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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Moonlight: Claire Collins

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! Claire Collin’s newest release is Images of Betrayal. Her full length Suspense novel became available in paperback in August 2008! Her next Novel, Seeds of September is scheduled to be available by the end of the summer.

When/how did you know you wanted to write?

I started writing when I was four and I’ve never really stopped wanting to write. I’ve just developed better ideas over the years.

How long did it take you to become published?

I sent my first query letter out in 1998 or 1999. I set the concept aside for several years, then looked at it again and rewrote 90% of it. Then I spent a couple of years editing. I restarted sending out queries again in 2007. Within a year, I was fortunate enough to be in on the ground floor of a publishing company just starting out, Second Wind Publishing. My experience with the company has been fantastic.

How long does it usually take for you to research a book? Write the book?

Every book is totally different for me. Fate and Destiny took over ten years to complete and I think the research was minimal. Images of Betrayal flowed constantly and only took a couple of months for me from start to finish. My upcoming novel took a huge amount of research because it starts in 1956 and I don’t have first hand knowledge of the events of the time, so I have to learn them to write about them.

Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

As their creator, I think I relate to all of the characters. Each of them, even the villains, have pieces of me in them. They’re all just as closely related to me as my own family, including the weird cousins I don’t want to claim.

What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

Get ready for the long haul. There really isn’t a good fast track to being published unless you’re willing to do it on your own. This isn’t a quick road to fame and fortune. This is all about loving the written word and the stories that go along with it. It’s a lot of hard work.

Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

I have tons of ideas. I could be driving to work and see someone sitting at a bus stop and before I get to work, I’ve created an entire life story for them. I use personality pieces from actual people I know, but that’s where the similarity tends to end.

Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.
Here’s a teaser for you:

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.

When and where can we purchase your books?

My books are available from the Publisher at, on Amazon, and on Smashwords.

What are you reading right now?

I spend a lot of time reading novels written by new authors at Second Wind. I’m always amazed at how talented they are and what wonderful stories they create.

What are your experiences with publishers and agents?

I probably sent out more than 30 queries trying to get someone interested in my first book. Even getting a nibble was rare. I had a couple of agents who responded with interest and had me dangling on the hook for an extended time before they rejected me. I’m privileged to now be a part of Second Wind.

What will the role of the Internet play in the future of publishing?

The future of publishing is a huge topic. I could write pages and pages about that subject alone. I will just summarize by saying that I hope to be along for the ride as the publishing world changes over the next few decades.

Why did you choose your genre?

Authors get to choose their genres? I just start writing and the novel comes out, then I have to figure out which cookie cutter mold it fits into. They never do fit just right.

Have you ever gotten to a point where a story wouldn't come? If so, how did you get back on track?

I’ve hit that point with everything I’ve ever written. Sometimes I’m lucky and it lasts a few minutes. Sometimes, I’m not so lucky and it lasts for weeks or months. Suddenly, the next word will come and the story takes off again.

What do you think is the most important characteristic of a prolific writer?

Ask me in twenty years when I have the experience to answer that question.

If you could choose one thing to be remembered by, what would it be?

Wow, I hope I’m remembered by almost everyone I meet for one reason or another. I guess I hope that when my children remember me, they remember how much I loved them. No fame or fortune can do that.

Some authors start out with a plot in mind, others with characters whom they’ll follow to reveal the theme. What works best for you and why?

I tend to see a character and I start writing about them and they tell me their story.

Many writers have had success writing in different genres. Do you think it is difficult to switch over to another genre?

I don’t think any of my books fit tightly into a specific genre. They all have aspects of other genres. I plan on writing across genres.

Where did you receive your most valuable lessons in becoming a writer?

I think I learned the most valuable lessons after the book was published and I had to go out and tell people it existed. I’m just a horrible salesperson.

Do you belong to a critique group or have a critique partner? Which do you prefer?
Would you recommend critique groups to other writers? If so, what elements, in your opinion, make a successful writer’s group?

I have 5 or 6 people who read what I write as I’m writing. They’re invaluable.

Is writing your full time job or do you have another job also?

I actually have several other jobs. I’m a wife and mother of four. I work full time at a job that pays the bills. I also work diligently on a start up business that doesn’t pay anything yet, but I’m hoping will replace my day job at some point. Somewhere in all of that, I write.

What do you do to unwind in your free time?

What’s free time?

Thank you, Claire, for sharing your time with us today. It was a pleasure to have you here. ~ The Moonlighters

6 Moonbeams (comments):

Anonymous said...

Nice to learn a little more about you, Claire! I can't wait to read your books.

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks for blogging with us today, Claire! It was great learning more about you!

All the best of luck to you and your upcoming novel and with your current release!

Sheila Deeth said...

Lovely interview - nice to meet you Claire. It's comforting to know that you stopped sending things out and then restarted. I seem to do the stop-start dance so often, so your story is encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everybody! I'm happy to see you all here. Sherrie, your book, Night and Day, is fabulous.
Sheila, never stop trying. I stopped for a long time and I'd still be writing and querying if I hadn't been selected by Second Wind.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Claire, I also did the stop-start thing, too. Sometimes, you just need to take a little break from submitting, regroup, and start again. Thank you so much for being here today.

Christine Husom said...

Claire, great post and fun to learn more about you. I am reading Fate and Destiny now--wonderful, wonderful!!