Name Carter Quinn
Where are you from
I grew up in a little town in Western Kansas where my grandparents farmed the same land for 38 years before he died.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m really excited that we have just released a paperback version of Vanished: The Complete Trilogy. I’m waiting on formatting for the ebook omnibus too.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Like a lot of people, I started putting silly stories together when I was a kid. I didn’t take it seriously until after high school. Then I let life get in the way. I’d start stories and then put them aside or write a scene and file it away. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to stop fearing success or failure and submit a story for a contest. That contest ended up being cancelled, but by then I’d started what would become my first novel, The Way Back.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer way back when I was working on my first, unfinished novels. What’s weird is that now I don’t really consider myself a legitimate writer. Not yet.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote a short story, “In the Crease,” for a contest. I enjoyed it so much I decided to try to finally finish a novel. The Way Back is the result.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Honestly, I don’t have a clue. (Haha) I just write what I write.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles and blurbs are the bane of my existence. Vanished is the only title that has come easily. My next project is Ashes to Embers, which started out as Full Measure.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think most of my books are about hope and growth. Every character has a road to travel, not necessarily easily, to get to his happy place. Sometimes we get distracted by what seems like insurmountable obstacles, but if we keep hope and keep trying, we can overcome anything.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
It depends on which book we’re talking about. The Way Back came from imagining if my “Eric” came back into my life. What would I do then? Out of the Blackness was very personal, but I’m not a physical abuse survivor. Vanished, of course, came from thinking about what it would be like for my mother when my father passed, which was, at the time, imminent. For some reason, though, that was the story I chose to tell him, even though he died before he could read it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes and no. There are certain moments from my life that I’ve thrown in a book or two, especially if I thought they were funny or emotional in retrospect. Fire is one of my greatest fears, especially where I was living when I was writing Fire & Rain. The scene where Eric and Travis are looking for Jeremiah came to mind easily but was difficult to put to paper.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve read some truly incredible books, from Maxim Gorky’s Mother to Clive Barker’s Imajica. I am in awe of writers who can convince me to transcend time and space to live and breathe the worlds they create. The closest I’ve come to a mentor is a college instructor who encouraged me to find new ways to express myself with words.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading Skip Trace by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen. It’s M/M sci-fi, which I love but can’t find enough of. I’ve got a few sci-fi novels in me, but I am absolutely terrified of them. I’m hoping repeated exposure will build courage. lol
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many new authors out there that I’ve stopped trying to keep up. I’ve even lost track of some of my old favorites.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Currently I’m struggling with Ashes to Embers, a returning home novel. I love the story, but I’ve been having trouble convincing myself to sit down and write.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There would be no Carter Quinn if there weren’t a Marilyn Blimes. She’s my best friend and greatest encouragement—my enabler, in other words. Haha. If she hadn’t provided encouragement I believed when I was writing “In the Crease,” none of the rest would have followed.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It’s the one thing I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I have more books in my brain than I’ll ever be able to write.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Vanished 3 is my most recent completed project. There are a couple of things I might change, giving the guys more dead ends to follow, for example, but I ran out of time. I’m still very proud of that trilogy as it stands.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My fourth grade teacher would write a one-sentence prompt on the chalkboard once a week. We had half an hour or so to complete a story. She collected the stories and handed them back to us at the end of the year, staple-bound in construction paper. Yes, I am/was a dork, but that was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Hmm. Here’s an excerpt from the opening scene of Ashes to Embers.
The familiar energized exhaustion tugged at Jake as it always did at this time after a show. He could make a choice in a few minutes: down a beer and party all night or wave goodnight to the rest of the band and be asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow on his bed in the bus. And they would be back on the bus again tonight, as much as he dreaded the idea. They’d just finished the fourth of four sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden. Jake was tired, but it was a triumphant fatigue. Each show had been better than the previous, but thanks to the crowd’s enthusiasm, the last one was one for the record books.
He pulled out a smile and wrapped an arm around each of the two sweaty, star-struck fans as they pressed their breasts against him, no doubt hoping for a better memento than just a photograph with the world’s biggest rock star. He didn’t so much as flinch when the more brazen one—the redhead, of course—put her hand entirely too close to his decidedly limp dick. The irony was that if he’d had more than zero interest in a woman for the night, she would have been in the running. In fact, the only fan who’d caught his dick’s attention was grinning shyly at him from six feet away. A young, college-age jock-type with full lips and a five o’clock shadow darkening his square jaw. He was a pretty boy in tight leather pants and an 80’s-style mostly mesh throwback football jersey emblazoned with the band’s tour logo from three tours back competing for attention with smooth, tanned skin.
The flash went off and Jake bent down to drop a ravishing kiss on the lips of each of the squealing fans. He nudged them forward, already refocusing on the boy, and allowed Randy Meade, the tour manager, to hustle them away.
The jock approached hesitantly, stopping a respectful few inches away. Jake wrapped an arm around the young man’s solid shoulders and pulled him closer. “Don’t be shy,” he encouraged with a grin. “What’s your name?”
“Sexy name,” Jake whispered, allowing his excitement to build. He savored the tingle in his balls as his dick began to lengthen in anticipation. He allowed his hand to wander down the kid’s ribs, over his waist to his hips, which he turned more fully towards him. He gripped the jock’s ass and forced his crotch against Jake’s hip. Yeah, the kid was definitely happy to see him.
Jayden caught ahold of Jake’s waist to steady himself as Jake pulled him up on his toes.
“You want me, Jayden?” Jake growled the question as his hand continued to explore the young man’s ass.
The shudder that raced through the jock’s firm body was as much an answer as his breathy, “God, yes.”
“Good,” Jake soothed, rocking the kid’s groin against him again. “Tell Randy I said to tell him ‘Mercy.’ He’ll get you where you need to be. Now smile wide for the camera, baby.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m a procrastinator, so making myself actually sit down and do it, especially in poor weather. I’m very much solar powered. If I can sit outside and write, I’ll do it all day. If I have to be confined to a room, it’s like pulling teeth. Also, I’ve found I require a desk. Can’t do it sitting on the couch or in the recliner anymore.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Armistead Maupin is one of my absolute favorites. When I was just coming out way back in 1992, his Tales of the City series literally saved my life. I could finally find people in literature I could identify with. It was amazing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, thankfully. I’ve mostly set books in Kansas or Colorado where I’ve lived. Vanished was set in San Francisco, which I’d visited years ago. Thankfully I have a friend who lives nearby to correct me when I was wrong. I need to go back.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Most of my covers are designed by Scott Latimer of SJL Graphics. He’s a friend from an evil day job I once had. He actually did Out of the Blackness by hand. Into the Light and The Bridge were done by my fellow author JK Hogan, who’s a fantastic graphic designer.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Convincing myself whatever I’m writing isn’t trash. It’s part of the process. I love it, I hate it, I finish it. Hopefully somewhere in there I start to like it again.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Gosh, I’ve learned something different from each book. The hardest lesson is that no matter how many times I go over it, a mistake or two will sneak through. Also, don’t panic if the Ugly First Draft is short. I always add 10-20% in the second draft.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read, write, read about writing. Then take only what works for you and shut out the rest.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for hanging in there when I’ve tried different things.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. It was undoubtedly a history or biography. I didn’t “believe in” fiction until I was in high school. I only read nonfiction growing up. Yes, I was that kid.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry at the drop of a hat or a Hallmark of Folger’s commercial. It’s ridiculous. I’m very sentimental. I love to laugh, but I find most “comedies” don’t do much for me. I like smart humor.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Thousands of them for a million different reasons and they all depend on my mood!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I want to be cremated, so I’m not sure I’d have a headstone. If so, I’d love for it to be shaped like an open book. On the verso page, etch the first page of my most popular book. Leave the recto page for my biographical junk.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I read, tend to my Belgian Malinois, Dutchess, and take in the madness that is US politics.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m obsessed with Quantico. I love the Chicago trilogy, PD, Med, and Fire. Also Rachel Maddow. I’m not a movie-goer, but I do like to watch them via Amazon Prime.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food is ice cream. Favorite color is green. Favorite music is whatever soothes or inspires me at the moment. (Currently it’s Adele and David Nail. Last summer it was Savage Garden, believe it or not.)
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I couldn’t write novels, I’d love to be a songwriter. Alas, brevity is not my friend.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Carter Quinn was born and raised in a very small Western Kansas town where cattle vastly outnumber humans. He came out in 1992, when doing so was still considered an act of rebellion. He discovered M/M in 2010 and started writing again after a fifteen year break. Now he’s told Corporate America to kiss his books. Carter again lives in cattle country, entirely too far from his beloved Colorado Avalanche.
On Twitter: @Carter_Quinn
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