- Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.
“Hi, I’m Sam Quinn and this is my friend Seana Kelly. She’s all right. Kinda quiet. She often comes into my bookstore bar The Slaughtered Lamb, sits by the window wall overlooking the San Francisco Bay, and types on her laptop. Owen, my good friend and wicche extraordinaire, tells me they often get into discussions about books. She was an English teacher and now she’s a teacher-librarian in a high school. What else can I tell you? She’s tall, absurdly so, and mostly keeps to herself, reading and writing. Her husband once came to pick her up—after a few too many lemon drops—and he’s outrageously tall, offensively so. Nice guy. Her daughters are cool. I hear her books are good, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.”
- Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.
The Hob & Hound Pub—out April 26th—is the fourth book in the Sam Quinn series. Sam is the werewolf book nerd owner of The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore & Bar. A lot has happened since the first book. She was trapped in visions while werewolves hunted her. She went to New Orleans with her vampire beau Clive, the Master of San Francisco, to kick some evil vamp butt. She had to cautiously negotiate with the fae as she finally dealt with the person who’s been trying to kill her since she was born. Sam’s life has been especially chaotic the last few months. She’s growing into her powers as she learns more about her past. In The Hob & Hound Pub, Sam and Clive travel to Europe for romance and to hunt down the vampire who has been targeting Clive for far too long—did I mention there are dragons?
- What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?
Sam is a woman battling her way back from a traumatic past. What I love about her is that she leads with kindness. Her life may be in utter upheaval, but if she sees someone else in need, she’ll always figure out how to stop and help. It isn’t easy to come back from horrific experiences, but Sam pushes herself every day to do the hard thing, rather than hiding in her bookstore.
- Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?
Owen Wong is Sam’s right-hand guy at The Slaughtered Lamb. He’s also a wicche—I use the antiquated spelling of witch because it’s not a gender-specific word. I wrote a short story about Owen and George, Owen’s dragon-shifter boyfriend, titled All I Want for Christmas Is a Dragon. The story is free to newsletter subscribers. Owen comes from a family of wicches who have the gift of healing. Owen doesn’t believe himself to have that family gift. He thinks of himself more as a general, all around wicche. He’s dated lots of guys over the years, but George is different. Owen is head over heels and is trying to figure out if George feels the same. Spoiler: he does. In the holiday short story, we get more background on both Owen and George, and some of the events in the short story cross into the plot of The Hob & Hound Pub.
- How did you come up with your idea for the above story?
The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore & Bar was the first book I ever wrote—not the first published, but the first I wrote—about thirteen years ago. I was still trying to figure out how to write a book and it was therefore rewritten more times than I can remember. The three things that have never changed in all the years of rewriting are Sam, Dave (Sam’s half-demon cook), and the description of the bar. I knew who Sam was, her backstory, her fears, her strength, and her isolation. She was a character who wanted to hide, so I needed to put her in a situation that would lend itself to more characters and dangerous situations. I liked a bar for that because she was forced to interact with her customers. She had the distance of bartender and customer, but over the years, friendships grew. The bookstore was necessary because I love books. As for where I come up with the stories, that one is hard. I had my main character and the setting…and then I just let different scenarios play out in my head until I hit ones that were interesting/exciting and fit with Sam’s character growth.
- What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?
The best laid plans and all that. I write early in the morning (3:30am) and on weekends because I have a full-time job. Unfortunately, those plans went awry when my dad got sick. I spent many weekends driving from the California Bay Area down to the Palm Desert area where my parents had retired. In the span of four months, everything spiraled downward, and my father passed. My writing plans went out the window as personal issues took over. Normally, my plan is to get 500-1000 words on weekdays and 1500-2000 words on the weekend. I’m a slow writer and I don’t always make it, but I write every day.
- How do you handle writers block?
If I get writers block, it means I’ve hit a snag and I know there’s something about the plot that isn’t working. Sometimes, I close my eyes and think obsessively about the story, the histories of the characters, the plot points I need to hit and how to get there. Sometimes, I put the story on the backburner and read a book (different genre than what I’m writing) or watch a show. The goal is to come back to the story with my head unstuck. Sometimes, I’ll go back to the start and read over what I have, knowing the block that’s coming down the road. I’m looking for the stumbling spots I’ve inadvertently added that clearly need to be changed in some way, so the path is clear a hundred pages from now.
- Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?
That sounds cool. I wish I did, but nope.
- What is your writing snack?
I don’t have a specific snack, although you can never go wrong with chips and chocolate.
- What do you do when you’re not writing?
As Sam said earlier, I’m a high school teacher-librarian. I used to be an English teacher before I decided to go back to school and get the additional degree and credential to move to the library. I still get to talk with teens about books. The difference now is that they’re the books the students enjoy reading rather than the ones I forced them to read J
- What is your favorite season and why?
All of them have their benefits. I hate the heat and relentless sun of summer, but I love the couple of weeks I get off between the end of summer school and the beginning of regular school. In spring, we have milder temperatures and flowers. In fall, we have leaves falling and spooky stories. My favorite season, though, is winter. I love the cold and rain, snuggling under a blanket, and reading a book.
- What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?
I don’t have one favorite genre. It all depends on my mood. I love romances, historical and contemporary. I enjoy the banter, the clear focus on relationship, and the swoony bits. I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but I can’t read it when I’m writing. I love paranormal stories because they’re set outside the mundane world of going to work and needing to pay rent. A werewolf running a bar for other supernatural characters is infinitely more interesting to me than a jerk boss and irritating coworkers. I can get that in my real life. I also love mysteries and am constantly trying to think a few steps ahead of the main character. If I can’t figure out who done it before it’s revealed, I’ve failed.
- Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?
I think it’s more a mantra than a mission statement. “When you knock me down, I get the f@ck back up again.” Hercules Mulligan sings this in the musical Hamilton. I embrace that sentiment.
- What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put y ou in the mood?
I’m so jealous of people who can listen to all types of music when they write. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics. I don’t know how other writers are able to have someone else’s words in their head while they’re trying to write. If I’m all by myself, I prefer silence. If I’m trying to drown out the noises around me, my go-to is the Lord of the Rings soundtracks. The music is beautiful, has an epic fantasy quality to it, and helps me stay focused in the world I’m creating.
APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH
What is your favorite silver lining moment? ie bad situation that turned out great.
The first book I published was Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher. It’s a rom-com for Harlequin’s SuperRomance line. My agent was pitching the second book in the series to them, and I was already 150 pages into the manuscript, when Harlequin shut down the line. Years, I’d been writing for years, and I’d finally sold a book only to have the rug ripped out. I was devastated. I thought about just going back to reading, which required FAR less work. But, as Hercules Mulligan says, when you knock me down, I get the f@ck back up again.
I returned to The Slaughtered Lamb and began another series of rewrites. When my agent pitched it to tradition publishing houses, we were told over and over that they loved it but didn’t know how to sell it. So, not one to give up and walk away, I decided to indie publish The Slaughtered Lamb through my literary agency. It’s been a dream come true to have so many people buy and read my books. I’m a huge step closer to being a full-time writer. I’m going down to 60% next year at my day job, so I can have more time to write. I doubt I ever would have been able to do that if the line hadn’t closed. I think that’s a very bright and shiny silver lining.
MAKE SURE YOU GET EVERY ISSUE OF THE BLOG BY SIGNING UP!
JOIN THE FUN BY SIGNING UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER!