Friday, 7 October 2011


Joining me today is the ever-lovely and uber-talented, Chris Quinton, who not only is my pal, she has also been by beta on several of my projects and sorted the wheat from the chaff, which is another reason I adore her and I'm sure you all do, too!

Thank you for joining me on the sofa, Chris and for agreeing to answer some questions for me...  

1.         So who is Chris Quinton? - She is a rather eccentric woman, whose mental age is nowhere close to her physical age, and is something of a cynic. She has a good sense of humour, is a loyal friend, and is pretty much unshockable by anything the human animal comes up with. Twenty-three years working behind the scenes for your local Police will do that to you *g*.

2.         Tell us a bit about your current WIP / latest release. Current WiP is a gay contemporary/timeslip mystery romance titled Paradox - Phil is trapped in a coma, and he's sharing a parallel life. Centuries ago, someone is trying to kill Caius Marcellus Niger - Phil must find out who and why. But he’s alone, and nothing is the way it seems.

Oooooooooooh - my curiosity is peaked already, woman!

Latest release is Game On, Game Over - out from Silver tomorrow, October 8th - John is on a dangerous negotiating mission for MI6 in Tajikistan. Freelance photographer Scott quickly becomes a distraction John can ill afford, but can't ignore. Scott wants into John's bed, but John fears risking the mission…and his heart.

3.         How do you work, do you pick a title first, or characters names, or how they look? I get a rough idea of the basic plot and the characters - who they are, what they look like, then I name them. Names are very important to me. Then I decide on a title. Titles are important to me as well, they somehow ground the whole story. Usually they come fairly easily, but it took a while to settle on Paradox.

4.         When did you know that writing was your passion? Can't say for sure, but it was before I turned ten. So much so that Dad gave me an old ex-office Everest typewriter for a birthday present *g*.

5.         What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published? My first finished book was never published, now will it be. It was the most God-awful drivel imaginable. Well, I was only seventeen... It now sits under my bed fighting off the dust bunnies. First published book [as Chris Power] was Tribute Trail, co-written with my longtime friend Terri Beckett. First solo published work, Dark Waters [as Chris Quinton].

6.         What some don’t realize is that writing is a discipline and you have to proportion a part of your day to it – how long does it usually take you to complete a manuscript? You are so right about the discipline of writing. I try to give at least four hours a day. Sometimes it's longer, sometimes I don't get a chance at all. There's no set timescale for completing, either. Some stories flow faster than others. It can be anything from a few months to several years! I am not a fast writer. I do lots of revisions, tweakings and polishings before I think a story is fit to send off to a publisher.

7.         Do you outline your plots first?  Or are you like me and just go hell for leather? *g* a bit of both. I have a fairly loose outline of what I want to include and where I want the story to go, then I generally set the scene, drop the characters into it and tell them to "Get out of that, boys." Usually they do, and sometimes they surprise me with a twist.

8.         Out of your body of work – do you have a favourite character? That's a difficult question. All of my characters have a place in my heart, so it's not easy to pick out one. I'm very fond of Ash from Starfall, and both John/Aidan and Scott from Game On, Game Over. I'm also fond of Ben Elliot from my next story from Silver, Home and Heart. That's due out in November.

9.         If you were to offer advice to someone starting out, what would you say? Write, write, write. Don't listen to people who put you down, BUT always think about those who give you honest edits and suggestions. They do it because they care about your writing and want to help you learn the trade. It isn't a personal attack. Above all, write, develop your own writing 'voice', and write what YOU want to write, not what's currently selling best. If your heart isn't in your creations, they'll come out flat and mechanical, like a school essay.

10.       Who are your favourite authors, in any genre?  In no particular order, Josh Lanyon, Terry Pratchett, Mary Renault, CJ Cherryh, Lois McMaster Bujold, Richard Stevenson, Diana Gabaldon, Mary Anna Evans, Peter Bowen, Michael Connolly, Jonathan Kellerman... Shall I shut up now? *g*

11.       If you hadn’t chosen writing, or rather, writing hadn’t chosen you, what do you think
            You would be doing for a living? Realistically? Pounding a keyboard at my local Police station was my career. It's only since I retired I could be more of a full time writer. Ideally? I would have loved to have been an archaeologist...

12.       What do you do in your free time?  And don’t say writing!  LOL! Okay. Well, with household chores and that word I can't say beginning with 'w', I don't have a lot of free time. When I do, I read, knit, quilt, take photos, visit friends, catch up on my favorite TV shows and films.

13.       What makes you laugh? Terry Pratchett's books. The stupid things our dogs get up to. Jared Padalecki's laugh.

14.       What irritates you most about other people? Bigotry. Pushing their Christian values when those values are cherry-picked straight from the Old Testament and not from the words of Christ.

And finally….

15.       Would you like to share with us your favourite joke?  As of today, it's a cartoon I saw on Facebook - Steve Jobs in front of the Pearly Gates, with Saint Peter riffling through That Big Book - Steve is saying, "I have an app for that..."

Thank you for coming to chat, Chris, and I wish you many sales. 

It's been a pleasure talking with Chris and you can find her at:-

And here’s a little taster of  Game On, Game Over...

John was so engrossed in the painstaking work of excavating the fallen tiles without disturbing the contents of the niches behind them, he nearly fell over when a strange voice said, “Hi.” He regained his equilibrium and glanced up over his shoulder.

“Hello,” Anahita responded, but John barely heard her.

“Ma’am,” the man said, smiling and tipping a nonexistent hat. He was crouched on the planks protecting the edge of the trench. Aviator shades hid his eyes, but his smile was wide and bright. Sun-streaked blond hair curled over his forehead and onto the collar of his blue T-shirt, both emphasizing his tan. He was in his early to mid-twenties, ridiculously good-looking, and not one of the students. A camera hung around his neck. Babcock’s tame photographer, then. And, irritatingly, he was on his own, no Babcock in sight, and no escort either.

John scowled, unwilling to admit to the immediate attraction pulling at him, or the pleasant warmth of incipient arousal in his groin. It was an added complication he didn’t need and he couldn’t allow his libido to get in his way. His solution was simple; a prickly defense kept away all kinds of trouble.
“So where’s Babcock?” John demanded. “I thought he was supposed to show up again.”

“Uh, yeah, but something came up and he sent me instead. I gotta report back to him.”

“You shouldn’t be on site without an escort,” he said curtly.

The man’s smile didn’t waver. “Yeah, I know I need a watchdog.” It was a pleasant drawl, redolent of the American Southwest, and it did nothing to cool John’s blood. “I’m trying to find one. Scott Landon.” He held out his hand.

John planted his hands on his hips and ignored the offered courtesy. “Go over to the building and wait for Professor Preston. He’ll allocate someone to assist you.”

“Been there, done that,” Scott said cheerfully. “No one showed.”

“I expect he’s busy,” Anahita piped up. “I’ll go and see if I can find him for you.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” But he made no move to return to the offices and wait for Mike.

Scott didn’t know what impulse drew him to the trench inside the ruins, but he was grateful for it when the man straightened and turned to face him. He was tall, lean, and sun-browned, his almost-black hair worn a little too long and showing a few threads of silver at the temples, though he was probably under forty. Deeply set in high-cheekboned, hawklike features, dark brown eyes gazed stonily at Scott. Somehow the man managed to give the impression of glaring down his impressive aquiline nose despite his head being on a level with Scott’s knees. While not strictly handsome, his was the most interesting face Scott had seen in years, and also the most attractive. Right now, however, that face was the personification of aloofness. A warm pulse of interest spread through Scott’s blood. Never one to pass up a challenge, he waited until the woman took herself off, then gave the man a thorough checking out from behind the mask of his shades.

“So,” Scott said brightly, “what do you have here?”

“A trench,” he bit out, his rich voice becoming more clipped. “Wait by the offices, Mr Landon.”

“Okay,” he said, not moving. “But please call me Scott. Mr Landon’s my father and it’s way too formal for me.” He widened his smile to an out and out grin, as charming and engaging as he could make it. “Hey, c’mon, you need to loosen up. I’m not like Brent, I swear. Can I come down there?”

“I do not need to do anything, Mr Landon,” the man said icily, “and no, you can’t. Go away.”

Scott sighed, and wondered what the man’s mouth would be like when it wasn’t pressed into a thin line. Of course, he might not be gay, but he wouldn’t be the first so-called straight guy whom Scott persuaded sexual experimentation was a good idea, though he might be the most difficult. Nor was the setting ideal for seduction. But, as Scott reminded himself, a faint heart never won tall, dark, and interesting.

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