Owen Quinn - Newry's Answer To George Lucas...Owen Quinn - Newry's Answer To George Lucas...

Newry resident, Owen Quinn, is Newry's answer to George Lucas with his latest sci-fi story The Time Warriors currently number 38 out of 6,500 entries in a global competition for unpublished authors. Here Owen gives us an exclusive interview into how things began and progressed in regards his writing and a snippet of his memories of Newry.

1. Where were you born and what schools did you attend?
I was born in Belfast two weeks late and the size of a doughnut and moved to Newry in the early '70s. I went to both the Abbey Primary and Grammar respectively. I have always been a big sci-fi fan, have been all over England at various conventions and been writing all my life but it is only since my Dad died that I have put the whole book together. I'm a keen photographer but have worked in retail mostly, a mistake I intend to correct. I found an agent who signed me up straight away and we have spent the last year and a half promoting and knocking on publishers doors. I am currently ranked number 21 out of 7,000 authors on facebook as one of the authors to watch. I'm a big kid at heart, still collect action figures and oh yes, I have 9 toes. I have my own website for the Time Warriors at www.thetimewarriors.co.uk so please visit it and leave a comment on what you think.

2. What is your fondest memory of Newry?
My fondest memory of Newry was the summers in Ballyholland where the fields were the greatest playground ever and we had great walks around the country roads up by Mass Rock. Summer in those days seemed endless and there was swampland down by the Big Foot where we used to go to watch herons.

3. At what age did you start writing?
I have been writing all my life, my earliest memory being my primary school teacher, Mrs Mc Guinness putting a little story about lambs playing in a field up in the staff room for all to see. I remember having to draw a picture to go with it, one where the sun was too big and all the lambs should have been barbecued but she saw something in it. When I went to the Abbey Grammar, Pat Mooney said to me one day I was going to be a famous writer. You never see it but when others start acknowledging it, it makes you stop and wonder. Even now, I wonder if the book is as good as people say but if something that is unpublished is getting such rave reviews and backings, then hopefully there is something in it.

4. Who are your biggest influences in literature?
My influences are not really in literature, although Stephen King has always been a favourite. Salem's Lot being the scariest thing I've ever read and there is no-one from my generation who doesn't get chills when they remember the child vampire in the tv mini series 'Scraping The Window' begging to be let in. As a child I read the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, 3 Investigators and every Doctor Who book ever written. It was tv that really influenced me, all the greats Star Trek, Dr. Who, Blakes 7, Space 1999 and of course when Star Wars hit that was it, the world was hooked. I did and still do, watch stuff and think I can do better than that.

5. Did you take any specific courses to help you refine your writing technique?
People go on these courses to learn how to write but without being arrogant, you can either write or you can't. Just like you can either play football or you can't. That's not to say it isn't a learning curve. I wrote the first Time Warriors when I was 16 but that version was far from the version today. That's because I have lived, experienced things and put them into my stories. The time Warriors is sci-fi with a heart because anyone can write monsters and aliens attacking the Earth but to make that work, you have to have characters people can connect to and want to travel on these adventures with. The characters need to have pain and tragedy in their lives that shape them when dealing with these adventures eg. some of the themes in the Time Warriors involve bullying, unrequited love, loss of loved ones, child abuse, beliefs, religion, all tied together in sci-fi background stories. It doesn't have to be a great world shattering tragedy but something as simple as the death of a pet. And the great thing is I have made 2 people cry during certain sections of the book which actually makes me very happy! Does that make me evil?

6. Have you ever entered any writing competitions or had any other works published?
I have never entered any competitions because most of them require a fee which I disagree with. You are paying to have someone judge your work and possibly reject it. Screw that! Imagine the X Factor starting that policy, Simon Cowell has enough money. Money should flow to the writer not the other way round and this whole process has been a fantastic learning curve. One publisher insisted on buying the Time Warriors last year but only if I gave them £4,600 to help publish it. As this is a family page they were told unpolitley where to stick their offer, desperate for it though I was. Any aspiring writers reading this should be aware there are predators out there who want to take your money, so forget anyone that says they will publish your stuff for a fee. My response also begins with a F.

7. What hopes do you have for your future in writing?
I hope this book is published as it is the first in a series and I hope it will be well received. The money would be fantastic, help me give up work and do this full time but it's more than that. I want people to be touched and moved by the stories, find something in there they can connect with and take with them. I want all those people out there who have felt they never really belonged, myself included, to realise there is something better, that hopes can come true and they are here for a reason. That personally is more important to me. That said, I wouldn't refuse J.K. Rowling's lifestyle or a page out of her bank book. I'm that bad I have the action figures and merchandise all planned out in my head. I would love Irish sci-fi to be put back on the map as we are somewhat forgotten by the rest of the world. That's why an Irish girl is one of the leads in the book as we only really have Miles O'Brien from Deep Space 9, the odd Irish accent popping up in sci-fi and no-one from Ireland has ever travelled in the Tardis. So I created my own.

8. Which are your favourite stories that have been converted to film?
Definitely Jurassic Park, Salem's Lot as it still scares the crap out of me and Cujo, What I find more often than not the books don't transfer well to screen, not because of the author but because too many people stick their nebs in, thinking they can do one better with the original story.Harry Potter is a case in point, as is the Da Vinci Code, something gets lost in the translation.

9. What is the best advice you could give someone who would like to pursue a career in writing?
Don't give up, find an agent, there is only a couple in Northern Ireland, Bill Jeffrey of the Wordsmith's Forge being one of them. Be careful of conmen, never hand over any money and use the internet to check up on companies. An agent will protect you and listen to their advice. Unless other people endorse your stories, don't be of the mind that you are the next big thing, self belief is good but don't fall in arrogance.

10. Who would most like to invite to a dinner party?
The Time Warriors, Varran, Jacke, Michael and Tyran along with all the actors to have played Doctor Who

The Time Warriors is currently in a global competition for unpublished authors. I am number 38 ahead of 6,500 others and desperately need votes.

To vote for Time Warriors:
1. Google www.authonomy.com
2. Register as a new reader
3. Search for the Time Warriors
4. Give it a star rating
5. Click on Back The Book - this is the most important step so don't forget to do it!
by Ciarán Mcloughlin
References and Bibliography
Destination Newry brings together news and information on anything to do with Newry and the surrounding area. For Newry news, sport, Weather, events,enterainment, tourist information, shopping and buy and sell, check out Destination Newry .
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