WhoHub Interview with Claire Collins

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Interview with:

Claire Collins [clairecollins][clairecollins] Claire Collins


WRITING

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My love of reading and writing began before I started elementary school. It’s always been a part of me. As an adult, I put that love aside for several years while I started my family. When the children got old enough, I once again turned some of my attention to writing.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I don’t have a favorite genre to read or write. I read anything and everything. So far, I have written mostly romantic suspense novels because that’s been the mood I’ve been in lately. I also have ideas for straight suspense and a twist on the romance.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I don’t have much of a process. Whenever I can find some quiet free time, I tend to sit down, open a manuscript and start typing. The story evolves as I write. When I’m unable to sit and write, the details of the story are working their way through my mind while I’m driving, cleaning, shopping, or working.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I don’t think reading inspires me to write. My brain is overactive and doesn’t seem to need a lot of stimulus to come up with an idea.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Beginning, middle, and end. Strong plot and subplots. Likeable characters and realistic situations. The reader has to be involved in the story and they need to care about what happens and they should feel fulfilled at the conclusion.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I’ve written in both. I don’t have a preference. It depends on what the story calls for.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Do they have to be well known? I admire anyone who has had the will and determination to create a quality novel-length manuscript whether they are famous or not.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Characters come in all shapes and sizes. They have every personality trait imaginable. Wow, so do real people. Just like real people, my characters have an entire life even though I may only tell the reader about a small piece of that life. They are born, have siblings and parents. They are creatures of their environment. They aren’t perfect and they don’t pretend to be. They are the same as normal people the reader knows. Mine start as a glimmer of a person and then they tell me their life story.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Actually, I am horrible at telling stories in person. I talk too fast and blurt out too many clues or I skip too much. Writing it all out is so much better because I can edit myself before anyone else knows the story!
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for myself. It feels good. It’s also a nice boost when readers come back and tell me they loved my books. There’s no other feeling in the world like that.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Writing is absolutely a form of personal therapy. Parts of my personal life are dispersed throughout the pages of my novels.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Of course! When someone reads the book and tells me they enjoyed it or if they ask what I have coming out next, I get a thrill.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have participated in the past and my first novel “Fate and Destiny” was chosen as an editor’s pick and made it to the top 25 semi-finals. I have also received excellent feedback from other contests.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I have at least 4 people who always read my drafts as I write. They tell me what works, what doesn’t and always help me over the humps when I get stuck. These people are as valuable as the final readers.
Do you believe you have already found “your voice” or is that something one is always searching for?
I think my voice changes with every book. Each book is unique and my voice changes with the characters and plot.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
My life is too hectic and busy to impose schedules on myself. I fit writing in whenever I can.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
My work area changes with my mood. Sometimes I’m sitting at my desktop pc and other times I’m roaming around with my laptop.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
It’s all on the computer. I have a reader who prints everything off. With my first book, I printed it and marked it up with a red pen. With the second book, it was easier to edit on the computer.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I blog at https://clairecollins.wordpress.com/ and the authors from our publisher blog at http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/. We are also on Facebook, myspace, Gather. etc.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I submitted a ton of queries and hunted for publishers before I was picked up by a small publisher called Second Wind Publishing. www.secondwindpublishing.com

My experience with my publisher has been fantastic. The people are great and I’ve watched the company grow. It’s an incredible journey.

What are you working on now?
My next novel is called “Seeds of September”

In 1956, Tommy Benson left the plains of Kansas for a new start in California. Little did he know when he started driving down Route 66 that his childhood friend Lainey had stowed away in his truck. Seeds of September relates the story of Tommy and Lainey’s life together through fifty years of joys and sorrows and an everlasting love.

What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Take them out, dust them off, and read them. If you still love them, find someone else to read it. Submit it to contests and see what kind of feedback you get from an impartial audience.
If you don’t love them, either rewrite them or use them to inspire you to work on something new. Just don’t give up.

 

© Claire Collins
Web address for this interview: http://www.whohub.com/clairecollins
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Are Book Sales on the Decline?

I have a real job. Yes, believe it or not, I don’t just sit around all day living the lives of my imaginary people. Shocking, I know. Yes, I have an actual job where I leave home every morning to go work for someone else and I come home at the same time every night. I fight rush hour and have more than one boss. Do I want to write instead? Absolutely. I’d gladly trade my eight to five job for ten hours of sitting at my computer clicking away at the latest story. The problem, of course, is that I have bills to pay. Oh yes, and children. Lots and lots of children. They like to eat… and argue. So even if I didn’t have to feed them, the chances of me sitting at my computer and clicking away at keys for ten hours is simply never going to happen until they all move away.

 

I know there are lots of other people out there who have the same desire to get lost in a good novel whether they are writing it or reading it. No matter which end of the spectrum you are, I thought I would share the Association of America Publishers sales reports for the month of December. You can read the whole article here: http://www.publishers.org/Dec08stats.htm

 

Oh, did I mention that in my real job, I’m an accountant? I have this ‘thing’ for numbers…

 

Check out the increase in ebook sales compared to the changes in the other categories. So what does this really mean?

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tina Jordan
212/255-0200 ext. 263
tjordan@publishers.org

AAP Reports Publishing Sales for Month of December

February 12, 2009, New York, NY: Book sales tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for the month of December increased by 9.7 percent at $1.5 billion but were down by 2.4 percent for the year.

The Adult Hardcover category was down by 10.3 percent in December with sales of $113.3 million; year-to-date sales were down by 13.0 percent.

Adult Paperback sales increased 12.5 percent for the month ($132.8 million) and increased by 3.6 percent for the year.

The Adult Mass Market category was down 8.3 percent for December with sales totaling $73.7 million; sales were also down by 3.0 percent year-to-date.

The Children’s/YA Hardcover category jumped up 124.6 percent for the month with sales of $115.1 million, although sales for year-to-date were down by 12.4 percent.

The Children’s/YA Paperback category was also up by 37.0 percent in December with sales totaling $54.4 million; sales increased by 6.4 percent for the year.

Audio Book sales posted a decrease of 11.7 percent in December with sales totaling $10.5 million; sales for the whole year were down by 21.0 percent.

E-books sales jumped up by 119.9 percent for the month ($6.5 million), reflecting an increase of 68.4 percent for the year.

Religious Books saw an increase of 3.5 percent for the month with sales totaling $49.3 million; sales were down by 7.6 percent for the year.

Sales of University Press Hardcover books were up 5.4 percent in December with sales of $7.1 million; sales decreased by 7.9 percent for the year. University Press Paperback sales posted a decrease of 3.8 percent for the month with sales totaling $9.7 million; sales were down 8.2 percent for the year.Sales in the Professional and Scholarly category were up by 11.4 percent in December ($110.3 million) and decreased by 0.5 percent for the year.

Higher Education publishing sales posted an increase of 5.6 percent for the month ($814.7 million) and increased 2.7 percent for the year.Finally, the net El-Hi (elementary/high school) basal and supplemental K-12 category posted a decrease of 14.4 percent in December with sales of $127.2 million; the category was down by 4.4 percent for the year.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’smore than300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies—small and large. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.

NOTE: All sales figures cited in this release are domestic net sales

 

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny

www.secondwindpublishing.com


Where Does Your City Rank?

I live in one of the least literate cities in America.

That’s sad.

Maybe I need to move to Minneapolis.

That seems to be where the book lovers are!

How did the city you live in fare?

http://www.ccsu.edu/amlc08/overall_all.htm

Maybe you should go out and buy a ton of books to raise your ranking! We may have made a dent in the rankings for the state of North Carolina. Many of our authors congregated there over Valentine’s weekend for an author event.

Check out the pictures at

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/Events.html

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com


Research

I love research. I love it so much that I get wrapped up in the research and forget what the purpose of the research was to begin with. In college, I worked in the library. I was in research heaven surrounded by all of those volumes of information. I have a genealogy file with over 20,000 individuals in it that I work on in my spare time. One of my incomplete novels started in the year 1956. Since my mother was only a child at the time, I have no direct knowledge of this period, so I started researching. I became totally wrapped up in the history and evolution of Route 66 meandering through Arizona. I was certain this would be an integral part of my story. I bookmarked tons of webpages, went to the library and checked out books, and began a mental journey along the path Route 66 took before the Interstate Highway System was in place. In fact, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was approved on June 29th, only a few months before my story began in September of 1956.

 

The appeal of the open road pre-interstate appealed to me. Drive-in’s, bobby socks, and rock and roll all had their places outlined in my story.

 

Then, I started writing the novel. The characters took over and evolved my facts and figures into a story about people. The path Route 66 followed is barely touched on in the book. The music and clothes that defined a generation are simply garments and background noise. All of my research, all of the details of life during that time are put aside.

 

The book isn’t going to be about what they wore or listened to. It isn’t about popularity or fads.

 

It’s about people, and people are basically the same throughout time.