Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Brunch 11/24/13


First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Harper’s Sunday Brunch Interview!
It’s an honor to be here, Harper. <looks around nervously, hopes bib is adjusted in case luncheon is offered>

So, can you tell us what makes Erin O’Quinn tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
Me, tick? I guess what winds my clock is needing to spit it all out before it’s too late, before those footsteps behind me get much closer. I went to college, then grad school, so of course I’ve known my way around a keypad and a writing program for a long time. But I never sat down at the computer with the idea of actually writing a book until my husband and I got a huge iMac, one large enough to cry out “Do me!”And do him I did.

It’s taken me from December first-ish 2010 until now, three years, to write 22 books. Okay, four of those are shorts. So who’s counting? I started out with a four-book series of YA. The MC of those sagas was so engaging—attractive yet self-centered, delusional, tomboy to the max—that I continued her story in an adult trilogy beyond that. With one other book in that universe, the Ireland of St. Patrick, I ended my only sojourn into the world of M/F. From that time on, I have written exclusively M/M romcoms or M/M action/adventure. A chick with a dick? Um, I don’t think so. At least, male readers have assured me that my stuff doesn’t read that way. So these days, what makes me tick is an engaging couple of men with a hard-on for each other and a story to tell.

What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
I’m writing in the annual scribble-fest called NaNoWriMo. The work is called NEVADA HIGHLANDER: A Scottish castle laird decides to attend a big game hunt in the mountains of Eastern Nevada, and his reluctant babysitter is a governor-appointed state trooper. Each man finds the other to be very attractive, and soon enough certain sparks begin to affect both men. What will happen when the hunter finds he's being trailed, thousands of miles from home? And what will the trooper do when his cover is, um, blown?

The prevailing tone is semi-humorous, so here’s a representative sample:

For the next little while, Alex and the Scotsman traded glassfuls of something resembling whisky. A cross between scotch and diesel fuel, a brand he’d never heard of. Dinner was still a long way off, but he found himself not caring at all.

By the time they ordered their steaks, they were sitting about a foot apart, not too close. Not close enough to raise eyebrows. Alex remembered being twice that distance apart when he’d first sat down, but somehow he didn’t give a shit.

When their dinner finally arrived, some kind of meat that could have been steak, they both ate as though it were the finest prime rib. At one point, Rory lifted his head and jabbed him with a strange look.

“Those eyes.”


“A man could drown in them.”

The way he said it ... raw, direct, unsmiling ... caught him off guard. Alex drew in a sharp breath at the same time blood pumped into his cock first, then spread, a wildfire, consuming every inch of his body. He felt the heat rise even to his neck and into his ears. He and the other man seemed to lock eyes for long minutes, but it must have been seconds before he ducked his head to stare at the dinner plate. When he dared to glance up again, the Scotsman was calmly eating, looking around at the surroundings, fingering his whisky glass.

He must have heard it wrong. The Scottish accent, his way of quirking one side of his upper lip into his mustache, his own desperate longing ... Alex kept eating in silence, aware that the conversation had failed miserably. He tried to pick it back up, straighten the ragged edges.

“So ... tell me about your flight.”

“Why is it, lad, everyone always asks about the most miserable part of any trip? I haven’t a foogin idea. I was drunk the whole way. And now, at last, I’m in my own private heaven.”

He was almost afraid to ask, because Rory was setting him up for it. “And what heaven is that?”

So quickly he didn’t see it coming, the handsome man leaned closer and put his lips close to his ear, almost touching the delicate rim. The heat of his breath sent a jumping, jolting current under his skin that traveled all the way up his ass. God in heaven what was this man doing? And why wasn’t he, Alex, leaning away from almost tasting his breath?

“A perfect dinner companion. One who fires my ... imagination.”

...The man leveled his deep green eyes again into his own. “I have a question for you. What is it you most enjoy doing?”

“I ... suppose ... working out. Walking. Feeling the miles under my feet.”

“Alex, that sounds like a lonesome kind of pleasure. No faithful companion? A sweetheart? Maybe a wife?”

The Scotsman was so blatantly open, so charmingly naive in his question, Alex couldn’t help showing a rare smile. “None of the above.”

Again the eyes probed his. “Unbelievable. Yet some men would rather be left alone. I understand, lad.”

Was Rory setting him up for a denial? Because he wanted to shout, No, I want someone to fuck my ass, fuck my mouth, take me into his private heaven ... I want you, Rory Drummond.

“I didn’t say I preferred the loneliness. That’s just the way my life is going right now.”

“Well, we have each other for almost two weeks. Perhaps your heaven and mine will intersect.”

Flustered again, Alex looked away, and Rory put a hand lightly on his forearm. “I mean we might hike a trail together, you and I. Another of life’s rare pleasures.”

In spite of himself, Alex smiled. Rory was a comical mix of naive and subtle, naughty boy and sexy man. Suddenly his onerous assignment felt a lot lighter. Maybe this man will end up babysitting me instead. Christ in heaven, I hope so.

When they left, it was into a bitter cold night, but Alex was hardly feeling it. They sort of walked together to room 13B. Rory slid a magnetic card in the door slot and stood aside. “After you, lad.”

He stood for a moment inside the room watching the sliver of light between the tiny overhead fixture outside and the black interior where he found himself, scared shitless at his own bold decision. His new friend closed the door, not bothering to flick on the light. His next sensation was a still-hungry mouth seeking the tender skin under his chin, teeth gnawing his throat, his lips, and the sound of a moan slow-bleeding into the dark. It was his own soft cry, and for once in his life he didn’t give a shit when he plunged his tongue into a blessed wetness, fucked the man’s downy-whiskered mouth, accepted his tightening embrace, allowed himself to be picked up and carried to a place of release.

Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books, or do you prefer to use your imagination?
I use my imagination, almost one hundred percent.

What genre do you typically write in, and why did you choose this over others?
I mentioned that I’ve gravitated to M/M romcom and M/M action/adventure. In spite of my, um, lady parts, I find the sexual and emotional connection between two men to be highly evocative, sensual and fulfilling. I also like working out the dynamics between strong men, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Usually all of the above.

Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
Nope. I read briefly over the last one or two thousand words I ended with, and then just begin to write. I never write several drafts. From my fingers to the keyboard, ka-ching, it’s a done deal. I should explain here that I write in a way most folks do not. I call it “organic,” burrowing deep under the skin (and foreskin) of my characters, knowing them, feeling them, touching and seeing and smelling them.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
It’s usually an image (some unusual looking man in a photo gallery), sometimes a stray thought. Nothing formal, no trick anyone could use. From the man to the skeleton of a story, from there to a plot.

What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
First, great writing. Second, great writing. Third ... you get the idea.

We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
Why do I love Vladimir Nabokov, Michael Chabon, Seamas Heaney, Robert Frost? Why did I choose to co-author three books with Nya Rawlyns? I love the density and cadence of their prose, the near poetry, the metaphorical images, the uniqueness, the music.

We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
I have so many. Hum. What would be the pettest of the pet? I’ll kind of have to choose at random. It gets under my skin to the max when I read a promo or a news feed on my FB page, supposedly from a writer, that contains a blatant misspelling or a simplistic grammatical mistake. Grrrrrrrr. People who cannot learn the simple rules of language should hire a ghost writer, or emphatically not call themselves writers.

When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
I like watching football with my husband, catching a few of my favorite shows or a good movie. Pretty boring. I like cat-watching, could do it for hours.

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Erin. I know my followers will enjoy this spotlight as much as I have conducting it. Good luck on all your future endeavors.
Thank you, Harper. This has been more fun than a cat circus. You’ve made me think about my own motivations, and that’s good. I usually don’t slow down long enough to do that. Best of success to you, too!


Erin O’Quinn is the pen name of a writer who began her career penning YA and Romance tales about St. Patrick’s fifth-century AD Ireland. Since then, her interests have taken her back to her home state of Nevada, to stories of gay men in a wilderness/small town environment.

Erin earned a BA in English and an MA in Comparative Lit from the University of Southern California. After she left grad school and taught for a few years (freshman English, from remedial to dear-God-what-a-waste), she hit the road for more realistic vocations: newspaper marketing and promotion, car sales, garden guru in a big-box store. It was in these latter pursuits that she regained the voice that she says best reflects her: the simple, deeply resonating tones of men and women who live close to the earth and who find a spiritual center there.

Her Blogs:
Her Websites:
Twitter or @dawnofireland


Zachary Williams lives on the edge, making do and running from a secret that has scarred him for nearly a lifetime. For Zach, running means staying put, isolated on his small ranch in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.

Joshua Caras has made mistakes, too many to count, and when he’s given a second chance he discovers that leaving is his only option. The law disagrees with that choice.

Two men living on the edge, as different as night and day, are thrown together when a wild mustang runs afoul of barbed wire on Zach’s land. The only way to save the animal is to work together, to find trust where none exists.

Friendship can take many shapes. For these men, loners, emotionally barren, the bond they form is odd and sometimes terrifying. Respect and trust never come easy, but when a man holding a grudge comes after Zach, trying to destroy everything he holds dear, Josh knows he will do whatever it takes to protect this special man.

Sometimes the best fit comes when the edges are a little frayed.

Truckee … you can call him Truck. A mixed-blood native man on the road to visit his spirit heritage in the Wheeler Peak range in Nevada. A man who’s been bludgeoned by life, judging by the look of his craggy features and in-your-face attitude. The world hasn’t handed Truck any breaks. The only man besides his father he has ever loved was killed in Iraq, now only a memory that eats at his gut. His wind spirit, born of his Paiute heritage, drives the wilderness images he pens and draws for a living. And then one day, hitching a ride on the Loneliest Road in America, he accepts a lift from a good looking, arrogant man named Dominic Majors. Call him Dom. A man who lives up to his name… Running from a lifestyle that is sucking his soul for no emotional gain, Dom thinks he can find a kind of salvation in his work for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, helping to save the desert bighorn. At the end of a trail, literally as well as emotionally, he sees a hitchhiker with impossibly broad shoulders and an improbable black suit on a lonely road to nowhere. Curious, needing a companion for the long trail ahead, he stops for the giant man with an even bigger ’tude. And so begins the ride of their lives.




  1. This has been a real joy, Harper. Thanks for the opportunity to let me babble on about stuff, and of course a chance for people to see a litte of my writing. I also appreciate the buy links.

    I hope anyone reading the interview will have a question or two, because I'd love to respond.Write and read happy, everyone!

    1. It was a pleasure to have you, Erin! BTW, I'm enjoying Mustang very much!

  2. Erin, this is wonderful! I can't wait to read Rory and Alex, since I know I'm going to love them just as I love all your characters! You know how I feel about the Wilderness Trail series you're writing with Nya Rawlyns, but I'll say it again: you and Nya have, with those books, changed my life. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is in no way even close to that. Watching the struggles your characters go through with themselves as well as with those they love has opened my eyes to my own struggles with myself and with those humans who keep pulling me from my writing into this thing called life; re-reading your books with a writer's eye has peeled back the onion-layers of your process and stripped naked my own, in front of a full-length mirror exposing my flaws, and my strengths; re-re-reading with a lover's heart has kept me on the 'still breathing' side of despair. You and your writing are, in a word, magnificent.

    1. I will never, ever live up to that kind of praise, Su. Thank you, though, for liking my stuff. I feel so damn close to my guys, they are real to me. Absolutely real. And yes, I think you will like this book!

  3. I cannot wait to read Nevada Highlander. I really enjoy the humor you inject into your work. It's fantastic.

    1. Thanks, Os.

      I, too, enjoy humor in every aspect of life. In that book, I had a chance to play a shy man against a sure one; a naive man against an experienced one. What fun!

      I try to use humor in every book as much as the characters will allow me. :~)

  4. A most excellent interview, and I too cannot wait to see Nevada Highlander out there!

    1. Hi, Nya, I'm happy to see your smiling, ah, eye. Yes, I think it will come out near the end of January. Why? Because I have a short story releasing Dec. 22, about a tall Nevadan who visits Scotland. The two guys are completely different, and their motivations are different too. But they may easily get confused by the reading public.

  5. Harper, before my time here is up, I want to thank you for this opportunity. You have a dynamite blog, and I feel privileged to have been your guest. Thanks so very much! I really did eat way too much, so tomorrow begins the diet. :-D