Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Interview With Claire Collins, Author of "Images of Betrayal" and "Fate and Destiny"

What are your books about?

Fate & Destiny - A romantic thriller set on a snowy mountaintop. During a blizzard, Andrew's dog, Shadow, finds Destiny;a beautiful woman left for dead, but very much alive. With her she brings mystery, danger and passion to the little cabin.

Images of Betrayal - Abandoned by her family, young Tysan finds works as a waitress in a diner. One cold evening, a beguiling, rugged young man barges into her life. He possesses the remarkable ability to take photographs of events that have not yet happened. Ty narrowly avoids a harrowing death in a disastrous explosion, only to be drawn into a dizzying cascade of conflicts involving a new family that takes her in, Walker-her apparent savior, David-her new admirer and her own family. Kidnapping, betrayal, obsessive love and courageous lovers co-mingle in this romantic thriller.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Most of the time, I may only get a thought or an image or a name, just some tiny detail that I have to write down. I rarely know what it is or what’s happening until the characters start to tell me what’s happening. I’m just the vessel they use to tell their story. Before I know it, I have a paragraph, a chapter, or half a book.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Every character, every scene, every conflict and resolution, it all has elements of me or my life in them. Even the parts I don’t like. They just appear.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

In Fate & Destiny, my favorite characters turned out to be the dog and the Sherriff. The dog, Shadow, really struck a chord with people and they tend to really love him. I was surprised how he grew as a character in the book when he started out as merely a secondary character. The book wouldn’t be the same without him. I also really love the Sherriff and his life and his family. I have a sequel for him floating in my head.

For Images of Betrayal, I fell madly in love with one of the male leads, but I can’t tell you which one. You’d have to read the book to know! The heroines in both books are directly pieces of me, so it’s a given that I am one with them.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Fate & Destiny took me over ten years from the first word to the final product.

Images of Betrayal took three months start to finish.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I research anything I don’t know as I go along. My third book, Seeds of September, begins in 1956. I researched everything I could about the time period, the region, popular fads, the culture. And then I used very little of it, but at least I had the information in my head if I needed it.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

My characters talk to me. I can see them and hear them and they are all unique to me. I’m always afraid they will seem very flat to others, but they are so alive to me that it somehow comes out the right way for others to see them the way I do.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Finding the time to write. I go through periods where all I want to do is write and then there are long periods when I’m so incredibly busy in life that I can’t get time to write. For me, writing is the same as a familiar and comfortable friend, always there when I need it.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have a mental list and I have a folder on my hard drive of all of the stories I have in progress. Some are just a sentence or two and some are nearly finished novels.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

So many stories, so little time. I have at least a dozen in various stages.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

It’s not easy. You can’t ever do this thinking you’re going to be rich. You can’t do this with the mindset that you know everything and no one can make your writing better. You have to write because you have a story to tell and you love the act of writing. You have to write for yourself and to have someone else read your words and really get what you’re trying to tell them. You have to be open to other people’s opinions. If you can’t take a publisher or editor telling you to straighten things up, then how will you take a reader telling you they don’t like your work?

What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

For me, promotion is the hardest part about writing books. It takes a ton of time that I never seem to have available. The problem is no one else will promote my books and they won’t sell if I don’t do what I can. I have pride in my work and I tell people about them every chance I get. I do think you get out of it what you put into it and promotion is key to success. A lot of luck helps too!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Always. My page on the Second Wind Publishing website says it pretty well. “Claire Collins began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk, and she hasn’t stopped telling stories --- or talking --- since.”

What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

I think the book publishing world is evolving rapidly. The emergence of the internet, followed by Amazon and then ebooks and ebook readers has vaulted the opportunity for anyone and everyone to be a published writer. Anyone who tweets or blogs thinks they’re able to be a successful author. I think readers are inundated with things to read and they will have a harder and harder time finding good quality reading material. I think the standard mass market publishing models are dying and will soon follow the path of the printed newspaper. I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing either.

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