Today I have the pleasure of introducing my ballet dancing, super mommy friend, Quenby Olson.
J-Quenby, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Q-Oh, boy. I was born and raised in a small town (“small” meaning less than 1000 people) in Pennsylvania, where we were more likely to get stuck behind an Amish buggy than stuck in traffic. I was homeschooled before most people knew what it was (Does that make me a homeschool hipster?) and I was the classic book worm, burying myself in books and school work and writing all the time. I trained to be a classical ballet dancer, never went professional (bad knees, health issues, and being too old and too tall all worked against me), but I’ve been teaching dance since I was 15. Now I’m married to a man I initially broke up with before Valentine’s Day because he didn’t take me to see Lord of the Rings, I have three amazing children I adore (when they’re not driving me up the wall), and I still live in a small town… just a different one from the one in which I was raised.
J-What genre do you write and why?
Q-Honestly, I write in several different genres. I know they say an author should have a “brand”, sticking to a certain type of story to help build up a loyal audience, but since I devour every genre available (I’m in the middle of some Shakespeare, some Terry Pratchett, a Georgette Heyer romance, and a non-fiction book about Marconi and his work on the telegraph) I can’t help but want to write in every genre that’s out there. So the old saying, “Write what you want to read?” Yeah, that’s me, for good or for bad.
J-I love that. I think that is a great way to go about it. Write what you want to read is perfect. Why stick to just one? When did you start writing?
Q-Young. Very young. I didn’t even realize how young until I found stories pencilled into some of my old schoolbooks or remembered acting out my own stories based on my favorite cartoons before writing them down. Then, dance took over for several years, and I got back into writing heavily when I was in my early 20s.
J-What books have you published?
Q-Knotted (http://www.amazon.com/Knotted-Quenby-Olson-ebook/dp/B00DBT0MQE), my first novel, a YA/NA contemporary romance set in England. There are some odes to Pride and Prejudice, some terrible cooking, a wedding, and vampires. (Okay, one of those is not true.)
(It’s the vampires.)
J-I loved Knotted. Anyone interested can read my review on Amazon here.
Q-Also, Unwrapping Love (http://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Love-Grace-Ravel-ebook/dp/B00P72UUGK), a romance anthology of 21 different holiday-themed stories was published at the end of last year. My contribution, First Position, is a short story about romance, ballet, and Romeo and Juliet. But no vampires. Honest.
J-What is a typical day or week like for you? How do you find time to write?
Q-A typical day? Cooking, cleaning, homeschooling my two older children, running them to dance lessons, to gymnastics, working (teaching my own dance classes), and trying to find time for the less important things like sleeping, bathing, and eating something more nutritious than a half dozen Oreos bolted down in less than two minutes.
Finding time to write is tricky, but I’m getting better at it. Basically, I throw some Cheerios at my children, let them roam around the house with open cups of purple grape juice and sharp objects, and maybe change a diaper when the smell gets too bad.
Okay, obviously it’s not like that (all the time). The best way for me to find time is to keep my laptop open on the desk or the kitchen counter all day long, and when I find a spare ninety seconds (usually tucked somewhere behind the Holy Grail) I jot down a few lines before my youngest child has a chance to climb onto the cat and try to ride him around the living room.
J-Haha. Sorry. I was just picturing a cat riding toddler. What are you working on next?
Q-Several things, actually. My next novel, The Half Killed, is going through it’s final bout of proofreading (not by me, since I’m crap at finding typos) and will be released the end of this winter. It’s a paranormal mystery set in London at the end of the nineteenth century, complete with spiritualists and murder and demon possession. So, you know, just another day in Victorian England.
I also have several other projects that aren’t quite that far along yet. I always work on several things at once, so there are some Regency-era romances, some dystopian fantasy, a story that may or may not involve some Frankenstein-ian shenanigans, and chick-lit. Because sometimes I just want to write something frothy and fun.
J-I am really looking forward to reading The Half Killed. Do you use experiences from your own life in your writing or does it all come from your imagination?
Q-Oh, I cull from my own life all the time. I steal bits and pieces from the places I’ve traveled, from ballet, from my mother talking about her day at work, from things my kids say or people I meet while going to yard sales. It all finds its way into my stories, some way or another.
J-What is your favorite word to use in your writing?
Q-Apoplectic. Go ahead, look it up. It’s awesome.
J-Ha. I totally just looked it up. See below.
overcome with anger; extremely indignant.“Mark was apoplectic with rage at the decision”
datedrelating to or denoting apoplexy (stroke).“an apoplectic attack”
J-Do you listen to music when you write? Name three songs on your current playlist.
Q-Of course I listen to music. How else can I drown out that episode of Thomas the Tank Engine playing on a loop on the television?
And three songs? Okay, “I Found A Reason” by Cat Power, “Cosmic Dancer” by T-Rex, and “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine. The rest is all original movie scores and Mozart.
J-Are you a cat or a dog person?
Q-Imaginary turtle. He’s much easier to clean up after.
Thanks, Quenby. This was fun.
You can find Quenby online at the links below.