by Stephen Dafoe
A couple of years ago, Morinville resident Riley Quinn, well-known in the community as a musician, decided to shift gears and take a shot at becoming a full-time writer. Putting other projects in his life on hold, he put his full attention into writing, and last spring released his first novel, The Lost Boys. His second book, The Cove, will be published Apr. 24.
The Lost Boys series takes place in the Dark Woods, a mysterious place where boys show up on the river bank with no memory of how they got there, why they are there, or even who they were before they arrived. The boys spend their entire teen years in the woods, then disappear once they reach adulthood.
CONTINUING THE STORY
Quinn said he is excited about The Cove and readers being able to continue the story of Leonardo and the series’ other characters.
“If you read Lost Boys, you know that Leonardo and company have a tendency to get themselves into tight situations. Be prepared for a lot more danger and high-stakes as their journey continues,” Quinn said. “The relationships in The Cove are a lot more intricate, and the politics are complex. The squabbles of the Darkwoods are replaced with tense negotiations, and circumstances can flip at the whim of the woods.”
Quinn is also excited for readers to experience the world of The Cove, which he describes as a sweeping landscape of sun-drenched cliffs and rough seas. It is something he says he has thoroughly enjoyed writing in for the past year.
“The imagery of a book is very important to me, and this is one which I love,” he said.
SOME ARTISTIC HELP
Heping Quinn with that imagery is Morinville Community High School student and artist Sofia Soria, who Quinn met two years ago when she auditioned for the school’s production of The Sound of Music. Soria has provided a map of The Cove for the frontispiece of the book.
“She is an incredibly talented individual, and I’ve been lucky enough to vocal coach her in two productions now,” Quinn said. “I’m very familiar with her artwork, and when I decided to add a map of the Cove at the front of the book, she was my first choice for an illustrator.
“She didn’t disappoint! Her map is absolutely stunning. Even if you’re not a reader, I highly recommend you peek inside a copy to see her beautiful work.”
NEW IMPRINT AND FIRST BOOK SUCCESS
Like many authors today, Quinn’s book is self-published, which has given him more artistic control.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of independent artists,” Quinn explained. “When I published Lost Boys, going the indie route was important to me. The industry is a lot more accommodating than it was for the pioneers of indie publishing, but there still are some roadblocks. I’m one of the lucky ones who managed to get in with Chapters/Indigo, but our industry is still quicker to acknowledge traditionally published books than indie ones.”
Last October, Quinn developed and registered West Bay Publishing and is looking forward to seeing what opportunities will come from having the books imprinted under a registered publishing house.
Quinn told Morinville News the response to the first book in the series has been amazing.
“I’ve gotten the chance to speak with so many readers over the past year, and the feedback has been so positive,” Quinn said. “Chapters/Indigo has chosen to expand to nation-wide availability of both Lost Boys and The Cove, which is a result of how the book has sold throughout Edmonton. That’s a massive step on the road to success for a book, so I’m very grateful to everyone who picked up a copy from the Edmonton Chapters locations.”
The author said it is “incredibly rewarding” to feel so much support from his local community. He tries to get out in Morinville, Edmonton, and the surrounding communities as much as possible and has met many readers through the process. He sees that interaction as one of the best parts of the writer’s job.
BOOK LAUNCH MOSTLY ONLINE
With social distancing likely in place in Alberta until at least the end of May, the launch for The Cove will be a bit different than t was for The Lost Boys when Quinn held a concert and book signing at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre to kick off the novel.
“With all the social distancing, the book release will be primarily online, across my social media platforms,” Quinn said. “We’re still hammering out plans on what exactly that will entail, but I hope everyone tunes in and joins the celebration.”
The Cove will be released online and through bookstores across Canada, including Edmonton and Area Chapters and Indigo stores, on Apr. 24. The book is already available for pre-order on Amazon.ca and will be available for download from all eBook retailers for all e-book platforms worldwide, Apr. 24.
Quinn said he would also be offering doorstep delivery to Morinville and Edmonton Area addresses for anyone who wants to order the book directly through his website www.rileyquinnofficial.com.
THE WRITER’S LIFE AND WORKING ON THE THIRD BOOK
When life returns to normal, Quinn will resume promoting the second book in person as well as working on the third book in the trilogy, balancing his time between the two aspects of the writer’s craft.
“Sometimes, I think I’m balancing it; other times, it’s hard to put the new work aside and focus on marketing,” he said. “I have an amazing editor, Fiona McLaren, and I credit her for not letting me neglect the promotional aspect of writing. Being involved with Chapters Indigo really helps since I have a network of book professionals promoting the books to readers, so I can focus on getting the next piece of work completed. They hosted me for multiple signings last summer, and we plan to continue with more once the social distancing is lifted.”
Quinn also credits his readers who continue to share the book on social media and post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for the first book’s success.
“Word of mouth is such a powerful way to gain awareness, so I have a lot of appreciation for my readers,” Quinn said.
The writer is using his social distancing time working on the first draft of the third book and is hopeful that will make him more available later this year for book signings and promotional events.