An Interview with Holly Quinn
I have a treat for you all today. I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of mystery writer, Holly Quinn. Holly has a new book coming out and I’m excited for her to tell you all about it – in her own words. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a little more about your new series and what inspired you to write it?
A Crafter Knits a Clue, the first book in the Handcrafted Mystery series, follows Sammy Kane, who a few years prior, took over her beloved best friend’s craft store after her untimely death. The Main Street shop, Community Craft, is situated in a small Midwest town. The store not only sells the locals’ handmade wares, but it’s also the communal hotspot. Craft lessons take place, and members of the community gather to fundraise and support anyone who might have a burden, or to organize events such as the seasonal beautification for the town. With her sister and cousin, Sammy revives their childhood detective club, S.H.E. (S for Sammy, H for Heidi, her cousin, and E for Ellie, her sister, to help solve crimes.
To be honest, my agent inspired me to write the Handcrafted Mystery series. I was nudging her to sell a Christian Fiction mystery I had recently finished, but the story is written in multiple perspectives, and it wouldn’t work for this market. She mentioned I had a strong voice for cozy mystery, and suggested I take a shot at writing one. I’ve sometimes pondered opening a craft store to sell handmade items because I currently sell painted glasses at a gift shop in town called Faith and Giggles. I love to craft, quilt, sew, paint, and write my way through long Wisconsin winters. Anyhow, I bounced a few ideas off my agent, wrote the first 50 pages, and here we are. I was also inspired to use the unique community spirit I’ve witnessed at Faith and Giggles for the backdrop of this series as my protagonist runs a similar establishment except instead of a gift shop it’s a craft shop. Something else funny? After I wrote this manuscript someone opened a craft shop locally – very serendipitous!
How are you similar to your protagonist? How are you different?
Samantha Kane or “Sammy” as her family and the locals call her, can be a little intense and direct in her conversations when she feels she’s onto something. However, her heart is certainly in the right place and she’s always “working” on bettering herself. She knows everyone in the community and believes she has just cause to interrogate people she feels may be involved in the mystery somehow. We share a curiosity about people’s motives and love for uncovering puzzling situations. I’m a bit on the shy side (until you get to know me) and don’t really like being the center of attention. Sammy is also is very daring and maybe even careless at times, which is the opposite of me. Sammy has lost her dearest and best friend, Kate, and took over her store. I’ve never experienced that type of trauma, but I have slowly lost touch with best friends over the years due to geographic relocation, marriage, or when life has a way of changing and pulling you in different directions.
Tell us a little more about your writing process. Are you a plotter? Do you have to know who the killer is from the beginning?
Ha-ha! I’m not a plotter, which both my agent and editor would attest to and it probably makes them cringe. I sometimes “think” I know who the killer is, and then characters surprise me, and it changes. My characters are very hard to control on the page… they have their own agenda, ha! That’s the magic sauce — when something happens that catches even me by surprise. Although I do have plot points to guide me, writing for me is like driving in the fog…I can only see a few feet in front of me. I feel as though I’m watching a movie, and I’m revealing the scene to the reader as I go. I’m very methodical though. I write 1,000-2,000 words a day (in the morning, sometimes deathly early, like 4AM) and vaguely plot or plan where the story is going for the next day (in the afternoon). The next morning, I edit the previous day’s work, and keep going …until I reach 80,000 words.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Lately, it feels like writing is taking a lot of time, as working on and launching a new series can be daunting. I’m amazed at other authors who can work on multiple series at one time. I’m working on the edits for book 2 now and writing book 3 at the same time and preparing interviews for a launch, keeping up on social media, website, newsletters, and multiple brick and mortar events…. so currently, it feels like writing is most of my life. However, I also sell painted glass locally as I mentioned earlier, and that really picks up during the holiday months. I’m working on adding an online craft store to my author website where readers can purchase items related to the series.
In the summer, I garden and preserve my tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, and fill my shelves like a chipmunk preparing for winter. When time allows, I like to make handmade gifts for Christmas presents, but I’m not so sure this year! I also recently started teaching a paint class locally at Faith and Giggles (pushing me completely out of my comfort zone) but I push myself because all the proceeds raised go to help local non-profits. So far, we’ve raised money for the Boys & Girls club, Support Our Troops, and the Pink Pumpkin Run for breast cancer. This was also inspirational for the community spirit I touch on at Community Craft, the store where my main character finds herself working in the Handcrafted Mystery series. I belong to a local book club at the library and my husband and I are currently taking a 10-week course called Citizen’s Police Academy. Oh, and I also care for four chickens! 😊
Where can we find you to stay in touch? What do you have coming up in the future?
I’m wrapping up the edits on A Crafter Hooks a Killer, #2 in the Handcrafted Mystery series, due out the second week in June -2019. And I’m also contracted for a winter book that will release the following February. Until then, one word at a time…