Today author Jed Quinn steps In the Spotlight here at Second Run Reviews. I first met Jed at ICON 38 where he “tricked” me into attending a reading given by Dennis W. Green. Since then Jed has been “harassing” me to read the tome he co-authored with Michael Koogler and Jaren Riley. While Hade’s Gambit is now undergoing some extensive editing, Jed invited me to read and review his latest novel, Orchard, a young adult vampire novel where the vampires don’t sparkle and they like coffee.
In the Spotlight with Jed Quinn
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Jed! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
Father of five, history professor, author, world traveler, reacher of high shelves, and constantly stepping into wardrobes trying to get into Narnia.
Let me know when you find that wardrobe to Narnia. I’ve been looking for it myself.
Your first novel, Hade’s Gambit, was co-written with two other authors and I know you are currently working on sequels. How does working with co-authors differ from working on your own?
One would think writing is writing, but it is a very different beast when you work with another author or authors.
I would say the best part of including someone else in the creative process is that you have someone to help you push through the bad days. I love working with people who can come up with plot or character suggestions, work through difficult issues, and really inspire me to keep writing even on those days when you don’t want to. It’s also really nice to say, ‘I need a really kick-butt fight scene here,’ and just send it off in an email and say, ‘make it rock,boys!’ It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course, but as long as everyone checks their egos at the door and the end goal is making good art, then it can be a lot of fun.
With that said, we’ve been on a short hiatus to work on individual projects,and that has been fun, too. It’s nice to have complete control over the finished product and to live on your own schedule. And yet, I now find myself working on solo projects and wanting to call up Mike or Jaren and ask them to help me fix stuff I’m struggling with. I would recommend collaborating with others if you get the chance. It gives you a new perspective on writing that you really can’t get in any other way, and will make you a better author in the end on your own projects.
Now I can see why so many of the authors I have met often belong to writing groups. Writing a book doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need encouragement and a kick in the pants every now and again to keep things moving.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I’ve absolutely loved the journey I’ve taken to become a published author. As with anyone who writes, my story goes all the way back to my early years. I got my beginnings as an author in the second grade writing fanfic for the Chronicles of Narnia. I thought Reepicheep was the best, and wanted to expand on his adventures. I spent the next twenty-five years writing continuously, with little expectation of being published. It just seemed like an impossible dream.
I was in grad school, though, when I met Mike Koogler and Jaren Riley, and we decided to try to write something together. Little did we know at the time it would become such an epic series, but we plugged along, expanding and improving it over the course of a decade. After numerous attempts at finding a publisher had failed, we made the decision to self-publish. We started asking around for help, and Mike approached someone he knew who had a small publishing business. Her name is Karen, at Mbedzi Publishing, and she not only gave us great advice, in the end she decided to publish our book, Hade’s Gambit! So, that was an amazing surprise, and one that changed everything for me. It took a lot of work, but we got Hade’s Gambit out into the world, and I couldn’t have been happier.
During the process of writing our first book and the sequel, Rise of Cain, we learned so much about the publishing business, that when putting Orchard together I decided to self-publish. I’ve enjoyed working through all the different aspects of publishing, and love the control I have over the finished product. So, it’s been a journey, to be sure, but one that took me from believing I could never get published to one where I now have my own publishing company and am excited for the next fifty years of writing and publishing my stories!
That is quite the journey with lots of great learning opportunities. I wish you luck with your publishing company.
Your latest release is a YA novel titled Orchard. It’s about vampires that don’t sparkle. What makes your vampires different than every other vampire on the market?
I was talking with my daughter a while back, and we were discussing what would happen if creatures like vampires or werewolves were the good guys, and that triggered the descent into madness that became Orchard.
My vampires have visions showing them who could set the world on the wrong path and the vampires then go and kill them. It’s sort of like the ancient Athenian idea of ostracism—you get rid of the people in your community that can upset how you want society to function. So, they really are out there trying to make the world a better place, although they aren’t really privy to the reasons why individuals are selected. And then you introduce this new member to their group, Orchard, who doesn’t really agree with any of this. She thinks people shouldn’t need shepherds watching over them, and she doesn’t want to drink blood and kill people, so she sort of challenges the group on every level of their existence. But then other vampires show up, who would take their role in a different direction still, and she’s really forced to decide what side she’s on.
So, while the book is clearly a vampire book, it is also a book about finding yourself in a new situation, one that you really don’t like, and how do you navigate through that.
Vampires on a journey of self-discovery. That is certain unique. Usually they are out for blood or just trying to stay hidden from the human world.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books do you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I’ll read anything, as long as it’s well written. I have a few master degrees, so I’ve read a ton of history books. Nerdy, I know, but I absolutely love reading about early American history and ancient history.
My favorite series of all time, if you haven’t guessed, is The Chronicles of Narnia! I’ve enjoyed reading The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and love love love Harry Potter. I really enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of local, Iowa authors, and have been impressed by the talent we have here in the midwest. So, honestly, those are the books I’ve been recommending lately. Beyond that, however, three books I would highly recommend are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. And, of course, anything by Neil Gaiman.
Somehow I feel like you’ve invaded my shelves. I’ve read (or attempted to read) so many of the books you just mentioned. If you have not read the Ashfall series by Mike Mullin, you must do that soon. it fits in with your team of local authors (Mike’s from Indiana) and it’s about an end of the world situation.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so I’m counting down the days to the next movie. I’m relatively new to Doctor Who (in large part due to Terri’s good influence), but have seen all of the new episodes since the reboot and many of the older episodes and think it is brilliant.
I want to live in the play Wicked, and I get too emotional over European soccer. I suppose, at my heart, if I like something, I love it, so really I’m either obsessed with something or don’t want to be bothered by it.
As for secret obsessions… I’m a huge fan of Disney Princess movies. Belle is my favorite, and I will fight anyone who thinks Maid Marion doesn’t belong in the group simply because she’s a fox. Okay, I better stop there before it gets even more embarrassing.
I am not sorry for passing along my love for Doctor Who and Supernatural. As for Disney Princess movies? I’m fan of Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
I would just like to thank you for having me on your show. 🙂
The only real advice I can give, which is as much advice to myself as to anyone else, is to be brave. Be brave in your choices, be brave in your dreams, and be brave in sharing your work with the world.
Breathe. You can do this!
You are welcome, Jed. Thank you for being feature In the Spotlight. I hope my fans will check out Orchard for your unique take on vampires. And please come back soon and let us know about the next book in the series, Cove.
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