About the interviews:
When I published my first book, I looked for ways to reach new readers, and being a brand new author, participating in various book bloggers interviews was a good way to start. Some interviews were standard questions, while others had more individuality built into them.
I then did a twist on the author interview by interviewing myself (Leon Interviews Himself). I then thought it would be fun to get to know some of the authors I was cross-promoting with, and the Friday Conversations were born. Guess what? They are a lot of work. I look up the authors information, visit the website so I can craft a unique set of questions (OK, there are a few standard ones) to let my readership get to know these new authors. Worth the work? You bet. Here is today’s conversation:
G.G. Collins loves the southwestern US where many of her stories are located. She can be found hiking through ruins of the ancient ones and enjoying New Mexican cuisine. When not traipsing about, she makes up stories with great friendships, quirky characters and, oh yeah, dead bodies. In real life she shares her time with a man, several neurotic—and psychic—cats and the ongoing struggle to grow a garden.
In Conversation With: G.G Collins
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author G.G. Collins. Thanks for stopping by.
You’re welcome. Nothing I enjoy more than talking about writing, except maybe stringing words together.
Can I offer you in a beverage this fine [insert time of day here]? —Morning. It’s always morning, Leon.
Tea drinker. Hot, iced or instant. My favorite brew is Assam.
Coming right up!
You have conducted some interviews yourself, but with the characters you created. How did that come about?
Reporting made it easy for me to interview my own characters. I noticed that some publications liked to use character interviews so I thought, geez, this would be fun. My favorite was the interview I did with the characters of Atomic Medium. Rachel Blackstone works for a magazine in Santa Fe called High Desert Country. So I assembled everyone on the rooftop and placed salsa, chips and margaritas on the table. The alien bad guy was a little defensive at one point saying, “Who are you calling mad? Why is the so-called space alien always the bad guy to Earthlings? We need to organize. We have rights.”
These interviews are entertaining and they give the reader some insight to the story. I dare say they help the writer with that too, perhaps enabling more fully-formed characters as a series progresses.
Having dialogue with your characters does give them an extra dimension.
Do you write full time?
Oh yes, but I have a writing day job which complements my fiction writing. I also have two blogs. One is my book blog Reluctant Medium at Large. It’s not just book stuff, but lots of quirky things about Santa Fe, New Mexico where my stories are set. The other is Parallel Universe at Large where I write mostly reviews of international TV shows and the occasional news posts.
Did you write the Reluctant Medium series before your Young Adult books?
The young adult books were first, followed by the Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery, Dead Editor File. But oddly Reluctant Medium was the first published even though written later. I guess I’d finally done my time learning writing. Taylor Browning was inspired when I worked at a book publisher. We published a mystery series and I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to write a book about a mystery editor who does sleuthing on the side. You know, editing real murder mysteries is not possible, but have real consequences.
Rachel Blackstone is a reporter and I began writing her shortly after I began reporting. Real life has a way of intruding nicely into fictional efforts. Neither were originally conceived as a series, but developed that way.
What was the first book that you remember reading?
Oh my, the one that made the biggest impression on me was, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson. I read it when I was about 12 or 13. Wow! I didn’t expect that ending. I’ve always loved the weird and spooky. I’ll still watch “Twilight Zone” reruns. My favorite is “The Odyssey of Flight 33.” I’m a big “Supernatural” fan and certainly it has encouraged the storylines in my Rachel Blackstone series.
What do you do to unwind, or do you have to?
Yoga makes the top of the unwind list, but most types of exercise will work. I watch international TV series and review many of them on my Parallel Universe at Large blog. Movies before pandemic; can’t wait to go back. And I love to travel, although that’s not always relaxing. Travel today, can be quite challenging.
Challenging is an understatement …
You live in the US Southwest. Did you grow up there or were you drawn to it?
Both. For decades the Southwest has attracted artists and writers. For artists, it’s the clear light. The sky is special in this area; vivid azure. For this writer, it is the magic of the place. I am so aware of the ancientness, of the peoples who came before, the Ancient Puebloans. Their history and culture teaches me about the importance of Mother Earth. Bandelier is spectacular with its cliff dwellings and breathtaking Alcove House, some140 feet above the canyon floor. It is reached by stone steps and four ladders. I used this in the storyline of Anasazi Medium. These ruins take me back in time. Every occasion I walk a trail, I think of those who walked it before me. It infuses my writing with timelessness and history.
It’s interesting that you mention the Ancient Puebloans. My latest story mentions Mesa Verde, describing how an alien civilization lived.
Some believed in the star ancestors.
I also enjoy hiking. What is your most memorable hike?
The first time we walked the Borrego Trail outside Santa Fe, we kept hearing water. We thought it’s just around that next bend, or maybe the next bend. We finally gave up, turned around and headed back which is mostly up hill and through the forest. It taught us a lesson; you have to save enough energy to get back. And being wimpy hikers, that’s important. The Aspen Vista Loop is fantastic during the autumn with the cascade of golden aspen leaves. But beware. It’s a tough climb.
I usually have music playing, except when I’m writing. You?
I actually listen to music more when I’m writing. But nothing with vocals – or I’ll be singing and that’s not good for writing, or listening. Usually, I’ll choose something like David Arkenstone, Stephen Halpern or Ottmar Liebert. And Spa on Sirius XM is nice too.
Oh, you know what that sound means, don’t you? That signals the lightning round. Are you game?
Line them up.
Margarita, margarita, margarita.
I enjoy my tequila straight. A nice Reposado or Anejo for sipping. But I won’t pass up a Margarita—on the rocks, of course.
Rocks or frozen.
Dine out or eat in??
Santa Fe, New Mexico with Paris, France at a close second.
Last binged show?
Ever pick up an armadillo?
No, but they’re really cute. You know they can remain under water for six minutes and walk on the bottom of a pond? They can also inflate their stomachs allowing them to float. Too much information?
Nope. That’s good to know. Might make it into another quiz.
Can you solve a Rubik’s Cube?
No interest in doing so.
What search engine did you use before Google?
There was a search engine before Google?!
What does G.G. stand for?
This has been fun, but we need to wrap it up. Any links you wish to add?
The new Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery, “Editor Kill Fee” is scheduled for release in 2022. Taylor will be investigating the disappearance of the president of the local mystery book club. Is it supernatural or just a wrong turn?
Books available at Amazon worldwide: G.G. Collins Amazon Page
The story behind Free Book Friday:
I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?
Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.
New BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos
Author Offering Free Books
Kinda Like Free: KU Titles
Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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