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This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Author Interview + Book Giveaway: Open Minds by Susan


Hey Everyone! Happy Thursday! Time for another great interview and introduction. I would love for you all to meet Susan Kaye Quinn!


Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a former rocket scientist and engineer, but now I write middle grade and young adult novels because I love writing even more than shiny tech gadgets. Which is saying something. I’m the author of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) and Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a teen love story), as well as a couple short stories in anthologies.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I remember writing a rather disturbing story about a soldier from the Vietnam War in 6th grade. Lucky for me, my teachers handed me more paper, rather than making an appointment with the school psychologist. J
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
Writing stories was natural, and I’m sure my mom encouraged me, but my brother was really the writing talent in the family (I was the geek following in my father’s engineering footsteps).
What was the inspiration behind Open Minds?
The idea really came in a flash image of a girl sitting in a room filled with mindreaders, only she couldn’t read minds and was painfully isolated. Originally, I had no idea the story was about mindjackers! But that eventually grew out of that initial scene.
What was the most difficult part of writing this story?
The first draft was completely organic … which is to say that the structure of the story was very, well, saggy. It took many revisions (and some complete rewriting) to get it structurally sound.
Did you have a particular scene that you enjoyed writing the most?
I fall in love with the turning point scenes – where the tension and drama are highest. I literally have dreams about those scenes! In Open Minds, the warehouse scene was one of those. And that one scene in the desert (if you’ve read it, you know what I mean; if you haven’t, I won’t spoil it for you).
What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?
The best part, by far, is people telling me that they’ve enjoyed the story – that they’ve dreamed about the characters! Or created fan art! Or just written a really amazing, three-paragraph review. There’s a saying that the writing experience isn’t complete until someone reads the work. That’s very true for me, and it’s endlessly fascinating to me to hear all the different ways that the story resonates with people.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
Reading. Momming. Wife-ing. Yup, that’s about it.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I strongly believe reviews are for readers, not writers, and help people find stories they will enjoy. Which isn’t to say that I don’t read them! J But I know that my story won’t be to everyone’s taste, and that’s fine with me. It’s part of all the different ways that people relate to the story. As for writer’s block, I don’t get it. The closest I come is when I’m wrestling with a plot point, but I usually just pound away at it until it surrenders. And then write on. J
What author inspires you the most and why?
I just finished Goliath (the third book in the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld). Westerfeld is some kind of writer genius. His descriptions are concise and gorgeous, his characters wildly compelling, his inventions and creativity are crazy awesome. Someday, when I grow up, I want to be him. Never mind that he’s an over-six-foot, slightly red-haired part-time Australian male (part-time Australian, not part-time male). Somehow, I’m going to make that happen.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding writing schedules, goals, etc.?
I write when my three boys are in school, and I’m very strict about that. I don’t get together with other stay-at-home moms for tea (during that time). I don’t shop. I don’t do chores. That’s my working time, and if I’m not focused on writing, I’m losing precious moments, because the rest of my day is very family focused.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Just write. Write every day. Write a LOT. Crank out words. Then study (hard!) the bestselling authors that you love. Tear those books apart into pieces and put them back together until you understand how they worked their magic. And never stop pushing your craft forward.
Thank you so much for doing this for me Susan!
Thank you for having me!

Would you like a chance to read this highly recommended book? Win an e-copy of Open Minds! Fill out the form below. Don't forget to visit Susan's website for more info about her and her books!!

6 comments:

Heather said...

I love your perspective on book reviews, Susan. They are for the reader and they are very subjective. Thank you for sharing your book and a bit about yourself!

Patricia T. said...

Saba, great interview with Susan. I have a number of friends who are engineers and scientists, who have stepped away from careers to write or other creative endeavors. It always intrigues me.

Susan, your book sounds very intriguing. I think as we move forward in the coming 100-200 years or so, we're going to see more telepathic communications -- I believe our brains are being rewired. So, stories like your just grab my interest.

Also, like your comment about reviews are for readers --not writers. Healthy attitude. Good luck with you book!

Patricia Lynne said...

Great interview. I've had stories that I've written after having a dream about the characters. =)

Coleen Patrick said...

Always fun to learn more about writers. The book sounds very cool!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Thanks for a great interview, Saba and Susan! Open Minds sounds fabulous! I love YA dystopian fantasy! Thanks for sharing!

Karlene Petitt said...

Susan, it's so wonderful to learn more about you! Of everything, I love your advice to writers. Just write! And Study too. Thank you!!!


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