Author Spotlight - Erin O'Quinn
Erin O’Quinn sprang from the high desert hills of Nevada, from a tiny town which no longer exists. A truant officer dragged her kicking and screaming to grade school, too late to attend kindergarten; and since that time her best education has come from the ground she’s walked and the people she's met.
O'Quinn earned a few degrees from the University of So. California, but her real education began on the back docks of a large newspaper; on the good-old-boy car lots in Abilene, Texas where she sold new Chryslers and used cars; and in a big-box store where she alternately hauled pallets and ran a garden center.
Erin is contracted to Siren Bookstrand, for six titles. She publishes the rest of her work with her own proudly independent New Dawn Press.
Please note that nine of O'Quinn's works were withdrawn in March, 2016 by a failed publishing house; but all of them have been revised and are published by New Dawn Press. Those titles are still seen on Amazon as "unavailable." The scores of reviews that went with them can still be read by looking at the old titles.
Social media links:
Facebook main page… https://www.facebook.com/bonita.franks?ref=tn_tnmn
Facebook author page… https://www.facebook.com/ErinOQuinnEroticWriting?ref=hl
Man in Romance blog… https://romancemanlove.wordpress.com
Kindle US: http://amzn.to/1w8PVgI
Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/24BcIcj
ARe/OmniLit: http://bit.ly/1uxLxy4 (pdf and epub formats)
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1s3cf1q (epub)
Why do you write?
It’s my primal scream, the voice inside that needs to be set free. I think it was Liza Minnelli’s character in “Cabaret” who stood under the elevated train tracks and howled her angst to the deafening sound of steel hitting the rails. That urge is there always, and writing helps me get it out.
When did you start writing?
I think I have never not written. But novel writing? That began six years ago, when I got my first iMac. It all started with the question of why St. Patrick never showed up in any fantasy or historical fiction. I began to write a series of YA sagas about a tomboy who befriended that Irish saint, long before he was deemed saintly. One thing led to another, and now I look back on 30 titles with joy and wonder.
What genre(s) do you write?
I started with YA-adult crossover historical fantasy. Those four novels led to four heteronormative historical romances, which led to a series of gay historicals I called The Iron Warrior. From those two early “manlove” novels came twenty other gay titles.
All but a few of my titles are gay romance mysteries. Most notable are the five Gaslight Mysteries, set in a fictional city in 1920s Ireland; the Nevada Highlander trilogy; and the six Burns! novellas.
What does your writing routine consist of?
Routine? A foreign word to me! I schlepp around with Facebook posts until I bore myself, and then some image or stray thought makes me realize I have a WiP waiting with sour breath for me to work on. That’s about it for “routine.” Oh, and I often leap out of bed in the middle of the night to shout that primal scream into my iMac.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
Trying to be objective, I’d say my two best strengths are first, my ability to establish a unique voice; and second, my talent for “organic” writing…creeping into the skin and the psyches of my characters and writing with frenzy but with no plan at all…letting them speak. Those skills have not come easily. They have developed after more than two million words and thirty titles, and I am still learning, re-writing and revising. Being my own harshest critic, I am rarely if ever satisfied with my work.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
If a reader were to divide my 22 gay titles into groups, s/he would find the following: SCOTLAND (12 titles)…IRELAND (7 titles)…NEVADA (3 titles, and 3 others pulled from circulation). So those three settings contain the magic that fires my imagination. And no, I do not put myself in my stories as a character. As a guide, yes. As a moral compass, always. As a complex of experience, outlook, spiritual insight, and bawdy appreciation of life, I am there in every book.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Oh, I am a classic pantser. I make up characters, plot lines and side alleys as I go. I can write 5K words from scratch between lunch and dinner. Four of my best novels were the end result of NaNoWriMo (50K words in 30 days): Heart to Hart, Nevada Highlander, Thin as Smoke and Masters of Cane.
Tell us about your latest book.
I think I’ve put the finishing touch on a six-novella gay romance-mystery series. The series is the Burns! Mysteries. The final novella is The Burns Enigma. See below for the blurb and the links. I need to emphasize that this novella tiptoes to the brink of the paranormal, and it’s best read with its prequel The Unicorn’s Secret.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing - and why?
I’ve been contracted to four publishing houses, and right now I’m down to one. Two went up in smoke, one was just not the right marriage, and I’ll end my association with the last one in less than a year, when my contracts expire.
Right now, except for six titles, I am a happy Indie. Why? Because I set the deadlines. I edit the MSS. I design the covers (or work with a genius like Alex Akira). l decide on the pub date. I set the price… You get the idea. Back in college, the dormies like me who didn’t pledge to a sorority called ourselves GDIs, or goddamned independents. That spirit has never changed.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am half-assed writing a story in my Noble Dimensions series, set in Nevada. It’s barely begun, with the tentative title Lonesome Boys. A shy young man with a voice meets an older, experienced man with a guitar. The music they make is…well, wait and see.
I’m also limping along with the third Iron Warrior novel (Warrior, Come Again), but the contract on the series is not up until next year. This one will look at a set of unique lovers: a serious acolyte of St. Patrick who has a past; and a Loki-type con artist from the Far East with a lot of wit but little wisdom.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I write to make myself happy. I have my peaks and my valleys, Alp, so I guess it’s a long, slow road. But I often smile until my cheeks hurt.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
Write until the pain eases, just a little. But only a little, and only for a little while. Hemingway never said that, but that’s his advice, awkwardly stated by me. His actual words were something like, “Sit at a typewriter and bleed.”
Erin's Featured Books
Michael McCree seems to be a newspaperman, running from a past in Boston. He’s a lover of men and a drinker of whiskey, and yet one with some surprising depths and one huge secret.
Simon Hart is a surly, angry, altogether closeted and touch-me-not fellow, a Cambridge-educated private investigator whose business partner has been murdered. He meets Michael in a newspaper shop when turning in an obit notice.
They clash. Fisticuffs fly. And before Simon knows what’s happened, he’s gained a new flat-mate, a new business partner, and a wanna-be lover. It’s the “wanna-be” that drives the present story…and all that follow.
The five Gaslight Mysteries are Hart to Hart…Sparring with Shadows…To the Bone…Thin as Smoke…Masters of Cane.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1X56fP6
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1N3JF3A
Follow a fastidious, surly investigator and his randy yet secretive partner through the very cracks in a city of gaslights and vintage motorcars, into a hidden homosexual culture, as both men find themselves sparring with shadows.
A Scottish castle laird decides to attend a big game hunt in the mountains of Eastern Nevada. His covert, and reluctant, babysitter is a governor-appointed state trooper.
The exuberant Rory Drummond needs no protector. He is a trained hunter, in addition to having several other entertaining skills. The state trooper Alex Dominguez is reserved, shrouding his past—even from himself—out of a need to seal off old memories.
Inevitably, the men find each other irresistible, and soon certain sparks begin to affect both of them. As the attraction between them grows, so does their sense of commitment to each other. Only one thing stands in the way of a mature relationship—Alex’s fear of telling Rory his secret assignment. The tension between his sense of duty and his newfound passion is a factor which threatens to tear them apart once the truth is known.
And the facts must eventually come out.
What will happen when the hunter finds he's being spied on, thousands of miles from home?
And what will the trooper do when his cover is, ah, blown?
The trilogy is Nevada Highlander…The Kilt Complex…Hunter’s Point
View the Excerpt
Kindle US: http://amzn.to/2cCtKSh
Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1xt6iGR
When Burns walks into that good night in The Unicorn’s Secret, how will Thomas cope with the rest of his bleak existence? Is there a way these two lost souls can still find each other?
Turn the clock forward…from the day before today, to the present. A tough cop and a reclusive civilian discover that an old crime and a new murder are connected. Worse, the common denominator is one of them.
Thomas Fitzgerald and a “new” lover are in the shadow of a criminal, one who has set his mind on brutal revenge.
The first five Burns! Mysteries tiptoed to the brink of the paranormal and finally teetered over the edge. What will happen in this mystery, as then and now and tomorrow start to merge? The enigma begins, and ends, with Burns…
View the Excerpt
Kindle US: http://amzn.to/29UKC3a
Kindle UK: http://bit.ly/29xABeR
ARe/OmniLit: http://bit.ly/29G4QvU (pdf or epub)
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/29yWKFm (epub)