Thursday, April 26, 2012

Interview with Author Susan Kaye Quinn

Merely Me: Thank you for joining me today and congratulations on the success of your latest novel, Open Minds!
Susan Kaye Quinn
Open Minds is being called dystopian sci-fi. Can you explain your take on dystopian literature for my readers of historical fiction?
Susan Kaye Quinn: The classic definition of a dystopia is that it's the opposite of a utopia. Instead of the world becoming a perfect place with perfect humans in a perfect society, it becomes a fun-house mirror version of that, a dark place where oppression rules the day. I think of dystopian stories more like thought experiments: what would happen if robots became sentient? What if everyone could read minds? What if...? They are really speculative fiction, where we take one element of the world, twist it into something new, and see what would happen. In other words, they're lots of fun for geeks like me.

MM: Yeah, and thrills for geeks like me too! In Open Minds you've created a world of mind readers but with a devilish twist. How did you come up with the idea for the Mindjack Trilogy?
SKQ: It literally just popped into my head one night as I was drifting off to sleep. I wanted to enter a 1st paragraph online contest, but I didn't have a suitably snazzy paragraph in my then-current works, so I decided to create a 1st paragraph for a novel that didn't exist (yet). I played around with a couple ideas, including a story about a boy who was a touch-empath (who was very isolated because of his ability), but then this image of a girl sitting in a classroom of mindreaders popped into my head. She couldn't read minds, so she was painfully isolated (like the touch-empath) in a world that had gone silent because no one spoke anymore. I didn't win the contest, but I was compelled to write her story after that.

MM: Would you like to be able to read minds? Or would you like to live in Kira's world? Or both?
SKQ: Neither. Way too scary for me in Kira's world.

MM: What kind of books did you enjoy as a child?
SKQ: I was a HUGE (monstrously gigantically huge) science fiction reader. I read all the classics by Asimov and Heinlein, and they had a big impact on my young aspirations to be an engineer/astronaut, but also in how to live my life. They fed my philosophical leanings as well.

MM: You have a very hectic life. How do you fit writing into that schedule?
SKQ: I write when my kids (ages 8, 11, 13) are in school, which I'm very fortunate to do. I know so many writers with full time jobs or little kids, and I have no idea how they do it. The only reason my life is hectic is because I try to stuff an elephant's worth of work into a teacup sized amount of time.

MM: You are very involved in an online group called The Indelibles. Please tell us about them.
SKQ: The Indelibles are "fun, fierce and fabulous indie authors, hoping to leave a mark on MG and YA readers." It's a tremendously supportive group of 25 indie-published authors. We're not a regular writer's group that exchanges critiques (although we do that sometimes too), but rather we support each other in our indie-publishing journeys with cross-promotion, joint events like #indiechat every Tuesday 9pm EST on Twitter, and general support in navigating the indie publishing world. We have authors who are soon to publish their first work up to authors who have sold over 50,000 copies of their novels and landed TV deals with 20th Century Fox. I'm proud to be part of this amaziing group of talented ladies.

MM: I saw Open Minds as a movie in my head as I read your first book of the trilogy. If (or should I say when) the Mindjack Trilogy goes Hollywood, who do you see playing Kira Moore? How about Raf? Who should play Simon?
SKQ: I'm seriously bad at casting, so I'm not even going to try. I'll trust the movie guys to take care of that (someday).

MM: Who is your favorite character from fiction? If you could, would you trade places with her (or him) for a week?
SKQ: I was just saying on Twitter that Cassel from Holly Black's White Cat is one of my favorite characters (I'm reading the third book, Black Heart, right now). He's a tormented boy, a con man in a world where spell workers are part of an underground magic mafia, but he wants to save the girl he loves and, maybe, someday, even be one of the good guys. Tormented, I tell you! Love that boy. Wouldn't want to be him though. Possibly date him if I was a reckless 17-year-old that didn't mind being cursed.

MM: You've just completed work on Closed Hearts, book two of the Mindjack Trilogy. Congratulations! When can we expect to see it on Amazon? And what about book three?
SKQ: Thanks! Cloased Hearts will be released May 23rd, which will be Virtual Party Day and all kinds of fun, but there will be contests and giveaways leading up to the launch, so your readers might want to stop by to check out upcoming events. As for Mindjack #3, I don't have even a tentative release date, although I have already started working on the book.

MM: What's next for you after the Trilogy? What kind of book can your fans anticipate?
SKQ: This is a great question, one I've been wrestling with. I have a story idea that's been haunting me for over a year, which is a good sign that I need to write it, but I need to make sure it can support a whole novel, preferrably another trilogy. Whatever I end up writing next, it's safe to say it will be more young adult speculative fiction, so hopefully fans of the Mindjack Trilogy will enjoy it.

MM: Your fans and I will look forward to hearing about that next project. So, tell us about your workspace. What's on your desk as you write?
SKQ: Diet Pepsi, Writer Mouse (stuffed), and a whole lotta junk. I really need to clean my desk.

MM: One final thought before you leave us. Writing a trilogy is a major commitment in your life. How will you celebrate the completion of the Mindjack books?
SKQ: A date with my pillow. And there might be wine involved. Thanks so much for hosting me! 

I hope you've enjoyed our visit with my friend and fellow author, Susan Kaye Quinn. You can find more about Susan at:

For a light, romantic read, check out her novel: Life, Liberty, and  Pursuit 

You can also find Susan's stories in the anthologies:

You can find The Indelibles at: 


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Thanks for hosting me, Marian!

MiMi said...

It was my pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!! And good luck with the sequel due out this month.

Cherie Colyer said...

Great interview, ladies!