I am excited to invite Quinn Loftis as a guest on the Booktrovert Reader Podcast!
She wrote an amazing book called Prince of Wolves. This is the best shifter romance series that I could recommend!
What an amazing person to talk to. She is a very vivid storyteller who is passionate about her faith which you can certainly see reflected in her books. You can't help but listen to everything she says.
She shares so much wisdom in this wisdom for authors and I can't wait to share it with you! This is an episode you don't want to miss!
In This Episode:
🐺How Quinn Loftis started writing The Grey Wolves Series
🐺Who her characters were inspired by
🐺Talking about her new series Kingdom Shifters: Kingdom of Claws
🐺Shifter Series that Quinn Loftis Recommends
🐺Writing process when creating new worlds
🐺Advice for first-time authors
🐺Quinn Loftis thoughts on Fated Mates
🐺The Inspiration behind the Great Luna
Full book review: HERE
Follow Quinn Loftis on her socials:
Loving this podcast? Please consider leaving a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback is valuable to me and helps me improve the show.
Connect with Me:
Instagram » TikTok » Pinterest » Blog » YouTube
Join my Weekly Newsletter: HERE
Check out my Amazon Shop for Fantasy Book Recs: HERE
I get a commission every time you purchase a product through my affiliate link.
Quinn Loftis Interview
1s Hello, readers. This is Charity with your host of Booktuber Reader. I have a guest by the name of Quinn Loftus. I got introduced to her books last year through the Grey Wolf series. A good friend of mine recommended this series to me. I love a love of characters. I've been in a werewolf rant lately, so I'm very excited to have her join me today. So, Quinn, tell me about your book, books about yourself, about how you started writing these
series. Okay, first hello to everyone. So I started writing I wrote the very first book in 2s 2011. 2s It was 2010, but I didn't publish it till 2011. I just kind of held onto it. I'd always wanted to be a writer, and I don't know, I loved ya fiction, I loved ya paranormal, I loved werewolves the best, obviously. So I wrote it. I held onto it for about a year. My husband said, are you ever going to publish that book you wrote? And I was like, I guess. I guess I'm going to throw that out there. It's scary. Even now, 44 books later, it's terrifying every time you publish a book because you're laying. 1s You're laying it out there where people can criticize you. And as human beings, criticism is tough. It's tough to take whether it's warranted or not warranted it's. But I didn't think that book one would do anything. I thought my family members would buy it out of pity. 3s Maybe a few people might read it, and that would be the end of it. I was a nurse at the time, and it did, for some reason, do go well, and it's kind of funny. I'm right now in the process of annotating Principal Wolves. I'm doing a special book bundle thing that I've sold, and so one of the things you get is an ebook annotated, where I've made notes throughout the book just about my process during that, or kind of making fun of myself at times. But as I've been reading Principle Wolves, I kind of cringe because I'm like, oh, wow, this is bad. But I guess I don't know. I always say that I think it is the grace of God that he just sort of helped people overlook the errors of it, because you can tell him it was a very early young writer. So I made a lot of the typical young writer mistakes. I've gone back and edited parts of it, but my readers that are loyal to that series don't want me to do anything to it. They're like, leave it alone. I'm like, oh, dear. But okay. Once it did well, I thought, okay, I guess I should go ahead and write a second book to it. By the time I had written the third book, I was able to quit nursing. I quit practicing nursing and went to writing full time, and that was in 2012. Now, I've been doing it ever
since. That's really cool. Yeah, because I will say precious the same. My friend was like, it's going to be rough in the first book, but it gets better. And then that's what I've noticed, that your writing did get better with each book. I'm only saying it because you are, but I
never want to call anyone's writing. It's the truth. Yeah, 2s I think it's the truth, for I'm completely okay with seeing that my writing has improved. I hope that I continue to improve. I don't ever want to feel like, oh, I'm done, I've arrived. I'm constantly learning new things about writing, the writing process. I've never taken any sort of creative writing course. I had comp one and comp two in college, and that was pretty much it. So it was all a matter of one learning from criticism from other people, especially constructive. If I got reviews that were actually constructive and actually gave me something to work with other than, wow, this book sucked. 1s And I took that, and I tried to apply that to myself, and I got books on writing and how can I get better and improve? And that's important to me because my big thing in anything I do is if I'm producing something that somebody is especially paying for, then I want it to be the best quality that I can put out there. And you learn. In the beginning, I was doing it all by myself. My husband was a lawyer. So that was what he did and he didn't have time to really help me. I was figuring it out as far as a website and the marketing part and all of that was I was doing by myself. And I'm not an organized person at all. Like bad. 2s When he stepped on board and started helping, he was like, oh my gosh. I was like, I know. It's kind of scary. We work together now as a team. He co writes with me. He has degree in finance and a master's business and then a law degree. So he's like the perfect partner to have because he covers all the basis of a business. 1s He handles all pretty much everything. I write the books and Bo does everything else. Essentially
the grout work, the hard
author, because I think that I had an author know, writing the book is the easiest part. 1s Getting it out there marketing and everything is the hardest. That's pretty awesome. 1s It's awesome that you have someone to help you with that because it's a big stretch for indie authors especially. What inspired you to write the Grey Wolves series altogether?
Several things. And it evolved the longer I wrote the series. When I've done speaking engagements, one of the things I talk about is one when I started writing, why did I start writing and how is that purpose? Has changed as the years have gone by, as I've aged and matured. I was 31 when I published my first book, and I'm 43 now, so obviously you change as a person. But when I first started writing, I had read a lot of young adult paranormal fiction, and I just saw this very familiar formula. And for me, it didn't meet my need as a reader one. It was first person point of view, which is fine. I just know it's not my favorite, but it's very common. And young adult any young adult books, first person is really, really common. It's become either dual points of view now, where you have first person dual point of view, but it's still pretty primarily first person. So I really enjoy getting to see inside the characters heads of different characters. In the first, like introducing a series, I typically stay in the main character's heads the most, but then as a series evolves, we begin to get into the heads of other characters. So that was a big thing for me, was I was like, Well, I want to know what so and so thinking right now, there's this whole thing going on. What do they think? What's their input? And then I also got kind of tired of the love interest interaction. We had this push and pull which creates wonderful tension. And tension is like the foundation of any book. If you don't have tension throughout the entire book, then your readers, if you have a reader saying, oh, I skipped five or six page is, that means those five or six pages more than likely could have been removed, and the story would have been fine without them. So there has to be tension in every single scene that you write. The whole thing should be this kind of like when you hear readers say, oh, I was just sitting there, like, I couldn't put it down. That means that there was tension throughout the book. And so one of the best ways to do that in a romantic setting, obviously, is for the characters to kind of butt heads the whole time. I want to be with you, and there's a reason they can't be together, or I want to be with you, but I don't really like you, or what have you. So I just got tired of the I love you, I don't want to be with you, I love you, I don't like you, blah, blah, blah, all the way through. And then we get the last like, five pages, and suddenly they're happy together and everything's fine and dandy. Because in my brain, I was like, all right, they're together now. What happens now? What's that look like? Or how do they get along? How do they deal with conflict? How do they and it sounds really weird to say that about especially a paranormal book. It's not like a coming of age book or what have you, but. But I think one of the reasons that I was that intrigued by that part of the relationship was because to me, having healthy relationships is vital in our livelihood. And where's the foundation of that start? Typically it's going to start in your adolescent to teenage years, learning what those foundations, good boundaries, that kind of stuff. And if you grew up in a family where those weren't necessarily a thing or they weren't a strong thing, I think it's really important readers tend to turn to books as a way to escape whatever's going on in their life. It may not be a horrible situation, it just may be stress or what have you, but I knew I was thinking of my audience. My audience is teenagers. That's who I write for. That's not my primary readership. I do have a lot of adult readers, but when I'm considering what I'm writing, I always consider my target audience. So I wanted to do something different. And I loved like I said, werewolves were my favorite type of paranormal. And I say werewolves, I say werewolvesh, shifters. I love just the shifter whole paranormal realm. That's kind of my gig. So I thought, okay, well, I want to do that. I want to do werewolves and paranormal stuff. And I want to do something where we see more than just one character, and I want that relationship to look different than what I've already seen. So then I had to come up with a premise from in the beginning. I think as a new writer, unless you've had any sort of learning or education behind it, a lot of times you just grab from what you know. So I took some relationships that I had in my life that were very important to me, and that was my three best friends in high school. And that's who my characters became. They were built off of those three best friends from high school. And then the relationship between Fane and Jackie was very much based on my relationship with my husband. So I get asked a lot, like, why do I write kind of insta love or that soul mate connection? And it's funny because I said, well, that was my life. That's what I knew. I met my husband on August 3 of 1999, and by September 1 week of September, we were engaged. So we'd known each other a month when we got engaged. And then we were married in December of 99. So from August to December, that was our courtship. But I don't know if my children did that. I'd freak out. And we were young. We were only 19. We're coming up on our 24th wedding anniversary. So, again, that's what I knew. And for me, I know a lot of people are like, oh, that's just unrealistic. And it is to a degree, for sure. The statistics are stacked against you. When you get married that quickly, that young. Then there's also just this idea of what does relationship look like? What should a healthy relationship look like as far as deal with conflict? How do we and I do that all within. I know it sounds so weird because when I talk about it with my husband, he's like, It's a werewolf novel. And I'm like, yes, I know. But I still think within a werewolf novel, you can have some really good truths and foundations for teenagers. So that's kind of where it all. And then it evolved from there. Honestly, I found that I love just, again, the werewolf idea because they have such redeeming qualities. They're animals and have this kind of aggressive nature. And so a lot of times, whatever their flaws are, you can say, okay, well, this is attributed to this, or what have you. I like the backstory because instant love is not my go to thing. I did like how you did it because there was a backstory and a reason behind the instant love in this story because of the whole them waiting a long time to finally find the mate. And if they don't, they kind of go rabid, almost. And I like that a lot. And I like that backstory. And concerning the multiple POV, I noticed that in just one drop, you constantly was going between different people's point of view, even like, these side characters you just got introduced to. And I was like, oh, okay, this is what's going on behind the scenes. This is what they're thinking. This is what's happening in the sidelines. And then my favorite part, which you mentioned, too, is like the after they get together, we're still, even in that book, finding out what's happening with Jackie and Fane.
We're still hearing about them, we're still seeing them develop their relationship. And I really love that I'm the person that reads the epilogue, because I just want to know
what know. And this is like a book by book. Epilogue that keeps continuing happening. What I also love is that it's just not one book and it's done. It's a continuation in everything. That's what I found very fascinating about your books.
The most awesome. Thank you. Yeah, no problem. I know you just announced on your Instagram that you're starting a new series.
It's still done in in the modern world, I guess I would say urban fantasy, but no, that's a completely whole new shifter series. There's similarities but I got asked that if it's in my gray like a break off of my gray wolves. But yeah, it's completely new.
So tell me about that since it's going to complete new
series. Okay, so it's called Kingdom Shifters and basically there's ten kingdoms and they were in a different realm at one point in time. They had constant wars amongst themselves. So you've got these animalistic natures, obviously, and they are territorial and some of them are power driven and they're looking for mates and what have you. So basically within their own world, they just destroyed it to a degree, just through war, just through fighting each other. And so they have these kind of like holy men, but they're not just holy men or not holy men, but holy people called shaman. And they are kind of like the ruling government, I guess you'd say. They're kind of religious leaders to a degree. They figure out a way to open a portal to Earth because they're like, we've destroyed this. If we want to save our species and not become extinct, then we have got to get out of this and figure out a way to live. So they bring them into the human realm and that's like in I forget, like one five hundreds or maybe not one five hundreds, it's a long time ago. So they come into the human realm and they set up their own sort of territories on Earth and they evolve with the human race. They live in secret, obviously, as far as their own nature, but they are part of humanity. They have jobs and businesses and they're very long lived in this. They've kind of taken up spaces in different parts of the United States. This one starts off it's called Kingdom of Claws and each kingdom is a different race or species. So the first one, Kingdom of Claws, is like cats, so felines, so you have tigers, lions, panthers, pretty much any apex predator type of feline animal. They are in New York. Their business that they run is called Leonidas Global and basically they do like bodyguard type stuff. They are kind of like police, but not police. I'm not great at explaining this stuff. I'm like it's so much easier to write a book than try to explain what the book is about. So the main love interest callan is the he's the leader of their warriors. The thing that I like about this I feel is unique is that in order for them to be able to fully shift into their animal form, they have to have a mate. And so at the point that they live most of their life until they find their mate, they can sort of shift certain parts of their, whether it's their eyes or their skin or what have you, but they cannot fully form into their animal until they meet their mate. So what happens when they come into the human realm is, and I'm still working out some of these ticks, but part of it is that the magic that was within their own realm is not as strong. And so they begin to have low birth rates and they begin to have only male birth. So they have no females. So then now they're figuring out we have a different problem, possibility of extinction, not us fighting each other, but we're just going to age out, there's not going to be any more of us. They figure out some point in the hundreds of years later, once they've been here for a while, they figure out that there are human females who are compatible mates. And how did that happen? Well, within the territories that they live, the magic that they have themselves sort of leeches out. And there are certain women who kind of that magic imbues them. Is that imbued? That's what I'm looking for. And they become compatible mates for these kingdom shifters. So basically at one point in their discovering that when they're figuring out that there's not enough females, they don't know what they're going to do with their males if they don't ever find a mate. They will always be locked in this human form. They won't ever be able to. And if you aren't able to get into your full animal form, then your aging is quicker, you have less power, you're not as strong. All of those things that come with that magical ability of shifting, they figure this out because they're just animals in nature and they have this drive, this need to survive, that survival nature. And when they figure out that human women are able to be mates and the shaman are able to see through this ability that they have what human woman is able to be a mate. They decide that the best way to deal with that is just to abduct them. 3s They don't treat them ugly. They're actually treated very kind of reverently because they know that this is their survival. Well, it doesn't go as planned, obviously, because you can't force somebody to love somebody. That's not how it works. 1s So when they figure out that that's not the best way to do things, then the shaman put a ban on. You can't just take human women just because you're hoping they'll mate with somebody for a decade. They have this kind of proof of, okay, no kingdom is just going to take females. They kind of not hunt, but they go out with shaman and they're periodically just looking for whoever these women are that can see. They can see past the glamour of them. They see parts of their animalistic nature that regular humans can't see. And then the whole goal after that is to woo that woman like you want them to want to be and fall in love with a shifter. It's kind of the premise of it. And in the first book, what happens is there's some women are going missing in one of the kingdoms. Human women are going missing. And so they think that one of the kingdoms is beginning to do the whole abduction thing again when they've been that's a law that's been set that they're not allowed to do. I'm about three, four of the way done with book one. I'm excited. I've really been enjoying writing it. It's really fun. It's very reminiscent of the Grey Wolf series in many ways. As far as our characters meet. This one, it's interesting because this one did take longer for the two love interests to actually meet, although he stalks her for a while. 1s But there's three best friends and why do I stick with that dynamic? Again. That's what I had. I had three best friends who got me through high school. They have each of their own unique backgrounds. They work together. They're a little older. They're 19. And the series starts at 19 instead of 17. I'm excited about it. I think the couples will have as I introduce them, will have probably two books each. Just because it takes me that long to build this strong intimacy between them where I feel like I can justify having these very strong emotions for each. That's yeah, that's where I'm at on that. I'm very, very excited about it's been really fun so far. Quinn, 1s the way you described all of that, I'm like, okay, can I have the book now? Oh, my gosh, that sounds so fun. I'm
excited about that.
Yay, that's my hope.
So my friend that introduced the books to me, I'm like, you need to listen to this episode because you're going to get excited about this. But 1s just getting into some things because you wrote this book. You said in 2010, if I get that wrong, I'm sorry. But what inspired you to write fantasy in the beginning? Think I just
really love the idea. Something fantastical. That's one of the things in this book I'm writing right now, kingdom of Claws, the lead character, like the tagline on the book is she just wanted a book boyfriend. She reads paranormal books and her whole thing is that she wants there to be more in life. They live in New York City. They're struggling. Her family's pretty poor. She works at a pizza diner. But she wants there to be more, and she feels like there's more. And part of that is because she winds up being able to be a mate. But I guess even though myself, I'm a Christian, and so I believe that. I don't believe in supernatural creatures myself, but I love the idea of them. I love magic and I think it's fun. And I'm not like a witch or anything. I don't practice magic, but I love the funness of it. So I thought, man, how fun is it to create? And I don't necessarily really create worlds as far as, like, a whole different world. Obviously, I'm always within the human realm, but I like to imbue magic into the human realm. These ideas that there's something cool going on behind the scenes that we don't know about, but then somehow get to be a part of that's. Really. Why? It's OD. Because I read pretty much anything. I like all genres of books. I do read a lot of paranormal fantasy, what have you, but it's not the only thing I read. And actually, I think I enjoy writing it more than I enjoy reading it. Now, that's kind of weird. It's kind of bizarre. 2s I really enjoy being able to make your own rules that you're not stuck. I've written contemporary books. 1s In fact, one of my absolute favorite books I've ever written is a contemporary book. But there's challenges in that when you write fantasy novels because you have rules. When you write within the real world with no magical aspect to it, you have rules they have to stick to. So I love the fact that somebody myself, who is very scatterbrained and I kind of get lost sometimes, I can go, oh, we'll just make a new rule to fix that.
I like that because growing up as a kid, strong Christian background with my family and everything, so anything magical was banned, basically. I just like how we can still accept that, but not, like you said, believe in it, but still love it in a way. That's why I truly appreciate
this too. Absolutely. I think I always tell when I've been asked by other authors if I've worried that when I say I'm outspoken about my faith, I don't deny the fact that I love Jesus and I don't write Christian fiction. I hope that I can plant a seed. I hope that God can use my nonfiction, my non Christian books to help other know. I just feel like God is the ultimate creator. If you look around you at what he has designed. I always use the example of a giraffe with my kids. I'm like, look at what God look at a giraffe. God created that. What kind of imagination do you have to have to create something as OD, but yet so cool and unique and beautiful as a giraffe like that? I just think they're the coolest looking animals, and I just think that's so cool. So we have God, who's the ultimate creator, the ultimate storyteller, the ultimate world builder. How can we not appreciate that? And some of us want to be able to do that as well in the capacity as humans that we can. So I always think that it's a natural instinct in us as humans to be drawn to the curiosity of the possibility of things. Because to a degree, we do live in a supernatural world, and we have some pretty amazing things happen around us. So I think that if you cut that part out of your life based on what you believe to be true, as far as Christianity goes, you're missing out on a really creative, awesome part of God. That myself. That's what I kind of think.
I definitely agree, because it's like, in a way, we're given this creativity. If we don't do anything with it, we're not experiencing to the full extent what's been given to us.
You do a lot of, basically urban fantasy. A lot of fantasy. And just in the regular day world, how do you approach the world building? Because you said that there's rules to that when it comes to that kind of setting.
Well, I think I have to look at for me, I look at the complex of it. How complex do I want it to know? I've read a lot of theories. There's a series by I wouldn't say Patricia Briggs, but it's not her. I mean, I've read her series, but it's not her that I'm thinking of. But she built an entire world around shifters. That is not earth. But it's not earth. It is brilliant. I love it's. One of my favorite shifter series. It's called A Novel of the Others, is what it's called. It's a wonderful shifter series. It's very unique in way that she wrote it. But I can tell that it probably took lots of time just to design the world because she has different continents and different names for those continents. And it's very wonderful, and I really loved it. And I look at the idea when I decide to come up with something new, and I think, okay, well, how complex do I want this world to be within the human realm? How complex do I want the story to be? And it's interesting enough because the Greywold series starts very simple. It's a very simplistic idea. And then over the course of 20 novels, it evolved and grew on itself, which for me was necessary because I get overwhelmed really easily. So when I was doing starting the Kingdom shifters novel, it's taken me two years to get to a place of writing it. And it's changed multiple times because it just felt so complex and it was very overwhelming to me. I'm like, oh, my gosh, how do I remember all this stuff? I don't know if that's just me getting older. We have a lot. We've got three boys, and there's constantly stuff going on. If I'm not doing something with my children, then I'm typically working. My life is just work. And so I felt really overwhelmed at all of the things that were in this story. And then I had to remind myself, wait a minute. Book one is introduction. We're introducing people to this world. We don't have to tell them everything about the world in book one. In fact, when you do that, it usually overwhelms the reader. They feel like they've got an information dump. There's no reason to do it that way. But in my head, I needed to get out so much so they would understand stuff. So I really have to decide, okay, well, how complex do I want this to be? Or how complex will it eventually be? Can I start it out more simple and then grow it into that? With giving the readers enough that they're not frustrated, that they are asking a certain amount of questions, but not so many that they go, well, I didn't get anything out of that. I don't want to go back to that. It's, I guess a balance. But again, I'm not a real organized person. There are some authors I know who can plot out. Just example of J. K. Rowling. She had all seven Harry Potter series plotted out before she wrote the books. And that, to me, is incredibly daunting. I think it's probably great organization. Yeah, she had it all plotted. That's a difficult thing for my brain to wrap itself around, because if I look at the. Kitchen and think, I need to empty the dishwasher, and then I need to fill it. That's too much for me. So I just tell myself, well, I'm just going to empty the dishwasher. We'll get through that part. 1s If I still have energy, we'll fill it. I do things in bite sized chunks. Part of that is, I think, having a mental illness, having bipolar disorder. I get overwhelmed really easily, very quickly, and instead of trying to do it, then I just shut down and I'm like, okay, I'm it's going to go waller in my bed. But trying to figure out, well, how complex do I want it to be? And then, yes, you got to nail down the rules. So, like, in the Shifter Kingdom series, and I'm still interestingly enough, I'm going to be talking to one of my beta readers, and I very, very close friends, but she's an excellent beta reader because she's honest with me. She has no problems telling me, this paragraph sucks. Rewrite that or this doesn't need to be in here. It makes no sense. There's no purpose for it. And I need that. You cannot have somebody who will just tell you your book's good for the sake that they don't want to hurt your feelings. Yeah. So we typically will talk periodically as I'm writing, and she really helps me see from a reader's point of view, okay, how much do I need to give them so that they feel like they're getting something? But I don't give away everything, especially if it's a series. So we're fixing to talk through getting some of the rules of the world really more set in stone than even have them right now. Even though I'm almost finished with the novel, and I go back and I kind of add those or tweak them, like, what is it as far as so if they don't meet their mate, how long do they live in a human state? How long do they age at the supernatural rate as opposed to a normal lifespan? Like all of kind of working out, fine tuning those little things. And a lot of times for me, that comes as I'm writing. It won't happen beforehand because, again, it's just too much information for me to kind of gather. It happens as I write
it. Oh, yeah. The way you describe the dishwasher situation, I'm like, I can relate. I can relate. 1s Yeah. So I get that, and I love that at the same time, because it shows that you're human and you're just working with who you are as a person, and you're accepting it, and you're just working with the
flow. So I love that. Exactly. Okay,
so we know a little bit about your writing style, obviously. What do you consider as the most challenging thing about writing fantasy?
I would say probably the world building just because, again, you've got to establish some pretty good rules for the world so that readers don't feel like they're floundering about like, wait a minute, I thought she said this, or I thought she said that, or, what? How is that possible? Those moments happen, and again, that's when you can go, okay, wait a second. We can alter this by doing this, which throughout the Greywall series, it cracks me up when I have readers who'll be like, oh, that was foreshadowing. And I was like, no, that was just called Oops. 3s You know, or it was just like happy accident, 2s never planned it. 1s My aunt who follows me a lot, she doesn't read all of my really paranormal is not her scene, which is fine. I always tell people who meet me or family members or when I make a new friend, they're like, I don't really read. I'm like, you don't have to read. It's okay. It doesn't offend me or bother me. It's no big deal. But my aunt will follow me on Facebook and follow all my readers and their comments. And she said it cracks her up when she sees that they'll say something about my writing ability, and she's not trying to knock it whether I can or can't do that. But she's known me my whole life, and she knows that I'm kind of flighty and I struggle to focus. I'm pretty ADHD. So it cracks her up because she knows that I didn't plan. Like, there was no major structurally cool thing that happened. It just was like, oh, man, that'll work perfect. Yeah. Boom. 1s And I would say, too, I talked earlier about having tension in your novels, and this was something I learned. There's a book that I read on writing by James Scott Bell, and it's called Revision and Self Editing. And it sounds like it'd be a really boring book, but it's actually fantastic. It's a book that I recommend to all new authors who ask me writing advice. I point them in that direction. And one of the reasons he covers everything from character arc plot to dialogue to points of view. He covers every part of the writing process in this book, and it's brilliant. One of the things he talked about, the need for tension in a scene, and that can be when you say tension, it doesn't mean an action scene. You can have tension with two characters or even one character who's fixing a pot of coffee while she's internalizing her day or she's in this conversation with another person. The tension comes within this need to know. I need to know what's going to happen. That's what keeps us watching a movie. That's what keeps us reading a book. It's what keeps us staying with a television show, a show that's multiple. Like, I'm not a big TV watcher. You have to really grab me if you want me to stick with the television. I think having that tension because I get a lot of questions I get asked by new authors is they'll say, well, how do I get from this scene to that scene? And I'm like, well, that's a problem. If you're thinking to yourself, how do I get from this scene to that scene? You're already creating premade filler. That's not necessary. There should never be this thought of, how do I get from this scene to that scene? There should be stuff that has to happen for the story to continue to flow. So if this piece of information is not required for the story to make sense, then it's not necessary. Sometimes I've written scenes that I loved, but they really weren't necessary to the story arc. And so if you have that, that can be something you send out in your email as an extra, here's a deleted scene. Those things don't have to be useless. But you have to recognize, is this giving this story anything? Does it still create tension? Does it still move the story forward? If it doesn't, then it's really not necessary. The other thing that I've learned to gauge with that is your readers. So my readers who have been reading the Grey Wolf series, if they're reading. To book 1011 1213. They're with you. They're committed, they've spent some significant amount of money, and they're in it for the long haul. So they actually will enjoy those extra scenes that are maybe just thrown in there for a little breather. Like, we've had this nonstop action or we've had this nonstop tension and you just give them this little cameo scene within a chapter that they just enjoy it because they love the characters. They love the interaction between whether it's Jen and Decibel or it's Jackie and Fane. You just give them this little moment for them to enjoy that character group, that couple or what have you, or the best friends. There are times when I have the best friends just hanging out in Vasil's office and they're chilling for a minute and we get to see them have these. I love banter. I'm a very sarcastic person in my real life, and so banter is part of my daily existence with my husband and my kids. Even now that my kids are older, they get sarcasm. But I think as an author, you have to gauge your readers. Do your readers appreciate that or does that annoy them? So if they appreciate it, then it's something I do throw those in there periodically. Not very often, but periodically I throw a scene that I could probably not have in there, but I know my readers are going to love it and appreciate it regardless whether it's totally necessary to the story. Continuing on that question. So world building is hardest for me, but it's also obviously one of the most important parts because that is what within that world. Having that understanding of what the world is about is also what creates the characters and creates where they fit in the world. But yeah, it's definitely the most challenging part of it for me. Again, you have to be very organized. My husband keeps spreadsheets for me and I use the Google Keep within because I write in Google Docs, which I have to like every time I write within the document, if I describe a character, I just copy and paste that into a card so that I have the character's description right there, because I'm usually not going to stop and go put it in. So I just take whatever's in that paragraph that's describing them and stick it in a card with their name on it and then any rules you have. So, yeah, that's the hardest for me.
So you said that your husband started writing books with you. At what point in the Grey Wolf series was he helping you write those books or writing with
you? Yeah. So I would say. 1s It's probably been a couple of years. So what happens is I plot it out. If there's a particular scene, like, I'm not great at fight scenes. They're just not my forte. I'm getting better at them. But Bo is much, much better at fight scenes than I am. So I may start it and then say, hey, can you go back and fix this or work through it? Or I'll say, hey, I need this scene with this is what's happening. These are the characters present. Can you write this scene? Probably writes about, I would say, five to ten of a book, and I'm the one who plots the book. Now, with my now, there has been some books that we've literally co written together where we both he gave significant amount of ideas, and I worked with what his ideas were. I'm a control freak, so it's very difficult for me to do with my Kingdom Shefford novels. It's kind of funny. I started working on the idea a couple of years ago, and then as he became more involved in the writing process, not just the editing, he started really talking to me about it. And it was funny because this is my fourth draft. I've never done this before, ever. In my twelve years of writing, I've never written more than one draft. So this book, I started it, I didn't like how it was starting, or Jessica was like, oh, this is really rough. Or Bo was like, I don't really like this. I was like, all right, so scrap it, start again. So we did this on the fourth one. As the story's going along, I don't I was 30,000 words in, and Bo emails me, he goes, I don't I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I really don't like this book. And I was like so at this point, I was like, I know. I was like, okay, I'm going to step back for a minute, and I'm going to evaluate what you're saying, and I'm going to evaluate our situation. And my husband is a very talented writer. I would say in many ways, he's actually a better writer than I am. I think that I conquer emotions much better than he does. Our personalities are complete. We're complete 180s. My husband is a very stoic, quiet, calm person. You never know what's going on inside of his head because he always has a resting bitch face on, 3s and I'm the complete opposite. You can pretty much always know what's going on in my head because I usually I say it, or it's just all over me. So we're complete opposites in that manner, and emotions come very naturally. Me, I'm an empath. I feel very deeply everything I feel if I'm angry, I'm super angry. If I'm happy, I'm super happy. I don't have a lot of grays in my life. I'm a very black and white person. And so emotions, that's the easiest part of a book. For me is to write the emotions into it. Usually, if my characters are crying, I'm crying while I'm writing it. If my characters are angry, I've got on angry music and I'm like banging on my keyboard as hard as possible. 1s Whereas he struggles with the emotional parts, he really has struggled with that part of not because he's not an emotional person, but because his emotions are just much more toned down and much more. 5s When he said he didn't like the book so I told him after I talked to Jessica about it, I was like, I'm not starting this over again. This is the fourth time. I'm not starting it over. I really like the way it's going. And here's the funny thing. After I started thinking about it so. Bo does not like the Grey Wolf series. He's never liked the Grey Wolf series. He helps me write parts of it, but it's not something he I think, you know, a big reason is that my husband doesn't read paranormal books. He doesn't like them. It's not his genre. He doesn't read romance. It's not his know, he reads Dune and Beowulf and any Sci-Fi or I mean, he's just he's an action. He has done, I think, some thrillers, but mostly he does Sci-Fi. And so told Jessica, I said, you know, I respect his opinion, but he's not my target audience. He's not who I'm writing for. So I would actually be a little worried if he did like it because 1s I'm writing for the teenager or the early 20 something. I'm writing romance for women who enjoy the alpha male, dominant possessive person. And the funny thing is, I'm married to that. My husband's very much a dominant alpha male. He's very opinionated. He can be kind of possessive in certain ways, not in healthy ways. So I write again what I know because that's what I'm married to. So I told him, I was like, you know, babe, I love you, I respect your opinion, but you're not my audience. I'm not writing for you. And so the fact that you don't like it is actually, I think, a place in the right direction, because that means my readers are probably going to really like it because again, the Grey Wolf series, he just doesn't really care for it's. Funny, one of his favorite characters in the Greyhoul series is Sally, and she's like the complete opposite of me. And I'm like, what does that say? 2s What does that mean for 3s he? I think in that one, he just kind of decided he was like, you're know, he understands that I understand my audience, I understand my market that I'm working with. And in order to sell your books, you have to know who your audience is. 1s If I write a contemporary novel and try to market it to my paranormal readers, I'm not going to sell a book because some of them might read it just because I wrote. You know, there's a vast majority who aren't going to read it because they don't read contemporary. And it's like, nothing against you, Quinn. We just don't like contemporary. 1s Yeah, 1s I went off a little bit on a different direction there. I apologize.
No, you're good. I always find it fascinating in the people's perspectives and their story behind everything. So I'm soaking it in. 1s So I had a good friend of mine who, like I said, introduced the series to me. She had, like, two questions she really wanted to ask you. One of them was that she considers you the pioneer of the faded male or faded mate trend that's going on right now. How do you feel about how now that everyone is jumping on that train and then I in my reader community is saying they're kind of tired of it. So how is your thoughts about that with you still and with your next book
series about that? I think that again there. Always say, write what you know and write what you love. And I think that there's a correlation between that. Writing what you know typically is what you love. Again, it's what I know, it's what I experienced. My husband, even with all of our ups and downs and struggles we've had in our marriage, I wouldn't change the way we went about how we fell in love and how we married and all of that thing. I think that I love the idea of this one person being for you. Do I believe in it? No. Because I believe that God, that would be 3s know. I think about what if I hadn't gone? Because I'm not from Arkansas. I moved to Arkansas after college or after high school. If I had never came to Arkansas, I wouldn't have met Bo. I might have, but more than likely I wouldn't have. Bo has never left the state of Arkansas. He's always lived here. But does that mean that I missed out on love? That I missed out on God's best for me? And I don't think so. I think God always has a plan B, a plan C, it's always as good as plan A. It just may have taken longer to get there or we had to go a different direction. So I don't necessarily believe in soul mates so much as I believe in the idea that when you find that person in your life that I think maybe at that point in your life is who you're supposed to be with which I firmly believe that I was supposed to meet, though at this point in my life, where I was when I did meet him, that I was exactly where God intended me to be. And that was part of just being obedient to hearing his, where am I supposed to go, God? What am I supposed to be doing in my life right now? So within that, I had the blessing of meeting Bo and he was the man that I was going to spend my life with. But I think that because we have a gracious and loving God, he doesn't stop us there. He's like, okay, you missed the boat here, but that's okay because I still have a plan. But in my romanticized head and in an ideal world where we can have what it is we're supposed to have, even though if we have to wait for it, what have you. I love the idea of soulmates. I think it's a beautiful thing. I think that it's a really unique idea where I think I take it a little different and maybe why my readers are okay with insta love, soul, faded mate thing is that it's not pretty all the time. Jen makes a comment in one of the books where she says just because we're soulmates doesn't mean it's all rainbows and unicorn farts, I think is what she says. And that's, I think, what makes it a little 1s the one of the things I struggled know Twilight's a wonderful series. I think it's a great I enjoyed it. One of the things I struggled with is was Edwards was just so perfect. He was just never angry. 1s I was like, dude, she just kissed another guy. You can't be okay with that. I don't care who you are. I don't care if you believe that. I mean, even if you want her to be happy no matter what, you have emotions. I think that my readers react to it differently or they respond well to it despite maybe they've gotten tired of it. But because once the relationship has evolved, because I don't stop there. We don't just get to, okay, you're my mate. The end. We move past that and we get to see them go through the day to day parts of being in a relationship. Yes, you're my soul mate, but you're really. Getting on my nerves today, or you said something really hurtful, or just all the things that readers see my love interest go through. And so I think that may be why I'm able to do it, even though the market has a little bit saturated with it, and because there are some readers who've said, yeah, insta love is kind of past that. I think the other part, too, is that because I continue on with those characters, you forget that they were insta love, because again, we don't stop there. We get past that, and now we have all this other stuff going on in their lives, all this conflict happening within their relationship and without on the exterior interior. And so, again, I think they get past, okay, yeah, this was an insta love couple. We've moved past that like a book ago or two books ago, and now this couple is going through what have you. I think maybe that's I'm not concerned that this series, my new series, won't sell because of that. There might be some readers who go, no, I don't want to go there, and that's okay. But I think that I hope that because my books are very character driven and that's why my readers read my books, is for the relationships in them. So I'm hoping that they want to know about the characters so much that they're like, okay, I can deal with the insta love because I want to know the characters. I want to know what's going to happen with them. And again, they know that I'm not going to end the book with, okay, we're together, the end, you know? I hope that answered that question.
Oh, yes. I love that. She wanted to ask, what's your inspiration behind The Great Luna and to go over the guides that you took to write the character based off of
Jesus. Whenever it's funny because I look back at again, I've been reading Principles, which I haven't read principles in, I don't know, probably nine years, and I never at one point mentioned the Great Luna. In fact, when he even tells Jackie why he calls her Luna, it just talks about because of the influence that the moon has on the Earth, and that's the kind of influence that the alpha female has on the pack. So, again, that was another part in my writing process that evolved. And I think that was God's plan, was just for me to go at some point, I went, okay, how did they come about? How did the Grey Wolf shifters become shifters? Where did they come from? And as I discovered where I wanted that to go from, I really realized that my faith is the central part of my life as a Christian. My son, he's 16. He doesn't call himself a Christian. He says I'm a Christ follower because he doesn't like the connotation that Christianity, the word Christian. People get a very negative connotation with that. Word, unfortunately. And so he says I'm a Christ follower. And as a Christ follower, that's the central part of my life. It is why my marriage has lasted as long as it has. It's why I choose to get mental health help, because I know that's what's best for me. And I know that God wants me to do that. 1s It fills every part of my life. Now, I am a sinner among sinners, and I get it wrong every single day, multiple times a day. And so in no means do I consider myself just somehow better than anyone because I'm a Christian, none of those things, but because so central to me and because God has worked in my life in many, many ways over since. I accepted Christ. I want that for other people. I don't want to beat them over the head with it. I don't want to shove it down their throat. I don't want to tell them, well, if you don't do this, you're a horrible person. Everybody has the right to choose. But my passion is I see what God has done in my life, and I see the peace and the joy that he's brought to me, and I want that for everyone. So I'm like, okay. God. Well, how can I show that in my books without just cramming my faith down their throat? For me, it became about God just kind of telling me, show them they're loved. Show them there's more. Show them there's a creator that cares for them, that they weren't an accident. The Bible talks about that God knew us before we were ever even formed in our mother's womb. He knew us before our parents even had a thought of us, an inkling of us. He knew that we would be created. He knew what our life would look like. And how amazing is it that this infinite God cares about me? That's kind of where the great Luna evolved from, was this creator that she loves her creation, and she desires what's best for them and cares for them. And I hope that without ever using the name of Jesus, without ever referencing here's Christianity, that God can plant that seed in somebody's heart that's ultimately, I think my writing I don't write just to entertain anymore. There was a point when that's kind of what it started, was just to give people an escape. But as I've evolved as a writer and as a human being, as a person maturing, having children, at the time I started writing, I just had my one little boy, and now I've got three. And knowing what I want them to read and what I want them to get from their books, I want my readers to know that they are loved and they were created by a God who loves them and still wants to know them, even if they don't want anything to do with him. I think in one of my books I put something about, just because you don't believe in the great Luna doesn't mean she doesn't love you or doesn't care about you, doesn't want you. It doesn't mean she doesn't exist. That's kind of where she comes from. And in all of my books, there's a creator, there's whatever they're called, because I just think, to me, it's a sad idea that we just came from. Nothing like that, to me, would be depressing. The thought that we just were particles that somehow formed into these beings or to have these multiple gods outside of us that really don't care about us, that just kind of watch us. That, to me, is depressing. Why wouldn't the being who made me want to know me in an intimate way want to have a relationship with me, want to know what I care about, what matters to me. Yeah. That's why she's such a big. She evolved into that kind of major role. I hope that as I've started writing this book, I have been praying. I'm like, okay, God, how do I have that same Creator within the Shifter Kingdom series? But it's not the Great Luna. But I think it's just again, a very important part of my writing process is having this Creator who loves them and wants what's best for their lives and for them also. What happens when you have that too is that the self centeredness. It's our natural nature now has to be projected out. We have to care about other people. We have to show that we are not only about ourselves. Because what happens, too, is when you care about other people, it takes your focus off your own problems. It puts your own problems in perspective. It helps other people not feel alone, that they're not struggling. And the only ones going a lot of times as people, we really think that we're the only ones dealing with something. And sometimes we're ashamed to admit what we're going through or embarrassed by what we're dealing with, and we forget that everyone has problems. Every single one of us has something going on in our life. And I think that being able to relate that in my books is really important to me so that readers know it's okay if you don't have it all together, because none of us has it all together. And that's all the beauty of a Creator is that they're there, and God loves you, and he wants to know about it, and he wants to be there to help you and waiting for you to turn to Him. And so guess I always kind of go off, and I'm like, Wait a minute. What was the main question? Go over the guys that you took to write characters based off of the Jesus. Okay in Greyol's series. It's great, Luna. And then in a couple of my other series, I have, like the Fates are in Elfin, and then in my Nature Hunter series, you have basically it's kind of like Mother Earth. But I think each of, like I know in The Great Luna, at one point, actually, there's a comparison done where she sacrificed herself as Christ did on the cross for us. She sacrifices herself for I had to think about how I could do that again without it just being blatantly Jesus. Because a lot of times the name Jesus turns people away. They go running. They don't want anything to do with it. Especially because the old series is just my most dominant series where that arc has really built because it's so long. The great luna is a mixture of the Trinity. You've got the Father Spirit, so she imbues all of those. I think I just wanted to with her. I wanted to show, okay, yes, we have God, we have Creator. But not only do we have God and a Creator, we also have he was willing to sacrifice himself for us. We didn't have to make the sacrifice, even though we deserve to be the ones who do it. When I wrote that scene with a Great Luna, I remember just really weeping over it because it was a reminder for me when I accepted Christ, when I recognized my true nature and what I looked like without Jesus in my life. And so sometimes I'm like, okay, God. When I was writing, that was a reminder for me of the beautiful gift that I've been given through Christ. And I hope that read people, if they were already a believer, I hope it brought them joy. If they weren't, if they're not a believer, I hope that it made them curious, like, who would do this for somebody? Because there's no greater gift than to lay down your life for another person.
All right, thank you. Just so we can wrap everything up, is there any advice you would give for indie authors? Because your story is unique, you got to book three or four, and then you were able to leave your full time job at that point. Any
advice? I would say understand that the market now is very different. 3s I've done a little bit. Mentoring. I'm hard pressed to do mentoring because I always feel very inadequate for it. But anytime I've done any mentoring, I always tell them, you have to go into the market knowing that when I started on Amazon, there was 1 million books. Now there's over 12 million books. So it's a completely different market. And because of algorithms, you're competing with books not even in your genre. Unfortunately, you wind up because of where Amazon sticks your book. Like, I always have to go tell Amazon we email them, and will you please put my books on the shifters and werewolves? Even though it's like, been on your platform for ten years, they don't always fit in the right category. I think new authors get discouraged really, really quickly. I think that it's important to also understand that it's very few authors actually make a living as an author. There are even mainstream authors with big five publishers that have a second job because you have to sell a lot of books to make money at it. Understanding if you go into this, you can't be going into it for the thought, well, I'm going to become rich. You might be that 0.1% that suddenly, somehow hits it big all of a sudden, and that's fantastic. But there are books out there that are fantastic. Books that have not been discovered by a publisher or a movie industry or it doesn't make it a bad book. It's really, really hard to get seen go into it understanding that it may take a while for your book to take off. You've really got to do hard, like you said, the hard work behind writing the book. Initially, you may be on your own because there was a period there where a lot of authors had pas, they had personal assistants that did a lot of that for them. The interesting part right now, I've got lots of author friends who wrote full time for years because it's just the market's changed so much, they've had to get a second job because it's just a tough market. And there's periods in the last few years that Poe and I have both gone, okay, are we going to be okay? We back on some spending. Book sales are down. I've always said I'll keep writing as long as I can just pay my bills. If I can write full time so I can pay my bills, then I need to be good with that. I always want to make sure that I'm happy and content where I'm at in that moment where God has me. Tell Him, make sure that you have realistic expectations. Don't shoot yourself in the foot and say, well, I wrote this book. It flopped, so I'm not writing. It doesn't mean your book was bad. It just may mean that you didn't get seen right away. On the flip side of that, I would say, make sure you know your target audience. Make sure you're marketing to the right people. Find your target audience. Find out how to market to them. Do your homework. 1s You got to do all the footwork on the back end. Make sure you have a website set up. Make sure you have a Facebook page set up before you ever put your first book out there. Because as soon as readers read it, if they like it, they're going to go hunt you down. They're going to stock you on all those places, and you want to make sure you already have those things in place so they can find you and find out, how can I get on that person's newsletter? How can I find when they're coming out with their next book, et cetera. The other thing I would say is two of the biggest parts of an author's work life where they struggle or will struggle is making sure that you have the right cover on your book and making sure you have the right editing done in your book. You can't skimp in either one of those areas now. The COVID market is so competitive now that covers are so much more affordable. There were times when. And I back in the beginning cover, there wasn't all the COVID artists out there. You had to work with a photographer and you had to work with a designer. A book cover might cost me $500. Now the standard is about $150. It's such a competitive market, they have to lower their prices so you can give an excellent book cover. How do you know what cover to use? And I said, well, one of the first things I'll hear new authors say is, I want my book to stand out. I want something. And I'm always like, no, you don't. You want your Ever to fit the genre. And because what happens is readers associate a certain look with a certain genre, and that's what they go look for. If your book blends in with that genre, that's good, that's what you want. Don't have people on them. They usually have some design, some sort of emblem of some kind. They all look very cool, but that's what it is. So you've got Casey, l Bond, Jennifer Armantrout, Veronica Ross. They all did. That's what they do. And even though they might look a little different in color, variation or what have you, if you look at that genre and you pull that up on Amazon, the covers all incredibly alike. That doesn't mean that they're not getting seen. It's what they've been trained to think, oh, this is the genre. So you want your cover to reflect your genre, and you don't want something that's so bizarre and out there because you think, well, that's going to get seen. No, they're going to glaze right over it, and they're going to go to what is popular in the shifter kind of paranormal genre. We went from having very close up pictures of the character that was what was popular to now we have this kind of torso or full body image with the character back a little bit. Whether they have an animal on the page with them, title some light around them and that's what you're going to see in that genre. And that's what readers are looking for. So it's really important that you pay attention to what your cover, because your cover is going to draw a big portion of who looks at your book and then make sure that you have really good synopsis. Synopsis are part of the hardest part of the book. It's easier to write 100,000 words than it is to take it and put it in 500 words, like the whole book, without giving away the whole plot. That's really important. And then understand that editing is going to cost a fortune. It cost me $800 to $1,000 per book to edit, and it goes through my husband. Yeah, it's expensive. You're looking at usually one cent per word is typically what you're going to pay. My husband, with his law background, has an editing background, so he does my first round of edits, then we send it off to our editor. She sends it back. We go over her changes, then we send it to our arc readers. And our arc readers usually are kind of last line of defense, and they don't catch necessarily the grammatical parts because typically you have to have some grammatical training. Like you have to really understand grammatical rules. They catch the things where I spelled there wrong. I use T-H-E-I-R instead of T-H-E-Y apostrophe R E, those words that you are typing so fast and you just put the wrong one in, they kind of catch that last thing. But that's really a good book can get two stars because of editing because there are some sticklers out there who they don't care how good the book is. If you didn't put a period in the right place, they're going to knock it. Be sure, find a good editor, have good editing, done your book, and know that if you're starting out in this and you just don't have a huge cash flow, then save up for your editing because it's really, really important.
Thank you so much, Quinn, for sharing so much insight behind your I really enjoyed talking with you, and I look forward to your new set of books. Thank you again for joining me today.
It thanks for having me. Like I said, I haven't done one of these in a long time, so it's fun. I get to get to talk about my book.