Sunday, February 5, 2012

Guest Post & Review: Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Today we welcome author, Susan Kaye Quin who is promoting her novel, Open Minds. Welcome Susan!

Publisher: CreateSpace
Date of Publication: November 2011

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. 

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

I never know what to expect with a new to me author.  I liked the synopsis when I read it and was intrigued by the premise.  This book far exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed it.

Open Minds is a very well written YA novel.  I liked the world that the author has created.  Most of the world population becomes a "reader" some time in their teens.  Imagine being able to read everyone's mind.  Most people don't even talk out loud anymore.   For Kira, the change doesn't seem to be coming.  She is facing life as  zero, someone who is not considered normal anymore.  Boy was she wrong.  Once she finds out the truth about herself, she isn't sure who to trust or how to keep those that she loves protected.  

There is a little something for every reader packed into this novel.  I loved the ending and had I not known it was part of a trilogy, I would have been very happy with the way it ended.  I love when an ending makes me sigh.   I  look forward to see what the future has in store for Kira and her loved ones.  

Susan was nice enough to share a few thoughts with us:

Where Ideas Come From: A Mind Reading World
by Susan Kaye Quinn

One of my favorite writing quotes goes something like this: "I don't know where ideas (for writing) come from. I only know where they come to: my chair, 9 am, every morning." The attribution for that quote is lost in the swirl of ideas that roam my mind, but the inspiration of it guides what I do every day: sit down and do the creative work that beckons those ideas to my chair.

My YA novel Open Minds is set in a world where everyone reads minds. That one aspect of the world changes everything from the architecture of houses to the social interactions of people to the political systems around the world. But I didn't know any of that when I started.
In the beginning I had a simple image in my mind, born of the desire to write a rockin' paragraph for the great Nathan Bransford's 1st paragraph contest.

I knew that none of my current novels had a hooky first paragraph, and for the record, I don't believe novels live and die on their first paragraph. There has to be a whole lot more to a story than those first 100 words. But I wanted to have a good showing in the contest, so I decide to make up a paragraph for a novel that didn't exist.

I had previously toyed with an idea about a boy who was a touch empath - he could feel everything that another person felt or thought by touching them, which led him to become a recluse. His guidance counselor at school had discovered what he could do and helped him deal with his hidden power. But I hadn't done much with the idea, just a few notes and scribblings. I wasn't even sure it was strong enough to support a novel.

But maybe it could support a first paragraph.

I mulled ways to write that story into a paragraph while drifting off to sleep one night. Then a completely different story popped into my head. It was encapsulated in a single image: a girl in a high school classroom of the future where everyone could read minds but her. Her isolation was utter and complete, as everyone around her learned, talked, and gossiped via mind link. She was trapped in a silent bubble of exclusion.
I jumped out of bed, ran downstairs, and wrote that first paragraph.

I didn't win the contest, but I didn't care. I had a story idea that I loved, and that image haunted me for about a month before I decided I had to write this girl's story.

So, in this case, the idea came to me at bedtime. But all the other ideas for the novel came to my chair every morning as I puzzled through, fabricated, and pounded out this future world where everyone read minds except one girl. The original paragraph (highly modified) is still buried somewhere in chapter one. And that empath boy who could feel everyone else's feelings and thoughts? He became the model for the normal mindreaders in Kira's world - a society where simply touching someone was an intimate act of sharing thoughts and feelings. An act that Kira would never experience.

Where do ideas come from? Everywhere, nowhere, contests, bedtime, and that fertile place we call imagination. I believe creativity is a muscle that gets stronger every time we use it.

Right now I'm writing Closed Hearts, the sequel to Open Minds, and I keep finding more and more ideas springing from that first brain spark. Kira's story has just begun. :)

About the Author:

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times. 

Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way. 

She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad. 

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle. 

Susan's Website/Blog | Susan's twitter | Susan's Facebook Page 

1 comment:

Theresa Milstein said...

I love hearing how authors play around with ideas and where their ideas come from. It's often hard to explain how from one thought the other pieces fall in place (or we beat them there with a hammer).