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Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview With Erin Quinn

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part for me is cutting through the noise and focusing. I find that I often have to write by hand in order to quiet my inner perfectionist and keep myself off the Internet of Distractions. The drawback of writing by hand, of course, is that I need a secret decoder ring to decipher my awful penmanship.

At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?

That’s an easy one. At the point where they start taking themselves seriously as a writer. I would say that usually comes after a full-length manuscript is completed from start to finish, but everyone has their own gauge for determining their goals. It took me years and several published books before I began answering “what do you do?” with “I’m a writer.”

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

Quiet. Coffee. My three dogs sleeping nearby. Time. An added bonus is if I have stashed chocolate somewhere that my husband hasn’t found.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

It’s nearly impossible to build a career off one book. No matter what happens with the first book–loved by all, hated universally, published with fanfare, published and forgotten–it doesn’t matter.  Each new book gives you the chance to be better.


If you are a writer and you aren’t loving writing, you’re probably writing the wrong thing.

Both came from a wonderful friend and bestselling author Jennifer Ashely. So talented and wise.

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be? 

I’ve been fortunate to have a wide circle of author friends so I already feel like I’ve been mentored by many famous authors and they all have my undying gratitude. 

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

I just finished a novella that is part of a series written with two of my besties. They are small-town holiday romances that revolve around a glitch in a dating app. It was so much fun to write and they are releasing this week exclusively on Kindle Unlimited.

Miss Taken, by Erin Quinn

Miss Behaving, by Calista Fox

Miss Matched, by Pepper Swan

Author Interviews Featured Authors

an interview with Amy Stuart

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of the process is always simply getting started. This has always been the case, but with the pandemic and an increasingly distracting world, the act of starting has become more and more difficult. I find that once I start writing, I can stay in a flow. Writer’s block isn’t usually a big issue for me, but I find I’m always searching for tricks and tips to quiet the world around me enough that I can sit down and begin. 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Fundamentally, it didn’t. I published my first novel at 41, so I think my habits were pretty ingrained by then. The key for me has always been to separate the business of writing from the craft. I can’t control what happens in the publishing world, but I can control how much time and effort, and dedication I put into my craft. I will say that working to a publisher’s deadline is an excellent motivator!

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

It’s more about what I don’t need. I use a program called Freedom to block out the internet while I’m writing, and I try to keep my phone at a distance. Because I have three kids and my life outside of writing is busy, I’ve worked over the years to be able to write almost anywhere — cafés, ice hockey rinks, the kitchen, parks. But my ideal writing space is sunny with a cup of something warm and a blanket over my legs. I’m all about comfort! I’m very grateful that my office at home fits this bill. 

How do you come up with character names for your stories?

I often mix and match the names of people I know as a form of tribute. Cemeteries are also a great spot to find names. There’s one close to my house where I can walk if I need inspiration. 

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be? 

That’s a tough question! So many options to choose from. I think I would pick Alice Munro. I would like to know how she continued to write and learn so beautifully for so many decades, and how she makes decisions about which direction to take her stories. Her writing may not be the same genre or even format as mine (she writes short fiction only), but her ability to surprise the reader is something all writers could learn from.

Speaking of mentoring, you’re also the founder of Writerscape, which works with emerging authors. Can you tell us a little bit about this project?

I founded Writerscape because I’m a teacher by trade, and when I stepped away from full-time teaching I found I missed that connection. Writerscape is a way for me to meld my two big loves — teaching and writing. I’m planning to start offering single-day writing retreats both online and in-person (I hope!) to allow writers who need that little push to get going.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date?  

I’m almost finished with my fourth novel, which is my first that isn’t in the “Still” series. It’s a standalone that follows our narrator through a single day of her life that takes some very dark turns. No publication date yet, but I’m hoping I’ll know that soon!

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An interview with Jennifer Ryan

​​​​What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Naming the characters. It’s worse than naming my kids. There are only 3 of them. But a book requires a lot of names. And with the number of books I’ve written, it gets to be hard to come up with good names that fit the characters. 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It didn’t change that much for me. I love writing. I wrote nearly 20 books in the 7 years before I got an agent and sold my first book. I write most days, whether it’s a little or a lot. Most days I write about four to five hours straight. I think the longest day I ever put in was 12 hours. I was so lost in the story, I just had to keep going. Granted, that was the rough draft. It wasn’t all good writing, but getting the story on the page is what counts.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

The characters and the opening scene. That’s always my starting point. Because I write romance, there’s the built-in happy-ever-after, which I love, because my books usually start at some pivotal point in the character’s lives where everything changes. 

And then things get intense and messy and life happens to them and they have to find their way through it and earn that great, enduring love. 

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

Coffee or tea. Brownies or cookies.

How do you come up with character names for your stories?

Sometimes it’s a name of one of my kids’ friends, a colleague of my husband, a name in a book I’m reading, a name on a TV show or movie. 

I do use a random name generator. 

But one of the most helpful places for finding lots of different kinds of names is the credits at the end of a movie. 

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

I just finished writing my next women’s fiction novel, which will be out July 2022. It’s called The One You Want. One week, two friends, secrets revealed, and a wedding gone wrong. 

But up first I have a brand new romance series – Wyoming Wilde. The first of three books comes out on 3/29/22 – Chase Wilde Come Home.

Happy reading everyone!

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An interview with Julie Zantopoulos

How many hours a day do you write?

I love that the question assumes I write every day because I do. I spend at least two hours a day working on writing or author-related tasks. On weekends, I write the majority of the day on/off. Making writing a daily habit was really important to me. 

If you were a casting agent for the movie version of A Curse in Ash who would you cast for the main roles?

As an author with aphantasia (I don’t see pictures in my head), it’s hard to fan-cast my books. However, I do have picture inspiration for characters. You can see the book’s Pinterest board at That may give you the best idea of what I was picturing for my world and characters.

But I can say that Brynach has always been the model Brock O’Hurn and Riordan has always been close to Julian Morris from Pretty Little Liars. Aisling is more a Molly Quinn, but when she was on Castle as Nathan Fillian’s daughter-a feisty and independent redhead. 

What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up?

Young Julie was a voracious reader. I read a lot of Nancy Drew, The Babysitter’s Club, The Secret Garden, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Recently I reread a book I found at my parent’s house that I remember loving. It’s a middle-grade horror that is truly frightening (not to mention problematically sexist looking back on it). It was Christina’s Ghost by Betty Ren Wright-you’ve been warned-but it’s a great book for the spooky season.

What was your hardest scene to write?

There was a scene towards the end of the book that I can’t mention for spoiler reasons, that absolutely broke me. The hardest scenes for me are always the ones that require me to dig deep into emotions and put myself into a character’s shoes. This particular scene happened on the last of three rewrites (yes three) and I truly didn’t know it was going to happen. I was doing video chat sprints with a writer friend and they looked up and I was sobbing and just said, “Something just happened that makes the story so much better, but I’m not okay right now.” And I just let myself cry. So, yeah, that was hard.

Can you tell us all about Pages and Pens, your YouTube channel? 

It started as a passion project where I could discuss books and grow a community. I just wanted to rave about what I was reading, and for a long time, that’s all I did. Then I branched out into author-related content as I got more serious about my writing and querying process. My online community has seen A Curse in Ash from inception to completion. I have a lot less time for reading now that I’m focused on a writing career but the joy that comes from Pages and Pens hasn’t wavered at all. I’m very thankful for my bookish community, which is why A Curse in Ash is dedicated to them. It’s been incredible to be supported and encouraged the way they have. They truly are the best.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

There’s always something in the pipeline for me! I am currently nearing the end of the sequel to A Curse in Ash and will immediately move on to fast drafting book three (the conclusion-I think). Once they’re both finished I’ll go back and edit book two and get it ready for critique partners and editors. I also have two adult women’s fiction novels, one I’m querying for agents and another that still needs editing. I plan to indie publish the In Ash series of books and traditionally publish women’s fiction. But, who knows, things may change and I may indie publish them all. But, I definitely want to finish telling Aisling, Riordan, and Brynach’s story first. As far as teasers, I can promise the spice and the stakes both increase in future books, and considering how high they were in book one, that’s saying something.

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Barbara Delinksy

Which of your books did you have the most fun writing?

The most fun?  That would be my very first, which is no longer in print but which I wrote on a lark.  I had never thought to be an author until I read an article in my local newspaper about women who wrote category romances.  I read a bunch, sat down, and wrote my own.   It took me to the mountains of Brazil with people who had nothing to do with my life at home with three children, a husband, and cleaning, cooking, and refereeing.  I found that I loved the process of writing.  The words just poured out of me.  It was the best escape in the world – the glove of a career that fit me perfectly.

 I love that your website lists all the books you’re reading -how do you juggle your reading time with your writing time? Is it hard to read a book while in the process of writing?

Yes!  For the longest time, I couldn’t read other books while I was writing my own.  I needed to stay in the life of my characters without distraction.  I needed to stay in my own voice, not the voice of another author.  It was only when I began spacing out my books that I was able to pleasure-read more.   Now I have three books going at any given time – one in print, one on audio, and one on kindle.

How do you connect with your characters? Do they tend to take after people close to you, or are they a full concoction from your imagination?

I work really, really hard not to base characters on people I know.  I never want my family or friends to think I’m writing them into books.  That would be a betrayal – which isn’t to say that one characteristic or another, one experience or another from real life doesn’t enter my books.  Of course, it does.  Sometimes it’s subconscious.  I have a feeling that I’ve written about people in my past without ever realizing it!  

Do you ever travel to conduct your research for books? If so, what place has been your favorite?

So funny you ask.  I had always set my books in New England and had a slew of favorite towns that I visited often for research.  But a while ago my agent suggested I set a book on the West Coast.  At the time, my husband and I were making yearly trips to Big Sur.  San Francisco was not far north of there.  So I plotted a San Francisco book and after I’d done an outline and the first few chapters, flew out ahead of him and spent several days touring the city.  For whatever reason, San Francisco didn’t work for me.  In the single week after I returned home, I reframed the story to take place in Big Sur, which I did love.  That book, Coast Road, was a breakout book for me, my first hardcover to hit the New York Times list.

What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up? 

I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  My mother died when I was very young, and these books took me to a safe family, a different time and place.  Growing up in Boston, I loved books about the American Revolution.  I even loved Nancy Drew mysteries, though I’m not at all a fan of thrillers today.  Life is too much of a thriller.  Y’know?

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

No teaser yet.  I’m a third of the way through my next book but have paused to assess – which actually brings us full circle to your first question, about the book I had the most fun writing.  Writing is fun.  The business of writing is not.  When I wrote that first book, I had a ball.  But publishing has changed dramatically in the years since.  I’m trying to decide where to go from here.