Saturday, August 15, 2009
Special Quest Author: Berkley Sensations Author Erin Quinn Spending the Day Talking About Haunting Beauty
CONTEST: Erin Quinn will be choosing one lucky commenter to win a copy of any of her back list releases. Make sure to leave a way to contact you, either by email or your blog. Good Luck Everyone!
Book Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Rating: HOT
Reviewed by: C. S. Morehouse
A mysterious stranger . . .
Danni Jones believed everything about her past—that she was an unwanted child abandoned by her mother. That she was an outcast set apart by her clairvoyance. That she was alone. Then came the stranger. Dangerously seductive Sean Ballagh appears out of nowhere with a startling story that will challenge everything Danni thought was true.
A lost woman . . .
He claims that Danni’s family has been searching for her ever since she disappeared twenty years ago. He’s come to bring her home to Ireland. But Danni fears there’s more to his story than he dares to reveal. And the only way to find out is by following Sean back in time, to a forgotten past, to a world where nothing is what it seems.
A terrifying legacy . . .
Now, in a land where the mystical and the occult are as vivid as the emerald fields, Danni must rewrite history to save her family, to fight a force more evil than she ever imagined, and to reunite with the one man she was destined for—or live forever in time as nothing more than an ethereal memory, a tragic and haunting beauty…
Review of Haunting Beauty by Erin Quinn
I have to start my review by being cliché’ and saying Erin Quinn-you had me at-IRELAND. Oh my gosh, once I received my copy of Haunting Beauty and read the blurb on the back I was sold.
Danni Jones had always thought she was abandoned by her mother, unloved and neglected. Having grown up in foster care didn’t help her abandonment issues but add in the ability of clairvoyance and the girl just couldn’t get a break.
Until twenty years later fate comes knocking on her door in the form of an Irishman named Sean Ballogh. Sean has a few secrets of his own but that all changes once Danni opens her door. A scrounge little pup named Beane napping at her heels Danni’s gray eyes stormy as she stars at the man that has invaded her visions.
Clearly Sean and Danni haven’t a clue what they’re in for. Visions popping up of a night long ago have Danni reliving the night her mother and brother were murdered—or were they. What really happened that night? Did Sean’s father kill Fia McGrath and her twins?
Sean and Danni are sucked in a vortex and brought back in time to the week when her mother and brother die. Not knowing what the Isle of Fennore has in store for her Danni seeks out the truth as she confronts the father she never knew, the mother she loved and adored all the while falling in love with a ghost of a chance for happiness.
Haunting Beauty is a dark passionate romance with a complex, mysterious story wrapped around a whirlwind of paranormal and mystical adventures. Ms. Quinn had me at the mention of IRELAND, but once she had me I was hooked. Her well written prose is constructed around flesh and blood characters that grab at your heart and won't let you go. My heart is still resonating with Sean and Danni’s story and I was longing for it to go on and on.
The story is a magical masterpiece that already is haunting me, enticing me and asking sweetly for me to read it again and again. Make sure you have Kleenex handy readers for you are bound to go through a box or two or three.
IN DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ERIN GUINN OF THE HAUNTING MAGICAL STORY THAT READERS A RAVING ABOUT, "HAUNTING BEAUTY">
CSM: Please help me welcome Berkley Sensation Author, Erin Quinn to Over the Edge Book Reviews. Erin, my readers and I are so psyched that one of my go-to authors has dropped to spend time with us. Thanks so much!
Erin: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here!
CSM: Tell us more about yourself. Readers love learning new and interesting things about an author, and this would give you a chance to make them feel close.
Erin: About me . . . hmmm . . . (trying to think of something witty and interesting to say . . . coming up blank . . . ) Okay, let me start with the facts: I’m the mother of two incredible daughters, married to the same man for 21 years (and I’ve only tried to kill him 3 times—he’ll tell you 4 but I really don’t think that last time counts). I have a day job at Intel (you know, the computer chip place with that little do-do do-dooo jingle) and I write. Most times my life feels like a revolving door and I meet myself coming and going. I dream of the day when the pace might be slower, when I might actually have a day off, but right now those are just dreams. I have learned to be a master juggler and I think I manage to keep most my balls in the air . . . most of the time anyway. =)
CSM: If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?
Erin: It would be a toss up between 3 things: Read, sleep or watch a movie. However, the odds of free time on any night are usually slim.
CSM: What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
Erin: I love to read, period, and I’ve been known to read anything and everything. Right now I’m deep in historical romance and I can’t seem to get enough of it—recently finished Jennifer Ashley’s Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie—fabulous. I also love a good suspense/mystery (Have you read Down River by John Hart—Loved it and the new Joyce Lamb Cold Midnight is a page turner too—just started that one). Urban Fantasy is a blast and I devoured SJ Day’s new Marked Series. Paranormal romance is probably my deepest love—have you read Kathryne Kennedy’s Enchanting Books? I got to blurb for her and read Enchanting the Lady before anyone else, simply wonderful. Where was I? What do I love to read? Easier to answer what I don’t love to read—I’m not a fan of text books, lol.
CSM: What type of music do you relax to?
Erin: I’m more a silence relaxer than a music relaxer. When I hear music, it always, always, always makes me want to dance. I’m a country listener for the most part, although I do love the 80s and 90s music and I have teenage daughters who occasionally turn me onto something new. =)
CSM: Besides being a total book junkie I’m also a music junkie. When I’m writing I have a sound track playing either in my mind or in my cd player. What’s your sound track? What type of music is on it?
Erin: I know so many people who have the soundtrack in their heads, but I would get distracted by that. It is SO easy to distract me, unfortunately. I like the quiet or the quiet with a little rain in the background. Now that’s paradise in my opinion.
CSM: What is your favorite stress reliever?
Erin: A hot bath. I am a slave to my bathing habit. My girls say I go in there and marinate because I can soak for hours. I think it’s a left over of when my kids were small and the bathtub was the only sanctuary I had.
CSM: What is your favorite food?
Erin: Bread. Hot, cold, white, brown, rolled, toasted, sliced—you get the picture. I love bread.
CSM: Describe yourself in one word?
CSM: What’s your biggest regret in life?
Erin: It’s really hard for me to regret anything. I wish I had been smarter when my first book was released years and years ago, but hell, I wish I was smarter now. I think my career would be in a totally different place now if I’d had more industry knowledge when I began, but . . . I am a better person and a better writer having made it through so much strife so how can I regret?
CSM: What is the adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Erin: The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done . . . Well in a couple of weeks if I don’t chicken out I’m going zip lining in Canada. I can’t wait!
CSM: How would readers find out more about you?
Erin: I’m painfully open about myself and my life so all ya have to do is ask. Aside from doing interviews like this one, I do talks at local libraries, visit any readers’ group I can from the Red Hat Ladies to a small group of 4. I just love readers and I’ve never said no. If I can’t get there in person, I can call in by phone.
CSM: When did you write your first book?
Erin: I started writing my first book right after I got married 21 years ago. I finished it a couple of years later and entered it in the Golden Heart contest and finaled. I didn’t win but the next year I gave it a big rewrite, entered again, finaled again and then sold shortly after.
CSM: How long did it take you to write it?
Erin: I wasn’t writing full time and I at that point I wasn’t really taking myself seriously so, given how much time I was putting in, no it didn’t take long.
CSM: Did you encounter any obstacles in writing?
Erin: My whole career has been an obstacle. From above mentioned ignorance to editors leaving to personal melt downs.
CSM: What do you think about editing?
Erin: Being editing by an editor? I think it can be a magical thing. I have been blessed by wonderful editors who are able to see the vision of my stories and help me make them clearer and better. I think editors are overworked and don’t have the time they should to work on books like they did, perhaps, in the old days. I can say that I’ve never had an editor tell me to do something to one of my stories that I didn’t agree with.
CSM: Where and when do you write?
Erin: I work my FT job in a 4 day week and that leaves one day for my writing and I am very protective of that day. Then I have Saturday and Sunday morning before everyone else gets up. Not a lot of time, but the day job pays the bills so there you have it.
CSM: What books would you recommend to aspiring writers to improve on style, character development, plot structuring, dialogue, etc?
Erin: How to write a damn good novel by James fry was one that helped me tremendously when I started out, but honestly, my recommendation to any new writer is to just write the book the way that “feels” right to you. After you have a finished draft, then read some books, go to conferences and listen to other writers talk, and use that knowledge in the rewrite. You can get knotted up over all the different methods—GMC, Hero’s Journey, Pantser, Plotter, Sticky notes, Character interviews—It can make you nuts. No one system works for everyone and unless you can finish a book, it won’t matter what system you use.
CSM: What is your must-have book for writing?
Erin: Actually, it’s not a book but a tool: the Visual Thesaurus. (www.visualthesaurus.com). IMHO it is the coolest thing ever invented.
CSM: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Erin: Write the book you want to write. I heard author Bob Mayer say ones, Don’t write what you know, write what you want to know and I think that is the best advice. Write what excites you.
CSM: What genre(s) do you write?
Erin: I write paranormal romance and a bit of historical. My second and third books had a western theme, my fourth is set in Ireland. I think I cross genres more than I stay in the lines.
CSM: Among that you’ve written which is your favorite book and why?
Erin: Haunting Beauty, my newest release, is my favorite for a lot of reasons. One, I took my own advice and wrote what I wanted to write. This story captured me while I was writing it and I can still remember the day that all the pieces fell into place and I called my critique partner and just downloaded everything that I’d been thinking in a breathless rush. I think Haunting Beauty is a classic love story, but it’s different in so many ways from other books that are out there.
CSM: Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook in case you forget?
Erin: I am terribly unorganized—something that I am striving to correct—but even though I do jot things down, I usually forget where and so I pull from memory. I must have a really good memory because I’m able to keep it in my head. Of course I miss all my doctor’s appointments because I can never remember those, ha ha.
CSM: Which of your books feature your family/friends, etc? What characters are modeled after them? Why?
Erin: I don’t use family or friends in my stories, but I do use my beloved pets. Starting with my first book, my dogs have been featured. In Haunting Beauty, Danni Smith’s dog is the spitting image of my Buttercup. Buttercup is a rescue dog and she has a few . . . issues.
CSM: Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you?
Erin: Hmmm, I think there’s probably a piece of me in all of them but I wouldn’t’ say any one of them is like me. They are more of who I would want to be if I could change myself.
CSM: Who is your strongest/sexiest/most lovable/hottest hero/heroine? Why?
Erin: OMG, Definitely Sean in Haunting Beauty. I am still in love with that man. He was so complex and conflicted and so in need of love that I fell head over hills for him. After Sean, I would have to say Sawyer in Whispers. That man was so freakin’ sexy. He was the ultimate bad boy.
CSM: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?
Erin: Every book. I’m not a plotter so I generally only have a vague idea of where it’s going, so when one of my characters wants to drive, I’m more than happy to let them. So far, I have no regrets about where I’ve ended up.
CSM: Tell us more about your current release by Berkley Sensation, “Haunting Beauty”
Erin: Life has been hard on Danni Smith, but she’s not the kind of woman who rolls over and takes it. She’s forged ahead and, with her little dog, Bean, has found contentment, if not happiness. She has resigned herself to never knowing who she is, why she was abandoned as a child, or if she has family out there, somewhere. But when Sean appears at her door offering everything she ever wished for—the answers to the questions of her past and the ticket to find her family—Danni must follow him to Ireland, a land steeped with mystery and lore.
Sean delivers the goods—he reunites her with her people—but how could Danni have guessed that she would be meeting herself as a child? Reliving those fateful hours before her whole world was shattered? Learning the secrets that determined her fate? Who is this Sean Ballagh with his beautiful eyes that are as relentless and deep as the sea? And what does he want from Danni? He is more than a messenger, but even Sean doesn’t know the truth about himself.
In HAUNTING BEAUTY, I explored a personal fascination with time and the idea that the past is not set in stone. Mistakes can be un-made, heartache can be transformed into triumph . . . but at what cost? If the past is an elaborate puzzle with interchangeable pieces, when one is altered, how do the others still fit? And how could you be sure that what changed didn’t make everything worse?
CSM: Any new projects, works in progress?
Erin: I just finished HAUNTING WARRIOR which will be released in May and now I’m working on the third book in the Haunting series which I’ve yet to title. =)
CSM: I want to take this time to thank you Erin for stopping by and sharing with my readers and myself a little bit about yourself. This sure has been loads of fun. I hope you enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed having you.
Erin: Christine, thank you so much for having me at your site! You asked some great questions.
EXCERPT FROM HAUNTING BEAUTY:
The man came to her just before dawn.
Danni had awoken with a start a few moments earlier, tangled in her bedding, unsure of what had pulled her from sleep. The inky blackness outside pressed against her windows, a dark entity that wanted to creep in and take over. Uneasy, she crawled from bed and shuffled to the kitchen for coffee.
That’s when she felt the air turn.
It plunged in a silent, cold force that made her ears ring and her stomach sink. Like a latent memory, the sensation of it was suddenly there, filling her head—familiar and frightening, pressure and relief. She knew it; she feared it. She remembered it, though what the turning air heralded escaped her.
She spun to find the man waiting behind her. Tall, with broad shoulders and the layered muscles of a warrior, he leaned against her counter. As if it was perfectly natural for him to be there. As if he really was in her kitchen.
Dark brows and long black lashes emphasized the unusual color of his eyes—not quite green, not quite gray. Eyes like the sea, relentless and deep. A straight, blunt nose gave balance to his full lips and square jaw. There was a harsh and rugged edge to his features that flawed his beauty and made it something masculine, something more compelling than simple aesthetics. He wore a black leather coat over a crisp white shirt and jeans that tapered from lean hips to long legs. Not just tall. Not just broad. A big man.
He watched her, assessing and judging her with the same weighted concentration she gave him. She felt self-conscious in her faded Save the Children T-shirt and pink boxers, which was ridiculous. He wasn’t really here.
She knew it, but the knowledge didn’t stop her stomach from knotting with uncertainty and fear. Why was she seeing him? What did he want? There had to be a reason. She knew that, too.
Danni sloshed coffee over the edge of her mug as she set it down. She would drop it if she held it any longer. The man interpreted this as acquiescence and began. Sometimes it was like that, she remembered. Sometimes they seemed to take Danni with them, like tour guides on a ghostly journey. Other times they were completely unaware they’d unraveled the fibers of reality and forced Danni to peer in at them.
When she’d been a child, the visits—the visions—had been frequent and exciting. The plunging turn of the air had felt like flying to her. But the visions had stopped so long ago she’d forgotten they’d ever happened at all. No, she corrected herself. She hadn’t forgotten—she’d wiped the experiences from her memory with purposeful precision, because only the crazy saw people and things that weren’t real.
The man turned, gesturing for her to follow as the familiar kitchen walls behind his broad shoulders vanished and, like a painting created before her very eyes, a stark landscape appeared in their place. The image had fuzzy edges and a grainy texture, but it breathed in a lifelike way, just as the man did.
It seemed so real. Too real.
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