Friday, August 7, 2009

Interview with Erin Quinn

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Erin Quinn. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called HAUNTING BEAUTY. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

In HAUNTING BEAUTY, I explored a personal fascination with time and the idea that the past is not set in stone. Mistakes can be un-made, heartache can be transformed into triumph . . . but at what cost? If the past is an elaborate puzzle with interchangeable pieces, when one is altered, how do the others still fit? And how could you be sure that what changed didn’t make everything worse?

The story of HAUNTING BEAUTY is actually several puzzles, all missing vital pieces, and one woman’s desperate attempt to turn the chaos into the life she always dreamed of.

HAUNTING BEAUTY is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My original title was actually Beneath the Ruins because so much of the story centers around a castle ruins on the fictional Isle of Fennore, off the southern coast of Ireland. When my publisher started packaging the book, though, the title wasn’t ‘haunting” enough for the vision. After a brainstorming session, HAUNTING BEAUTY is the title that had that elusive quality we were looking for.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always loved romance and there is definitely a love story in HAUNTING BEAUTY. For me, that is a critical element to every story. HAUNTING BEAUTY is also very much a paranormal, but you won’t find shape-shifters or vampires between the covers. What intrigues me about the paranormal is the idea that we—you, me, John Doe strolling down the street—might have abilities we’ve never even imagined and therefore never tapped. How would any given person react if suddenly they could do the impossible? That is the paranormal element that I love to explore.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

This story didn’t come to me as an idea—rather I started with Danni Jones—the heroine—and as I began to tell her story, the other pieces fell into place. There are many elements in this story that took me completely by surprise. More than once I was scratching my head and thinking, “now where did THAT come from?” It was very exciting writing it and I would say of all my books, this one is my favorite.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

I don’t know if I have a favorite. I use a lot of sources—the Internet, Time Life Books, History books—to create my paranormal world. I love to ground the paranormal in real life events or ancient superstitions.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I would have to say Sean Ballagh was one of my favorites. I fall in love with every hero I write, but there was something about Sean Ballagh, hero of HAUNTING BEAUTY, that still hasn’t let me go. It’s more than the tall, dark and handsome thing—although Sean is definitely all that. If I had to put a finger on it, I would say it is Sean’s personal struggle to be a good man that completely captured my heart. He wants to do the right thing, but for Sean, nothing is ever easy and doing the right thing means facing a reality that could destroy him.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

I use the Hero’s Journey when I’m writing a book to help me get the emotional arc of the story. My people usually define themselves as I write them. Their actions and words tell me who they are.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

HAUNTING BEAUTY is book one in the Haunting Series—the first series I’ve ever attempted. I haven’t yet figured out a system that works for me to keep track of the world I’ve built. I carry most of it in my head but I can see where that might lead to disaster. Short answer: I dunno. Work in progress. ☺

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I grew up reading everything, but I was a big fan of horror and junkie when it came to romance. But after every horror novel, I was left wishing for a little romance in there and every romance left me wishing for a few thrills and chills. When I started writing, my goal was to combine those elements and write a story that sends chills down the spine while making my reader fall in love.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Hmmm, good question and one I can’t answer. The truth is, no one knows how to effectively market a book. We have no idea who is reading them, our demographic is so spread that it’s impossible to target, and getting the word out is at times daunting. The only thing that is really effective in getting a book from shelf to reader is mass quantities of them everywhere and that kind of promotion is done by the publisher and not the author. HAUNTING BEAUTY is the first book I’ve really had a marketing/promotion plan for and since it’s just releasing, I don’t have any way to judge if any of it worked. I do hope that word of mouth will be the ticket to success for HAUNTING BEAUTY, though.

What do we have to look forward next?

Book two, HAUNTING WARRIOR, will continue the story started with HAUNTING BEAUTY and take us into the world of Rory MacGrath, another hero who has stolen my heart. Poor Rory goes through hell and back in his story, but of course he’s a better man for the journey.

Thank you so much for having me on MUCH CHEAPER THAN THERAPY. You asked some terrific questions!

Stop by my website where I’m running some great contests including a “Buy 1 Get 20 free PLUS a $100 gift card” contest.. Details at

Thanks, Erin!

To celebrate her book release, HAUNTING BEAUTY Erin Quinn is offering an autographed copy of one of her previous titles (writing as Erin Grady) ECHOES OR WHISPERS. Reader’s choice to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (make sure to check the blog on Monday night to see who won) She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Order Haunting Beauty: Barnes & Noble Borders


Anonymous said...

Good morning Erin. Thanks for joining us today. I love your cover and can't wait to sink my teeth into this story. :) Nice RT article. Were there any scenes or characters you or your editor decided to cut during the revision process? Enjoy yourself today.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Erin. Congratulations on the release of Haunting Beauty. Sounds good. Love the cover.

Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Hi Kim, I'm really happy to be here. You always have such great featuers on MCTT that I'm honored to be one of them.

To answer your question, no. My editor had me change a couple of sentences here and there for clarity, but basically Haunting Beauty was published pretty much exactly how I submitted it. :)

Donna Del Grosso said...

I can't wait to read this... I loved Whispers. You're so excited about this new book and I think that makes for an awesome read! Good Luck

Kathryne Kennedy said...

So very glad to have you here and showcasing your fabulous new book, Erin! It's a haunting story and so beautifully written that it was my absolute pleasure to get the chance to read it before it hit the shelves. For any readers stopping by, run out to the bookstore and buy this book! It's one that you will treasure.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Erin, now I'm DYING to read your book -- the idea of being able to go back in time and undo past events is fascinating!

I couldn't get through on the link you posted at Desert Rose yesterday, but I'd love to know more. :)

Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Kathryne, you are so nice! Your quote made my heart sing (she said, "A dark and passionate romance with the literary brilliance of The Time Traveler's Wife."

Doesn't get much better than that. :)

Donna, you'll have to let me know what you think.

Laurie, I posted again on the loop--apparently you can't just link to an evite. Who knew? I sent it to you and told everyone to just email me so I can forward it directly. :-)

Estella said...

Hi Erin,
Do you plot your books out or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Haunting Beauty sounds like an excellent read.

Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Estella, sadly, I'm a pantser. I say sadly, because I always wish I had more of an outlining mind. I think it would make the process that much easier. But that's not the way it works for me, so there you have it. :)

Donna Hatch said...

I love the combination of suspense and romance, and Haunting Beauty sounds like a fantasitc book. I can't wait to read it!

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Erin. Thanks for stopping by! Your book sounds fascinating. I can't wait to read it.

Amber said...

What a great second title, Erin! I love the idea and can't wait to read Haunting Beauty myself. I hope it launches you into huge success.
Being a plotter-pantser myself, I'm wondering, as a pantser, how do you tackle the revision process? Does each novel get easier to navigate by instinct?

Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Donna and Carol, you'll both have to let me know what you think after you read it. :)

Amber, I remember asking Susan Squires that question after her 5th book. She said, it doesn't get any easier, but you do learn how to take less detours. I think that pretty much nails where I am at. This year at RWA Nationals I devoted myself to quizzing other authors on process and how they write a book. My goal is to make my process more efficient. I'll let you know how that works out for me when I finished the next one.