Blogview with Susan Kaye Quinn and Life, Liberty and Pursuit

Today blogview is happy to present middle grade and young adult novelist, Susan Kaye Quinn.  Make some noise on those keyboards and welcome Susan!

Susan, I must say, you seem so approachable and kind.  If I were doing this interview in person (which, btw, I really wish I were!) would I offer you coffee or tea?  Flavored? Cream or Milk? Sugar?

Susan: Straight black tea, none of that sissy stuff in it. I need caffeine!

Describe the location you are answering these questions from.  Is this your usual writing location?

Susan: I’m parked at my workstation with a mini-pot of (straight black) tea, under the watchful eye of Writer Mouse. I write either here or on my couch with my netbook, but more often on my desktop computer, using my shiny new Scrivener-for-Windows software.

What genre do you love to read that you don’t feel you can write?

Susan: Ooh, interesting question. I tend to write what I read (read what I write?), but I do love me some historical novels on occasion, and I don’t think I could sustain interest in a historical time long enough to research it properly. Also, I have a hard time remembering before last Tuesday. It’s so much easier to write about the future, where I just make up the world as I wish it to be.

Share with us a happy childhood memory?

Susan: Hopping on my bicycle to pedal down to the tiny bookstore tucked next to the Sav-On. I’d scan the science fiction shelves for any new releases from my favorite authors or new ones. Most of the time I would leave empty handed, which was just as well, because my allowance didn’t stretch that far.

What do you feel is different about kids of today who are the same age from your memory?  What do you feel is the same?

Susan: There was much more freedom when I was a kid – my world was much larger, and yet smaller at the same time. I roamed my suburban town on my bike, never worrying about snatchers or traffic. But my town was the limits of my universe – nothing existed beyond the three mile radius my legs could carry me. Today, kids aren’t allowed to wander around unsupervised, sequestered at home or activities or sports. But their worlds are infinitely bigger, with everything and anything coming into their houses through the internet. My kids are much more aware of the larger world around them than I ever was.

And yet, they still love Star Wars. It’s eternal.

About Life, Liberty, and Pursuit:

Life, Liberty, and Pursuit is a young adult love story about a college-bound girl who falls in a pool, the navy recruit who saves her, and their struggle to choose between following their dreams and daring to love. It’s a story about love at first sight, long distance relationships, and difficult choices. Life, Liberty, and Pursuit is a good, clean love story with empowering messages for girls about making choices in life and love.

What inspired this story?

Susan: I wrote this novel for my niece, never really intending to publish. She lives a thousand miles away, and we had bonded over the Twilight craze. I wanted to write something that showed her epic love can happen, even without supernatural creatures. Along the way, I fell in love again with my childhood passion for writing.

Why Navy?  Why a cruise?  Any personal experiences lead to story related decisions such as where Eliza goes to school?

Susan: My dad worked for the Navy for thirty years, as a civilian, so that was a natural choice. I’ve only been on one cruise, but the setting was perfect for throwing young lovers together for an intense period of time and then ripping them apart. Princeton didn’t have any personal significance, but the choice of writing about a Polish/Irish mixed family rang close to home. My grandfather was Polish and came over on the boat when he was six. There’s a lot of Irish on my mom’s side. We don’t speak Polish in my family (I fortunately had a crit partner to help with that), but we joke about how everyone in my family has to be stubborn because they got a double dose of the stubborn gene.

I love themed gifts.  If someone were to give a gift to a teen that included Life, Liberty and Pursuit, what else should they give with it?

Susan: If I was extravagant, maybe the lifesaver charm featured in the story? Or possibly a copy of Jane Eyre, Eliza’s reading material of choice? Or a sailor hat. Who doesn’t look good in a sailor hat?

Where can we get our hands on Life, Liberty, and Pursuit?

Susan: It’s available at the publisher’s website,, and I’m hoping to do a Valentine’s themed event at my local coffee shop –the last book signing there was a hit, and the young-love theme goes well with the Day of Love.

What is the most unexpected thing about being a published author?

Susan: That people get excited when they find out I’ve published a book. I mean, I think it’s cool and tremendous fun, but I’m surprised how much people enjoy connecting with an author. I shouldn’t be, because on the flip side, I LOVE hearing from readers and what they think of the book. That kind of feedback is really what drives me to write. My favorite quote these days is that the writing experience isn’t complete until someone reads the work. That resonates with me, as does every single time a reader says they enjoyed reading my story.

What are you working on now?

Susan: I’m querying a middle grade science fiction novel, and I’m working on the last draft (or two, maybe three) of a young adult paranormal novel (no undead creatures of any kind, sorry). I’m hoping to have that one ready to query soon, because I have a shiny new idea for another middle grade novel that I’d like to start in the first half of 2011.

Where can we learn more about you and your writing?

Susan: I just added an About Me and My Books tab to my blog, but you can also find me at my website.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Susan: I have tremendous fun on my blog Ink Spells, talking about reading and writing books for middle grade kids (ages 8-12) and young teens (ages 12-14). Sometimes it’s hard for parents to find good books appropriate for advanced readers, so I have book lists and resources to help parents ferret out those great stories and get them in front of their kids. Getting great books in the hands of young readers, to keep them reading, is a passion of mine. Also cats, but they’re much more trouble.

Thank you for joining blogview on Strands of Thought!  It has been a pleasure hosting you, though I’d much rather have done it from Starbucks, or at my dining room table.

Thank YOU! I toast you from my mini-pot of tea! Wait, time for a refill …

If you've enjoyed this blogview, please visit my mirror blog on livejournal for previously posted author interviews.


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