Alum and author writes her way into bookstores

Alex Hayes

Quinn Dalton, a 1992 Kent State graduate, wrote her most recent book, Bulletproof Girl, a number of years ago. She tried to sell the idea to a publisher but was met with less-than-enthusiastic results.

“He really wanted to see a novel,” Dalton recalled.

“Publishers don’t really like collections,” she said. “They don’t really sell as much as novels.”

So Bulletproof Girl, which is a collection of 11 short stories, was put on the shelf for a while.

In the meantime, Dalton turned to writing High Strung, a novel based loosely on her time spent in Kent.

In the novel, the protagonist, Merle Winslow, exhausted with the life of editing low-end adult novels in London moves back to her hometown in Ohio to retrace the steps of her parents’ troubled marriage.

The novel was released by Atria books in 2003 and helped her gain some leverage for the release of Bulletproof Girl.

“I see myself more as a short story writer first,” Dalton said.

Many of the stories in Bulletproof Girl had been published in literary magazines previous to the book. Dalton said that literary magazines offer a good avenue for writers interested in getting a start.

“A lot of agents are looking at literary magazines, and they are looking for new talent,” Dalton said.

Bulletproof Girl, which came out in April 2005, debuted in’s Top 100 for Literature and Fiction.

A creative-writing instructor at Kent noticed Dalton’s talent and encouraged her to look into MFA writing programs after graduating.

“That concept that I could get a degree doing something I really enjoyed made me feel like I was almost getting away with something.

“The support built my confidence and made me take my first steps into something I was really serious about doing.”

After Kent, Dalton attended the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and received her MFA in creative writing in 1994.

Dalton said she didn’t write a lot the first five years after getting her MFA.

“I was working in PR in an ad agency and helped my husband start a software design business.”

But Dalton said something was missing.

“I wasn’t getting a chance to write as much as I wanted to,” she said. “I made a commitment to make writing part of my life again.”

That decision has started paying off for Dalton.

Contact features reporter Alex Hayes [email protected].