Interview with Erin O'Quinn

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I got started late in the writing game. About four years ago, after retiring, I wrote a historical fantasy called HIDDEN BY THE ROSE ... a young hellion in 5th-century Britannia whose parents have died finds herself whisked to a strange place called "Faerie." There she makes friends who last throughout at least eight books. This first novel was pubbed by MuseItUp, along with three others which make up "The Twilight of Magic" sagas.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first one was in the collection of Grimm Brothers fairy tales, a pretty macabre assortment of "let's scare the kid" stories. It was probably "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf," a cautionary tale about minding one's mother and the ghastly results of selfishness. Well, both the story and the illustration are imbedded in my brain. I didn't always mind my mother, but by God I always stay away from mud puddles when I'm wearing new shoes.
How do you approach cover design?
A good cover is as important as a good story. I don't always have control ... as when my MS is in the hands of a publisher ... but when I do, here are the elements it must have: (1) strong, compelling design and color; (2) uncluttered and easy to read font; (3) design elements which reflect the mood and/or plot of the contents.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Fire for reading in bed. Otherwise, I use the large screen of my iMac.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Most effective for me are the various Facebook groups targeted at my own genre/subgenre.. M/M romance and M/M mystery-adventure. The scattergun approach of other social media has not given me any tangible results. I must also say that, in spite of my having five of my own blogsites and appearing on dozens of others, I rarely sell many books via blog.
Describe your desk
My desk is a cheerful clutter consisting of my fave coffee cup (holds a bunch) ... scraps of paper and a few pens ... an Epson printer covered with a comfy throw for my supervisor cat ... a stuffed Peter Rabbit given to me by my husband last Easter which the cat likes to watch crash and burn.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up virtually on the highest mountain in Eastern Nevada. And yes, that has profoundly affected my writing. Many of my books are either based right there in the Wheeler or Snake Range, or the settings in my books reflect my love of the land and people I grew up with. I have a series called "Noble Dimensions"—contemporary westerns which are set in a fictional Eastern Nevada. My current series, including the first book NEVADA HIGHLANDER, takes place right there on Mt. Moriah. Even a romance set in 5th-century Ireland is set in the mountains of Northern Ireland and reflects the values and the surroundings of my youth.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, THE KILT COMPLEX, is the story of two men, lovers, who must confront real life after the romance wears off. It's set on the rough eastern seacoast of Scotland. When Alex chafes at being Rory's boy toy, he moves out of his lover's castle and sets up a small place close by. That act sets everything else in motion. They find a dog and, tracing its owner, get tangled in a blackmail scheme and a murder. By the end of the book, they've drawn even closer than before.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am not a patient person. I've found myself gnashing my teeth over the looooong process of editing, getting my stuff onto better-known sites than my pub's website, and hoping and praying the cover won't be too gawdawful. Being an indie, I can indulge my "tedious perfectionist" tendencies and, while I'm at it, make more money too.
Published 2015-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Warrior, Ride Hard
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,640. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
A steel-gutted Roman ex-soldier, a beautiful young Norseman, and a Welsh pony trainer: Follow three men’s adventures across a decade in Old World Britannia and Ireland, in an age when brute force was the order of the day—when a man’s love for a man could lead to peril or end in death. Warrior, Ride Hard is the first of the Iron Warrior trilogy, set in the badass era of St. Patrick.
Captive Heart (Dawn of Ireland 3)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 96,330. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Caylith uncovers the story of her mother's past captivity by slave dealers, while being shackled to the unseemly passions of her husband's own kinsman. She embarks on a mission to save captives held on desolate Tory Island, made impregnable by a nest of treacherous rocks. She must also find the man behind it all and try to slip the manacles of the one who has bound her to his fevered heart.
Wakening Fire (Dawn of Ireland 2)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 106,740. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical, Fiction » Erotica » Action/Adventure
Seeking each other's erotic secrets, two lovers find themselves on another quest—for the dark secrets of an old enemy, an invalid, yet seemingly dangerous as ever. Their path leads them to the history of Ireland's most famous high king, to the grim vengeance of a jealous woman, and finally to the hills of sacred Tara, where a high king and St. Patrick himself compete for men's hearts and souls.
Storm Maker (Dawn of Ireland 1)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 106,770. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Caylith shares only a few words with the wild clansman Liam, but a whole lexicon of body language. In spite of her resistance, old passions flare again. Even if she can defeat her sworn enemy and rescue her present lover, Caylith will be forced to make a critical decision: should she choose faithful Kevan whom she left in Britannia, or this uncivilized cattle baron, this mysterious Irishman Liam?
Where Wild Ponies Ran
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 91,980. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Who will win the untamed redhead Caylith, trembling on the cusp of her 18th year? Five attractive men try to woo her. But will she turn from all of them to settle her band of immigrants in Ireland, and to keep her pledge to her friend Father Patrick? A tale of adventure, magic, love, and betrayal…the fourth and final Twilight of Magic novel leading to the romance trilogy The Dawn of Ireland.
Children of the Dust
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 109,610. Language: English. Published: April 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
The oracles have foretold it! Caylith will lead everyone from the twilight of magic to a new dawn. Faerie is already being eaten by a ghastly mist and by some evil that is draining life from her powerful grandfather, even as it fells someone very close to her. How can Caylith truly be the deliverer, when she cannot save her friend, or herself, from a force more menacing than she ever imagined?
Hidden by the Rose
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 95,700. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Taking refuge in the impossible land of Faerie, Caylith begins to train in the martial arts and begins to learn her own personal magic. She becomes a thorn hidden by the rose, for she finds that she has certain powers she could never suspect. While in Faerie, Caylith finds herself growing and changing in many subtle ways. Caylith returns at last to Britannia, trying to bring evil men to justice.
Queen's Stones
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,290. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
A young Pictish queen-to-be on the eve of her marriage meets a stranger whose words and actions are bold…and disturbing. In spite of her strong resistance, this man begins to fill a crack in her life. But why now, on the verge of her ritual Bonding? And how can a stranger pass the impossible test set by the very gods?
A Rainbow Bridge (A Burns! Novel)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 53,750. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
A cop and a scholar find an unlikely bridge into another century—the age of Robert Burns—where they meet the man who was the inspiration for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, waiting for the gallows in 1788. Follow two lovers across a Rainbow Bridge spanning more than two centuries as they struggle to reconcile the convenient lies of history and the truth about their own conflicted relationship.
Utah: A Spirit Dream
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,330. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
A Paiute man named Utah awakens on Christmas Eve to find the handsome long-haired stranger Kris, who had healed and befriended him, has vanished without a trace. He sets out to find him in the dark, in a snowstorm, while the children of the world wait for Santa. A gay erotic fantasy holiday short story.
Burns! Box Set Two (Mysteries 5-6)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,670. Language: English. Published: September 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Thomas and Burns…an undercover cop and a mysterious Scot…have met and merged, only to be torn apart (THE UNICORN’S SECRET) and reunited in an astonishing turn of events (THE BURNS ENIGMA). Don’t miss the final two mysteries, a love story combined with crime and plot twists that will leave you gasping for more. This box set is offered at half the price of buying each individual novella.
Running Over Rainbows
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,230. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical, Fiction » Coming of age
Teenager Caylith is “imprisoned” for six months learning how to become a proper young lady. Her reluctant handler is Marrie AppleSprout, the elderly aunt of her father. The despised relative is just as much a stubborn, willful renegade as her niece—a fact she keeps well hidden from Caylith! What happens when a white pony and a white unicorn gallop into the lives of both these red-headed hellions?
The Burns Enigma
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,450. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
A tough cop and a reclusive civilian discover that an old crime and a new murder are connected. Worse, the common denominator is one of them. Thomas Fitzgerald and a “new” lover are in the shadow of a criminal, one who has set his mind on brutal revenge. What will happen, as then and now and tomorrow start to merge? The enigma begins with Burns...
The Unicorn's Secret
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 17,360. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Is this the end, or merely the beginning? Hogmanay… New Year’s Eve in Scotland, 2014. A chance assignment in Stirling finds Thomas and Burns in a medieval castle, on a perilous hunt for a suspected bomber. Burns’ final secret may be revealed when two unusual sleuths follow their own private mystery to an astonishing conclusion.
The Chase
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 47,570. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
A smartass gay man named Brew, back home in the hick town of Noble, Nevada for a few weeks, meets a shy man a few years older named Chase, unsure of his sexuality and buried in work on his dad's ranch 15 miles from town. Throw these two guys together. Add a crooked federal agent, a homophobic father, and what do you get? An adventure, a chase, and an erotic trip to the "new old west" of Nevada.
Noble, Nevada
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 47,020. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
This love affair is set in the contemporary hick town of Noble, Nevada. It's fast and unrestrained, in spite of Tony’s awkward naivete and Rick’s shrouded history. Both men begin to plan a future together. But their pasts return to shatter their dreams. How can these two men find happiness, when steel bars and the prison of anguished memories separate them? Love hurts. Let it also heal.
On Falcon Wings
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,780. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
The Pict named Tawn, whose blue markings resemble a falcon in flight, has been banished from his clan after being found with another man on the eve of his wedding. On his journey west, he meets a cheeky stranger who challenges some of his strong beliefs. Tawn, torn with indecision, appeals to his spirit-guide and discovers a secret that may change his future—and even that of his people.
A Hard Place
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,330. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Shawn Murphy, a Nevada Game Warden, discovers a poacher—wild-eyed falconer Dylan Morgan. The miscreant is wounded and has lost his bird to the scorching blue skies of the Paiute Range. Shawn soon discovers how hard it is to enforce the law. Somewhere between a flimsy cot and the scalding sun, the lawman finds himself between a hard place—and a rock.
Cowboys and Kilts
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 18,330. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
A rancher’s son goes to Scotland in search of his family roots. Fate brings him to the door of an oversized, cranky castle laird. After getting off on the wrong, er, boot…the men find something about each other to delve into more deeply. But fate can be cruel. Finding the Loch Ness monster…A gay romance-fantasy novella.
Thin as Smoke (Gaslight Mysteries 4)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 58,300. Language: English. Published: April 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Closeted Simon is still more out of than into Michael’s bed. And now a thin, attractive man emerges from the smoke of the gay pub Paddy’s. It’s Dashiell Hammett. And he’s not there for an autograph signing. His presence is the catalyst for a profound change in the lives of both 1920s private eyes as they face Mafia bootleggers, careless revolvers, and the dead end of their ever-edgy partnership.
To the Bone (Gaslight Mysteries 3)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 57,660. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Michael McCree has joined forces with sulky Simon Hart as a PI in 1923 Ireland. The men begin working with a nosy new agent who interferes with their most private affairs. Will they be able to track down an art thief, the head of a large criminal enterprise, and a murderer—while deepening their relationship—as long as Moshe is so close to the bone they may never shake him off?
Sparring with Shadows (Gaslight Mysteries 2)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 59,350. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Simon Hart has barely begun to tolerate his new partner and flat-mate Michael McCree, when his randy associate speaks candid words that send him into a spiral of angst and soul-searching. Soon both PIs are stalking a thief and killer, from a hidden lair to the very sewers under the 1923 city of Dun Linden, Ireland, where they find themselves truly sparring with shadows.
Heart to Hart (Gaslight Mysteries 1)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 56,920. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
The book follows the escapades of a gay man, Michael McCree, and his reluctant partner Simon Hart. The two men, investigators in 1923 Ireland, look into some very private affairs—yet none more private than their own.
Masters of Cane (Gaslight Mysteries 5)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 54,090. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Private dicks Michael McCree and Simon Hart find their neighbors and their own tiny spy network in grave danger from a group of thieves who would rather slit a throat than pick an honest pocket; and an old nemesis who has a score to settle with both of them. The always-edgy romantic partnership of the two investigators also undergoes some twists and turns… of fate and canes alike.
Burns: Box Set
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 78,320. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
These four novellas, although each complete in itself, do tell a story and form a novel: What if two men, running from themselves, were to meet? Would the clash of their collision make them ironically whole again? Or would their subtle but serious differences finally send them careening off each other, lost and splintered and running once more?
The Devil in Falkirk
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,870. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Romance
It’s all about kilts and commitment for sultry Burns and his restrained lover Thomas Fitzgerald. Two lonely men arrange a holiday tryst at the site of monster horses and a scrap of fabric from Scotland’s history. A scholar and a police undercover detective track down a lawbreaker and find a new use for a forgotten piece of the past, while taking their passion to a new level.
Red, Red Rose (Burns-Fitzgerald Mystery 3)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,920. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
A tight-lipped Irish cop and an enigmatic Scot come together in a place of sorrow and hidden passion. Can a “red, red rose” from a poet named Burns solve the unknowable mystery of love itself?
The Dundee Law
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 23,800. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Sometimes Thomas Fitzgerald wonders whether the mysterious Burns is a figment of his lonely nights, a creature evolved from an idealized portrait of the poet Robert Burns. Real or not, the university teacher-curator teams up with him to solve a murder involving an ancient burial site and a voice from Scotland’s bloody past. Join two unusual sleuths at the famous mound called “The Dundee Law."
Burns Too Deep
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,020. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Can two men stop running long enough to find each other? The story of an Irish detective and a mysterious Scot. Two men meet on a stretch of highway between nowhere and Dundee, Scotland. What secret does each man hold? And what will happen if those truths are ever revealed? Both men have much to lose. And something crucial to gain, if only they can stop running.
Hunter's Point (Nevada Highlander 3)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 57,950. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
A Scot, a cop, and a killer … at a point of no return. At the same time Scotland is on the verge of passing a same-sex marriage law, Rory Drummond and Alex Dominguez follow murder clues from the lighthouse complex on Montrose Promontory to one of Scotland’s most prestigious prep schools … while a killer, not content with one victim, waits in a place none would suspect.
The Kilt Complex (Nevada Highlander 2)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 57,630. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Scottish high crimes and sexy misdemeanors... From the perilous cliffs on the North Sea to the grounds of the Scottish Parliament, Rory Drummond and Alex Dominguez find they must finally confront their complex feelings for eah other in order to survive the trap of a killer.
Nevada Highlander
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 57,170. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
For some men, love comes hard. But deceit comes even harder. Here is the tale of a Scottish Highlander and a Nevada State Trooper who find themselves unlikely "buddies" on a big game hunt. Naturally, they are strongly attracted. What will happen when the hunter finds he's being spied on, thousands of miles from home? And what will the trooper do when his cover is, ah, blown?