Thursday, November 1, 2012

Please Welcome Author Susan Kay Quinn!

Today I am super excited to welcome one of my most favorite authors to The Cover Contessa, Susan Kaye Quinn. I was first introduced to Susan's Minjack series last year after I read The Hunger Games. Susan's book came up as something I might be interested in when I was searching for something else to read and I though, why not? Her cover drew me right in! And I was not disappointed in the least! Let's learn a little about Susan:

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.
Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.
She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.
Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.

You can stalk Susan here:

Susan's Minjack Trilogy is truly an out of this world read:

Title: Open Minds (Minjack Trilogy #1)
Publication date: November 1, 2011
Publishser: CreateSpace
Buying Links:

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 world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.


Title: Closed Hearts (Mindjack Trilogy, #2)
Publication date: May 23, 2012
Publisher: Susan Kay Quinn
Buying links:
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers

Susan also has several shorts to go along with this series:
So now let's hear what Susan had to say in response to our 
questions:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I wrote stories when I was a kid, but it wasn’t until I read stories to my own children that I realized I might want to try to write. Still, it frightened me (I’m an engineer, so it was like going to the Dark Side). When I finally sat down and wrote, I realized: this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. (Which, of course, frightened me more.)
 How long does it take you to write a book? 
Six months if I’m earnest; eight if I’m more relaxed; a couple years if I try to do anything else at the same time.
What do you think makes a great story?
A single compelling idea.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try to write every day. Like Ray Bradbury (I’m reading Zen in the Art of Writing right now), if I go for more than a day without writing, I get twitchy. After three or four days, it’s a visible problem to other people. A week vacation is madness. When I’m writing regularly, I write while the kids are in school, so M-F 9am-3pm butt-in-chair.
How do you balance family and writing?
The only thing that’s ever succeeded for me is designated times for both. Otherwise, I can never wrest myself from the keyboard.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
This is the single most impossible question to answer. J The trite answer is that Google is my friend: my most common search term is “of the future” and I like to use Google Earth to walk around my settings, when they exist in real life (and even when they don’t). The non-trivial answer is that I draw on all my experiences (as an engineer, scientist, mom, wife, daughter, lover) and all my knowledge (daily reader of the Wall Street Journal for 20 years, working on jet engines and global warming, 13 years as a mother). The real answer, I think, is that I dip into the subconscious mind that blends all these things together and makes them into something new.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? 
That I could be creative. I seriously didn’t think of myself as a creative person until started writing. Then, I couldn’t stop.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? 
My favourite book is always the one I’m currently writing. It’s like a love affair, because you have to be that deeply immersed in it, to do it justice. I have three published novels, two published short stories, three other manuscripts that are drafted but not final (including Free Souls, the one I’m currently working on), and a smattering of other short stories and novels that probably won’t ever see the light of day. Or I may mine them in the future. You never know.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Not that I’ll admit. J
Do you have a favourite place you love to write?
I most often write at my desk, but it doesn’t matter to me, as long as words are getting on the page.
How hard is is to get published?
Very. J If you go with a traditional publisher, it’s hard on your nerves, the rejection and the waiting. If you go with self-publishing, it’s hard on the nerves, the responsibility and the time management. There is no easy way to publish, but no one ever promised that writing would be easy. The fact that it’s hard is what makes it worth doing.
What do your family and friends think about your books?
My sons are very glad that I wrote a science fiction novel with wormholes and a fantasy novel with faeries (unpublished). My mother-in-law is very glad that I wrote a sweet love story (Life, Liberty, and Pursuit). My friends like my Mindjack stories the best (so far). My husband wishes I would only write one novel every few years, because he doesn’t like to read. J
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read, watch movies, think about writing. I occasionally decorate cakes, sometimes even when someone has a birthday. My hobbies involve being a mom, which in my house can be anything from driving the boys to fencing, to watching Avatar: Legend of Korra, to explaining string theory to my 11 yo future physicist.
  Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they? 
Write as much as you possibly can, as often as you can manage it. Make friends with other writers, so you can support each other and give each other feedback. Study bestselling writers. Never, never stop striving to improve.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 
An astronaut. I even went so far as to get a Ph.D. in engineering, in pursuit of that dream! NASA ultimately told me “no” (I applied), but that was okay, because I’d already decided that being strapped to a 50 mega ton bomb, also known as the Space Shuttle, probably wasn’t the best occupation for someone with babies.
What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?
I love Scott Westerfeld (Uglies, Leviathan), Holly Black (White Cat), and Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games). Classic favorites include Asimov, Heinlein, and Bradbury. My newest author-hero is indie SF writer Hugh Howey (Molly Fyde, Wool). These authors all have powerful ideas wrapped up in beautiful words. It’s a deadly combination.
 For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
There are lots of “rules” in writing, that people will try to foist upon you. I say, learn them all, then break them when it makes your job harder as a writer. The only true “rule” is “be awesome.” And anymore, getting published is as simple as uploading your work to Kindle. But getting people to read your work is a bit trickier. The best thing an aspiring writer can do is work on their craft until they can own the title “writer” without the “aspiring” part.
What are you working on now?
I’m drafting Free Souls (the third book in the Mindjack Trilogy). As soon as I’m done with this draft, I’m planning on writing one or two short stories from the POV of some secondary characters in the Mindjack universe, which I think is going to be all kinds of fun.
I want to thank Susan so much for stopping by! I loved learning all about her and how she writes! I can't wait for the final installment of this series! You can also catch Susan's interview over at Never Too Old for YA Books on Goodreads. So go give her some lover there!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for having me here! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed this interview, great answers! I like the book covers, too :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hard is good because easy is boring. Great interview. Though I expected nothing less.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Learn them and break them, I love that! Great interview ladies. I can hardly wait for Free Souls!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is one of my most favorite series, EVER!

    ReplyDelete

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