Wednesday, May 21, 2008

INTERVIEW WITH KRISTEN COLLIER


1. When did you start writing with the hope of getting published? I started years before I was actually able to sit down and write a book. About 8 years ago I started writing, but we didn’t even have a home computer, so I said, “Lord, if You want me to write, You’ll have to give me an easier way than coming to the library at night.” It was a year or so later that He did.

2. What was your motivation? I wanted to tell people about Jesus.

3. Did you always write books or have you written for other markets? I’ve done some articles for newspapers, but that’s not too interesting for me. It’s more fun to make up your own story. But it was a good skill to learn and it helped me get some credibility as a writer.

4. You are an author and your husband, Kevin Scott Collier, is an author/illustrator, did writing for children bring you together? We met at Christian e-authors, an online writing group. Kevy heard about my book, “King of Glory,” and I guess he liked the website, which was done by a professional designer:
http://www.kingofglorynovel.com. So he asked me to write some books with him and we became friends and later married.

5. When you are accustomed to writing alone is it difficult to learn to collaborate with someone else? No way. Kevy is such a gifted writer and artist that it is totally easy to write with him. I trusted him from day one, his artistic and literary sensibility, so I looked at it as a learning experience. I’ve learned a lot about writing from him. We work wonderfully together because I deeply respect him. And I prefer writing with him because he’s so much better than I, so I’m able to learn to be a better writer as I write with him. He’s so much more creative and better at writing emotionally than I, so it makes for better books. And now that we’re married, it’s not about either/or, it’s about us, so there’s no sense in separating the writing.

6. What is the title of your first published book? “King of Glory” was the book I wrote first. I self-published it, and it got good reviews, but now that I’ve learned so much about writing, Kevy’s going to help me with it and I’ll re-publish it again one day (when time allows). I like that, because he’s going to actually add quite a bit to it, so it’ll be a much better book than I could ever write on my own. And there’s no pride there, because the whole point of the book is to point people to Jesus, so if we can do it better together, than that’s what matters.

7. Your husband appears to work very quickly, whether writing or illustrating. Do you work as quickly? On occasion. But in general, I have less energy than Kevy, so I pace myself. But if the need arises, yes, I can work really fast like he does. That’s one of my life lessons I’ve been working on: pacing myself. I used to get sinus infections at least once a year because I’d work myself sick. Now I pace myself much better and I prioritize: God, Kevy, Jarod—everything else comes after them.

8. Do you outline and do a lot of preparation before you actually start writing, or does a story just pour out of you at the keyboard? I don’t outline. I just start writing and let it flow from there. Kevin and I have similar styles, and I’m learning to mimic him, ha ha, so that’s making me a better writer. The more I write like him, the better I am, lol! But seriously, I do imitate his style, and it’s really making me a better writer. And it’s more fun to write together if our writing is similar. Sometimes we don’t know who wrote what!

9. I know you have a son. How do you find writing time? How are you able to balance your private life and your writing life? Are you very organized?
I have a terrible memory, so Kevy catches a lot of things I miss. At this point we have a bunch of manuscripts that Terry’s shopping, so I’m not working on anything terribly major. I work nights, in retail, so once in a while I’ll work on something during the day. But mostly I’m focused on taking care of my guys. That’s what’s most important.

Right now, for example, Jarod’s sitting next to me at the library, watching some Naruto video on YouTube. So while he’s having fun, I’m doing this. But we have such a stockpile that I don’t take time away from my family to write. They definitely are more important than any book I may write.

I am currently trying to get back to a re-write of Kevy’s book, called “Danderdaul.” It’s about a cat in a nursing home. It’s a BIG project, as he wrote it years ago, and it’s pretty sketchy. He wants me to go in and add anything I want to it, and that’s hard for me, mentally, because I’m not a natural like he is, so it’s going to be some time before that’s done. I could cruise through it really fast (I did two years ago), but he wants me to really flesh it out, so I’m going to take my time with it. He wrote it when he first started writing, so it’s not as developed as something he’d write now. With that in mind, and with him wanting me to make it as good as I possibly can, I look at that book as a long-term project.

On the other hand, I’m writing my first non-fiction book called “Obey Your Husband.” It’s about this divine conundrum: that a woman experiences freedom when obeying a godly man. Since that’s non-fiction and I’m doing it in a really informal, almost journal style, it comes out really fast. I’m just working on it as I feel like it. I love being married and so it’s basically about writing about the joys of marriage, so it’s a fun book to write.

But after almost six years of writing, I’m slowing way down mentally and am just writing in my spare time. My men come first.

10. I hear you have started doing school visits, teach writing classes, etc. How do you like this side of being an author? Was it difficult getting started? Where did you get your ideas for content for your presentations?
I’m really excited about, and having fun with, my new blog:
http://www.youngwriterscentral.blogspot.com. It’s a blog in which I give quick tips to young writers, and they can also ask questions. I’ve also asked other authors to give me their tips (I’m not vain enough to be the only one supplying tips). This came about naturally because I wanted to give back to the community. So when “Joy the Jellyfish” came out, I naturally contacted the schools to see if I could read it to them. And since “Joy” is a lesson in friendship, I just naturally started teaching the kids about the book’s lessons. And Kevy lined up a bunch of school outings for me, as well, since he’s been doing it for so many years. It’s a lot of fun and makes you feel good to help young people.

11. What books have you and Kevin collaborated on? What are you working on now? Do you still write on your own? “Natalie’s Ark” is our next book, coming out any day. That’s one of our favorite manuscripts, so we’re really happy it’s coming out. And the obedience book is my own. Kevy doesn’t make me obey him. It’s something I believe and have been tremendously blessed by. The nature of men and women has not changed since the beginning of time, so I can see that by adhering to God’s standards instead of saying submit to your husband is time-bound, it’s only made our life more blessed.

12. Do you have a website where readers can see your work? This is my main site:
http://kristencollier.blogspot.com, but Kevy’s built a bunch of sites for our books and for us as a couple. If you go to this site, it’ll link to all the others.

13. What would readers be surprised to learn about you? That I'm really shy, *blush.* :-)

A final word from Kristen:

I am so blessed to have the best family in the world. Kevin is the most selfless man I've ever met and Jarod is the best child a parent could ever want. Books are great, but family, and loving God first, is what's most important.

2 comments:

Cynthia Reeg said...

Shari,
I enjoyed the interview with Kristen. It was interesting to see how she and Kevin work together on their writings.
Thanks.

Cindy
www.cynthiareeg.com

Mayra Calvani said...

Great interview, Shari and Kristin! It's always inspiring to read about the lives of authors!

Best,
Mayra