Author Spotlight: Cecily Quinn

author spotlight cecily quinn

Historical romance author Cecily Quinn loves a fun story, and she’s releasing her novel, Hunting the Gunslinger this month.


Tell us a little about yourself — a brief bio, if you will.

I am an Oklahoma-based romance author who loves coffee, wine, and true crime! Historical romance is the area I like to write in (so far), but I read all across the genre — dark romance, historical, paranormal, erotic, romantic suspense and more! 


What inspired you to start writing fiction? And how did you end up choosing historical romance?

I grew up reading hundreds and hundreds of romance novels. As an adult, it’s the primary genre I read in, and I am not kidding when I say I’ve probably read thousands of romance books. 

I got into writing when I found the Oklahoma Romance Writers Guild (ORWG). They did monthly talks over plotting, how to write romance, what it’s like to be a self-published author, how to write a book in a month. And it was free. After hanging out with authors who were already publishing, I started to think to myself, “Hey. I can do that, too.” And then I did.  

I chose romance because it is the primary genre I read in. Quite simply — I love romance! 


What’s your most recent published book? What’s it about?

Hunting the Gunslinger is my debut novel, and I am so thrilled to have it release April 30, 2024! In a nutshell, it’s about a Wild West female bounty hunter who goes after a wanted murderer, and falls in love instead. It’s got all my favorite things — female bounty hunter, gunslingers, murder, revenge, and of course, romance! 


What has been the most challenging part of being an indie author? How have you tackled that challenge?

Every time I do something for the first time, I think, This is the most challenging part. Until I do something new and then that becomes the most challenging part. Right now, the biggest challenge is dealing with imposter syndrome. 
Doing something creative requires a lot of vulnerability and courage. To put a piece of yourself out there and hope people enjoy it, but could very well hate it. To tackle the challenge — honestly, I just push through it, and read 1-star reviews of authors that I have loved to remind myself that art is also subjective. Even authors that I love aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay.


What has been the most delightful or fulfilling part of being an author?

The first time I held the printed version of my book in my hands was (so far) the most delightful part. I took a video of myself opening the Amazon package, and I just kept saying, “This is literally insane” the whole time because I was blown away. 


Tell us a bit about your process. Do you write every day? 

I’m still learning my process, but I’m a numbers driven person. I heard that the average romance novel was 50,000 words, so I divided that across 30 days, and figured that if I wrote 1,666 words a day I could finish a novel. So, I made a schedule and I got my first 55,000 words done the month of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). 

I set it aside for four months and got distance, then self-edited it. Added 10,000 words to it. 

Set it aside for a month. Edited it again, and got 10,000 words added to it. After that, I sent it to my editors (Two Birds Author Services), and worked with them professionally for development, line, and proof reading. Then it was done. 

For my second book, I’m aiming for a 75,000-word first draft, writing 3,400 words a day across 22 days. I’d only set it aside for one month instead of four, though, before I self-edit it. 

I write five days a week, heavily on the weekends because I do have a day job. Every Tuesday/Thursday I meet virtually with a writing buddy after work, and we do word sprints together, writing for two 30-minute sessions with each other in silence. 


Do you have a favorite review you’ve received, and if so, what do you love about it?

My favorite review so far is the first review I got from a stranger. Because of the imposter syndrome I am currently struggling with, I was afraid of getting hit with a bunch of 1-2 star reviews when someone I didn’t know read it. But when I sent it to my ARC readers, one of them emailed me back to say she loved it so much, and she was going to buy a paperback version when it became available! She said she couldn’t put the book down, and I had a knack for making the reader really feel what the characters were feeling. She said the love interests were so stubborn it was infuriating (but in a fantastic way). It made me feel like maybe I wasn’t an imposter, and I could actually be in this space. 


What tips do you have for other authors working on their books?

Give yourself permission to be bad at first. You can’t fix a blank page — just write that messy first draft! Then self-edit the book. Hire professionals to help you make it better. Then publish it. I’m sure my first book is one that I’ll look back on years from now and feel like I could do it better (hopefully at least — that would mean I grew as an author). But if you wait to be ‘good’ or ‘perfect’ at something, you’ll never do it. You’ll always be waiting. 


What was it like working with Andrea and/or Michele of Two Birds? 

I don’t think I could have asked for a better pair of editors. I learned so much from them when I was editing my book. They are kind, but direct in their feedback. As a new author, they were exactly what I needed to feel confident in my book. I feel like I became a better writer when I read their feedback and learned from their editing tips. They will give suggestions on what to fix, and say why they think it needs to be fixed. For me, that was exactly what I needed. 


What is the most helpful tip you can offer to authors who, like you, want to find the right editor for their books?

I had sent a sample chapter to about four editors, and I found one I liked. But when she sent me her contract, something seemed ‘fishy’ about it. So I asked an author who said at a conference I was attending, “If you have any legal questions, reach out to me!” I thought, Worst she can do is ignore me, so I reached out to her. I sent her the contract the editor wanted me to sign, and my author friend also thought it was weird. She suggested I reach out to Two Birds Editing Services because she had used them before and liked them. She knew that they didn’t have anything ‘fishy’ in their contract, so she could vouch for them. 

I sent them a sample chapter of my book and they gave great feedback on that, so I knew it was meant to be.  

My biggest suggestion to authors is to send sample edits to editors to see if you like their style of giving feedback. Trust your gut — if something seems ‘off,’ then it probably is. Make some author friends and ask them if you can review a few things with them. It could save you tons of heartbreak later. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of predatory editors, cover designers, agents etc. Remember that if you’re signing a contract, it’s a legal document. Take it seriously. Protect yourself. 


Where can authors and readers connect with you, and find your books?

You can find me on Instagram (@AuthorCecilyQuinn) and Facebook (Cecily Quinn Author). My books are sold on Amazon! 


Have questions about the editing process? We’d love to chat with you and help you figure out your next steps. Contact us to set up a free sample edit.

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, full of more helpful info and exclusive content.

Share the Post: