**Edit: This just in!! A GIVEAWAY from Carter Quinn! One lucky commenter will win a choice of ONE ebook from Carter Quinn’s backlist, including but not limited to his upcoming release Vanished. Just leave a comment below with your email address if you’d like to be included in the contest. Winner will be announced on saturday (Sept. 13)!!**
Today, I have my friend Carter Quinn here for an interview. He’s as crazy as me—must be the reason he actually agreed to do this! 😉 He has a new release coming out September 17th called Vanished. It’s a romantic suspense novella guaranteed to keep you riveted. I asked Carter to put himself at my mercy and let me grill him about everything from his writing process to his guilty pleasures. Well, let’s get started.
J: So, you write romance (among other things). Do you believe in true love IRL?
C: Of course. One time I was talking to my grandma about my grandpa. I asked her if she ever regretted marrying him and her answer was, “Nope. Not once.” They were married 44 years and 1 week when he died and were in love the entire time.
J: That’s so sweet. My grandparents were married over 60 years before my grandfather died.
C: That’s awesome. I’ve never even made 44 months.
J: What would you look for in the perfect significant other (I’m talking more personality, we’ll get to looks in a bit)?
C: Someone who understands my quirks and respects them for what they are. Someone who can make me laugh and think and who challenges me to be better every day. Also someone who will cook and clean because I hate both.
J: What got you interested in writing?
C: It was our quiet time exercise in 4th grade. The teacher would put a prompt on the board and give us 30 minutes to complete a story. It was the coolest thing ever.
J: What’s your favorite thing about writing?
C: Finishing? Lol No, I think it’s meeting all the people in my head and giving them a happier place to be. That applies specifically to Avery. He was so wounded and scared when I first met him, but he grew so much stronger over the course of his book.
J: Avery (from Out of the Blackness, for the uninitiated), is definitely in my top 10 favorite characters.
You guys need to read this book!
**Check out Out of the Blackness here: Amazon Kindle, Amazon Paperback, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble (I’m serious, read the book. :-P)**
C: I love that kid.
J: How do you react to a bad review?
C: Like everyone else: I yell and scream and throw things. Okay, maybe I don’t throw things anymore. It actually depends on the review. Some low-rated reviews are insightful. Some are absolute bullshit.
Sometimes I end up feeling bad for the reviewer because s/he obviously isn’t able to understand nuance or point of view. Like the ones that bitch because there’s no sex in Out of the Blackness. How did they miss Noah coming in the refrigerator? Or that Noah is too perfect. Of course he is! Avery is an unreliable narrator. He sees only the bad in himself and only the good in others. If you couldn’t figure that out after 95,000 words, then the shame is on you, not me. But I have to say, I’ve been very lucky. All of my professional reviews and most on Goodreads and Amazon have been great, and I can’t express enough how much that means to me.
J: Ah yes, the refrigerator scene, again possibly in my top 10. 😉
C: LOL Really? I thought it showed tremendous growth for Avery, but apparently some people wanted more. Maybe next book.
J: Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
C: Aside from carpal tunnel and weight gain? Yes. Buying into either your own press, so to speak, or negative reviews.
J: What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
C: No one who knows me would suggest I have more than a passing acquaintance with sanity, but I’ll give this a shot anyway. Being able to step away from the social media madness is key. Avoid drama. Avoid other people spouting their own praises (I just wrote the X-est scene! Oh my god, I’m ranked X!). Keep your head down and write. But know when to ditch a project when it isn’t working, and don’t be afraid to do it.
I learned that one the hard way. It took over a year to finish another project after Out of the Blackness, because I kept making myself plod along on one I didn’t want to do. When I shelved it, Vanished was like an oasis in a desert of self-hatred.
J: What is the single most challenging part of writing a novel?
C: As far as the content, keeping it compelling is the most important thing, so that’s a challenge. I never want to lose someone’s attention once they’ve bought the book. As far as writing goes, the actual sitting down and writing part. People don’t lie when they say it’s like bleeding onto the page. It’s hard work, but it’s so rewarding. Of course, when I’m bleeding, it’s difficult to make myself willingly open that gash again. Plus, I procrastinate like nobody’s business.
J: I may or may not enable said procrastination. *cough*teen wolf*cough*
C: Oh yes, thank you so much for that addiction. Brat. Luckily they’re doing a great job of making me disinterested now. I keep holding out, waiting for Uncle Hunky and Deputy Delicious to have more skin time, but the odds don’t appear to be in my favor.
J: Tell us about your process. Do you outline? Do you rewrite? Do you wing it?
C: I do outline, but it’s not rigid. It’s just something I can refer back to if I get lost in a scene and forget what’s next. Quite often the characters have a different idea of what’s going to go on the page than I do on any given day. I never re-write or edit until the entire thing is finished unless I have a brilliant idea that suddenly needs to be referred to earlier. I write chronologically, so it’s not difficult to go back.
One quirk I have is that I must have locations pinned down. I have to know where everyone lives, where everyone works, what the route is to get there and back. That was ridiculously important in Vanished because it’s set in San Francisco. Three years after writing it, I could take you to Lawrence and show you Riley’s house, or Eric’s apartment complex [from The Way Back] in Kansas City. Those are weird stumbling blocks for me. If I don’t know those things, it’s very hard for me to write anything else.
J: Follow up question: Do you think you’ll ever set a book where you live now, in Colorado? Seems like it might be easier to pin down all those details.
C: I have a trilogy in mind to start early next year. The first book will be set in either Omaha or Kansas City, but the next two will be in Denver. Who knows? I might have something between now and then, too.
J: I had to steal this from Jamie Lake because I thought it was such an interesting question. The answers she’s gotten have been wide-ranging: Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m romance (or romance in general, or writing in general) and how do you think they’d respond?
C: Funny you should ask that. It just came up last month. My extended family (cousins, aunts and uncles) now know that I write. They wanted to know titles. I told them to wait until Vanished came out and to read that one first. The last thing I want to think about is my aunts reading what Riley gets up to in The Way Back. I have no idea how they’ll react. I’m sure it’ll be a scandal. I kinda can’t wait. 🙂
J: LOL you have an evil streak! I do too so it’s all good.
J: What’s your number one guilty pleasure? PS, caffeine doesn’t count because, really, who’s guilty about that?
C: I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures. I’m a simple guy. I lead a simple life. I rarely indulge myself, but when I do, I try not to beat myself up about it.
J: I think that’s a great philosophy to have.
C: Sometimes it doesn’t work as well as it should and I beat myself up anyway. lol
J: What makes you cry?
C: Almost anything. Have tears, will travel. I’m not kidding. It’s ridiculous. I cried at the Hallmark commercial years ago that showed the old woman checking her mailbox every single day but nothing was ever in it. Then one day she opens it to find a card from her much younger neighbor across the street. It just gutted me. Acts of kindness, I guess. The world can be a pretty ugly place, so it’s nice to see good things.
J: So you’re a big softie, huh? Noted. 😉
C: Uhm, maybe we should strike that for the sake of my reputation.
J: What makes you laugh?
C: My dog. Smart humor. Remember the old TV show Charmed? I loved it. It was brilliantly funny. Luckily, my friends are pretty good at it.
J: What’s the greatest (coolest, prettiest, sweetest, whatever) thing you’ve ever seen?
C: One of my favorite things to see is a man with his kid. There’s just something special about the way a man will allow himself to be vulnerable with a toddler or younger child that he won’t allow with the rest of the world. I love a man who’ll let that shine through.
J: Okay, let’s get a little naughty here. Where do you come up with the ideas for your sex scenes?
C: Most of the time they just flow from the characters. I don’t plan ahead; they just are. I’ve left poor Eric in the middle of one for months and months and, let me tell you, he’s plenty pissed about it. That one came out of nowhere and I thought, “Oh hell yeah! This is what I’d want to happen if it were me.” And then I had to go to work and never got back to it. Poor Eric. His whole body must be blue by now. 🙂
J: Oh, Eric. I hated him so much when I read The Way Back, but by the end I felt sad for him and wanted him to get his own HEA. I think he’s going to, but we’ll discuss that near the end.
J: I think we can all agree that readers and writers of m/m romance love hot boys. What would your perfect man look like? (Whether you’d want to date him, or just look at him…a lot)
C: That changes hour by hour and mood by mood. I’m not kidding. I’m a fickle bitch. Probably no one is old enough to remember these guys, but I’ll give you examples from 90s porn stars: Ted Matthews, Joey Stefano, Logan Reed, Kyle McKenna, Pavel Novotny. I love shoulders and thighs and biceps. I love a wicked smile. I love rugged. I love when you look at a guy and never in a million years would you think he would put that in his mouth, but when he does it’s the hottest thing ever. Was that TMI?
Today, Heath Hutchins. Yesterday, Connor Maguire. Tomorrow, probably Jason Phoenix and Chase Bauer again.
J: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with variety! Maybe a little TMI but I’m used to it with you! 😉
C: Hey, you asked the question. I was just trying to be helpful. 🙂
J: What would be your ideal place to live, your writer’s paradise? Beach, mountains, big city? Prairie, plains? Frozen tundra? Hobbit hole?
C: I love the mountains and I love the ocean. The need for wide open spaces grows stronger as I get older. Perfection to me would be to own a section of land (1 square mile), put a house right in the middle of it with a detached writing shack full of windows and a skylight, and have an incredible view of the mountains. So I need to pull an Anna Nicole and marry a filthy rich man with days to live, but with no kids to fuck everything up.
J: Haha, that sounds pretty perfect—minus the rich guy because he’d probably be decrepit. Sorry, but if you manage to get that setup I might show up on your doorstep with a suitcase!
C: Days to live. That was the important part, right after filthy rich.
J: Tell me one fun fact about you that no one knows.
C: Some people know this, but I refused to read fiction until I was in high school. I was the guy who read encyclopedias, histories, and biographies. I thought fiction was stupid. Why waste your time on stuff that isn’t real when there are all these amazing true stories to discover? Yeah. I was that guy.
J: Yeah, you’re still a little bit that guy… 😀
C: Shut up.
J: You seem to share my own antisocial tendencies when it comes to crowds and social events. So tell me, would you rather get up and give a speech in front of a thousand people or go diving in a shark box? LOL, I know, I’m mean. But seriously, answer the question.
C: Really? A thousand people or being submerged in water? What is wrong with your brain? I’ll take the people. I have this thing about breathing. I like it. A lot.
J: Sharks for me. Always the sharks. Breathing? That’s what SCUBA is for. There’s no fancy apparatus for making the people go away. Public speaking?
C: Panic disorder, remember? I want the same thing between me and my oxygen as Brooke Shields had between her and her Calvins. Oh wait. You’re probably too young to remember those ads.
J: You have a new book out next week. Tell us about Vanished.
C: The first thing to know is it isn’t a romance. There are romantic elements, so I suppose you could call it romantic suspense. Henry is a successful accountant at a major corporation. He’s got the perfect life. Great husband, shitty job, great kid, good friends. Except one morning he wakes up to discover that his great husband has vanished.
J: Vanished is pretty different from your other stories. How did it feel to delve into a new genre? How did you come up with the premise?
C: It was really fun. It wasn’t easy to write, because it’s pretty serious stuff, but knowing I could do whatever I wanted with it was liberating. It wasn’t about being gay. It wasn’t about being gay and falling in love. It wasn’t a battle against homophobia. Henry has serious stuff to deal with, but none of it revolved around his sexuality. I loved it.
Believe it or not, I was watching Catching Fire and took a break to walk the dog. While she was busy smelling everything that hadn’t been there four hours before, I started thinking about how Katniss’s dad died in a mine explosion. I wondered what it would be like to lose your spouse with no warning. Then I thought, well, hell, what if one day you wake up and he’s just gone with no warning AND no explanation?
J: What was the hardest part for you to write?
C: The wedding scene. It kicked my ass up and down the hill.
J: Oh, but it turns out so good! I cried buckets.
C: Thank you. So you’re a softie, too, huh?
J: What’s your favorite part?
C: Shaun and Henry bantering. The relationship those two have was just fun.
J: Let us know a little bit about upcoming projects.
C: I have three projects in the works right now. I’m not sure which will come out first because I seem to be alternating between them. Trick and Nate, my hockey boys, will get their full-length novel, Behind the Mask. (You can download two free short stories introducing the hockey boys, to get you all worked up for the novel!) Of course Eric from The Way Back is still searching for his true love, so that’s coming (but he isn’t, the poor guy) but doesn’t have a title I like yet. Also, there will be a sequel to Out of the Blackness called Into the Light, which will pick up with Avery and Noah about a year and a half later.
J: All of those are going to be great, but I especially can’t wait for Avery and Noah.
J: It’s been a pleasure having you. Tell us where we can find out more about you:
C: Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure (except the bit about sharks). You can find me at all of these places:
On Twitter: @Carter_Quinn
Thanks for stopping by!
So on Sept 17, y’all are going to run along and get your copy of Vanished, yes? You’ll never guess the ending!