Tuesday, November 1, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Grab Your Noise Makers! Launch Party for Open MInds

So, you already have a good idea how I feel about Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn.  If you aren't sure, click here for a reminder.  Yeah.  I like her book.  A lot!  But she is pretty amazing, too.
Rocket Scientist and Author
Susan is a mother, wife, author and yes, what you heard is true.  She can tag her business card with Rocket Scientist.  Now how do you like those apples?  I'm honored to have Susan here to share how the story idea for Open Minds came about.  So, take it away Susan.

Where Ideas Come From: A Mind Reading World
by Susan Kaye Quinn
picture credit
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 new YA novel Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) 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 decided 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. :)

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.
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UKFrance and Germany)Barnes & NobleSmashwordsand print (AmazonCreatespace, also autographed copies available from the author).
Thanks so much to Susan for bringing us Chapter 1 in this Launch Party.  Like any good party, that was just the start.  Check it out...there's more.

YAY for prizes!
Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.)

Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)  Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post

2) Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
Example: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. #keepingOPENMINDS @susankayequinn #SF #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/psX1Hh

Example: Celebrate the launch of OPEN MINDS by @susankayequinn #keepingOPENMINDS #SciFi #paranormal #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

3) Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn


Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome to hear how Susan came up with her story idea. Congrats on your debut Susan!

J.C. Martin said...

What a cool way to come up with an idea! Just goes to show that plot bunnies can spring up at the least expected moments...

Angela Brown said...

I agree with you both, Natalie and J.C. Such a wonderful way to have the idea then spring it into life.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Party Hosts are so mesh! Thanks for all your sweet words and being a part of the Party! :)

Neil Vogler said...

Bad news, Angela. I have tagged you in a meme over at my blog...

Giles Hash said...

It's nice to see that I'm not the only one who gets ideas at random times. That's why I have a recording device in my pocket most of the time!

LD Masterson said...

Great post and I have a YA who is going to love this book.

My ideas tend to come at odd times so I keep a little recorder in my pocket, too.

Cherie Colyer said...

I love hearing how people came up with the idea for a story. I've been there too, drifting off to sleep, when an idea comes to me and I'm suddenly out of bed jotting down notes.

Anonymous said...

LOL, I've had a few of those run down the stairs and write before a thought is lost!

This sounds like a wonderful story. Definitely adding it to the list.

Angela Brown said...

@ Susan - this was such a blast. I would have been demens to miss out on this :-)

@ Neil - not bad news at all lol!!

@ Giles and LD - WOW! You both keep recordings. How stoked is that?

@ Cherie and Raelyn - got to love it when the idea-monster strikes at those odd hours.

Joanna said...

Glad to hear Closed Hearts is going well. Love the title.

Sherrie Petersen said...

So many of my great ideas come as I'm falling asleep or waking up. I always keep pens and paper on my nightstand to jot things down otherwise I forget them by morning :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not entering to win (buying my copy) but that's a great way to get a novel inspiration!

Gail Shepherd said...

Open Minds. Closed Hearts. I'm trying to imagine what the title of the third book in the trilogy could possibly be!

Sangu said...

What a great interview - happy launch day to Susan!

Angela Brown said...

@ Joanna - the trilogy sounds like each title will have a catchy title.

@ Sherrie - that's a good idea, keeping pen and paper nearby

@ Alex - Mr. Support! Love it!

@ Gail - I am too. Such cool titles.

@ Sangu - YAY! Susan rocks!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. Sounds like a great story. It's going on my to-read list.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@giles Now there's a smart idea! #addsrecordertoWishList :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@LD Thanks for sharing Open Minds with your YA! I hope he/she enjoys it! :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@raelyn Thanks for adding Open Minds to your TBR! :)

@Joanna Closed Hearts was the easy one to come up with ... now for that third book ... :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Sangu Thank you so much for the well wishes! :)

@Donna Thanks so much for adding it to your TBR list!! :)

Cate Masters said...

What a great premise. Love how you came up with the hook. Congrats!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I think those ideas that strike at random times are the best. Awesome story, Susan.

Your book sounds super interesting. I'm adding it to my to-read list :-)

All the best, Susan.

Angela, you got a new award on my blog - please come over to get it :-)

Post a Comment

Talk to me :-)
Comments are welcome.