Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Interview Time with Susan Kaye Quinn!

Whoa, my friends are popping out books all over the place, and my friend Susan Kaye Quinn is a writing machine.  And if you read middle-grade books, have a middle-grade reader, or love books that are a little different, she's one you want to check out.  


Hi, Susan!  I'd like to start with the most important question--I know we both share the love of a good cup of tea. What's your favorite? 

My current is Irish Breakfast, although I just came off a wicked bender of all forms of Chai (without milk – heresy, I know.)
Tell everyone about yourself and how you started writing...I smile every time I hear how you began. 

I’m an ex-rocket scientist and mom of three, who started writing fiction (seriously) about five years ago… and never looked back.

It's so cool that you're an actual rocket scientist!  And what are your favorite and least favorite parts about being a writer?

Favorite—creating something entirely new out of thin air. Least Favorite—not having enough hours in the day to write all the stories I want to.

If you had to narrow it down, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to other writers?

Write as much as you possibly can. Quality vs. quantity is a false choice: the more you write, the better you get.

I absolutely love that you’re so supportive and helpful to other writers, whether they’re just starting out or are seasoned veterans. I have to ask, what gave you the idea to blog about your experiences, and then use them to create the Indie Author Survival Guide (which, by the way, is amazing!)?

Thank you! Blogging about my experiences was second nature—writing stuff down helps me sort it out in my own head, and I figure if I’m struggling with something (or learning something new), it’s likely to help someone else. It took the urging of several friends over time to convince to put it in a book for sale… but I finally realized that I could actually help more people that way. That’s what sold me on pulling it all together and putting it on the largest ebook distribution system in the world (Amazon).

I’m actually thinking of pulling together a new book just before NaNoWriMo this year. It will draw from my micro-blogs, and act as a 30 day motivational text: one page a day to inspire your writing and keep your words flowing. We’ll see if I can get it together in time, but I think (hope?) it’s something people would find helpful.

That's an amazing idea! I'm all for that--sometimes I'll hit a rut and be unable to start up again as quickly as I'd like.  

Do you prefer silence or to have music on when you’re writing? What kind?

Silence. Unless I have to drown out my boys and their rambuctiousness during the summer.  :-) Then I listen to the soundtrack to Frozen.

How’d you get the idea for Second Daughter?

My editor for Third Daughter said, “Wait, that’s it?? You are writing another book in this series, right?”
I said, “Well, yeah, if I keep that ending. Or I could change it and end the book there.”
He said, “No, you need to turn it into a trilogy. And you should name them, Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter.

No lie, that’s exactly how it went. So I brainstormed for an hour, found themes I wanted to write for Second Daughter, and wrote back to tell him that he’d have to edit two more books.

What a good, supportive editor! And how’s First Daughter coming along?

Sadly, I’m behind. My editor has most of the book, but I need to finish writing the ending. I’ll be doing that this week.

What are you working on now?

First Daughter, but as soon as that’s done, I’ll be on to starting the second season of Debt Collector. I need to remember next summer not to schedule vacations. They’re seriously interfering with my productivity!

Aw, a break can really rejuvenate the creativity, though!  

Tell us what genre(s) you write in, why, and what your experiences are like writing in Bollywood-steampunk for The Dharian Affairs trilogy?  How is the experience different from one to another?

I really write across a broad range of genres: YA SF, MG SF, steampunk romance, future-noir, non-fiction. The thing they all have in common is that they’re speculative fiction of one sort or another. I write a lot of different kinds of stories because I have a range of interests, but it does make marketing a tad more difficult. Basically, I’m starting over with each new genre. But I’m fine with that: I write the stories I love. It’s the great freedom of indie publishing.

Very true; you're not married to any type of "branding" that way. You have books out all over the spectrum—which one, or even which series, has been your favorite to write? Why?

My favorite is always the one I’m currently working on! :-) You have to be passionately in love with a story in order to do it justice. But I have to say, I’m eager to get back to writing my Singularity series, which hasn’t even been published yet. That one has seriously captured my heart.

What was your favorite scene to write in Second Daughter?

The kissing scenes (pretty much all of them) – I like the passion (and torment) that lead up to them, and if I do them right, they’re like a little reward for tension well-wrought. :-)

What scene gave you the most trouble in Second Daughter?

I would say the ending—I completely rewrote it in the second draft. Turns out the wrong character got shot the first time. :-) It was funny, because I knew something was wrong with it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My editor and my critique partners all thought it was fine. But as soon as I started writing First Daughter, I realized what was wrong and went back to rewrite it. That’s one reason I wrote these books (First and Second Daughter) so close together (overlapping really).

Where can we find you on the interwebs? 


Where can we find your books?

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you can get a free short story!  http://bit.ly/SubscribeToSusansNewsletter

Blurb for Third Daughter
Third Daughter (Dharian Affairs#1)
Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... and, of course, kissing.

The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.

Third Daughter is the first book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Susan!  

Have you or your kids read any of Susan's books?  Definitely check her work out because she writes for all ages. 

xoxo Sarah

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