Thursday, 28 August 2014

Ten facts about … Fiona Quinn

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I have always been a storyteller. The idea of writing is part of my DNA. I spent my young adulthood traveling the world and experiencing adventures – some happy, some uncomfortable, and some downright terrifying. I learned to belly dance on the roof of a bar in Turkey. I rode a camel across the Sahara. I kissed an American soldier after crossing back through Checkpoint Charlie after spending time in the Communist Block. I was kidnapped in Egypt by my taxi driver. And while all of these adventures unfolded I thought, remember this for your books.

How long does it take you to write a book?
When I write – the story is actually in my head beginning, middle and end. If life is not distracting me, I can hammer out a first draft in about three months. And then, I let it marinate for a month, so the flavors blend. When I go back, I want to taste my story with a clean palate. That’s when the real work begins.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write always. I get up in the morning and do writerly things before my morning chores and kids – things such as platform building, blog writing, and research. I unschool my children during the day and transport them to all of their activities – I’m on the lookout for interesting characters, snippets of conversation, and plotting points that will feed my work. Every free moment I’m at the computer. For me it’s not a section of time that I sit down – writing is woven throughout my waking (and sometimes dreaming) hours. I do like to find at least a few hours of quite to just go into the fictional world and play.

How many crime novels have you written?
I have written numerous short stories, four novels, some non-fiction, and a novella. I do ghost writing and editing, as well.

Which is your favourite and why?
All of my stories are my babies. I enjoy them all for different reasons. They each have a unique voice and life to lead.

Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas mostly from reading and doing. I like to try new things and then I think, how could this work in a story line? When I read, much of what I read is non-fiction. Right now I’m reading a search and rescue manual about the application of statistics to the behaviors of different ages/competencies/professions if they were lost. So I’m sure someone is going to be lost soon in something I write.   Who is your favourite character from your own work and why? 
My favorite character is Lexi Sobado. Lexi grew up unschooled – unschooling is like homeschooling on steroids where everything and everybody is an opportunity to learn. Now as an adult, Lexi needs to use her myriad accomplishments to save her life and capture the bad guys. I used my oldest daughter as her character template. Both my daughter and Lexi are bright, kind, and very capable. The departure from reality comes in the strange circumstances that Lexi finds herself.

Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented
Mr. Darcy – I would love to create a character who touched the lives of women for over two hundred years.

If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
If I could be anyone in history involved in a crime I think I would like to be one of the resistance fighters in World War II

What are you working on now?
I have a novel coming out at the end of October called Chaos Is Come Again, which I co-wrote with author John Dolan. Chaos is Come Again is a psychological suspense, a mystery, and a love story, packed with gallows humor, and viewed through the lens of obsession. You’ve probably never read anything like it.

I’m also part of a project called Unlucky Seven. New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Diana Capri, Jamie Lee Scott, and Tawny Stokes are joined by authors Hildie McQueen, Chief Scott Silverii, PhD, Teresa Massey Watson and me on a collection of small town murder mystery novellas. The collection is due out in November.

And as always, I write the blog ThrillWriting which is a writer’s resource blog, which is my gift to my fellow writers.

Canadian born, Fiona Quinn is now rooted in the Old Dominion outside of D.C. with her husband and four children. There, she unschools, pops chocolates, devours books, and taps continuously on her laptop.

Find out more at:
and read her blog at:
Follow her on twitter:

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Looking for a Reason #BYNR

I’ve received quite a few emails recently asking when the fourth D.I. Paolo Storey novel will be available. I’m delighted to announce the 28th of October has been set as the big day for Looking for a Reason to be released by Crooked Cat Publishing.

It’s always exciting to be given a publication day to look forward to – it means the hard work will be over and the celebrations can begin.

There will, of course, be an online party with lots of prizes on offer, with silly games, music and virtual food and drink to keep the party spirit going.

A little after the online release, I’ll be hosting a real life book launch party at The Bookshop, Sabinillas (date and time to be announced). As soon as the date is set, I’ll be issuing a general invitation to come along and have a glass (or two) of bubbly and some nibbles.

So, what is Looking for a Reason about? For those of you who follow the D.I. Paolo Storey series, you will know that Paolo’s cases are never straightforward. There are always more suspects than one detective should have to cope with. The crimes, too, are never as simple as they first appear. There are always twists that turn clues into red herrings, suspects into victims and victims into suspects.

Looking for a Reason, the fourth in the series, next in line after Bad Moon Rising (a People’s Book Prize finalist), Someday Never Comes (entered for a CWA Dagger award) and Call it Pretending (released December 2013), gives Paolo even more headaches as nothing is quite what it seems.

Someone is abducting men and subjecting them to three days of rape and torture, but who? More to the point – why? After enduring cruelty, starvation and water deprivation, they are released.

Paolo has lots of questions. Why three days? Why that particular form of torture? Why deprive them of water? Why let them go?

The biggest question of all: Why will none of them talk about their time in captivity, or give any information which would help the police to find the perpetrator? The victims, to a man, refuse even to admit they were held captive.

In addition to the above, Paolo’s personal and professional lives are once again in turmoil.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

One, two, three: lucky me! #reviewshare

Crooked Cat Books

My mother always said things happen in threes (good and bad). I’m quite superstitious, so if two bad things happen, I tend to be on the watch for the third strike.

Fortunately, I feel the same way about good events, so when two good things happened recently, I knew there would be a third on the way.

But let’s put things in order. Firstly, my publisher, Crooked Cat Publishing has a stand at the Edinburgh Book Festival and the second D.I. Paolo Storey novel, Someday Never Comes, is one of a selection of titles at the event.

Secondly, Someday Never Comes gained a reader review on Amazon, which was short and to the point, but absolutely blew me away. The review was headed: the best story I have read in a long time

The third event arrived yesterday in the form of a great review for Bad Moon Rising, the first in the D.I. Paolo Storey series, on Crime Reader Blog. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have my book reviewed on a site dedicated to reviews of crime fiction.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Killer's Last Kiss by @LouiseMPhillips

This week we are fortunate to have a post from celebrated crime writer Louise Phillips, author of The Doll’s House – winner of the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year 2013. In this post, she gives an insight into the killer in her latest release, Last Kiss.

This is the first time I’ve written a female fictional killer and she was harder to write than I had first thought. I had no doubt when she began to form in my mind that she was going to be a memorable character, because prior to starting Last Kiss, she had turned up in two short stories. In the first time, she was a woman obsessed with her lover, who finally kills him viciously in a crime of passion. The second time, she was in a short story called ‘Role Play’, published in Revival Literary Magazine, where she appears at a hotel room to meet an older and rather unpleasant lover.

It took me a while to realise that she was the same fictional character, but when I did, I knew she wasn’t going away. She had a bigger story to tell, and it was up to me to do the telling. The early drafts of her narrative voice should have come easily, but despite meeting her already, there was difficulty getting her true internal voice. It was when I was away on holidays last year that I got the first proper insight into how she would sound. I was lying on the beach and even though the only paper I had to write on was a collection of napkins from a nearby cafĂ©, thankfully, I had a pen, and she kept on talking.

I could describe her as a female Hannibal Lecter, although she doesn’t eat people, not least not physically.  She is certainly dark, damaged and utterly capable of doing the most horrendous acts.

In Last Kiss we meet her at the age of 36. She has an obsession with the Tarot cards and lives a form of fractured reality. Her online tag name is Cassie4Casanova, and she has a series of doomed relationships with men. A keen interest in the eye of the camera, she also takes self-portraits, not selfies, as she states, ‘she doesn’t like to share’. Her murder scenes are recreations of the tarot cards, the hangman, the hermit and the tower. She is capable of invading her lover’s lives, including their partners, stalking, planning, waiting for her moment to pounce. However, she too is a victim. As a baby she was taken from her mother and raised in a house of evil.

You don’t always know when you’re writing a fictional story how it will all turn out, but very early on in the process, I realised  her wickedness asked the age old question of nature versus nurture, and which would win out, having the strongest influence.

This fictional killer pushed my boundaries as a writer. I hope you agree she had a story worth telling.

Red Ribbons, the bestselling debut novel by Dublin-born crime author Louise Phillips, was nominated for the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year award at the BGE Irish Book Awards in 2012. Louise won the award in 2013 for her second novel The Doll’s House. Louise returned to writing in 2006, after raising her family. In addition to her three published novels, Louise’s work has been published as part of various anthologies and literary journals. She has won the Jonathan Swift Award, was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform, and her writing has been shortlisted for prizes such as the Molly Keane Memorial Award and Bridport UK. Last Kiss is her third novel and she is currently working on her fourth.