Monday, March 07, 2011

Q&A with Jessica McQuinn

I'd like to welcome author Jessica McQuinn to P.S. I Love Books today!!

Jessica McQuinn is a mom of two very active kids. They keep her busy running from activity to activity, but it is in those moments that she finds inspiration and has no problem pulling out a notebook to write down a few lines for her next story.

Married for 20 years to her high school crush, Jessica lives in Utah with her family. As a family they enjoy taking advantage of the extremes that can be found there. From skiing in the winter to hiking the mountain trails in the spring and summer, the whole family loves to be together.

Jessica has been writing all her life, but it wasn’t until her kids started school that she decided to think that she could do it and actually share it with others. Now she hopes that you will enjoy it as much as it has helped her find herself again…

Welcome Jessica! I appreciate you taking the time out to visit P.S. I Love Books.
Thank you so much for having me. I love being able to talk about Indivisible whenever I can. Now talking about myself?? Not so much.

Can you tell us a little bit about your novel Indivisible?

Indivisible is not your typical romance. The story begins with Gideon and Charlie Cooper already married and living their perfectly happy life, when Navy SEAL Gideon has to deploy for six months. The story is about Charlie and Gideon’s relationship and how it changes and evolves during that time.

In Gideon’s absence, Charlie’s life changes in so many ways, including a tragic incident that she tries to deal with on her own. The main focus of Indivisible is the importance of communication and how much it contributes to a strong relationship. It is a story about support and family being there when you need them, as well as how love can grow and mature when you really believe in it and work at it.

What was one of your favorite and least favorite things about writing Indivisible?

I think my least favorite thing was probably that there was so much emotion through the entire story that I was constantly on the verge of tears or so angry with a character that my poor family thought that I needed medication! For me, as I write, the characters are kind of speaking to me in my head, (Maybe I do need that medication after all?? But then I’d have to give up writing.) so the emotions of my characters seep into my life, which can be hard when there is so much going on.

And, that brings me to my favorite thing…getting to know my characters. I love Gideon. He is funny and smart and protective, my perfect man! Charlie is intelligent, witty and has so much strength that I couldn’t help but fall in love with her too! These characters are now a part of me, and I’m so happy with how they turned out in the book!

Do you come from a military-based family? If so, how did it influence your writing?

I did grow up in a military family. Luckily, even though my dad was in the Navy, we never had to move around like a lot of military families. My dad was a Sea-Bee which meant that he wasn’t on a ship, but would deploy for several months at a time and it was easier for my mom and I to stay where we were.

Also, my husband was in the Navy when we got engaged, so you might say that I have a thing for Navy men. When I was dating my husband there was no e-mail or cell phones (It was a looong time ago! In fact, we are celebrating our 21st anniversary this week!), and I wouldn’t be able to talk to him for days or weeks at a time if he was on a cruise. So, while he wasn’t a SEAL, I spent a lot of time like Charlie does in the story…waiting for the phone to ring.

I have also lived and worked in the military community for the past 15 years, and have many friends who are spouses of active duty military. In fact, the idea behind the plot of Indivisible came from talking with a friend whose husband was deployed. After talking with her one day, those little wheels in my mind started turning and I wondered, “what if…” A few days later I sat down and wrote the key turning point scene in Indivisible, knowing if I couldn’t get that scene right, then the whole story wouldn’t work.

If you had the chance to do it all over again would you change anything in Indivisible?

Ohhh, that’s a hard question. I am actually reading it right now for a book club with my friends, and it has been hard because I see things that I would change, but just in the wording of some things. I can’t say that I would change anything about the plot. I love the characters, and I had such great editors that helped to make it what it is and listened to me when I really felt strongly about something.

What do you think of the cover?

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cover! I was lucky enough to be able to be in on the cover creation from the beginning and told the graphic designer what I wanted it to convey and she gave me exactly what I wanted. I think that just from the cover you know that it is going to be a heartbreaking story about the love a woman has form her soldier….it’s PERFECT!

When did you first realize that you wanted to write?

It’s probably a little cliché, but I’ve always used writing as an outlet. In high school I wrote a story for a creative writing assignment that had everyone who read it asking what happened next. I loved that. I kept journals over the years, but in the past few years I really felt that I had a need to get the stories in my head out. My kids went to school and left me with some alone time and I started writing.

If your life were made into a movie who would you like to see play you on the big screen?

Who would I LIKE to play me? Now that is a different question than who I think COULD play me…hahaha! I think I’m kind of Reese Witherspoonish (I don’t think that’s a word, but I like the way it sounds). I like that she’s a mom who works hard and has that creative outlet in her life. Also I can have my “blonde” moments, am pretty silly on most days, but can be serious when I need to be too. Not to mention, if I’m going to leave people thinking anything about me, I wouldn’t mind them thinking I look like Reese!

If you could write a book about absolutely anything with any other author (dead or alive) what would it be about and who would you choose?

I really want to put something that will make me sound really deep and smart here like James Joyce or Anais Nin. And the truth is I love to read so much, and have read all of those books for the first 40 years in my life…and then I discovered the steamy romance side of the book world. That’s where I have been swimming for the past couple of years, and I’ll admit that I am a huge fan of the sexy paranormal. And, while I love my Brothers, I am more attracted to the men in uniform, and have become a big fan of Dianna Love and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s BAD series and would love to write a badass law enforcement story with those two women. Or maybe a tragic romance with Shakespeare? (I wanted to end sounding smart!)

I’m always looking for books to add to my ginormous TBR (to be read) pile. What books are you currently reading or have read recently? Any good recommendations?

I am constantly reading. As mentioned before, I have been hanging out in the “grown up romance” section a lot lately and have recently read all of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress books (the first four in less than a week – it was take out and no clean underwear at my house for several days).

I recently re-read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I read it several years ago when it first came out and fell in love then. But with the release of the movie coming, I wanted to read it again, and I loved it just as much the second time around.

I think that my favorite book of all time, however, is The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchey. This is the one I always recommend to people. I started reading Binchey because I saw Circle of Friends, and was so happy that the “big girl” won in the end, that I had to read it. From there I went on to all of her books, but The Glass Lake is my favorite, and where I think I get a lot of my affinity for angst.

What are some of your favorite things to do when given a break from the writing life and other work-related things?

I have two young kids who are active in everything from wrestling to basketball to soccer…you name a sport and I’m pretty sure one of my kids has played it, so I spend a lot of my time running around from practice to practice. When I’m not doing that, I’m helping out in the kids’ classrooms or doing something for the PTA.

When there is a free “mom moment,” I either have a book or my Kindle in hand (and even at most of those practices I have one of those too). We try to enjoy the great outdoor activities that living in Utah allows, so we do hike from time to time and I take the kids skiing a couple times a season (I can be found with my laptop in the lodge!). And at least once or twice a year I take a momcation with several of my good friends for a spa weekend or to Las Vegas. We’re trying to plan the next one right now.

Are you currently working on any projects that we may see from you in the future?

There are several things swimming in my head right now. The first thing that I want to get done is the first book of a SWAT series I’ve had on my mind for a while now. (Can you see the theme in my choice of topic?? I am thoroughly enamored with men in uniform!) And, I have plans to do prequels to Indivisible. The first will be Zoe and Jaylon’s back story and then I will do Dallas and Ginger Walker. I already have both mapped out and general out lines, so it’s just a matter of finding the time to work on all of this!

Again, thank you so much for stopping by. It’s been such a pleasure working with you and reading your work.

Thank you. Really, I am humbled by the idea that people want to know things about me and about Indivisible. I am so glad that readers are enjoying the book, and look forward to hearing more from them.


Be sure to stop by the next two days for a review of Indivisible and a giveaway!


Blodeuedd said...

Nice interview, but now I really have to have a look at that cover _D

Jel said...

great interview. maybe her family background explains the military stuff

Vivien said...

It's great to know that she has prequels on the way!

Danah said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover too! It's simple, yet beautiful! Wow. I love reading paranormal books too Ms. Jessica and just like you, i think i have this addiction of adding books on my to-read list, and I do this every minute of everyday (no, i think seconds? Just kidding. I'm just exaggerating it.)

Anyways, thanks Mishel for doing an interview. It's nice to know something about the author of the book that interests you..

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