I’m very excited to interview John Quinlan today. I was lucky enough to meet him at Romantic Times in NOLA this year. First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. I’ve told everyone what a great, motivational guy you are and how kind you are to your fans. I know you’re a proud Dad; I’ve seen the pics of your adorable 3 children.
Thanks so much for the kind words. I always make time for the fans and I do my best to be a loving father to my children. Right back at you, as I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule as well to sit down with me for this interview today.
So let’s start with a quick bio. Tell me about John Quinlan.
I’ve been involved in athletics, professional wrestling, fitness & modeling since the age of 19. I have been an image model for dozens of apparel brands, jewelry and supplement companies as far away as Japan and Asia, along with appearing in television documentaries, commercials, art gallery print work and having my likeness used on children’s literature book covers. I am also a Physique competitor and a current Romance Novel Cover model, as well. As of 2014, I am the most tattooed male romance cover model in the world. In November, for the second time, I was a featured model in Duemila Magazine of Italy. I would like to personally thank Simone Soldera for believing in me as a model. It’s an honor to represent the United States in such a prestigious publication. I just competed November 1st as a physique model at the 2014 NPC New England Championships in my home town of Boston, Massachusetts.
I can’t imagine being in front of that many people. I would probably die of stage fright. How did you become interested in being a cover model for romance books?
There is nothing like show day, being on stage in front of a sold out arena feels so great. I became a cover model after many years of people telling me I had the look for it. I never took them seriously until I spoke with author Cassandra Carr. She gave me the encouragement to take the leap in the world of romance.I’ll always thank her for that.
Where did you grow up? What were your aspirations/dreams as a kid?
I grew up in Melrose, Massachusetts which is a suburb north of Boston. It’s funny; as a kid growing up in the 1980’s in Boston, my idol was Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs. I wanted to be a professional baseball player.
I know the area, I have family that lived in Lynn, Massachusetts. What professionally are the accomplishments you’re most proud of?
Being named the official spokes model for Addiction Series that campaigns nation wide for awareness against drug addiction is something I’m very proud of. I like having the title of being the most tattooed romance cover model in the world. Eventually, when another model comes along with more body art than me and takes the title, I will still be proud to say I was the very first guy who broke the tattoo stereotype in the romance world. I paved the way for these guys to showcase their talent to the world, whereas before, they might not have been able to do so. I have a few projects lined up in 2015, and we will see how they all play out.
I love that you’re involved with addiction awareness. I work as a nurse in that field. There are so many misconceptions about addicts. It sounds like you’re going to be busy in the future, can you share more information?
There is a fitness model reality TV show in the works which I’m really excited about along with a huge Boston based project set to begin in the spring. However, at this time, I am sworn to secrecy about from agents & lawyers due to copyrights and things of that nature. I’ve also been signed to appear as a featured cover model, man of romance at the 2015 Romantic Times Convention in Dallas, TX. I’m also scheduled to appear at several book signings. And, producer Jillian Bullock has signed me to play the character role of Sgt. Jason Garrett, a mixed martial arts instructor, in her 2015 film, A Sense of Purpose: Fighting for Our Lives which is set to begin filming in Philadelphia this summer.
I know a lot of us will be looking forward to seeing that. So I met you at Romantic Times in New Orleans in 2014. I remember gasping and saying, “Oh my God, you’re Beckett!” I recognized you from some of the teaser pictures for Debra Anastasia’s Poughkeepsie series. How did you meet Debra?
I met Debra Anastasia through a mutual friend Julie Cooper Barber. Julie was the one who referred me to Debra when she was looking for a model to play her character, Beckett Taylor in her video version of Return To Poughkeepsie. I was honored to be selected as Beckett Taylor. Special thanks to both, Julie and Debra.
How does do you feel being the focus of the “female gaze?” There is so much in the media about the objectification of women. Do you feel that way sometimes? I know I felt uncomfortable for you at RT when a few of the women asked you to take your shirt off in a busy hallway at a convention.
It’s all good. The kindness that has been given to me by so many in the industry will forever be appreciated. I always try my best to do as much as I can for the fans, because without them, models like me would be nothing.
Does anything make you uncomfortable? Boundary-wise?
Not really at this point, as I have done everything from conventional to adult themed modeling.
Do your tattoos have meanings behind them? How many do you have?
I have 27 individual tattoos and they all have their own personal meaning. I keep some of the meanings to myself but a few of my favorites are the oriental Kanji “family” symbol inside my left wrist which represents my chidren as well as the 3 nautical stars inside each of my forearms which represents my 3 kids as well.
You must have a vigorous work out routine. How many hours a day do you work? When competing, what type of diet do you follow? Have you always been in shape?
It all depends, Nancee. Usually an hour is my limit as far as a training session goes, unless I am doing some form of cardiovascular workout. Then it will go a bit longer. I’m usually in the gym 5 days per week. I try and mix and match light weight for high reps with some heavier weights with lower reps to keep the muscles and myself from getting bored. When getting ready for a show or model shoot, I always eat clean. I keep my sodium low and drink nothing but water. I stay away from processed foods and cut out my carbohydrates after 6pm. I try and make fitness and a healthy lifestyle a routine I am fairy consistent with.
Consistency seems to be the key. I’m afraid the only exercise I get is channel surfing does that count? Who inspired you to get and stay in such amazing shape?
There was a person who inspired me when I was thirteen years old. If it wasn’t for him I would never have started working out and probably wouldn’t be sitting here with you today. Special thanks to Rich Green. Rich was a super athlete in high school and the quarterback of the football team. He had great genetics and I remember saying I want to be built like this guy. He was the very first one to take time and explain to me some routines and he gave sound advice towards weight training. I will always be grateful to Big Rich for helping me.
And when you aren’t competing or just want to pig out, what is your favorite food? You know the one that is totally wrong for you, but you just have to have it?
I love a hometown favorite in my area, Bianchi’s Pizza! It’s located on Revere Beach and I could eat it every day of the week. So good! I’m also a sucker for coffee Oreo sundaes, I have eaten 6 of them in one sitting before!
My thighs just expanded two sizes thinking about pizza and coffee Oreo sundaes. How many book covers have you been on?
I really don’t know, to tell you the truth. Maybe a dozen or so? I know a few dozen authors have claimed images of me that aren’t out yet. They are sitting on them, waiting to appear on the cover of their next unfinished novels in the near future.
Congratulations! I’m sure I’ll be seeing lots of them when I browse bookstores. What is your greatest accomplishment? What is most important to you?
I have to be honest here with you and say my answer to both of these questions is the same. My greatest accomplishment is when I hear somebody say I am nice guy, without an attitude and ego free. Of all the things I have accomplished that is the most important to me. The lasting impression I make on people goes a long way. I always do my best and go out of my way to help people and give the fans and authors what they want. The way I see it, we are helping each other in this symbiotic relationship. I also want to personally thank you as well, Nancee, because without great writers like you, models like myself would never be able to showcase our talents to the world through book covers, featured galleries and interviews like this. God Bless You, always.
What surprised you the most with this path of being a Romance Novel cover model?
I never thought I would ever be involved in this business the way I have been. What surprised me the most to be honest with you is the way I was openly accepted by so many authors from all over the world. I am truly honored and humbled.
They are proud of me. Some of my close friends with senses of humor like to poke fun, but in the end, I have a thick skin with a sense of humor myself and it’s all good.
I know you are a spokesperson for Drug Awareness, and you did the ALS challenge. Any other causes you’re passionate about?
Breast Cancer Awareness is a big one as I support Anita Jeter-Peterkin’s Wrapped in Pink campaign as well as Tina DeSalvo’s Friends Fight Together Fund.As we finish up, I won’t do the Barbara Walters out-of-left field questions, and hopefully I haven’t made you cry. Could you just tell us your hopes and dreams for the future?
I could sit here for days and talk about my hopes and dreams for the future. To be a great dad and be successful in whatever avenue this game of life takes me.
Thank you, John. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Readers, look for John Quinlan on the cover of your favorite romances and find him on the web!