Spotlight interview and Giveaway with Amy Quinton
Historical romance author Amy Quinton is here today with a fantastic interview. She is here to discuss her newest release, Book 2 of her Agents of Change series, What the Marquess Sees. Please help me make her feel welcome.
Amy will be giving away a two of her books in eBook format, winner chooses which book they’d like to read. As well as One Print Copy (US Only). Be sure to leave a QUESTION for Amy to answer in order to be entered into the random drawing. A winner will be drawn and announced on March 14th, 2016 @8pm.
Also be sure check out Book 1 of her Agents of Change series, What the Duke Wants
Before we get into your book, let us talk about you.
Amy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her husband, two boys, and one cat. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).
Do you have a day job? Yes, I’m an author…lol. In what I like to call my previous life (my life pre-kids), I was a software designer. I became a full time mom after my first child was born, going 13 years ago now. Then, once both my children were in school full time, I decided to give this romance writing gig a go. 😉 I love reading romance, and I’ve discovered I like writing it even more. My first book, What the Duke Wants, came out in January of last year, and it’s been a wild ride ever since.
What is your favorite color? It seems to change from year to year. Honestly, I cannot seem to settle. Sometimes, it’s black. Sometimes green. Often, it’s turquoise. And most recently, I’ve fallen in love with purple.
Do you have any unique talents or hobbies? (besides writing) Nothing unique per se. I like to crochet and knit, paint (walls, not art), and make jewelry (see pictures)
How do you spend your spare time? Reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, or working one of my hobbies. Spending time with my family.
Who is/are your biggest supporter(s)? My family, of course, and my friends have all been very supportive. My husband and kids are always patient with my crazy long hours at work or promoting my work. My friends have all bought my books, beta read my books, showed up for book signings, listened to me complain when my characters act up, and threw me a surprise party upon the release of my first book (picture to the left – they managed a cake with the book cover on it). My mother in law and several close friends have put up with me picking their brains, brainstorming plot points, back story, characterization. I couldn’t have done it without all of their support.
If you weren’t an author what would you be? A greeter at Walmart? Is professional jigsaw puzzler a thing? LOL. Honestly, I don’t know, I cannot fathom doing anything else.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? I first started What the Duke Wants in 2013 and it was finished in the spring of 2014. It released January 26, 2015.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Historical romance is my favorite genre to read, hands down, particularly Regency romance, so it made sense for me to start there.
Is there a genre/subgenre that you haven’t written that you would like to try? I am hoping to try paranormal historical romance after I finish the Agents of Change series. But we’ll see what happens as I wrap up book 5. One never knows.
Where do you get your ideas? Everywhere. Sometimes I dream about plot points and dialogue. Often, when I’m walking, I’ll be inspired with a scene or a bit of dialogue. I’ve been inspired by things my friends have said, things on tv, stuff written in other books… For example, recently my husband was watching a reality show on TV and this guy and girl were out in the middle of nowhere enduring with nothing but their survival skills. The man flushed out a snake and the girl just picked it right up with her bare hands and killed it. Afterwards, the man then said something to the effect of, since you caught the snake, I’ll allow you to take the first piece. I raised my brow at that, and the girl was in complete accord with that sentiment. She was almost dumbfounded and responded quite sarcastically to that remark… and the man never even realized she was doing so; he thought he was being magnanimous, I guess. That entire scene prompted me to imagine what Lady Beatryce (from What the Marquess Sees) would say if Dansbury (her hero) had said the same thing to her. I’ve actually put that ensuing conversation in my current work in progress, What the Scot Hears. Of course, no snakes are involved and Dansbury is not so dimwitted as the man on tv, but the resulting conversation was inspired by that show. Here is an excerpt – warning SPOILERS for book 2.
Dansbury’s latest argument died in his throat as Lady Beatryce walked in wearing trousers of all things.
“While you gents were wasting time arguing,” she said as she dropped a saddlebag on a nearby chair, “I’ve saddled three horses. I, for one, am leaving now. You two had best hurry if you want to join me.”
Then Beatryce turned her back on them and made to leave.
Dansbury looked over at MacLeod, and with a wink, said aloud, “Sure darling, you have my permission to join us since she is your gift to me on our wedding,” and with a final nail in his coffin, added, “This time.”
Apparently, Dansbury still enjoyed provoking his bride despite the fact that they were ‘in love’ and married.
Lady Beatryce froze, lifting her shoulders. MacLeod imagined her anger leaping off those squared shoulders in giant emotion filled waves.
But when she turned around, he knew right away he was wrong. Rather than spitting fire and brimstone, the ice queen had returned—no emotion was to be found in her expression at all.
Which was far worse. He turned to wish his friend a good journey to the afterlife…
…but Dansbury simply grinned like a fool, with a smile that held a certain amount of pride. If anything, he was smiling even more than he had been before he made such a ridiculous, needling statement.
Lady Beatryce walked over to Dansbury, her steps deliberate and steady, and with every footstep she took, Dansbury’s grin widened further. “I can see by the smile on your face that you don’t really mean that. And since it is our wedding day, I’ll let your provoking statement slide.” She kissed him once, briefly, on the lips, but then her eyes narrowed in warning, “But I’m promising you now…if you ever think to control me in such a fashion in future, I’ll have your bollocks with my afternoon tea.”
Then she patted his cheek with a smile, turned on her heel, and left.
Dansbury looked over at MacLeod with a grin and a shrug and said, “That’s my woman…,” with more than a touch of delight coloring his tone. And he moved to follow his wife out the door.
“Aye.” MacLeod agreed. Thank God fer that.
What comes first, your characters’ story or the plot line for the book? It varies. I am an equal opportunity plotter, pansterer… LOL My first book was pulled together scene by scene, the inspiration for the story the scene where my two characters meet for the first time. For my second book, I spent weeks delving into my character’s personalities and backstory first. Much of the dialogue in that book came about through the exercise of defining their character. I would hit on a particular strength or weakness and before I knew it, an entire conversation popped in my head. I would just write the basic dialogue down quickly in a word doc for use later and carried on with defining their backstory.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All the time. When something about the characters or the plot isn’t working, is when I stall and sometimes it is very difficult to overcome the block. Usually I bring a friend over for a brainstorming session about the book, after which I am able to move along.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Both. I go back and forth. Sometimes, I’ll simply have a burst of inspiration and will write out an entire scene, just running with it. Then, I’ll look back to see if it fits into the story at all. Other times, I spend time plotting ahead to see where the story is going. That helps when I’m feeling particularly uninspired, knowing where the story needs to go will often be the impetus I need to break out the creative spark.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
There aren’t enough pages on your website to express all of the emotional ups and downs of the process from query to published. I queried agents and publishers that did not require agents for months. It was very stressful and time consuming. I received an unusually high number of full requests for my manuscript, followed by rejection after rejection. I had a massive spreadsheet I updated daily of all the different queries I sent out and when I expected to hear back, or when I should realistically determine that I wasn’t going to hear back. LOL. One day, I entered a pitch madness contest on twitter which led me to the acquisitions editor for Liquid Silver books, who ultimately made my dreams come true with an offer for publication. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs when the offer arrived in my inbox; I woke the entire house with my shouts (it was late at night and everyone else was asleep). From there, the pace was fast and exciting. The only bump was the cover art. I wasn’t at all happy with the first mock up and it was such a crushing thing to not love the cover of your very first book (we authors don’t have a lot of say on the covers for our books), but I cajoled, begged, and pleaded with them, and I guess they took pity, for they came back with the cover I got and it was absolutely perfect.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? of publication. I cannot complain with the success I have enjoyed with Liquid Silver.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Who has been your favorite character thus far? Lady Beatryce Beckett. Hands down. Which was absolutely unexpected. I loathed her while I was writing the first book. I had every intention of just making her a tension-building antagonist. But then she blossomed as I worked with her backstory and I realized that beneath her cool, ruthless exterior beat a strength not often seen in women of Regency times. I was intrigued as… well let’s just say I can identify with her backstory.
Who has been the hardest character to write about? What character has given you the most trouble? Amelia Chase, without a doubt. She appears briefly in book 2, and is the heroine of book 3. Which is interesting, because I thought her character would be far easier that Lady Beatryce who was quite difficult as I had to juggle her past and questionable behavior, yet make her likeable. But Mrs. Chase is difficult in a different way, she is charming and provoking (very much like Dansbury) which I expected would make her an easy character to write, but I found I have to be careful that she does not come across as too obnoxious and irresponsible. That’s been a surprisingly difficult thing to balance… at least for me. She’s not a personality I’m very familiar with as I am reasonably introverted myself. As are my husband and oldest son. My youngest is another matter entirely, and quite foreign to the rest of us with his wild exuberance.
What character, that you haven’t written/released yet, are you most looking forward to sharing with your readers? I am absolutely looking forward to introducing the hero and heroine in book 5. Neither have been introduced in my books. He will make his first appearance in book 3. I have not named either character, but I can say he is a Welsh Prince. I will be introducing her in book 4. I will hint that I am planning on her being sent by Lady Beatryce to investigate the elusive Welsh Prince….
If you could be any one of your characters who would you choose? Why? Lady Beatryce Beckett – because she’s tough, strong, capable, and she has a man like the Marquess of Dansbury who adores and respects her strength.
What project are you working on now? I am working on the 3rd book in the Agents of Change series, What the Scot Hears
What is the last book you read? Are reading now? Looking forward to reading? The last book I read, I just finished this morning actually, was a reread of Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake. Just prior to that, I read Eloisa James’s My American Duchess…. Both fabulous books. I’ve just started reading Monica McCarty’s The Unthinkable
What is the best way to celebrate after a book release? Last time, I simply went out to dinner with my husband and kids. Nothing major. It was nice.
Tell me about your book/release, What the Marquess Sees.
Give us a 30-word or less tagline: He is a marquess with a woman to protect and an assassin to thwart. She is…not nice.
- Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? If you like regency with a dash of suspense and humor, this book is for you, but warning, the sex scenes are scorching and there is a fair amount of mild cursing…. Which is somewhat expected when you force a couple of people who despise each other to spend every minute together running for their lives from a mad assassin.
- How did you come up with the title of your book or series? My husband actually gave me the Agents of Change series name. I had started out with Winds of Change with the idea that I would focus on how people can change, but then the spy theme was introduced after I started my basic love story, and suddenly the series name wasn’t quite right. I was telling my husband about how I wanted to change it to something else, but I was running out of time with my first book set to be released in a matter of months, and he just popped out with Agents of Change – it fit perfectly. The first book, What the Duke Wants, came about because the entire love story is all about the Duke dealing with his personal turmoil of wanting what he cannot have. And from there, I stuck to a pattern. What the Marquess Sees was chosen because Lady Beatryce is so much more than what people see on the surface and it takes a special man to see the real woman within. What the Scot Hears, the current working title for book 3 (and subject to change), came about because the woman our hero is compelled to follow is somewhat loud, boisterous, and charming (she’s American, what can I say) and he, a man of few words, is so completely her opposite. He ends up having to chase her down a few times in book 3, and quite often it’s the sound of her charming voice, or the lack thereof, which leads him to find her – or tells him she’s not there. I know, it’s a bit silly, but it’s fun. Her voice and the things she says pull him kicking and screaming out of his personal darkness. Books 4 and 5 have the following working titles: What the Rake Remembers (book 4) and What the Prince Knows (book 5)… but don’t hold me to them for there is a possibility they will change as those stories develop, and I’m absolutely not going to give away the reasons behind these two titles as they are very pertinent to their corresponding storyline.
- Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork? My cover was designed by the extremely talented Tara Reid of Tara Reid Photography. She was assigned by my publisher and my input is minimal, honestly. As an author working through a publisher, I am allowed to describe the look of my characters (hair color, length, height, etc.) and choose whether or not the cover should be risqué or not. I can also specify things I don’t wish to see, but ultimately it’s up to the publisher and that’s about as far as my input goes. I did ask, with the cover for What the Marquess Sees, that they place my characters outside and less formally attired as they spend the bulk of the book on the run and in disguise.
- Tell me about your Hero and Heroine? My hero, the Marquess of Dansbury, is a charming spy for the crown who is tasked with protecting my heroine, Lady Beatryce Beckett from a murderous assassin (sort of a witness relocation situation). He believes in using any means necessary to see the bad guys brought to justice. My heroine was a thorough villain in my first book, What the Duke Wants. She has her reasons for her behavior, her reasons are her own, and she does not apologize nor regret her actions, which normal people find objectionable. However, she is an extremely capable woman who similarly believes that her actions are justified… thus, she tries to make Dansbury understand that they really are the same…. They both believe the end justifies the means… Dansbury learns to see the true woman beneath her beautiful exterior and finds a capable, strong, and genuinely caring person within.
- How do you come up with your characters names? I try to choose names that flow well on the tongue and are catchy. I go to www.thepeerage.com to get ideas for first and last names from the time period and to double check that I’ve not chosen a real person’s name who may have existed during that same period. For title names, I search the map of England for place name ideas and come up with my own.
- Are your Characters modeled after any one in your life? Bits and pieces of my characters are always made up of a part of me and people I know. Some are very much like people I know; some are a composite of many different people.
- Who is your favorite character from your book and why? Lady Beatryce Beckett – because she’s tough, strong, capable, and she has a man like the Marquess of Dansbury who adores and respects her strength.
- What was your favorite chapter to write? Scene? Why? OMG – I have so many favorite scenes. I love when Dansbury wakes up to find his clothes have been eaten by a pair of goats – because it’s absolutely hysterical. I love when Lady Beatryce first confronts Dansbury about his attraction to her versus his obvious disdain… He calls her a bitch… They kiss… And she says “And don’t you forget it (about the bitch part) and slams the door in his face – after initiating her own kiss. I love her attitude there and setting him in his place. I love when he has to help her undress in the carriage, and the buttons on her dress start taunting him until he finally loses control and rips them off – in fact, their entire initial carriage ride is provoking fun. Actually, I could go on and on… I love her final ‘run’ at the end of the book.
- Do you have a least favorite character? What makes them your least favorite character? Lord Middlebury. He doesn’t make much of an appearance in this book – not as much as in book 1 – but he’s there and he is simply slimy and loathsome.
- If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why? Honestly, I am always finding things I wish I could change. In fact, I have to somewhat avoid rereading my own books after they are out because I’m too critical of my own work. I wish I had taken more time to delve into Dansbury’s personal demons, but we really end up focusing on Lady Beatryce in book 2, which was really the point of the ‘change’ happening in this book… despite the title, it’s really her story more than anything.
- Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series: I dedicated my first novel to my mother in law. Which is practically unheard of…LOL. But I happen to like my mother in law. She came over from Scotland and spent months helping me brainstorm and review book 1 – to the point where she wanted to run away screaming every time I came out to see her on my back porch.
- How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Web site: http://amyquinton.net
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RUHIXZ0
Goodreads Author Page: https:/www.goodreads.com/author/show/10912294
I love talking with readers about romance novels – whether my own or others.
13. What can we expect from you in the future? Once this series is complete, I anticipate starting a paranormal historical series that starts during Viking times. I’ve got a lot of ideas there jumping around in the back of my brain. The Gods. Loki, in particular. And centering my stories around women warriors.
14. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful? Tell your friends. Write a review. Word of mouth is the number one way for people to learn about my book and decide to give it a try. Without question. But almost as important is reviews, the more reviews one has (good or bad), the more eBook sites, like Amazon, push your book in front of potential readers’ eyes. 14. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published? Never give up on your dreams. With the rise of self-publishing, you have no excuse not to try. And once that book is out there, you can say with pride, “I did that.” And no one can take that away from you. Don’t get too caught up on the ‘rules’ of writing a romance novel though – write the story YOU would want to read and find your people. They exist. Also, I’ve found it best not to get too caught up in promotion. The best promotion an author can do is write another book.
15. Think about your book. You realize that we all read books at different paces, with varying amounts of distractions. Is there a particular part of your book that you want to highlight– not because it is your favorite – but because you want to encourage your readers to read it carefully and get all the details? Only that in book 3, pay close attention to the Epigraphs.
16. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Thank you all for giving this newbie author a chance. I love romance books; I love reading them, writing them, and just plain talking about them. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will respond.
17. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
England 1814: He is a marquess with a woman to protect and an assassin to thwart. She is…not nice.
The Marquess of Dansbury is a strong, charismatic man living a charmed life as an agent for the crown. His past isn’t without tragedy, but he is too amiable to allow misfortune to mar his positive outlook on life. Until now…when he finds himself tasked with protecting the one woman in the world he actively disdains, Lady Beatryce Beckett.
Lady Beatryce Beckett is mean. She ruins other women on purpose. She lies. She cheats. She even steals. And she takes particular pleasure in provoking a certain marquess. In short, she’ll do anything to get what she wants: freedom from her abusive father. But she is strong (she’s had to be), worthy (who’d have thought it), and in love… Wait, what?
It will take a special man to see the true woman beneath the surface…and a strong woman to allow him that glimpse. Is the Marquess of Dansbury up to the task?
They rode in a wagon. Yea. A wagon. Not a traveling carriage as before, but a wagon that was little more than a cart with an old donkey that looked like he’d been put to pasture some ten years prior. And some blankets. And possibly a basket with day old bread for a meal…Hopefully with some cheese and ale to wash it down. Beatryce hadn’t bothered to check its contents.
Oh, and their small armory from the rented carriage filled the back. Dansbury had covered most of it up with some of their new moth-worn blankets that reeked of cows and other things she’d rather not name.
A traveling carriage, even one as rundown as the one they’d arrived in, would have been preferable. But alas, beggars do not have the luxury of being choosy. And they were pretending to be little more than beggars. Hence, the cart.
They’d awoken even earlier than on their previous days. Before the rooster outside had even thought about crowing, Dansbury had shaken her awake without a word more than “Let’s go.” No innuendoes. No smile of greeting. Not even a scowl as was his usual manner in her presence. Just fierce determination with a sharp edge of impatience.
She had no idea where he’d spent the night. All she remembered was him picking the lock to their room. The thought had made her smile. Then, he walked straight through and out the window. She’d laughed out loud when he was gone and then wondered if one would have to get used to such behavior in order to live with a man like Dansbury. She didn’t think about that for long…drove that thought right out of her mind lest she spend another night without a wink of sleep to show for it.
Beatryce presumed this, the cart, was arranged by him, and she knew by his demeanor that now was not the time to question him on it. So she went along with it. For now. She knew their position was precarious what with the idea of a traitor or two and deadly assassins trailing them.
La, it sounded like something out of a poorly-written gothic novel.
Oh, and she was driving the cart.
Dansbury was in the back prepping their small armory. Ensuring everything was dry.
And ready should they need it. She wished she could be back there with him. Helping. But all he had said to her since he woke her was, “You’re driving,” as he helped her up into her seat. Then he walked away and climbed onto the back. Someone had to drive the cart.
She supposed she should be pleased that he didn’t question her capabilities.
But that was hours ago, and it was impossible to converse with him when she was up front driving while he was in the back playing spy. She was going to start conversing with the donkey soon. She’d already named him Dansbury the Younger.
“Oh, Dansbury, you are a fine ass,” she whispered to the ass…er, donkey. Loudly.
La, she was losing her mind.
“Did you say something?” yelled a masculine voice from behind.
“Wasn’t talking to you,” she threw back. With a secret smile she didn’t dare reveal.
Car my Hubs and I are rebuilding. 94 Jeep Cherokee – Front and Back – I love Doctor Who! And Love the Bumper Sticker… just thought they were funny to share.
We throw themed parties with my besties for New Years – New Years 2016: Renaissance Faire / New Years 2015: 80’s With the girls… (I’m with the red Merida wig)
Signing books at the beach – I can think of worse locations. Myself and Keri Lee Sereika of Pink Lemonade: http://www.pinklemonade.typepad.com/ Keri taught me jewelry making. She’s selling her jewelry at my book signing.
My boys and I at Ober Gatlinburg – one of our favorite places to visit.
Thank you for a wonderful interview. Once again don’t forget to leave your QUESTION for Amy and to check out her books. They are amazing. Keep an eye out for reviews to follow.