Saturday, February 4, 2012

Open Minds: Author Interview with Susan Kaye Quinn

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.

Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.

She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.

  1. How did you come up with the title?
Titles either come to me in a flash early in the process, or fight me every step of the way. This one was easy, being a spin on the telepathic nature of the world as well as its closed-mindedness.
  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I firmly believe that everyone takes their own meaning from a story. But I also intentionally wove in strong themes about intolerance and its impact on individuals and society in general. Whatever the reader takes from the story, is what they’re needing to hear at that time. And I’m good with that. J
  1. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on Closed Hearts, Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy. I just sent the second draft off to my critique partners. While I wait for that, I’m drafting a detailed outline for the As-Yet-Unnamed Book-The-Third.
  1. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
All of writing is challenging. I had to conquer a lot of fear about my writing in order for it to really flourish, and I still occasionally struggle with fears – that it won’t be good enough, that people will judge the work, or simply not like it. Once my fears are beaten into submission, writing is like an addiction. I can truly say there’s no part that I dislike (except maybe for fixing commas. I just stink at that).
  1. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m a serious Scott Westerfeld fangirl. He’s brilliant, he takes chances with his work, his writing and imagination are fantastic. Simply brilliant! Did I say brilliant? The guy is wicked good at his craft.
  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Let me know what you think of the books! I always love hearing from readers. #makesmyday
  1. How did you come up with the idea for Open Minds?
I wanted to enter a 1st paragraph contest online, but I didn’t like the 1st paragraphs in my current novels. So I made one up for a novel that didn’t exist. The idea of it captured my imagination and I was pretty much forced to write the novel from there.
  1. Who is your favorite or least favorite character to write?
I love all my characters. Seriously. Although I have a teensy crush on my bad boy characters, which you can probably tell from reading the stories.
  1. There were a couple scenes in open minds that made me want to cry. Were there any scenes you didn't want to write?
I cry while writing all my novels. Partly because I’m a mush, and partly because I try to put my whole soul into writing. That makes really tough scenes very difficult to write sometimes. There’s one in particular in Open Minds that took me several months to finally push through and write (you can probably guess which one, if you’ve read the book). I kept trying to find a way around writing it, but the story demanded that it be there, so I had to write it.
  1. On the other hand, were there any scenes you liked that didn't make it to the final revision?
Oh lots! In fact, I rewrote the thing so many times, I’ve lost track of the scenes that were cut or rearranged beyond recognition. But just because I really liked a particular kissing scene (hm, they always seem to be kissing scenes), doesn’t mean that it needs to be there in the final cut. I’m a big fan of only having what is necessary for the story.

Fun time!
  • In the point of view of any character you choose, answer these: In the POV of Simon.

  1. What is your dirty little secret? I’ve got a lot of secrets. It’s hard to pick just one. Not that I would tell you, in any event.
  2. You're walking along and a dragon appears in front of you. What do you do? Slay it with my awesome mind powers. Or mindjack someone else into running slower than me.
  3. What is your heart's desire? To have Kira choose me, even if she finds out who I really am.

Bonus round!
Do you have any questions for me?  

What was your favorite scene in the book? 
 My personal favorite has to be towards the end, when everyone is having nightmares and them *ahem* suddenly start having good dreams. I think it was really sweet.
Which one made you cry?
*Spoilers* It's a tie between when they took Laney and when Simon never made it out of the camp. Thinking about it now, it's definitely when Simon died. That was just cruel. ;) 

Is there one last thing you want to tell your readers? There’s a short prequel story to Open Minds called Mind Games coming out in an anthology on Valentine’s Day. It will be free on Smashwords, and the story gives you a taste of Raf’s POV, and what it’s like to be a mindreader in love with the only girl in school that doesn’t read minds. You can add it to your TBR here. 

And lastly: Where can we all follow you?
Here’s all my online deets: blog, twitter, facebook, Mindjack website. You can also subscribe to my author newsletter to get information about giveaways and upcoming releases

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