Monday, May 5, 2014

Meet Author Qwen Salsbury!

Author Qwen Salsbury
There are times I pick up a book on a whim. I did this with “The Plan” by Qwen Salsbury. I told myself I was only going to read a chapter and get on with writing.


Hours later, I had finished the book. I was fascinated by the characters, the dialogue was sharp and better yet---I laughed out loud more than once.

I knew immediately what I had to do after such a magnificent read, I tracked town the Author and introduced myself, then pestered her until I could convince her to come on my blog. She graciously agreed.

Today, I have with me, Qwen Salsbury, Author, Mother, employed full-time; with a great sense of humor—welcome!

  First Qwen, tell us about your new book, "The Plan"

Day of Employment: 358

10:15 a.m.

Location: Cubicles outside Canon's office.

Co-workers: Betting on how long Canon's new PA will last.

Me: No doubts. Ms. Gum-smacker won't last the day. I need to place my bet.

Manolo Blahnik's New Fall Shoes: Mine. As soon as Madeline hands over my winnings.

Emma Baker has never spoken a word to Alaric Canon, nor has he to her. But she's studied him every day across the office tundra for almost a year. Canon is hard and fierce, terrifying and beautiful. He's also the most stern, unforgiving person Emma has ever seen. Emma's co-workers run a betting pool for Canon's Personal Assistant terminations. There's a separate pot for the day one leaves without crying. Not likely...Canon made a former Navy SEAL cry.

He has high standards and low tolerance. Everyone knows it. Everyone stays away. Everyone who can, that is. Except Emma. She can't look away. Alaric Canon is the single most attractive man she's ever seen. Bar none.

Canon has never noticed her. Not once in almost a year. She's not even a blip on his radar. But she will be. His radar will be blipless no more.

It is a goal. Emma has a plan.

MVF: This is what drew me in and it was worth it.

What inspired you to write this book?

QS: A conversation I had with a dear friend, Chantel, in which we ponder why we seemed to always end up reading books with very docile, submissive heroines. We thought it would be great to read about a snarky woman who sees what she wants, throws it against the wall, and takes it.
MVF: You did a wonderful job, I loved Emma! But Alaric was a great foil to her.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

QS: The commitment to the format. I really wanted the snippets and broken strings of sentences. For me, they are the character. It was hard to stay on track with it, to remain true to the character, while doing expansions. I am aware that, for some, the crisp thought pattern isn’t exactly their cup of tea. For others, I hear it rings truer to their own processes. So, I had to remain true to Emma rather than cave to any desire to alter it in an attempt to please a vocal segment at the cost of another.
MVF: I like seeing this, not because I enjoy the difficulty, but to know others struggle with the same thing. You succeeded in remaining true to character in my estimation.

The easiest?

QS: The transitions between chapters. Oh my, it is great setting scenes up with those bullets points. I am spoiled and will no doubt miss it when I go back to writing in more traditional formats.
I really enjoyed how composing the bullet points would challenge me. My favorite is probably when Emma is describing where her hands are during the ballet.
MVF: I loved those bullet points! They were fun, and a few made me laugh.

 Is there a sequel?

QS: Not yet…
MVF: Ah, but this means there maybe…(See how I read into things!)

Or what are you working on now?

QS: I have a few story ideas in mind. There is more to tell of Alaric and Emma’s story, even though I really feel THE PLAN is a standalone piece. There is closure at the end, but there is also more potential story for the characters.
 I really want to write a romance with some level of intrigue. Or, rather, intrigue with some romance. There is also a fantasy story I have running around in my head, but I’m not sure how receptive readers would be to a completely different genre from me.
MVF: I hope eventually you write something in that world again, but I understand and accept it as a standalone. It’s just hard to walk away from the characters. I also like you have a variety of genres and stories spinning around in your head, this always makes me-- the reader, very happy to hear.

Let’s talk writing: How do you write: Pantser/plotter?

QS: I plot forever. Then I write it. Then I go back all the way to the beginning and tinker all the way through. the next day. Lather rinse repeat. You can’t imagine how long it takes me to generate 1000 words!
I need to speed my method up. Or eliminate the need for sleep.
MVF: I’m with you, less sleep and more time to tinker… *grin*

Do you write morning or evening or when you can?

QS: I write when everyone is asleep. I used to write during lectures.
 MVF: Wow, you write later night…I bet it’s hard to stay awake. I write later at night because it’s the only time and it’s a struggle.

Let’s talk balance, I know you have three kids. HOW do you do it all--? How do you balance? Lack of sleep? Lots of coffee? (I'm taking notes... I need suggestions)

QS: There are days when I’m pretty sure I’m not balancing anything at all. Do you recall that old clip of the pie guy dropping all his stacked pies on Sesame Street? Well, even if you don’t, that’s how I feel. 11 out of 12 times, the pies beat me down the stairs.
But, to attempt to answer your question: I have charts and labels for everything. We get clothes and dinners ready for the whole week ready on Sunday. I try to grocery shop as few days as possible. Anything that is a time suck, I try to avoid. 5 minutes here and 20 minutes there add up fast.
MVF: Wow—I feel for you and I admire your ability to manage. You may feel like things are falling all over, but everyone is still breathing! Some days it is how I judge if it’s a successful day.

Tell us three movies which have inspired you and why (Yes, I getting my Netflix cue squared away)

QS: 16 Candles. There is nothing speaks to me more than the plight of that poor, flat-chested girl obsessing about that seemingly unattainable guy.
The Outsiders. It has little to do with THE PLAN, but it is my favorite book of all time and I am certain it is why I care about words and film. So, the movie brought me to the book.
The Proposal. I think that movie was the last thing I watched before writing THE PLAN.
MVF: You chose three movies I adore. I knew I liked you.

Tell us three books/Authors who have inspired you and why (Love more books!)

QS: The Outsiders, see above. The fact that a teenage girl wrote what is required reading literature in much of the USA is just great.
JK Rowling. An amazing storyteller. She is the queen.
Jane Austen. Creator of the formula for most romantic comedies.  I actually like Sense and Sensibility more than Pride and Prejudice, but they are both amazing.
MVF: I love your choices! They are all some of my favorite authors. (S.E. Hinton is fabulous!)

Favorite meal. (and If if you have a recipe to share--another cool thing).

QS: My favorite food is taco pizza. (Yup, I’m all class.)
MVF: This is epic! (and easy, always helpful!)

I always ask this-- Favorite drink. (Water doesn't count) you can have more than one.

QS: Coke in a glass bottle.
MVF: You know, I haven’t thought of this in years—and now I really want one…

Thank you again for stopping by Qwen! I really can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your book and I look forward to more stories by you. I hope you stop by again.

Here are some places to find Qwen and her books (Just click on a link below): 


Author Bio: Qwen Salsbury was born in Kansas and somehow keeps ending up back there.  Raised on her grandparent’s five acre homestead within the city limits, her imagination was honed during long days of quiet play and spartan access to a TV signal.  Now mother to handsome boys, she strives to ensure they appreciate potential adventures found within the pages of a book, an honest day’s work, and what ingenuity may yield from mundane objects like a string and a cup.  The boys prefer a PS3.

After spending time in corporate America, she returned to school and received a BA in English, Creative Writing and Poetry from Pittsburg State University, the alma mater of Pulitzer Prize winning poet, James Tate.  She worked on a Masters there until going on to receive a juris doctorate from Washburn School of Law.

A seven-time Sigma Tau Delta writing award winner, her fiction and poetry have appeared in literary magazines and have been selected by fiction communities as featured story of the month and year.  Predominantly a writer of romance, her romantic fiction varies from contemporary to historical to fantasy, though often with a humorous slant and poetic undertones.
For reasons she can’t even articulate herself, she decided to start writing fiction again while solo parenting and attending law school (during Constitutional Law class, to be exact.).

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