Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fiona Quinn - Guest Author

Fiona Quinn describes her writing as romantic suspense with a psychic twist, and herself as a chocolaholic, homeschooling mom, adventure junkie, and book glutton. (Fiona are you teaching the kids how to count? Your five word self-description looks like seven words to me). Maybe that’s the new math or inflation or well, enough of my speculation, here are the rest of her answers.

Describe your most productive writing venue. What makes it best for you?

I write sitting cross-legged on my bed. I have a lovely little writing room, but it's more wishful thinking than practical. My youngest daughter has type 1 diabetes, and we use a medical alert dog to help keep her blood glucose in the safe range. He alerts to me, and I call to her. She likes to wear headphones while she studies (I homeschool my kids) and would never hear me if I were sitting back in my sweet little writing room. Her dog alerts about twenty times a day. So, my bed it is. But it's comfy.

What is your most productive time of the day (and do you need caffeine)?

I enjoy a morning cup of coffee; it's part of my routine and sets the tone for the day. I like to write as soon as my morning chores are done. I will often take a plotting issue into my dreams with me, and then wake up with the answer. My characters seem the most talkative in the morning, and my family is most talkative in the afternoon. Everyone tries to strike a balance and not step on toes.

How many books do you read in a typical month? Do you read in your genre while you are writing? What’s your most recent “great” book?

I go on reading jags where I read twenty books in a month, and then times when I just need to do other things and let all of the new information percolate. I like to read outside of my genre, and I really like research books that inform the plot I'm writing. When I'm ready to write and my story is solid in my imagination, I try hard not to read other people's works or even watch movies. Having lived in several countries and done a lot of traveling, I find I'm a tone sponge and will chameleon to include other people's voices. Wanting to be clear about how my characters sound means I have to be a little bit of a hermit from time to time.

Name three not well-known authors you would recommend and tell us what you like about their writing.

Rob Blackwell, Forest of Forever. That book kept me on my toes! Our brains are wired to read and figure out what we would do in situations - dopamine driven. Blackwell kept the adrenaline and dopamine pumping throughout as I jagged left but he swerved right. It was a truly engaging read.

Rick Soper - Writes horror, which I will say is a genre that I really don't like. But there are some scenes that Soper created that are like splinters that have embedded themselves too deep in my skin to pry out, but I can still feel them there just under the surface.

JT Sawyer - Ha! I've just named three people who write in genres I wouldn't normally choose to read. Perhaps that's why they've made such a big impression on me. Sawyer writes zombies. When I read his books, I feel like I should be taking notes on what to do and not to do and why. Very skilled at descriptions, Sawyer puts me squarely in the life or death battle. Buy the whole series, though, to get the full story arch.

What is the most challenging area for you as a writer? What are you doing to address the issue?

Sex. Ha! I dislike reading sex scenes that walk you through the step-by-step handbook. He "A"; she moaned and "B". In reality, not all sex makes one lose one's mind and sometimes there are thoughts and emotions beyond thrashing ecstasy. Often that's where individuals feel vulnerable or expose their soft-underbelly, if you will. Those thoughts are what I find interesting and what I want to capture. But it's hard to write it right.

What am I doing about it? Double ha! Well, the research is fun.

Joe Clifford Faust's book Drawing Down the Moon did a fabulous job with the not-having-sex sex scenes. I loved the insights I got from his characters as they dealt with sexuality.

How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?

My books present themselves as a single scene. I day dream and live in that scene understanding the characters and the nuances, and then my job is to write how my characters got to that scene and more importantly how the heck are they going to get themselves out of it.

Name three writers from whom you have drawn inspiration and tell us why.

Janet Evanovich—I liked her first person of Stephanie Plum (in the early By the Numbers series).

Jamie Mason—Monday's Lie. I wanted to turn over each detail of her book and examine it under a magnifying glass to get every nuance. Just an intricate gem of a book.

Mildred Taylor—Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry taught me at a very young age that it's important for a reader to identify with, if not become, the heroine of the story. Cassie Logan was an exceptional character. It felt like I could put her on like a favorite pair of blue jeans and wear her around.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received and why was it so valuable?

"Cut this by a good 10,000 words."

I told the story—the whole story—but the whole story didn't need to be told. The important part of the story needed to be told. Too many words hid the story; those weed-words needed to be pulled from my prose so the flowers could be seen and appreciated.
Find out more about Fiona at her website http://www.fionaquinnbooks.com/. Here’s a short blurb for Weakest Lynx, which preceded my Ant Farm in the Kindle Scout competition and came out with a contract.

What Lexi wants is a simple life. What she gets is simply terrifying.

Lexi Sobado is a 20-year-old experienced intelligence consultant with a special psychic gift. However, her gift couldn’t prevent her from becoming the focus of a stalker’s desires. With a death threat shoved in her purse, she finds herself caught in the middle of a sinister web of crime and corruption.

Striker Rheas, a seasoned special agent, is charged with keeping Lexi safe. But can he keep his personal life separate from his professional life as he finds himself falling for his assignment? 

What Lexi hides, what she reveals, and what she keeps trying to uncover is a delicate balancing act as she tries to save her own life and stop the killer. Can Lexi learn to love, trust, and harness the power of her psychic flashes before it’s too late?


  1. I go on reading jags too, Fiona, and then there are times when I have too much to do to read more than a few words. I was a reader before I became a writer, and I miss it when I'm not reading. I figure at some point I won't be able to plot an intricate story anymore and I'll revert to being a reader-only again.

    Janet E's early Stephanie Plum books really captured my imagination as well. There was nothing like her on the market that I was aware of. Stephanie managed to have it all and to have two great guys helping her out. What a great fantasy for all of us!

    Cutting 10k is great advice! Thanks for sharing more about yourself, and looking forward to more Striker and Lexi stories in the vein of Weakest Lynx.

  2. Nice getting to know you more, Fiona. I'm going to have to add your fav books to the TBR pile. I like to stretch my reading boundaries too. Had to laugh at your sex scene comments. I'm always thinking when people read my intimate scenes they are saying to themselves: Is that what she does? Man, that's weird.

  3. I also had to smile at your comments about writing sex, Fiona; it's hard to get right and a lot of us just avoid it. I remember having a conversation with an author who'd written multiple best selling books, and when I asked her about it, she flatly said, "I don't do it." (I hope she was just referring to the writing part.)

    I didn't realize the dog alerts you twenty times a day--that's incredible vigilance and dedication on his and your part. I'm sure it can get scary from time to time.

    Looking forward to seeing WEAKEST LYNX and the rest of the series do well.

    1. Thank you for your kind wishes.

      Yes. Sex ... and you just know whoever reads the scene thinks/imagines that you're writing from personal perspective - and isn't that just freaking cringe worthy? LOL But at the same time, if your character is an adult human - it's really hard to avoid.

      Yes, Type 1 diabetes is all about constant vigilance (especially at her age) 24/7 no vacations. We are so blessed to have such a great helper in Bear - by myself I was overwhelmed.