Mymcbooks's Blog

Keepsake that Educates!

Mymcbooks Interview with Author Susan Kaye Quinn

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore. All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.

 Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of Open Minds.

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog

What is the last book you read?

Not counting a writer friend’s manuscript, my last book was Noah Zarc, a friend’s middle grade SF adventure story.

What was your favorite teen book?

As a teen, there weren’t really “teen books” the way there are now. I loved reading science fiction by Asimov and Frederik Pohl. It’s hard to pin down a favorite, but I, Robot and the Foundation series had a big impact on me.

What were your earliest memories of writing?

I remember writing a deranged Vietnam veteran escapee story that completely freaked out my mom. I think I was in 6th grade.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?

Writing was just something I did. I’m sure my mom encouraged me (in spite of the war story) but I was really focused on math and science as a kid. I never planned to be a writer when I grew up.

Are you working on a new book?

I’m currently writing Closed Hearts, the sequel to Open Minds.

What inspired you to write Open Minds?

I was trying to come up with an entry for an online 1st paragraph contest, but I didn’t want to use my current stories. One night, as I was drifting off to sleep, the idea of a girl sitting in a room full of mindreaders popped into my head. She was ostracized because she couldn’t read minds. The story just grew from there.

What are your thoughts on mind control?

I’d rather be the mindjacker than the mindreader. 

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Having enough time to do it, and not getting distracted. I’m very easily distracted. Look! A squirrel!

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?

Lately it feels like that’s ALL I do! But when I’m not, I’m momming or wifeing (yes, those are verbs ) or driving my kids to fencing or Hip Hop or writer’s club. (It runs in the family.)

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

I very seldom suffer writer’s block. When I do, it’s really plotter’s block, as I’m not sure where the story needs to go next. But I never have a problem getting words on the page. As for reviews, I tell my writer friends all the time that reviews are for readers, not writers, to help them find the books they will enjoy. I hugely appreciate the time and effort book bloggers put into reading and reviewing and helping my books find the audience that will like them. No book is for everyone.

What author inspires you the most and why?

Scott Westerfeld inspires me with his amazing ability to cross into middle grade and young adult and be so successful. Holly Black is all that, plus she’s just friendly and fun. Some of the most inspirational authors I know are unpublished or newly published, following their writerly ambitions and paying forward what they’ve learned. #awesome

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?

I’d like to have a Capitol City meal with Suzanne Collins.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?

I write like crazy, all the time. I really try to keep my writing time (during the day when my kids are in school) sacred. Not always successful at that, though.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?

Listen to your kids. They’ll tell you the things they enjoy. Then read enough of children’s books to get an idea of what would be a good match. It’s a tough job sometimes, putting the right book in a child’s hands. But you’ll know you’ve done it when you can’t pry it back out! And you will have given them a tremendous gift.

What advice you would give to new writers?

Write a lot. Write every day. Write some more. Then make sure you have great writerly friends who can critique your work and help you grow. Never stop trying to improve your craft.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?

I hope that it makes them think. That’s really all I want my books to do (in addition to providing some entertainment for a while).

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I hope they enjoy Open Minds, because I’m busy writing Closed Hearts and there’s lots more cool stuff I’d like to share with them!

Thank you for this interview.

Thank you so much for the chance to be here!


February 1, 2012 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , ,


  1. The squirrel comment was funny. I liked her take on bad reviews. I had never thought of it that way. But that is exactly how I choose to read or not read a book. She has an awesome background. Great interview.

    Comment by Cherese Vines | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  2. I agree, it can be really hard to find the right book for some readers. I always cheer silently when a student comes and tells me they loved this book or that book. It can be very satisfying also to find the right sort of book for myself.

    Comment by Heidi Grange | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  3. I really like the titles, they are straightforward and hint enough at the content 🙂

    Comment by Julie S. | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  4. I love this interview. She gave a lot of good tips for anyone wanting to be a writer. I’m not sure how I did it but I must have put the right book in my two daughter’s hand because you can pry a book out of their hands to this day. Thanks for sharing this post.

    Comment by mamabunny13 | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  5. I enjoyed the interview and meeting Susan. What an interesting storyline you’ve chosen. Thanks for the post .
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    Comment by Carol L. | February 5, 2012 | Reply

  6. HAHA, yay we’re both fans of Suzanne Collins :D. I totally agree with her on the mind powers. Mindreading would make me selfconcious, being a mind jacker is so much better XD…*sigh* If only right…

    Comment by Qihan | February 10, 2012 | Reply

  7. I enjoyed reading the interview with Susan and thought her advice was very useful and inspirational.

    Comment by Lily Kwan | February 18, 2012 | Reply

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