy then woohoo!