Wait, how is it the last Monday in April?
Seriously, when did this happen? Who authorized it? Nobody asked me!
Let's move on to our interview with historical fiction author, Laura Quinn! Laura Quinn currently resides in southern New Jersey with her husband, two children, and spoiled tabby cat. When not writing or consuming copious amounts of coffee, she enjoys hiking, the beach, and spending time with her family.
Thicker Than Water is her debut novel, with two additional books planned to round out the Culligans’ saga.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Retrospectively, I think I always somehow knew. In college and early into my professional career, business writing and strong communication skills were a necessary part of my job in the insurance industry. My position was a liaison to the company’s external legal team, so much of that writing fell into the persuasive category. After some time, the company asked me to mentor new hires, which was very flattering. But, an avid reader my whole life, I was always drawn to storytelling. I knew I could string together a sentence, I worked in the industry for 11 years, but fiction is entirely a horse of a different color. Initially intimidated, I wrote a few short stories and shared them among those in my circle. The rest, as they say, is history.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I write historical fiction, so much of my source material is from books about the time period in question (the late Gilded Age through World War One). Because I reside in the area where the trilogy is set, I’ve also gone to local museums and historical societies to gather references or review old photographs. Getting those “little details” correct was of paramount importance to me from the onset of this project.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Writing and reading are intrinsically connected so you can usually find me with a book in my hand. I enjoy gardening in the spring and summer, going to the beach, and hiking.
What does your family think of your writing?
I’m so fortunate! My family is enormously supportive. My husband always gets to read my work before anyone else. We always tell the kids to follow their dreams, and I’m grateful to be able to model that for them.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Trust your gut and always believe in your vision. I don’t aim for “x” amount of words per day. Some days, the words will just flow. Others, I’ll find myself staring at a blank screen. When that happens, I walk away and do something else to clear my head. Spend time with my pet, empty the dishwasher, check email or socials. I don’t try to force it.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, regardless of genre, relatable characters are a must. Perfectly imperfect. Morally gray. Quirky. I need a reason to connect with them. Even if the plot is slow (or, in very rare instances, one I don’t find particularly entertaining), as long as I can root for the MC, I’ll stick with the story to see how it plays out.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Little Women. I first read it in 3rd grade and there are so many scenes that tug at the heartstrings. Even so, it’s still one of my favorite novels.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Everyone’s path to publishing differs. I firmly respect and admire those who’ve elected to go the traditional route. For me, while I wouldn’t go so far as to dub the practice “unethical,” the gatekeeping that can occur with querying was one of the reasons I chose to self-publish.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both! There are some days I’ll finish a chapter or scene, know I nailed it, and feel like a million bucks. Other times (and this happened a lot during revisions), my brain felt like complete and utter mush at the end of a session.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I think self confidence is an important component to marketing both yourself and your work. It’s part of the laws of attraction. You need to be able to carry yourself professionally. Eye contact, a good handshake and smile. Verbage clear of “ums” and “uhs” when speaking. This is, however, different from “ego” in terms of conceit. No one wants to listen to a narcissist.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
Thicker Than Water is the first in a trilogy. Book Two is halfway written, but is not a standalone. Readers definitely need to be aware the events in Book One to understand the dynamic between the characters as the saga progresses.
What do you have coming next?
I’d love to be able to give readers access to the first chapter of Book Two by the time TTW goes to press. Currently, the chapter is almost where I want it to be. It just needs a few tweaks. Finishing that manuscript is one of my 3rd quarter goals for 2022, with an eye toward release around the same time next year (early summer 2023). I’m also in the process of finalizing my research and notes for Book Three.
Get in touch with her here: