Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Fiona Quinn; the amazing author of the Lynx Series among other works. She somehow finds the time to write in-between homeschooling her children in the most amazing way possible. Her books are definitely not ones to miss! Read the interview below.
Q: What is the first thing you would want somebody to know about you?
A: The grey hair comes from teaching my teens to drive. I just started kid #4 behind the wheel. Have kids they said. It’ll be fun they said.
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I have been a story teller since I can remember. My grandmother said that I have two traits of the Irish: I have the wanderlust, and I am full of blarney. I would say three traits. My skin is so fair that I can burn under a 40-watt bulb – but that doesn’t really inform my writing.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I am inspired by my own curiosity. I take classes, travel, read, and meet people; and eventually, all of these strands twist themselves into a yarn of some kind or other.
Q: You have published several books including the Lynx series, Mine, and Chaos Is Come Again. What inspired these books?
A: Chaos Is Come Again has a kind of funny story behind it. I was new to Twitter and John Dolan tried to save me from making a buffoon of myself by explaining RTs to me. Soon, we started playing a game where we each advanced a story by a single tweet. John wondered if we could do something with this – like turn it into a noir novel. Now here’s the thing, John is an English ex-pat living between Thailand and Dubai. I’m a Canadian ex-pat living near DC. Our time zones were 8 hours different. But somehow, through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, we wrote this novel. And I think it’s great – if you like your humor dark.
Mine – came from an invitation to be part of an anthology. Each novella was about a small town murder mystery. My character, Kate Hamilton, got a lot of requests for a follow up novel, so that’s churning in the back of my brain.
The Lynx Series – Started with a journey. I’m a homeschooling mother (unschooling to be precise) One year, my oldest two moved out for college, and I packed up the younger two to take them on an adventure. We toured the USA for 6 weeks, studying history, lit, science, and cultures along the way. As I was driving, I wondered how my children’s unusual way of being educated (it was highly unusual when we started 20 years ago) would impact them as adults. I had a lot of time to think as I drove 9,000 miles.
What I did was write WEAKEST LYNX in my head. Lynx was an unschooled girl who grew up with the mentoring system I put in place for my own kids – only a little more extreme. And it needed to be. Lynx had some very extreme events happen in her life. I wanted to see how Lynx would handle things in ways that were unique to her background and temperament. It was a very fun exercise, and I absolutely loved writing this novel. The next three novels followed – all of them named by Kid #4 – MISSING LYNX, CHAIN LYNX, and CUFF LYNX.
Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
A: Everything about a writing career is a challenge. It is not for the faint of heart. Lots of learning curves about the business side of things, and then when you think you’ve “got it,” you find out that everything changed on a dime, and you have to start another learning curve. I try to think of it as mind yoga – strengthening my brain, building new and amazing synapsis…that’s me thinking positively. It really is a very interesting and challenging time to have a writing career. The easy part for me is the writing.
Q: What advice would you give to new writers?
A: Write because you love it. Then love yourself for writing. Be gentle with yourself. Stretch to make yourself better because stretching feels good. Enjoy the process. Enjoy getting into the mud and flailing around. Enjoy the darkness that your writing lets you take out and examine. And the goodness. And the beauty. And then, if you want to, share it with others – and if you don’t want to, keep it for yourself. But if you are a writer, you will only feel whole when you write. So write on.
Q: You have said that you homeschool your four children. Why did you decided to do this? What about homeschooling do you like?
A: I did indeed! And as to the why. . . there were a lot of things that happened all at once that made me feel that my children were not safe and not educated in the public school system. It felt like a really bad fit for us. Though I had a new baby (Kid #3) I pulled #1 and #2 out of kindergarten and first grade and started teaching them at home.
We learned measurements and temperatures by baking cookies. I read out loud to them – thousands of books – while we drank hot cocoa in front of the fire and the kids colored in their coloring books, or knit, or sewed. . . We went into the woods at midnight with the Herp Club because the salamanders were spawning and once you see it, and hear about the amazing event from someone who is passionate about animals, well you don’t forget. Those kinds of sensory experiences dig deep into the brain where reading a paragraph in a science book just won’t.
We travelled. We hands-on-ed. We tasted, and witnessed, and experienced. I got to try out my ideas about education – and so far, my kids have turned out pretty darned fabulous. They’re still works in progress – as are we all. But if nothing else, by homeschooling, I think I instilled the idea that we are life-long learners, and we should always be growing.
Q: If you could only have one type of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Seriously? Only one? Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. But that would be just mean. One needs variety.
Q: What kind of books do you read? Do you have a favorite book?
A: I prefer to read romantic suspense, but I read widely from most genres (but I only read horror if you are my dear friend – there has to be a lot of love in my heart to compensate for the nightmares I will have to endure). I particularly love the books I read to my children — Bridge to Terabithia, Rolling Thunder Hear My Cry — so many wonderful books. Reading them out loud and experiencing them with my family made them very precious jewels in my memory bank.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a book good?
A: To me a book is good when I’m invested in the outcome and fighting right along with the heroine. Also, if my kids can’t understand what I’m saying because I’m sniveling too hard and have to hand it off to someone else to read – that’s a good book because I cared.
Q: Is there anything else you would like the world to know?
A: I wrote my latest book, IN TOO DEEP, spring 2016, about an event where my husband almost accidently died last year. It was really frightening and unfixable. He would either live or die and all we could do is wait and see. He survived – thank goodness! He told me he thought this event would make a great plot. I told him that I have the gift of Blarney (having kissed the Blarney Stone 3 times) and really, he didn’t need to go to such extremes to help me with my plots. But I do really like the book.
Find Fiona Online: