Guest Blog Goodness–Amy Quinton

Please welcome Amy Quinton to the blog!  Her fantastic new regency romance is  chewing up the charts at Amazon!

What advice would you give a new author?
I could write pages and pages of thoughts on this topic… lol. But I’ll try to be brief. I guess the most important thing is to really want it. You’ve got to want it… badly. It won’t happen if you give a half-hearted attempt. And if you want it bad enough, you will not allow yourself to give up. This is important when the rejections start flooding in. They’ll be frustrating. You’ll question your capabilities. But the point is to believe in yourself and keep trying.

Secondly, you’ve got to put yourself out there. You never know who you’re going to meet and where. And you’ve got to learn how to talk about your book – even in the most unlikely of places. I’ve heard tell once that it takes, on average, 3 years to become an overnight success as an author. LOL. The point is that for most people, success is found slowly… by building your readership one person at a time. I have learned (and it was NOT easy) to find ways to bring up my book no matter where I am… I’ve sold books to a sales associate helping me try on clothes, to a waitress at a restaurant, to a cashier at my local grocery store, to a college student from my college who called asking for donations from alums…. I’ve learned to take my business cards and copies of my books everywhere!  But more important than that, I have made connections. I have immersed myself in writing groups and library events around town – and I cannot even begin to tell you how that has helped my career. Simply by being there, I’ve met editors I didn’t even know lived here who have given me profound advice, I’ve found support groups, and most recently, I met a woman who has offered to take a copy of my book to my favorite author! Because she knows her. I didn’t even know that when that fateful conversation began. I didn’t ask for it. But I’m passionate about writing, and she saw that – she knew I was a new writer, and when she realized how much I loved a certain author’s books, she made the offer.  Even if nothing comes of that connection, it is the greatest feeling in the world to sign my book (going all fan girl crazy for a moment lol) and know that my favorite author will have a copy – even if she chooses to use it as a door stop!  I think you get the point…  I’ve even been hired to give my first speaking engagement about author platforms and technology.  All because I force myself not to hide away in my house, at my keyboard – as is my wont. J

Finally – never stop working to improve your craft. Our craft is ever changing.  We will never reach a point where we cannot improve. One way to improve is to continue to read others’ works.  Sometimes, it can be hard. You don’t have time or worse, sometimes you read a particularly well written passage and start to doubt yourself. That is normal (but see number 1 – don’t quit!) as we authors are particularly hard on ourselves – But look for ways to turn that to your advantage. Study what makes that particular book, passage, description, dialogue, whatever… great and what you can learn from that. Of course, practice is also important for improving. Authors should do their best to write every single day. Even if it’s just a random thought about something bothering you.  Finally, read, not just novels or books on your subject, but also books on other subjects or about our craft.  Take a course if you’re inclined.  Readers’ wants change. Writing styles change. We don’t still write like Jane Austen, do we? So we have to stay on top of our craft by continuing to learn. Always.

Who or what inspired you to write?
I had never honestly thought about a career in writing until I was in college. In truth, I was a math wiz in school. But in college, I had more than one professor ask me if I had considered a career as a writer. I hadn’t, but the thought stuck in my head and took root. I love to read, you see. I read ALL the time. And I prefer romance over every other genre – especially historical romance. So, after ten years post college in the computer industry, I became a stay at home mom. And when both my kids were in school full time, I decided – why not give it a go?  With self-publishing being so readily available, there was no reason not to try, and I was fortunate to have the time and freedom to be able to try. So I did. I started my novel and right away I was hooked!  It was better than I ever imagined it would be!  Now, I get to choose the direction of the book and what the characters do!  (or at least my characters like to let me believe that – at times.) And the feeling I get when a particular passage is well written – it’s invigorating.  I love the challenge of it; it’s far more complicated to than I ever dreamed, and it never gets old. Now, I know I will continue to write for as long as I can.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?
So far, the best way is just a personal message from the reader. I enjoyed the email I got from my first five star reviewer – more than the review itself. Then, a reader contacted me through my website just to tell me how much she loved the book and to ask when my next will be available.  That message came through on the day of my release, and was the most memorable event of my release day.  It was simple. It was short. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

What are your five “desert island” books?
My five desert island books: Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long, Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare, A Highlander Never Surrenders by Paula Quinn, Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan, and Living Wild: The Ultimate Guide to Scouting and Fieldcraft by Bear Grylls – well I have to have something practical for the situation…lol

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?
My writing is very therapeutic. I am able to say and do things I would never say or do in life. I am able to deal with things in my past through my characters. I do have a vision for many parts of my book. It’s the characters that come from pieces of my life – even the villains. And many of my characters carry sides of me in their personality… even the villains… lol – but hopefully only the redeemable ones J

Upstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…

England 1814: Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin, she isn’t: reserved (not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants), sophisticated (highly overrated), or graceful (she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face). But she is: practical and in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

The Duke of Stonebridge is an agent for the Crown with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter, he is always: logical (men who follow their hearts are foolish) and reserved (his private life is nobody’s business but his own). And he isn’t: impulsive or in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

Can he have what he wants and restore his name? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?

WhatThe DukeWants

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…her chuckles died in her throat as she caught sight of the very man who occupied her mind day after day: Stonebridge.

Her hand rose to her chest as if she could physically steady her racing heart. He was so mind numbingly handsome and her heart literally ached with the knowledge that he would never be hers. It was so ridiculously unfair.

She watched as he entered a nearby building. He hadn’t seen her amidst the crowd, of course. Once out of sight, she was able to walk again. She strode forward hesitantly. Honestly, she should flee to the safety of the hotel, not loiter outside, dying with curiosity and the desire for just another, quick glimpse, but alas, she couldn’t make herself leave.

She passed the building he had entered and tried hard not to be so obvious as to ogle the door, but she did look and made note of the sign identifying the place as the offices of Tolley and Brinks, Esquire.

She passed a few more shop fronts, then turned. Her face was warm with embarrassment.

What am I doing?

She walked past the solicitors’ office again and passed a few more shops before shaking her head, resigned.

“Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Prince Regent plans Grand Jubilee in London!” called out a young boy, hawking broadsheets nearby. She heard him above the general din of horses, carriage wheels and people bustling about their business as she maneuvered her way through the throng of carriages to the opposite side of the street.

Once there, she purchased a paper, then made her way to a nearby bench which happened to be situated directly across the street from the duke’s solicitors’ office.

Convenient, that. She sat, only for a moment, mind. To read the paper. Honestly.

Oh, who am I trying to fool?

For half an hour, her heart missed a beat every time the door to the solicitors’ office opened. Really, what was she planning to do once he did come out? Dash into his arms? Call his name from across the thoroughfare? Run away and hide? She asked herself these questions, over and over again, the entire time; she certainly was no more aware of the latest news than from before she’d bought her paper.

Finally, at long last, he came out of the building, and he saw her instantly. She stood on reflex and looked back. For an eternity but only a minute, they stared at each other across the avenue, and her heart thundered faster than ever. Before reality intruded. This wasn’t wise and just as she recognized the truth of that, she saw his expression change from surprise to murderous.

Right. Time to go.

She tried to go around the bench at the same he stepped out onto the street.

Zounds! He was coming.

But in her haste to leave, she rounded the bench too carelessly, only to have her reticule catch on the bench’s arm, jerking her to a stop. Unfortunately, her nerves, along with the bench, conspired against her, and she stumbled to her knees.

The hand holding her bag came down hard onto the bench seat, over the arm rest. She’d have a bruise under her arm tomorrow from that. The straps of her reticule, still caught, pulled tight on her wrist, turning her skin white, then red and puffy. Her other hand, which had whipped out reflexively, hit the ground. It just stopped her from cracking her chin on the bench.

Why, oh why, did I even get out of bed this morning?

She closed her eyes in humiliation. All around her, people fell silent; even the boy no longer peddled his papers. She could make out the occasional horse and carriage, but even the whinnying of a nearby horse sounded like laughter to ears colored with embarrassment. She could hear the sound of running feet, boots striking on cobbles, and she knew that Stonebridge was dashing across the street—coming to rescue her.

He arrived a moment later, slightly out of breath, and she smiled at the thought that he’d run all that way…in public. For her.


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