Monday, April 4, 2011

Kaye #1: Welcome Susan Kaye Quinn!

Welcome to our first guest author during the 30 Days of Kay(e)s Blogfest!  All month, great authors will appear here to share their writing journeys, books, and craft advice, so check back often!  First up, we have author

Susan Kaye Quinn!

 Welcome Susan! To start, please tell us how and why you came to use the name Kay(e)!

Kaye is my mother’s middle name, as well as my middle name. My mom has always been my biggest fan, so when I had to pick an author name, it just seemed right to use our name!

Okay, please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I write books for kids and teens. I keep wandering all over the place – a contemporary romance here, a science fiction novel there, a little paranormal, now fantasy. I love amazing settings and characters that have to make wrenching personal decisions that (hopefully) make my readers think, Holy cats, what will they do now?

Holy cats! LOL!  Okay, tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

My first novel was published last year (Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (Omnific) a teen love story). It’s a story about a college-bound girl who falls in a pool, the navy recruit who saves her, and their struggle to choose between following their dreams and daring to love. For anyone planning ahead for summer, the cruise ship setting, boot camp, and summer-of-love drama makes it a nice beach read. It also has good messages for girls about making choices in life and love.

Awesome! One for your summer TBR pile for sure, people! What are you working on right now?

I just started a new book, The Sekrit Middle Grade Fantasy project (yeah, doesn’t have a name yet). I’m also getting ready to query my young adult paranormal novel Open Minds, so I’m equally pumped and freaked out about that.

Ooh, good luck! What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

Well, that first one wasn’t really a book, so we’ll just ignore that. The second one was Life, Liberty, and Pursuit.

Well congrats on getting your first true book published—that’s quite an accomplishment! What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

All writing is hard, if you do it right.

Easiest is probably intricate descriptions of advanced technology that has only been invented in my head. Hardest is evocative stage directions, she sighed, shaking her head and wishing she had better ways to describe her character’s facial expressions than eye rolls and head movements.

That’s so true, Laura thought as she nodded her head. Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

Little bits of my life get woven into all my stories, but I never write about people I know (even in disguise!). Although I did borrow my husband’s grandmother’s birthday for one story tidbit, and my Dad was a lifelong civilian employee of the Navy and helped me with Navy slang for Life, Liberty, and Pursuit. So far, I’ve set two stories in Chicago (where I live), but the next one is going to another dimension, so no luck there (oops! That’s sekrit).

Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

As I mentioned, I like my readers to think. For the teens, they are exploring who they are and where they fit in the world, and my stories tackle those issues head on. For the kids, the world itself is an adventure that needs exploring, where they discover a lot about how things really work and a bit about themselves along the way. My kid stories are very adventure-focused, but with moral themes about the meaning of family woven into them.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m a rocket scientist? That I just started writing fiction a couple years ago? It surprises me every day how much I enjoy this late-in-life love of writing and how it took hold of me with startling passion and refuses to let go. My three boys love that I write stories now, although they wish I wrote less love stories and more where things blow up.

Maybe combine the two! LOL Which romance book or series do you wish you had written?

Hunger Games? Not exactly a romance, but the love story in those books is captivating (Team Peeta!).

Oh, geez, just read this and am a true believer!! Of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite and why?

What? That is like picking amongst my children. If I must make that Sophie’s choice, I would have to say Simon, the bad-boy character from my paranormal novel Open Minds. He operates outside-the-rules in a world stacked against him, making all the wrong choices and getting away with it…until he doesn’t. It must be the whole tortured-boy character thing that I like.

Ooh, can’t wait to meet him!  Okay, then, some get-to-know-you essentials:
Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? If I was Simon, I would take the dark and then steal the milk chocolate when you’re not looking.

Salty or sweet? I’m usually very sweet, thank you for asking.

Bed or kitchen table? We’re talking about reading, right? I’ll do that anywhere. J

Beach or mountains? I was born a California Beach Bunny, but converted to Mountain Girl when we lived in Colorado.

Give or receive? Always give. I have too much stuff as it is.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PARTICIPATING! Folks, say hi to Susan and ask her any questions!

Where can we find you on the web?


Natasha Hanova said...

Hey Laura and Susan. What a great idea for a blogfest. I follow Susan already. Was fun to learn more about her.

p.s. I'm in the middle of reading Life, Love, and Pursuit and really enjoying it.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Natasha I'm so excited you're enjoying LLP! :) Thank you for sharing that.

Matthew MacNish said...

Susan is the best! Great interview, thanks ladies.

Christi Barth said...

Your new release sounds like lots of fun - great description! If only I could write my 2 setence blurbs so concisely.....

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Matthew Thanks for stopping by! :)

@Christi Writing loglines is such a challenge! It forces you to really understand what your story is about. I've actually found it easier to write the logline before I've written the book, so I don't have all those words getting in the way! :)

Sarah Allan said...

That was an awesome interview, SKQ and Laura! I love how you obviously put a lot of thought into your writing for young adults and the messages your stories send.

xoxo Sarah

Laura Kaye said...

Welcome Natasha, Matthew, Christi, and Sarah! Glad y'all enjoyed the interview. Susan--I think you're right about it being easier to write the logline--and even the blurb and synopsis too--beforehand. Good tip!

Kai said...

Susan is such a sweetheart! Thanks for the fun interview of her. And I'm a Kay(e) too, with a twist on the spelling, of course. If you need another, I'd be honored.

Kaye said...

I enjoyed this blog and am excited to add another blog author to my growing list. I follow Sue's regularly. The "Kaye" idea was terrific, Laura. From one Kaye to another, good luck with your book writing.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Kai You are so nice - thank you!

@Kaye (aka Mom) Hi Mom! Really, there's nothing cooler than having your mom visit!

Laura Kaye said...

Susan--it is SO awesome your mom came to visit!

Sylvie said...

Hi interview. Nice to meet you!
I can't write blurb or synopsis until I finish the story...unfortunately I'm a pantser. But I'm working on becoming a plotter.

Wishing you best of luck and many sales, Susan!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Sylvie Thanks so much! I used to be an avowed pantser, but I've reformed (well, partially) into a plotter. I'm plotting my next book as I type! :) Best of luck with your writing!

Laura Kaye said...

Hi Sylvie! Oh, the great pantser-plotter debate! Total pantser here, though I did write an enormous outline for the first version of FOREVER FREED--just never again since. Now I totally wing it! And, please, no one mention "synopsis" to me. It just wrote a 65K-novel in 5 weeks but have been struggling for 3 days to write the dang synopsis and what I came up with is 8 pages long LOL

Lea Nolan said...


As a YA author, it's so nice to read about your work! With your rocket science background, I bet you could churn out a pretty cool steampunk, or diesel punk project!

Laura Kaye said...

Ooh, Lea, that's a really good point. See--back to my kissing and blowing things up argument! :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Lea Ooh, diesel punk would be cool! *tucks that idea away* I used a whole lotta science in my middle grade SF book, and a fair amount on my sekrit fantasy project. Really, I think everything I write has a touch of science fiction in it - I just can't help it. :)

@Laura There's weapons and kissing in my YA paranormal, so yeah, I can totally do that! :) Thanks so much for hosting me today! It's been great fun. :)

LTM said...

Hooray for Susan! I've read LL&P, and it's awesome. Everyone needs to read it. And a paranormal! Looking forward~

Thanks, guys! :o) <3

Laura Kaye said...

Welcome LTM! Another rec for LL&P!

Laura Kaye said...

So glad to have you today, Susan! What a great first guest for the 30 Days of Kay(e)s!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@LT Thanks for stopping by! And for your sweet words. :)

Jennifer Lane said...

Loved the fun interview, ladies. I'm Team Kay(e)! (As well as Team Peeta). I loved Life Liberty & Pursuit and good luck querying your paranormal story, Sue. Jen xx

Laura Kaye said...

Team Kay(e)! Team Kay(e)! Love that, Jennifer! [NOTE: I've only read book 1 in the Hunger Games series--gasp!--so I don't know which team I am yet! :) ]

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Team Kay(e) = Awesome

Thanks so much for the love Jennifer!! And Laura - I was Team Peeta from the first book, but I'm a hopeless romantic. :) said...

Love the site and what a creative idea! Enjoyed learning about Susan and looking forward to all the other Kay(e)s!

Laura Kaye said...

Welcome Jessica! Glad to have you here!

JennaKay Francis, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! It took me forever to figure out how to find yours! And here I thought I was actually computer literate. Guess not. LOL Just wanted to say hello. Happy writing!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@jessica and @jennakay Thanks for stopping by! :)