Betsie: To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?
Quinn: The hijacking of an Spanish Air Iberia charter jet full of American students is at the center of
his suspense thriller, but there is more than what it originally seems, where the plans of the “good guys”
are just as disturbing of those of the evildoers. Henry Ellis, the father of hijacked twin son and
daughter, does not want to rely on those in
power whom he mistrusts, and takes action on his own to secure
their safe return. The novel begs the question, “What would you do to save your children?” The
setting runs from Washington, D.C. to Montreal, Canada to Madrid and Barcelona, with a side trip to Basque
country in northern Spain.
Betsie: Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?
Quinn: I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and was weaned on the fantastic tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’ve
always been a voracious reader, but really didn’t begin writing until the early 1990s.
Betsie: Who were your earliest influences and why?
Again, ERB. I read all 69 of his novels (and I hope that number is correct, or I’m sure I’ll
hear about it) at least 3 times. When you’re a kid, a fast-paced fantastic story is everything. Later,
I became more interested in the characters and their interaction with each other.
Betsie: What would a typical day be like for a writer?
This one tickles me. Recently, I had a fan say how thrilling it must be to be a glamorous writer. Here’s
a typical glamorous day:
Get up, stagger into the kitchen, make and pour a cup of coffee, go into my office and
check and answer emails, then write some more, then remember I have to do laundry. Put in the laundry. Write
some more. I’m hungry, but there are no clean dishes, so I have to empty the sink and start a
load in the dishwasher, hoping that between the dishes and the clothes I don’t use up all the hot
water so I can take a shower before lunch. Sit down to write but all of a sudden can’t visualize
the scene. Shower time. Has to be quick because of all the stuff running at once. The shower clears
my brain and I can see the next scene. I don’t bother getting dressed and rush to the computer to write
the next scene (use your imagination for that one or don’t). Lunch! Out of bread and nothing around
I can make quickly. More coffee and back to the computer. Get a call from my grandson’s school. He’s
not feeling well. Mom’s working in the operating room at a local hospital and can’t be reached.
School’s out in an hour I tell them. He’s 9. He can suck it up and make it. Don’t
know whether to feel
guilty or decisive. Get up and switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Write
a little more, but the guilty feeling is taking over. I hop in the car and make it to the school just
as the final bell rings. I retrieve the boy and take him home. No fever, no broken bones, no throwing
up. Damn! I leave him with a cup of chicken noodle soup and some ginger ale. Big brother
will be home in 30 minutes,
so I leave. By the time I’m back home the dishes and clothes are
done. I hang the writing up for the day and wonder what I can make for dinner. At least I have
a clean plate to eat it on.
Betsie: I believe this is the best response we've had yet! ^_^
Betsie: How long have you been writing and in what capacities?
Quinn: Began writing in the early 1990s. I wrote dark fantasy under a pen name. Mostly short fiction
with one novelette and one novella length published work. Also did some columns in small press mags and
published some interviews with mid-list authors.
Betsie: Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?
Quinn: I’ve written both. As a daydreamer, I find fiction easier to write. Conversely, non-fiction for
me was a chore and I was probably never really any good at it.
Betsie: Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give
up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?
Douglas Quinn: I did throw in the towel
for about 5 years from about 1997-2002, but then got back on the horse and wrote The Catalan Gambit. I
knew I wanted to change genres, but during that time wasn’t quite sure what I really wanted to write. A
kept nudging me to get back to writing and finally, one day, I just sat down at the computer
and began with an idea that had been gelling for a couple of years.
Betsie: What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Not being distracted by everyday
Betsie: Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?
Quinn: I play chess, swim and play iron course (par 3) golf. I use the ideas behind the tactics and strategies
of chess to develop my plot lines. The exercise of swimming and golf relax me so I can think clearly.
Betsie: Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to
the top is to
sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?
Douglas Quinn: I don’t
think in terms of writing equals sacrifice. If I had to give up writing to do something else, that
would be a sacrifice. Good, and sometimes risky, sacrifices would be the King’s Gambit, the Queen’s
Gambit and, of course, The Catalan
Gambit. Chess players will understand.
Betsie: What question do you get asked more than any other?
Quinn: Where do you get your ideas? I tell them they just come to me, like magic.
What’s the coolest thing a reader has said to you?
Douglas Quinn: How proud they were
of a character I created, as if the character was a real person and what they did was a real thing. I mean,
what more could a writer ask for?
Betsie: What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their
interpretations of your book?
Douglas Quinn: So far so good. I have written an intricate
plot with (I think) interesting and diverse characters with complicated interactions between them, and when
someone says, I really understand why she/he did that, or thinks that way, - I know I’ve connected
Betsie: Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on
around you and observing behaviors than most people are?
Douglas Quinn: Absolutely. Coffee
shops are great places to observe. I observe people wherever I go and file away the interesting conversations,
twitches and mannerisms for future use. You know what else I like?
Certain reality shows. It’s
a great way to
understand the complicated relationships people have with themselves, with the groups
and with each other. My favorites are Starting Over House and The Apprentice.
Betsie: Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?
Quinn: I really like James Lee Burke, John Sandford, Stephen White, Jonathan Kellerman, Carl Hiaasen, and
Kathy Reichs. However, I think the most underrated writer (by the mass media) is Randy Wayne White and his
Doc Ford novels. Totally different writing style than mind, but I love his work.
Betsie: If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you
suggest his/her first step to be?
Douglas Quinn: Put a piece of paper on the table, pick
up a pen and start writing.
Betsie: What kind of movies do you enjoy?
Douglas Quinn: I like Sci/Fi:
Alien Series, Predator I, 2001 A Space Odyssy; Quirky Horror: Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop
of Horrors; and Artsy stuff like Pollock, Frida, and others like that.
Betsie: What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldn’t want
to live in?
Douglas Quinn: Rome, Italy
Betsie: What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?
Quinn: “This one.” he says as he smiles and moves to the next question.
Betsie: I keep saying I'll toss this question out, but the curiosity is too great lol
Betsie: What’s the best part of being a writer?
Douglas Quinn: The freedom
to escape into other
Betsie: What's next?
Douglas Quinn: Am working on the sequel to The Catalan Gambit. Several
of the secondary characters in TCG have major roles in the next one. Also, just for the fun of it, I am
working on a screenplay version of a novelette I had published back in 1992.
or interviews feel free to contact Douglas Quinn’s publicist, Mr. Stan Colson at: firstname.lastname@example.org