Cameron J Quinn
Hi, Cameron. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. You know the play "Our Town"? It's based on the place I grew up. Seriously. And a lot of the people there are more interested in making sure your historic home is painted the proper shade of white and keeping out drive-throughs than getting to know their neighbors.
It was a happy place to grow up (mostly). Whether it was because of the lack of McDonald's or in spite of it, I'll let you decide. As my dad warred with his neighbor, the town zoning board member, about whether or not he could run a scrap metal yard out of his house I was playing in the woods, making up stories, and playing with my three older siblings. This place inspired a lot of my writing. It is truly a beautiful and magical place to grow up with big fields, enormous pines, and mountains on the horizon where ever you turn.
My mom is the reason I love reading and books. And the reason I started writing. She used to write these stories for children about a little frog. I literally remember nothing about the frog. I remember sitting in the living room by the computer completely captivated by this story and the woman who'd created it. She was my mother. I've been obsessed with stories ever since. Writing my first series of books in first grade. And attempting a few novels in high school. I always received good feedback for my short stories but I wanted to write a book.
When I met V.S. Holmes (Author of the Reforged Series and The Nel Bently Books) and we became close I never imagined we'd end up where we are.
After high school, I got married and followed my husband to Camp Le Jeune North Carolina where he was a machine gunner in the Marines. V went to college in Canada, we kept in touch but it was mostly out of sight out of mind. Then, after I had my first child, she reached out to me. "Remember that book I was writing? I finished it" I'd also been working on my book so I offered to exchange first chapters. When I got the email I was incredibly excited. When I finished reading it I was horrified. She'd written these beautiful passages and a compelling story and I'd just sent her a bunch of drivel! She inspired me to keep going and keep honing my craft. And never called me out on the crap I sent her. (Her next chapter was not so polished so I felt better about sending her pieces).
Fast forward a few years, I have three kids, have published 7 books (a serial The Starsboro Chronicles), V has published 5 and we own and operate a publishing company.
My books are all based on myths and legends. Two things I am absolutely fascinated with. (Except the one that's inspired by serial killers. I wanted to be in the FBI prior to having kids).
2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
On the open ocean. My husband and I have a had a rough go of it. Not that I have a problem with that, adversity helps you grow, but when we decided to shift our focus from living in a house to buying a boat, life's possibilities truly opened up. Traveling with three kids is expensive and well... horrible. But, if we live on a boat, it costs about $25k a year and we get to go where ever the wind takes us.
But, you need ways to make passive income. That's where online business and books come into the equation. I write because I love to, but if I can finance the majority of our living expenses with the press and my books, as I write from the trampoline of our Catamaran (they are pretty expensive don't be thinking you can get a Cat for $25K lol that's living and travel expenses) then I will be living the life.
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I love marketing. Especially book marketing because it's truly easy to get behind the product. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to sell something that's really not worth it. You feel gross and just want to run and hide in a dark corner somewhere. Books are different. Working with an author and their books is like working with a puzzle. You need to take their personality and preferences and figure out how to best showcase their talent and their work. Sometimes it's a battle. All authors say they want to sell books but most authors are also scared. Scared that their book isn't worth reading, or scared of rejection and bad reviews. It's sad when they let that fear control them. I had the opposite problem with my first book. I just wanted to get it out there and I didn't understand how editors worked. I thought they were the typo police. The editor I hired for that, left a ton of typos and I had to hire another. And she helped me with the story a bit and I thought all was well but I was rarely seeing sell through. So after a lot of contemplation, I pulled it. And I put it through The Story Grid. And that made all the difference. But I'm not the norm. If you had a structural edit from a true professional, you revised and you went through the steps, your book is worth reading. So swallow your fear, read the one-star reviews of your favorite books, and let's do this thing.
I also have a podcast (The Amphibian Press Podcast) where I help readers find authors and vice versa through author interviews and books reviews. And I have a blog for authors to help them navigate today's publishing challenges.
And last (for now) I'm working with a local high school to create a workshop for students so they can see the benefits of being a writer. It's not true anymore that you can't make a living from your writing. So, I teach them different exercises and then at the end, we compile and anthology and I publish it. This is the first year but I'm hopeful about the prospects.
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Fiction with a Southern Twist