Author of Thicker Than Water.
Today I am chatting with historical fiction author, Laura Quinn, about her debut novel Thicker than Water, which is an investigation into family ties and a sweeping saga of betrayal, lies, and loss on all sides et against the abckdrop of the First World War.
Helen: Welcome Laura! First congratulations on writing a novel and now publishing it. Such an amazing feeling to publish your first book. Tell us a little about it.
Laura: Titanic meets Boardwalk Empire in this historical fiction set against the picturesque shore town of Cape May, NJ, at the onset of World War One. Siblings Danny and Shannon Culligan are trapped under the thumb of their alcoholic father. Danny’s been in love with his childhood sweetheart, Jennie Martin- a wealthy cottager from Philadelphia- for as long as he can remember while her cousin, Hugh, is smitten with his sister.
As the foursome struggles to surmount the class differences between them, the nation is plunged into the Great War, changing all of their lives forever. Danny is drafted into the Army and Hugh enlists in the Navy- defending the home front as a lieutenant at Cape May Section Base Number 9. While Jennie works tirelessly on the Liberty Loans campaign in Philadelphia, Shannon finds herself ensnared in a rum ring operation as the temperance movement ebbs closer to its goal of Prohibition. A sweeping saga of betrayal, lies, and loss on all sides, Thicker Than Water, marries the historically accurate world building of Ellen Marie Wiseman’s The Orphan Collector with the emotional resonance of Renee Rosen’s works.
Helen: I love writing Fantasy novels because I can make it all up, but you have written a historical novel about real places and real events. This must be so much more challenging. I have been really fortunate to read an early copy, and I loved it – (you can read my book review here) – Your attention to detail is phenomenal. How much research did you have to do for your book?
Laura: I spent two years in research and development before putting pen to paper. With regard to historical events in narrative, I tried to stay as close to source material as possible throughout. A NJ resident myself, making sure the details were accurate was a matter of utmost importance to me from the beginning. Writing about a pandemic while living through one was particularly difficult. My research and outline for TTW was completed prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns. There were times in the last two years where I strongly considered changing these chapters (or eliminating them completely from a reader-sensitivity standpoint). My only hope is that I did justice to those lives impacted in both outbreaks.
Helen: You have chosen quite a dramatic cover, with the monotone colours and the stormy seas. Is there a story behind how you came up with your cover?
Laura: The cover and paperback interior design were done by Elite Authors. As a debut author, I had many questions and the staff were wonderful to work with. I had some very clear ideas when it came to the cover, and shared samples of photography I’d found on iStock and Unsplash that I felt conveyed the tone of my novel. Without getting into spoilers, I can tell you that a crucial scene occurs in the midst of a nor’easter storm coming ashore. The event goes on to impact all four main characters in different ways, some of which are explored in Thicker Than Water, the others in the two sequels planned.
Helen: It’s great news that there is more to come! Let’s talk a little about how you write. Do you have a specific writing space where you like to work?
Laura: Oddly enough, at my dining room table. I like to spread out, so my “workspace” has plenty of room for me to lay out reference materials on one side of me and notes on the other. The room also has large windows and gets a lot of natural sunlight, so it’s a cozy environment. The back window faces my kids’ play area in our yard, so I can keep eyes and ears on them, too, from where I am. You can usually find our tabby, Tigger, snuggled somewhere close by.
Helen: Writing companions are the best! My cat Alfie is usually the same, curled up nearby. When not writing what do you like to do?
Laura: I enjoy many hobbies outside the bookish variety. Spending time with my family is my favorite, even if it’s just shuffling the kids to-and-from one of their activities. I love watching them perform, be it on the ballet stage or the soccer field. I also love gardening, and just planted my annuals for this season. We can learn so much from nature. It always inspires me.
Helen: Most writers are great readers, do you have a favourite book?
Laura: Little Women. I read a junior edition when I was in third grade for my first book report and fell in love with the story. My late grandmother gifted me a beautiful hardcover to commemorate the event. I’ve read it several times over and it holds an honored place on the coffee table in my living room.
Helen: How lovely! I love it when a book has a story to go woth it, evoking special memories. Thank you so much for spending time with me today. Good luck with your launch and congratulations again on the launch of your debut novel. Just to finish, do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Laura: Get it down. Whether handwritten in a notebook, typed up on a laptop, or texted from your phone when you can’t sleep. Tell your story. Be authentic and don’t hold back.
About the Author:
Laura Quinn currently resides in southern New Jersey with her husband, two children, and spoiled tabby cat. When not writing or consuming copious amounts of coffee, she enjoys hiking, the beach, and spending time with her family. Thicker Than Water is her debut novel, with two additional books planned to round out the Culligans’ saga.
You can order Thicker Than Water from Amazon:
Papaerback preorder -release 16th September 2022.
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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook, paperback or hardcover: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Book Three: Sentinals Justice. Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next book releases.
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