#AuThorsday with James Quinn

11863451_1633298326926481_3931834120665565634_nToday I’d like to welcome James Quinn, thriller writer and author of A Game for Assassins and Sentinel Five

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

The Gorilla Grant books are old school Cold War espionage books but with a violent and gritty element to them.

Having read your first book, that’s a good sum-up.  What are you working on currently?

I’ve just finished book 2 in the series, Sentinel Five, which is set in Asia.  My next few months are going to be geared towards promoting that.  Then a break and next year I’ll begin book 3 in the series.  This is the one I am looking forward to the most….it’s my most personal book….but still with lots of action in it.

Good planning!  What is your favorite scene you’ve written?  Can you give us a peek?

My favorite scene that I’ve written so far is actually one of the final scenes from Sentinel Five.  It’s a violent scene and then ends with some tender interaction between Gorilla Grant and a “female” character.  I won’t spoil it, read the book, but it’s an emotional scene from my point of view.

What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

Don’t publish too early!!  Make sure you are happy with it first.  Then give it to a professional editor, they see things that you don’t.  That was the main problem with my first book, A Game for Assassins, I was too keen to get it out and I was just winging it.  It was only when I signed up with a publisher (Creativia) that the production values really started to kick in.

What is one question about your books that you wish more people would ask?

Honestly, I’m just glad that people take the time to buy and read them.  But if I was pushed I would have to say I would like readers to ask more about Gorilla’s background.  I mean…C’mon guys…I’ve dangled lots of little clues in both books….you have to search them out to be sure….but there is a whole back-story just waiting to be unpicked by an inquisitive mind.  Some people have asked and emailed me questions about him though to be fair 🙂

Interesting…  🙂  Who inspires you to write?

I have favorite writers certainly, John LeCarre, Ian Fleming, Stephen King, and they are always good motivation.  But really I am inspired by people around me, people who battle through against overwhelming odds and fight against any kind of injustice.

In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

When I first wrote the books I always imagined a young Bob Hoskins as Gorilla Grant, that rough edged manner.  Then that changed, maybe Bob would have played an older Gorilla.  Now I’m torn between Tim Roth, a brilliant actor, and a lesser known UK actor from Liverpool, by the name of Stephen Graham.  Both are tough little men, very charismatic, working class heroes.  So they are the ones that I would pick….I’d even run their firearms training for the movie myself just to hang out with either of them  😉

Love Tim Roth.  And that’s a pretty good plan!  When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

I tend to write in bursts…a week here, a week there…then nothing for a while.  I don’t try to force it.  I let it happen organically.  If nothing is coming to mind I will stop and go for long walks, or go and train, anything to distract me.  So far this has worked.  Then slowly…the ideas start to work themselves out.  It’s not perfect but it suits me.

That seems to be a common approach for many authors.  Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

Oh absolutely, very much so.  Because of my job a lot of the technical scenes in the books are taken from my role as a security consultant/investigator.  So if you read a scene that has surveillance aspects, or operating in a covert role in a non-permissive environment, or anything related to firearms/unarmed combat work, then it’s a fair bet that I’ve done most of that.  Art imitating life I guess.

You certainly have a great history of experience to draw from when writing thrillers!  Is there anything you’ve read that made you jealous you didn’t think of it first?

There is a little known book by the Scottish writer, the late William McIlvanney, called The Big Man (it was also a movie with Liam Neeson).  Such a perfect book. It deals with tough issues.  It’s a great crime novel, but it’s also about family and community.  So, that one definitely.  It had such an impact on me when I read it, but as for being jealous….Elmore Leonard.  If I can write character dialogue even half as good as him by the end of my life I’ll die a happy man!

Thanks, James, for sharing!

a1xk6esneil-_ux250_WHERE TO FIND James Quinn:
Website:  www.JamesQuinn.webs.com
Goodreads:  James Quinn
Amazon Page:  James Quinn
Facebook:  James Quinn

#AuThorsday with Marnie Cate

71ZwbnkB-4L._UX250_Today I’d like to welcome Marnie Cate, YA fantasy author of Remember.

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

Girl finds out that she has magic and that her family is full of secrets.

Having read your first book, I agree that covers the basics.  🙂  I love how you use family, by the way.  You put a unique twist on family dynamics.  What gave you the idea for your story in the first place?  

The opening scene of Gram leading Mara to safety came to mind and I knew then that I needed to write this story.  The obvious path for me with a story with a grandmother and a granddaughter would include a sister.  The secrets of my book were really not planned and revealed themselves as we went along.

What are you working on currently?

Exigency, Protectors of the Elemental Magic (Book 2)

Can’t wait!  How many books do you plan for the series?

Book 3 has been very rude and trying to interrupt my writing of Book 2.  My original vision was to have a boxed set of eight books that spelled out the name REMEMBER.  I want the story to continue as long as it is fun and exciting to read.

That is a clever idea!  What is your favorite scene you’ve written?  Can you give us a peek?

You are losing him.  He is going to leave you,” she whispered in my ear.  Her breath felt so cold that my ears tingled.  “All because of your lies, he will not want you anymore.  You know you really want to be with Kai.  You crave excitement not the boring boy from your childhood.  Come with me, Mara and I will bring you what you long to have.”
“You lie,” I screamed at her trying to push her away from me.  “You are not going to destroy us.”  Tearing my arm out of her clutched fingers, I felt the burn of her fingertips.  Laughing, she faded away.
Jolted out of sleep, I awoke in the safety of my grandmother’s bed.  Trembling, I glanced around the room.  Trying to convince myself that it was just a dream and that I was safe, I vowed that I would not lose Cole.
“Cole,” I whispered.  Patting the spot where Cole should have been fast asleep, I found an empty space.
Scared that my dream was right, I searched the house for him.  He was nowhere to be found.  My mind began to race.  Where would he go?  Pacing back and forth in the kitchen, my eyes landed on the lavender journal in the center of the kitchen table and I knew where he had gone.

Very suspenseful.  I like that you so clearly seem to know Mara as a character.  How do you put yourself in a frame of mind where you can write the thoughts, feelings, and reactions of this girl?

My whole life I have always had a vivid imagination.  I could play with my Barbie dolls for hours creating a new world.  When I write, my best work comes from me talking it out as if it was a play.

That’s a great method.  What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

I read once, write the book you want to read, and I remind myself of this on the days of doubt.

Yeah, I agree with that idea – write to please yourself.  In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

Judi Dench would be my main pick for Gram.  Vanessa Marano and Beau Mirchoff would be my dream Mara Stone and Cole Sands.  For my antagonists, I see Julianne Moore as Eliza and Meryl Streep as Blanche Drygen.  I would love to see Dame Judi and Meryl face off.

I actually pictured Julianne Moore as Eliza!  Too funny.  And of course I’ve seen MANY places where you share your love of Judi Dench.  🙂 When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

Love of the characters.  I am exited each day to find out what path my characters will go down.  Even the outlined storyline can take an unexpected turn.

Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

My grandmother is my inspiration for Gram and the sister relationship is impacted greatly by my own sister.  The rest is pure imagination.

That makes sense.  Your relationships are very “real” and believable in your story. 

Thank you, Marnie, for sharing!

WHERE TO FIND Marnie Cate: 
Website:  www.MarnieCate.com 
Goodreads:  Marnie Cate
Amazon Page:  Marnie Cate
Facebook:  Marnie Cate, author
Twitter:  @Marnie_Cate

#AuThorsday with Joe Compton

81MDpUZsTLL._UX250_Today I’d like to welcome Joe Compton, Awethor extraordinaire and author of Amongst the Killing.

Can you give us your quickest description of your book?

Amongst The Killing is a crime thriller, set in Los Angeles in the early 80’s that follows a young hotshot detective whose dream has become a nightmare thanks to an idealistic Mass Murderer.  Told in dual perspective, one chapter written by the Detective, the next by the Murderer as their story unfolds.

Ooh,  I love the dual perspective idea.  Is there one side you liked writing more than the other?

You know, it’s funny.  I set out with the excitement of writing Jack Casey (the murderer) and there was certain scenes I had that I knew I would enjoy writing for Detective Street but then as I got into it, especially in the 3rd act, I really loved writing for Detective Street.  His arch really took hold and shape for me as it went on.

What are you working on currently?

The sequel entitled “We The Moral Majority” which follows some of the characters of the first book, taking place a few years after the events of the first book, in the backdrop of a political campaign run by an organization that proclaims to be taking back the morality of city that has lost its way.

So a crime thriller spins into politics?  That seems…natural.  🙂 Do you use any real life politics, either directly or as inspiration?  

Well, I have been talking to someone who ran for a local office already.  I was also looking at volunteering for a political campaign just so I could get some good “inside baseball” terms and little subtle things to make the reading experience more authentic but my own personal politics are not going to be on display.  The book is really not about that, politics is just the backdrop but I also have to stay true to my characters and who they are and thus their politics will be on display; walking that fine line. 🙂

Interesting.  What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

Network, keep writing, network some more, keep writing, and…keep writing.  Also be patient, do your due diligence when it comes to networking, but know that frustrations and bad days happen, so stay the course.  Then you will understand when the Good Days happen why they are so much more powerful than the bad ones and having like-minded folk and a supportive network will enhance that tenfold.

Great advice.  Do you find it true the idea that “marketing is harder than actually writing the book” or do you enjoy all that goes into getting your book out there?

You know, I have been doing my own marketing, pitching, and sales for so long it really isn’t the aspect of this process that is harder per say for me. In the same token I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but what I don’t enjoy, even though I know and have accepted this as truth, is that you have to play the percentages, so the more you put into it, the more you get out of it, and it’s never what you expect.  There was a great discussion going on about this on a Facebook message board I was reading just this morning.  If you want to be seen and be successful (no matter how you define success) you have to market and the effort you put forth is the result you will achieve.

In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

James McAvoy of X-Men fame and tons of great films for the Detective Charles Street, and Liev Schreiber of Ray Donavan fame and several movies for the idealist mass murderer Jack Casey.

Wow, those two would pair wonderfully!  So I’m guessing there’s a fair level of intensity to your characters, based on your choices.  Is that part of what made you think of McAvoy and Schreiber – their ability to convey so much?

Yes.  The book is all about intensity, just in the way it begins with a life altering event for both characters.  However, what I really like about McAvoy and Schreiber in particular and what I think would lend itself beautifully to a film version is they can convey the moment with just a look.  The choices they make as actors when they pause or smirk, or put on their poker faces (2 of the best in business at that in my opinion) that would add a cinematic element that one might not draw from the book right away.

Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

Not so much experiences in this particular first novel of mine but I used familiarity for sure.  Scenery, landmarks, speech patterns, and because of the realistic and authentic feel I wanted to give this novel.  I spent an enormous amount of time on research and getting factoids and terminology that I could use in authenticating the backdrop.  I do feel like I have personal stories to tell but I just don’t know if they are ready to come out.  I am not sure I can articulate them and make them interesting within a context of a story arch and give it a flow that would captive an audience for a few hundred pages.  In other words I am too chicken shit to put me out there. 🙂

LOL (I actually did).  That’s interesting you mention using familiarity with scenery, landmarks, and essentially “real life” around you.   Do you think that works especially well in your kind of fiction as opposed to, say, more fantasy-based writing?  Or do you think all authors of all genres can benefit from observing and drawing off of what they see around them rather than make it up in their heads?  

I think it’s a neat trick for writer’s block.  Go sit down somewhere and write down what you see, feel, and hear.  Describing it to the very last detail and maybe you will see how natural it is to write that way?  It might even get you creative juices flowing.  I don’t think writing the familiar has to be genre specific nor does that make a good story.  What make a good story are so many factors.  All I know is it helps me and I kind of like my friends and family finding those little subtle things.  Like for example in Amongst The Killing I mention a local pizza pallor where I grew up and couple of my long time friends got a kick out of that.  Little things like that make me smile because they would be the only ones who would have ever noticed that and for me that was kind of the point.  Plus if I put the action somewhere I know, less research I have to do because I know it was there at the time of my story. 🙂

Thanks, Joe, for sharing!

25009897WHERE TO FIND Joe Compton:
 Joe Compton
Amazon Page:
 Joe Compton
Never Mind the Fine Print Publishing

This is what happens when I don’t filter my brain for interviews


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