Friday, March 29, 2013

Meet Erin O'Quinn, speaking about the romance of Ireland.

Up Close and Personal: 
Erin O’Quinn

My pen name is Erin O’Quinn. I have been contracted by Amber Quill Press for several months, and when my latest novel Heart to Hart debuts May 26, I will have written eleven historical novels (four of them as YA fantasies under my real name).
So I thought it was time to introduce you a little more “up close and personal” to Erin.
I was born and raised in Nevada, in the high desert. My father, a self-sustaining miner, actually supported my mom and us three girls through his one-man mining ventures. Until I was forced to go to school fifty miles away, we lived on the side of a mountain in a wooden cabin with no electricity or running water. Those were the days! My wild upbringing at the treeline of a high peak shaped me in ways I am still discovering. (I found out, in writing Fire & Silk, that my roots hid a wellspring of emotions and images, more than enough to fill a novel.)
After high school, I attended the University of Southern California on a scholarship, earning a BA in English and then an MA degree Comparative Literature. Such a culture shock—from a town of less than five thousand to a city complex of over seven million!
After college, I pursued the “academic” life for awhile, becoming a college teacher, then a marketing/promotion manager for a large newspaper. But for some reason, I began to shun the ivory tower kind of life. I became a car salesperson, then a pallet-hauler for a big-box store garden center. I found myself more comfortable on the back docks talking to truck drivers than in the classroom talking to students.
One day three years ago, my husband brought an iMac into the house. I sat down at the keyboard, and my whole life changed. I began to write—first with Bil under our real names, and then under a pen name.
I actually have three different “personas.” One part of me writes young adult historical fantasy with my husband. One part turns out steamy M/F historical novels, set in the time of St. Patrick in fifth-century Ireland. The third persona tosses out the “F” and concentrates on male pairs of characters, both historical and contemporary.
I chose the very Irish name to reflect my deep interest in the history, language, mythology and culture of Ireland. For my series of Ireland romances, I was so taken by the subject that I actually studied Irish Gaelic to get a feel for the cadence and lilt of the spoken language. So when readers close one of those books, they’re able to say everything from “I love you” to “kiss my bum”  in Gaelic.
The subject matter was compelling enough to me that I started a blog, called “The Gaelic Spirit,” which is dedicated to a wide-ranging spectrum of subjects. Here is an example of my archive:
Did the Irish Invent the Kilt?
Who is Danny Boy?
St. Patrick and the Tradition of Cursing
Who Were the Picts? And What About Those Tattoos?
Celtic  Cowboys: Riding the Range in Ancient Ireland
Siren Bookstrand published two MM historicals, a series called “The Iron Warrior,” which are also set in St. Patrick’s Ireland of ca. 432 AD. And now I have written a new historical novel about two gay men. But the difference between it and the others is pretty stark.
Heart to Hart takes place in a fantasy Ireland city in 1923. Its two main characters are a horny, roustabout Irishman named Michael McCree and an almost surly, fastidious man named Simon Hart.
Michael’s interest in Simon is instant and continuous. He vows to bed him, become his roomer, and worm his way into becoming his business partner too. But Simon, whose former partner in his private investigation  business has been murdered, is in no mood to put up with Michael’s shenanigans.
If you can’t tell by the description, this book is a comedy, a romance, and a mystery too. The setting is the cusp of the steampunk era when steam and gaslight were  giving way to electricity and motorcars.
But true to my nature, both men have a not-funny side, a part of their past they are not talking about. The more serious threads ravel out every so often, and the reader gets a glimpse of real people under the silly escapades.
Because this is an “excerpts” blog, I’ll reprint a very small part of the upcoming novel.
Michael was awakened by an insistent rapping on the outside apartment door. Knowing it could not be Simon, he almost bellowed, “Go away!”
“Mr. McCree. ‘Tis Mrs. Gallagher. The landlady. Ye must open, or I come in.”
“Then ye wish to gaze on a naked man? For shame, missus.” He grinned at the open bedroom door, deliberately left ajar by Simon Hart. He had slept in his baggy trousers, and now he slid out of bed, reluctant to wake fully.
He padded barefoot through the Victorian sitting room and opened the door with a suddenness that clearly startled the prim elderly woman standing on the threshold. “Here ye see me, lovely lass. Now what can ye need wi’me?”
The woman’s sallow cheeks suffused with color, and her pale green eyes suddenly became trapped by fluttering lashes. Michael’s grin widened, and so did the door.
“Ye wish to enter me private rooms. Will the neighbors not talk?”
I’d like to leave you with my sig line. From this, you’ll be able to find everything about my Erin O’Quinn writing life—from my blogs to my books to my FB Erotica group, dedicated to the more intellectual (rather than promotional) side of the writerly life.
Thanks for letting me bend your ear, um, steal your eyes for a while. See you next time!

~Erin O’Quinn

Erin’s Blogs:  Gaelic Spirit  The Man in Romance 
Erin’s Historical Romances: SirenBookstrand
Erin’s Contemporary MM Romances: 


Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Lindsay . . . and all you romance enthusiasts and Ireland lovers,

I appreciate being here today, telling you a bit about myself and the subjects I've chosen to write about—from St. Patrick to private investigators—in beautiful Ireland.

I hope you'll ask me anything at all, and that you'll take a few minutes to look at my Gaelic blog and even a few of my Ireland-based romances. ~Erin

Lindsay Townsend said...

Super blog, Erin! Thanks for coming onto HEA. You know I'm a fan of your Irish romances, especially Fire and Silk.

DragonLady said...

A lovely summary of all your wonderful personas!

Paul McDermott said...

día dhuit, a mo chara Erin!

Can't stay long just now, I'm due to read poems at a Good Friday service this afternoon but I'll be home again in a few hours.

Your characters always GLOW with life, and even the fantasy 'settings' don't appear unreal or difficult to imagine as 'real' (if that makes sense?).
I also found (to my surprise) that I'm NOT as 'uncomfortable' as I expected to be with the MM relationships in your yarns - mainly, I suspect, because you don't "overegg the pudding". The sexuality of the characters doesn't 'force' the plot.
I'll raise a glass in your honour when I get to the Clan Gathering later this year!

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Dragon Lady,

Thanks very much for coming by, all the way across the pond.

My personas are often a tough balancing act, but I do have a lot of fun, when I pause to enjoy what I'm doing rather than kvetching about it.

Al best, Erin

Erin OQuinn said...

A mo chara Paul,

I'm just tickled, um, pink . . . that a manly man would still enjoy my homoerotica as well as the more traditional romances.

Go raibh maith agat, and tip a few for me at the upcoming reunion in Ireland!

Fondly, Erin

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

Loved the post Erin. :)


Jerri Hines said...

Quite interesting! Good luck with your new release this May!

Erin OQuinn said...

To Rose and Jerri both,

Thanks, ladies, for reading about the Erin side of Erin. I'm pretty much in love with Ireland and with St. Paddy too.

Rose, I recently bought LOVING LEONARDO and am looklng forward to the time when I'll actually have time to read it. :~)

All best, Erin

Erin OQuinn said...

Before my time here is up, I want to thank you, Lindsay, for your gracious invitation to have me as your guest this time around. I hope I can come back soon. This is a really nifty blogsite—attractive and welcoming, easy to read and pleasant to be the honored guest!

And to you, the readers who've paused to say hello, wow do I appreciate your warmth and words of support. Thank you kindly.

All best success to each of you! ~Erin

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Erin, fascinating. Thanks for sharing a bit about your life. Having some Irish in me blood, and always wanting to visit the emerald isle... well, I'll have to visit your site.

Much continued success to you!

Kim McNiel Smith said...

Great blog interview Erin, as a fan, I love reading and learning more about you as well. Your books rock. Best of luck to you.

Erin OQuinn said...

To Savannah, first,

Thanks for the visit. I, too, am a wee bit Irish, but not enough to be able to trace it back to a clan. I hope you will visit my'll see how in love with all things Gaelic I really am!

All best, Erin

Erin OQuinn said...

Hi, Kim,

I love it that you are part of my "fan club," and thanks for the warm words today.

This time of year, around St. Paddy's Day and Easter, always brings out the Irish side of my persona. o'the'morning to ye, cailín and

Slán, xErin

Maeve Greyson said...

What an exciting background you have, Erin! Very interesting post and it's great to know you better. Loved the excerpt too. Had me grinning from ear to ear. Best wishes to you!

Erin OQuinn said...

Hey, Maeve, thanks! I really did have quite an unusual upbringing. My novel FIRE & SILK brought out a lot of that squatting-on-a-sidehill part of me out into the open.

Sooooo glad you grinned at the excerpt. The comedy of my new book is all based on the tension between a forthrightly horny roustabout and his too-prim flat mate. A union definitely not made in heaven.

Thank you for coming by. Fondly, Erin