Sunday, October 28, 2012

Author Interview with Susan Quinn - YA/Paranormal/SF

 Susan Kaye Quinn

      Welcome as we chat with Susan Quinn in a future Chicago New Metro, sitting in a high school classroom of mind readers, listening to the dead-silence as the teacher and students conduct their lesson via mind-link, and since you’re a zero who can’t read minds, you’re locked out. You'll be surprised at her wonderful background and experience that allows her to bring so much life to her stories! She's giving away an e-book at the bottom so be sure to get your entries in! Let's get started.
Reader’s Haven:  Susan, welcome! We're glad you're here with us all week. Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Susan:  I was a rocket scientist (Ph.D. in environmental engineering as well as degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering) before I was a writer. Although I was actually a writer before any of those things, judging by the stream-of-consciousness Vietnam Vet story I wrote in the 6th grade. That kind of freaked my mom out.

Reader’s Haven:
  Now that's impressive! Wow! What made you want to become a writer?

Susan:  I wrote lots of stories as a child and young adult myself, but it wasn’t until started reading my own children’s books that I rediscovered my love of writing. When I finally allowed myself to sit down and write (I was an engineer, remember, not a writer, and certainly not a writer of books for teens)... well, it was somewhere between Red Bull and crack (not that I know what either of those are really like. Honest). I couldn’t stop. That was four years ago, and I fully intend to die at the keyboard (but not any time soon).

Reader’s Haven:  Please share a bit about your new release without giving away any spoilers.

Susan:  My latest releases are two novellas in the Mindjack Origins series, The Handler and The Scribe. These novellas occur between Books #1 and #2 in the Mindjack Trilogy, and look at the origin stories of some main secondary characters. But if readers are new to Mindjack, they should start with Open Minds (Mindjack #1), a story about a world where everyone reads minds, except one girl, who discovers that she can control them instead.

Here’s a synopsis of Open Minds:

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

      Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

for 2012 Best Indie Book, Young Adult Fiction - The Kindle Book Review
Mindjack Trilogy (novels): Open Minds, Closed Hearts, Free Souls (coming soon)
Mindjack Origins (shorts): Mind Games (prequel to Open Minds), The Handler, The Scribe

Reader’s Haven:
  Congrats on the series! Do you write under a pen name?

Susan:  Nope. I can barely keep track of the one name, much less two.

Reader’s Haven:
What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Susan:  I have a fondness for the reluctant hero, the kind that’s completely ethical, but has to be dragged into a fight. Once there, however, they take care of business. I also love anti-heros, like Han Solo, who are slightly dangerous but you can always count on them coming through in the end. I seriously need to write one of those someday.

Reader’s Haven:  Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Susan:  Today I’m typing this with a fresh pot of tea stacked precariously on a bunch of papers about to get tea stains. I haven’t opened the blinds yet, so I’m truly in “the writing cave.” Any moment now, one of my cats will demand some attention and I’ll do my best to ignore them. It’s the way we work.

Reader’s Haven:  Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Susan:  My first published novel was a straight-up YA romance. The Mindjack series is YA/paranormal/SF. After Mindjack is done, I’m sure I’ll be writing more science fiction as well as more romance, possibly both in the same book. In all my stories, I love to throw difficult choices at my characters, and I love creating mind-bending future realities.

Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Susan:  Usually about 6 months from first draft to last, but there’s a lot of midnight dreaming, pre-planning, and plotting that happens before that.

Reader’s Haven:
 Do you have to be alone to write?

Susan:  It helps. But being the mother of three great kids and two needy cats, that doesn’t always happen.

Reader’s Haven:
 How do you go about naming characters?

Susan:  Sometimes names just come to me; sometimes I try to build a hidden meaning into a name. Main characters are the hardest for me, because their names have to be just right.

Reader’s Haven:  Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Susan:  I visualize first, spend tons of time looking for just the right picture, discard it, and then just write what’s in my head. I’m trying to eliminate steps #2 and #3.

Reader’s Haven:
 How do you pick locations for your stories?
Susan:  My stories have all centered on Chicago, where I live, but then roam near and far. I love Google Earth! I’ve virtually walked all over the planet.

     Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack series. You can find all her books on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and iTunes. Susan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she spends most of her time writing, because she loves it even more than shiny tech gadgets. When she's not writing, you can find her wasting time playing on TwitterFacebook, and her blog.
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  1. Hi Susan! Thank you again for visiting with us this week. I can't wait to start reading the signed copies I won from one of your recent contests.
    Readers, be sure to enter for a chance to win and good luck! ~Louise

  2. I need to Google somewhere warm and tropical. No wind, no rain.