Interview with Erin O'Quinn
ERIN O’QUINN CUTS TO “THE CHASE”
This is a recent interview of me by a writer named Bon Franks.
Welcome, Erin O’Quinn. You’ve certainly stirred some interest with your recent Manlove series called “Noble Dimensions.” Before we talk about that, perhaps I can ask you some questions that will bring you a bit closer to your readers.
Tell us a little about your upbringing and education.
Erin: I was born and raised literally on the side of a mountain. My father was a self-employed subsistence miner of gold and tungsten, and he had a few mines that had been owned by his father before him on a fairly high peak in Nevada. I’m being deliberately vague about my birthplace and where I grew up because I don’t want people find out out the possible location of my fictional town of Noble, located somewhere in the Silver State. It's a small-town type of attitude, I guess. Kind of a "we don't allow no strangers around here" frame of mind. And too, I don't want my old pals to think I've written them into my book—whilch I have not done!
Even though there are no real-life versions of my characters, or even the places I write about in these two books, I feel it’s important to place the fictional and the real in two different galaxies.
Anyway, I was able to wrangle a scholarship to the University of Southern California where I took a bachelor’s in English and then a master’s in Comparative Literature. Armed with those degrees, I proceeded to rush out into the big world and not use them at all.
Intriguing. What makes you say you never used your education?
Erin: I’m kind of joking, because I used my background to good effect as a college teacher for a while, and then as a marketing, circulation and promotion guru for a large newspaper. But many of the jobs I've held throughout my life—like car salesperson and pallet-hauler—needed no formal education at all.
The best lessons I’ve learned in life are those I gleaned on the car lots and in the bagged goods areas of garden centers, and on the back docks, hanging out with newspaper distributors and truck drivers. My small-town roots seem to be very deep, because the ingrained moral values have stayed with me. I think those who read my books—any of them—will discover those values, no matter how passionate the sex.
Have you been writing for a long time, Erin?
Have you been writing for a long time, Erin?
Erin: No, not at all. I’ve been writing novels only about two years. I got a wild hair about writing the “could-have-beens” of the time of St. Patrick in Ireland. From a series of youth-oriented fantasies written with my husband, I continued my interest in that time and place—the fifth century of northern Ireland and surrounding locations—until I’d written a total of six historical novels. Four are M/F and two are M/M.
In other words, the novels you’re writing for Amber Allure are very recent enterprises.
Erin: Right. I finished Noble, Nevada last summer, and I completed The Chase in November. They’re my first—and so far the only—contemporary novels.
What are you working on now, as we speak?
Erin: I’ve just finished a work I call Heart to Hart. It’s a 1920s comedy-romance-mystery, a fantasy set in Ireland and based very loosely on the adventures of Holmes and Watson. The characters are ones I’m having a hugely fun time with: a veddy proper, educated and fastidious gentleman and his unlikely flat-mate, a boisterous and horny Irishman who takes a heartfelt (and hard-felt) interest in him.
Now, these two men Michael McCree and Simon Hart have snared me completely. I’m writing a sequel called Sparring with Shadows, which continues their comedic and yet erotic/romantic/conflicted relationship.
If you were not writing romance novels, Erin, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
Erin: Not long after having my first few books published, I discovered the world of the blogosphere, and I actually have three or four different blog sites which I’ve lately ignored in favor of finishing novels. But I feel that I’d be a decent blog diva, especially if I could settle down to only one or two books a year.
Another love of mine is poetry. I think I might even self-publish some of the poetry that wells inside my head and stands apart from my erotic writing. Not that the two cannot and should not intersect. We’ll see!
Let’s talk about your contemporary romances. What gave you the idea to write about men in a small “hick town”?
Erin: One day I was exchanging comments with a friend, pen name Piper Kay, in a writer’s group, and we agreed that we should write about what we knew. She knows cowboys. And I know small-town out-west people, being one myself. And now Kim is in the throes of writing a very good cowboy MM called Eight Second Cowboy, and my own efforts you see here.
Noble, Nevada and The Chase are related only by the town of Noble, and by a few common characters. Otherwise, the stories and the main characters are quite distinct.The series itself I call “Noble Dimensions,” with the deliberate play on words. All my guys are hung rather robustly.
Ha ha. I take it your “guys” are not shy about their interest in each other?
Erin: They’re wholeheartedly passionate, even when the world seems to throw them a few curve balls. Some say that the sex should be more conflicted, that the coitus should be more interruptus. But in this story, Brew absolutely has to find the honest love of another man before he can confront the love he feels for his father—the one who first extended love, and then withheld it out of fear and ignorance.
Erin: I think part of my brain has the ability to think like a guy, even feel like a guy. I have one skill that has stood me in good stead as a writer, and that is an unfailing ear for dialogue and the inner life that is betrayed through the way people interact with each other. I can hear whole conversations between people—strangers, family or friends—quite apart from the words they speak to each other.
I’ll be careful around you, Erin! Thanks for the interview. Any final words?
Erin: Anyone who wants to read naughty excerpts from either of my books needs only to scroll down the right-hand side of this blog. I’ve published several articles with long, explicit excerpts. And the page with the buy link on this blog also contains an interesting excerpt. Have fun! Oh . . . and buy my book. You'll be glad you did.