Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WRITER 2 WRITER: An interview with Lisa M. Collins

You all know by now that I love to read and write. Well I also love talking about writing, especially with other writers. So with that in mind, this is the initial launch of a blog feature I hope to continue with over time—WRITER 2 WRITER interviews—featuring peers of mine from the small press and self-publishing world. I'm very happy to say that a special gal pal that I met at the second Pulp Ark Convention in 2012, Ms. Lisa M. Collins, was quick to come forth and ask for an interview. Lisa interviewed me on her blog back on June 15, 2013 about PROPHECY'S GAMBIT and my other writing, so I am happy to return the favor. Lisa is someone who is not only incredibly busy, but well-organized, with solid writing goals in mind. She also has a brand new book out! Read on below for more about Lisa and her writing, and make sure you check out all the various links. 



An interview with author Lisa M. Collins

  • Lisa, please tell us a little about yourself, and your writing.

My whole life I have been interested in Outer Space, Adventure stories, and Southern culture. I was born in Dixie and have always lived south of the Mason Dixon Line. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in history. My specializations were in American and Russian history. I live in central Arkansas with my husband and our adorable cat, Baby Girl, who believes she is my co-author. We have one adult son who is married to his high school sweetheart.

One of my first essays showcases my own blend of Nerd; it is called Undercover Santa published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. You can read it on my Facebook page. I had an essay and poem in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Which lead me to try my hand at a spoken word essay called I Like Pie, which you can listen to online at my SoundCloud

While living in Mississippi, I was a researcher for the nonprofit Free the Slaves and worked on the book Understanding Global Slavery by University of California Press. From 2009-2014 I was the president of several writer organizations around the State of Arkansas including the Arkansas chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. In 2013, I became a Sally A. Williams Grant winner from the Arkansas Arts Council for writing. My first fiction was published in 2014 in an anthology of speculative fiction called, Holdfast Magazine 2013-2014. The story, The Tree of Life, follows a Japanese family living on a generational starship. These days I edit for Metahuman Press, am a member of the Pen and Cape Society, and an upcoming creative contributor with Pro Se Press and Mechanoid Press. 

  • Do you have a specific genre or area of interest when it comes to writing, or are you a generalist?

My genre is speculative fiction, and I mostly write science fiction or paranormal. Dictionary.com defines speculative fiction as: A broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements. In this genre I can write a love story, a mystery, a court drama, or anything really, and then add all the futuristic and fantastical elements that excite my imagination. The main thing I like about that freedom is my stories do not have to be bound to what society calls real life. I can be as audacious or daring as I want!

  • Most writers are also avid readers. Do you have any favorite authors whose work inspires you? Any writing mentors with sage advice that you'd like to give credit to?

Recently I have fallen in love with the work of J.A. Jernay and the Ainsley Walker Gemstone Travel Mystery series. The books take you to exotic locales and the writing is tight.

I do have a mentor who has influenced me deeply. I hear her voice in my head when I’m editing! LOL her name is Shannon Taylor Vannatter.  She and I write in totally different genres, but her advice on making a manuscript publishable has been invaluable to me.

  • Writing is hard work that is often done in our spare time, outside of home, employment, and family; with looming deadlines haunting each session. We all seem to have some sort of internal schedule we follow with personal stratagems that help us focus our attention on what must be done. Do you have any little tricks, gimmicks, or routines you use to be productive on those days when it's hard to find the time and incentive to sit down and write?

Right now my writing time is all over the place, or it feels that way. I work a 40hr a week job. Often I can find time on my breaks or at lunch to jot a few words down, but those times aren’t really productive. I hit my stride around 5pm-8pm, and if it wasn’t for the pesky commute I do at 5:30-6:30ish, that would be my ideal time to get my word count. For now I write after my shift while waiting to be picked up, after dinner while I’m hanging out with my family, and on the weekends.

  • Ugh, marketing—the necessary evil of the modern writer. Any tips or tricks you can share with us for beating the drum and getting the word out about your writing?

I am a member of a marketing coop on Facebook that has really taken my marketing to the next level. It is called Art Knows No Boundaries. https://www.facebook.com/groups/artknowsnoboundaries/

The group is based on the idea of cross-marketing (you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours). “Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.” ~Will Rogers  By employing a cross-marketing, our audience is exponentially increased. 

There are two online tools I use to make sharing and posting easier: RoundTeam takes care of retweets I do for the cross-marketing group and IFTTT takes care of sharing from one social media platform to the next. You see, when I publish a new blog post, Facebook post, or Tweet, IFTTT shares automatically. Post once and you’re done. There is a learning curve but there is plenty of help out on the Net.

  • Do you ever look back at how far you've come as a writer and feel awed and amazed? Or does it just seem like a natural progression due to daily diligence and self-discipline?

I’ll be honest; I’m mostly focused on the future. But since you asked so nicely… I think my progress is due to taking the time to work on my craft. I am not super disciplined, but I’m working on that. 

  • I understand you have a new book coming out. This is your chance to strut your stuff, and let the world know about your latest creation.

THE HOUSE BAST MADE is an adventure where a young archaeologist learns myths need not be fairytales. The story finds our adventurer, REID CANNON, on an archaeology dig near the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Reid and his crew discover friendship and doing the right things are more important than professional gain. The book is novella length. 

  • Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself or your writing Lisa?

I am a big advocate for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Being totally green and a complete n00b in 2008, I decided to take up the challenge and write 50,000 words in the month of November. Believe it or not, right out of the gate, I did it! 

The program showed me I had what it took to be a novelist. I think it is one of the most encouraging writing programs out there. Best part it is free!

Lisa would also like you all to know that if you are interested in her writing, you can click here and signup to get the latest info on book launches and special newsletter-only promotions!

This was a great way to kick off an interview series, and I'd like to thank Lisa Collins so much for joining us. I hope everyone who reads this page has enjoyed finding out more about her work, and will check out her site as well as her new book, THE HOUSE BAST MADE.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Announcing something brand new—WRITER 2 WRITER INTERVIEWS!

I've been wanting to do this for a while folks, and just recently had the time to put a set of questions together. 


Tomorrow, June 16th, I will be posting the inaugural WRITER 2 WRITER INTERVIEW, with author Lisa M. Collins. We'll be talking about her latest work, as well as writing in general. Lisa is an interesting, knowledgeable, and quite busy person, but she took some time out to explain to us some of her background and shared a few great tips for marketing your own work. 

Make sure you watch for the announcement that the interview has gone live, because you don't want to miss this! 

As time permits I will try and get more folks interviewed. I hope to be able to do one every 4 to 6 weeks. Show us some love and support here, and I'll make sure we do this on a regular basis. 

You can reach me at magicdragonverse@gmail.com as well as on Google+ or Facebook, where I post under my own name, Nancy Hansen. Look for the backdrop of my books and you'll know you have me. Please use a subject line about interviews in any emails so that I know you're not SPAM. Anybody disrespecting my blog or email and sending me junk links dies a horrible, lingering death as an evil character in my next story. 

Till then...