Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Debut author Tess Quinn

Today I welcome author Tess Quinn. Tess is an incrediablity talented writer and I'm so excited she has chosen me to throw her a kick off party for her blog tour featuring her new release, THE BEWITCHED COWBOY. So grab some cyber-bubbly, a party hat and a plate full of chocolate covered strawberries and let's welcome her.

Book release date: February 24, 2010
The Wild Rose Press: Faery Rose Line
Novella. You can purchase the book at:


You’re a law student and a reader for an agent. How do you find time to write?

I actually give a workshop that involve Asian cultural and traditional techniques for better time management. In the workshop, I explain how it’s important to stick to a schedule, to write out everything you would like to achieve before the day begins, and attempt to cross off every item written on the list. I do this every day, but there are other reasons why I can do so many things. The first is, I’m single. Because I don’t have a family, juggling a lot of things is easier than if I had a child or husband. Second, I’m a stickler for the reward and punishment system. I’ll only reward myself with something, whether it be ordering Chinese food or buying a new pair of shoes, if I finish my word count for the week. Guilt and a hunger for Chinese take-out are strong motivators. Last but not least, I believe in a marathon writing day. Once a month, I’ll sit down and write for at least eight hours in one sitting. I’ll get up to use the bathroom and to grab food but that’s it. I call this my ‘catch up’ time if I wasn’t able to get as much done during the month as I would have wanted.

Recently, you submitted a workshop proposal for the RWA National conference and that proposal was accepted. Inquiring minds want to know what is the workshop’s topic and why are you the one to give this presentation?

The workshop topic is “Goal, Motivation, & Conflict in the YA Novel.” I write YA under my other pen name “Nisha Sharma” so I’m intricately entangled with the genre. The reason why the RWA workshop panel thought I was an appropriate speaker for the topic was first: I got approval from Debra Dixon who is the creator of the “GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict” structure, so I was legally allowed to talk about the subject. Second, I’m the national young adult book reviewer on Examiner.com so I have to read a lot of YA for my columns. Third, I was a remote reader for two literary agencies where I did a fair amount of YA reading whether it was queries or full manuscript requests. I was also a freelance editor and book doctor for YA authors. I recently stopped the freelance editing and the remote reading because I wanted to focus on my own writing more, but I gained a lot of experience through each job. Additionally, when I started writing YA, I decided to take Jennifer Crusie’s approach when attempting to write in a new genre: read 100 books. In one year, I think I read over 300 YA books in all different subgenres. In the process I created a chart where I wrote down in a few words what the goals, motivations & conflicts of the protagonists were. I read tons of psychology books and guides that talked about writing for the YA market. In the end, I had all this information which I was able to structure under Goal, Motivation, & Conflict along with research techniques and ways to get started with writing a YA novel. I applied it to my own writing and I landed a fabulous agent! Since it was a “tested” system so to speak, I decided to share the information and research I had done. Every three months I update the information in my workshop whether I’m speaking during that time or not, only because the genre is constantly evolving. I’m really excited to be giving the talk at RWA nationals!

You have a unique way of brainstorming which brought about the idea for your new release. Could you tell us about it?

Sure! I Googled.  I’m a law student so when I’m working on papers or legal research, I immediately go to Google because I’m able to get a general understanding of my subject and then find authors or articles, etc. that help narrow my focus even more. I use the same methodology when I’m brainstorming for a book. I start with a character, a very general premise, and I throw random words together in a Google search string. For my book ‘The Bewitched Cowboy,’ I knew I wanted to do something with a cowboy. I can’t remember exactly what my search string was, but it involved the words ‘cowboy’, ‘farmer,’ ‘romance,’ and ‘magic.’ I ended up with a bunch of hits for both wineries and Wiccan churches. Ding, ding, ding! The light bulb went off and after fooling around with Google a bit more, I ended up with a cowboy witch that controls the weather who lives on a vineyard.

The key to Googling is to keep an open mind and read everything. When I got hits for Wiccan churches and cowboys in Montana, I read it all, digested it, and didn’t discard a single idea or thought until I was completely saturated with information. It’s a great exercise I encourage everyone to try!

Book Blurb:

The last thing Matt expected his twin to tell him was that he had to marry the woman of his parents’ choice or suffer the loss of his powers.
Destiny, a PhD and successful parapsychology writer, certainly did not expect her mother to tell her that she would die if she didn’t get married to a man chosen for her in infancy.

The collision of two hardheaded, anti-marriage witches makes Destiny and Matt’s first encounter explosive. Now they have to figure out a way to get along for the two weeks they can’t be separated without doing the one thing that could change their fate forever…falling in love.


Destiny’s voice was thick and sluggish with sleep. “How can you not believe I’m your other half after everything that happened today, cowboy?”
Matt smiled into the crown of her hair. Her question bothered him, but he didn’t think he could hide the truth from her. He didn’t want to. Despite everything, he wanted to be honest.

“It’s not that I don’t believe in bonding. I just don’t want anything to do with it or marriage. The last time I got involved with helping someone find the person they loved…bad things happened.”

Destiny looked up at him, her face close to his as she continued to rest against his chest. “Sometimes, you can’t stop life from going the way life was set to go.”

“You can’t stop ‘destiny,’ huh?” Matt knew he sounded rueful, but he couldn’t help respecting her for her answer. For someone who reacted so intensely to any reminder of her mother, she didn’t carry any guilt or blame anyone for her difficult life.

“What are we going to do for the next two weeks?” Destiny said, yawning. “We can’t be away from each other, apparently. Leaving you doesn’t feel…right.”

Matt knew saying that must have taken courage. He didn’t want her to know how close he already was to her. How panicked he felt. Was Destiny really the other half of his soul? He took a deep, ragged breath.

“Have you ever ridden a horse, Dr. Snow?”


Matt smiled at the dry tone in her voice. “Well you’re going to have to get a crash course in riding, I guess.”

“In your dreams, cowboy.”

Matt smiled as he wrapped Destiny against him more firmly. Holding her this way calmed him, and that was what scared him the most.


Award-winning author Tess Quinn was raised in the countryside of northeast, Pennsylvania. With very little to do in a town where the local high school gym was a barn and the cow-human ratio was 2.5 to 1, Tess filled her spare time with eighties music and a lot of reading. Unfortunately there was only one bookstore and two libraries in the Valley while Tess was growing up, so she started writing sequels to her favorite novels. When she ran out of favorites to write about, she started creating her own stories, and she has been writing ever since. Tess graduated from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in English. She continues her obsession with writing while she currently attends law school in New York.

Visit Tess at http://www.tessquinn.com

Check out Tess’s website tomorrow for her book birthday give away! She’ll be revealing her super secret contest information and the fabulous prize giveaway!


  1. Good morning, Tess. It's great to have you here AJ Notes. I love chinese food as a reward. Hmmm. I think you gave me an idea for doing the million things I need to do this week.

    Your book debunte's tomorrow. Congrats. Can you tell us more about Destiny and Matt? Are they both witches?

  2. Congrats on the book,Tess. So agree with the write out the daily plan thing. I started that recently and it does help. It is also helping to get a grip on daily time management. I waste way too much time BTW. Absolutely love the google search idea. What a great way to come up with a high concept story.

  3. Congratulations and good luck on sales. Yes, having children, a husband, home, a day job - they all interfere with my writing. How sad is that? LOL. I google all the time but my favorite idea generator is the Discovery Channel or the History Channel.

  4. Hey Autumn, thanks again for hosting me!!! I'm so glad to be here. :-) Sorry about the delayed response! I was at Zumba class. :-D

    More about Matt and Destiny. Yes, they are both witches. Matt trains horses in a joint operation he runs with his brother. Destiny is a pure-bred Long Island blue blood with a genius IQ and a PhD. Despite their different backgrounds, Destiny & Matt can both control the weather, and they have hot temperaments which causes all sorts of storms to happen. :-)
    Rita: Thanks for the congrats! It's surprising how much time you can spend on Google. lol.

    PL Parker: Thanks for the congrats! And yes, Discovery channel and History channel are AWESOME. A great way to not only brainstorm but to research as well! Once you've figured out what you want to do, those shows are filled with facinating details that help add depth to stories.

  5. Congratulations, Tess! Cheers for your success and wishes for lots of sales. Great time management tips, btw.


  6. Tess, thanks for sharing your brainstorming and time management ideas. Plus your book sounds fascinating. Good luck.

  7. Congratulations on your debut, Tess. Love the premise and the google idea.

  8. KaathieC!!! thnx! I'll be seeing u on thurs! ;-)

  9. Tess, I'm so excited for you! CONGRATS. Looking forward to getting a signed copy. Monica

  10. Hi Tess,
    Wonderful interview. I like the sounds of a bewitched cowboy. Best of luck with your release.

  11. Congrats Tess on your release. And you know how happy I am that it's got a cowboy in it :). Loved the excerpt and can't wait to read the book. Hope to see you at LSFW! All the best!

  12. Tess,
    Congratulation on the book and success. I am just am old PA teacher and stove up cowboy who has turned to writing. My blessings and may you have many more successes. Morgan

  13. Hi Tess, Congrats on your new release. Great interview and amazing time management skills.
    Kathy www.kathykulig.com

  14. Thank you Morgan, Anne, Margaret & Kathy!! I really appreciate it! :-D

  15. Tess, I am in awe of your time management skills! Your novella sounds like great fun. Best of luck with it.


  16. Thanks, Jana! Haha, the key to my success lies in chinese take out. :-D

    Autumn, thanks again for having me! :-D

  17. You're more than welcome. I enjoyed having you. Congrats on your release. I'm wishing you mega sales with The Bewitched Cowboy.

  18. Tess, you could teach a college course on this subject. Fabulous information! I also liked your brainstorming technique--very inventive! Best wishes on your new release!

    Janice C.