Friday, January 20, 2012
Interview with Open Minds' author Susan Kaye Quinn
Open Minds is a fast paced, gripping, adventure with a protaganist of unexpected mental talent. I loved it, and asked Susan Kaye Quinn if she would be interested in an interview. She agreed, and the results are here:
What makes you passionate about writing?
My passion for writing comes from the intersection of several other things I love: science, technology, politics, kids, and reading. I’ve always loved reading, but once I had my kids, I realized the profound importance of stories for kids. Seeing the impact that stories had on them, lighting up their curiosity and creativity, filling their playtime with wizards and robots, impacting their lives … well I wanted to be part of that. Stories have always been a way to teach us about the world, and I think future stories like the science fiction that I write, teach us about what the world can be (as well as what it shouldn’t be) and how we as human beings can fit into it. Stories like that can have just as big an impact on adults as kids, which is why I think so many adults read YA (young adult) novels, and even MG (middle grade).
What’s the toughest challenge you face as a writer?
On the business side, the biggest challenge is discoverability, or building a base of people that know and enjoy your work. On the craft side, the biggest challenge for me is finding the time to do all the writing, and writing-related activities, that I want to do. I love reading in my genre, reading craft books, talking about and teaching writing (to teens at my local library), networking with and supporting fellow writers, and blogging about my writing journey. And then there’s the writing itself, which I try to keep front and center for hours every day. Making sure I keep it all balanced, all the while pushing myself forward in my craft – these are my greatest challenges. But I’ve always loved a good challenge.
Who has been the biggest encouragement to you as a writer?
My fellow writers have been a consistent, constant source of encouragement. Seeing the success of fellow writers, like the recent movie/TV deal for fellow Indelible writer Addison Moore, inspires me. Knowing I’ll be reading a chapter to my local SCBWI group on Wednesday keeps me on track. Reading amazing books like Across the Universe by Beth Revis keeps me striving to be the best writer I can. Even my brother, who doesn’t write any more but cheers me on, keeps me motivated to tackle the manuscript every day.
How do your real life hobbies and experiences strengthen your fiction writing?
I did a lot of living before I started writing. While sometimes I wish I had started earlier, I think everything I did before (engineer working on jet engines, scientist studying global warming, politician running for office) helps me to write the stories I craft today. Writers have to draw from every bit of their lives to create stories that are uniquely theirs. Just sitting in the restaurant with my family today, observing body language of people, fuels my writing.
What’s your favorite part of your book, Open Minds?
This is a tough one!! I don’t want to be too spoilery, so I’ll pick one of my favorite scenes early in the book. I really enjoyed writing the scene where Kira first discovers her power … by knocking out the boy who was about to kiss her. One of the great things about writing YA is that there are so many firsts: first kiss, first boyfriend, first time you knock him out cold with your super mind powers. The book is very serious about a lot of things, but I try to have fun with it as well.
Susan's book Open Minds reflects her passions in life and storytelling, her balance between home and adventure, her strengths and her encouragement. Her main character Kira lives in a near future science fiction world with tough politics at play, and her challenging adventure is balanced by the love she has for her family, and the encouragement she finds from those she loves.
Thank you Susan, for taking the time to share, and for your writing.
If you haven't read Open Minds yet, go find it at Open Minds at Amazon