I didn’t set out to write a trilogy, but as I was writing the first book in the series, I realised I had a great deal invested in the supporting characters. To loosely wrap up their sub-plots to finish off the book, wouldn’t have done them justice. I was about two thirds of the way through that first book, Set Me Free, when I decided to keep going. It wasn’t difficult, because the characters were driving me. The toughest thing was producing the subsequent books as close together as possible. If I’d left it too long, I would have lost readers along the way.
2. When did you take up writing?
When I was seven or eight, I wrote a short story about a kid who found a glowing rod on the footpath while walking to school. She picked it up and was transported to another planet, where everyone ‘zpoke like zis.’ My teacher wrote ‘great work’ at the end of the story in my exercise book. I think it must have been the first time I’d been given any praise, because the pride I felt was overwhelming. Finally, I’d found something I might be good at! It may sound harsh to say I’d never received any praise before, but this was country Queensland, circa 1982. No one was dishing out praise for eight year old kids - we were still supposed to be seen and not heard.
From that day, I thought I might like to be a writer, but I can’t say I was ever encouraged along the way. All the messages I received were that very few writers actually succeeded. I never gave up entirely, but there were quiet periods and busy periods, until almost three years ago, when I said, ‘Stuff it. I’m going to do it.’ And I pushed through to publishing.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
Very important. I am one of those writers for whom the setting is another character in the story. My first book was set in my home town, somewhat against my will, as I would have preferred a more exotic location! But the story was about someone fighting for their neighbourhood, and to do the narrative justice, I had to write about somewhere I knew and loved. As I’ve developed as an author, I’ve become more adventurous with my settings, but they’re always somewhere I’ve been. Creating atmosphere through the setting is one way I like to draw readers in, and I feel I can only do that genuinely if I know the place I’m writing about.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
Definitely. I’m not afraid to admit it! Annie Martin, the main character in Bring Me Back, first came to life in the second book of the Evans Trilogy - Open My Eyes. Annie was my favourite character while I was writing that one, and I couldn’t wait to give her her own story. She’s smart, courageous, slightly intolerant and super uptight.She doesn’t let many people in, but once she does, she’s fiercely protective.
5. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I wish! Last year I was lucky enough to take some time off from my paying job to dedicate to writing. It was two months of the most disciplined bliss. I would drop the kids at school, write for six hours, and then pick them up. I am back in full time work now, and those days are a distant memory. Now, I am lucky if I get to write twice a week, and if I do, I start sometime after 10pm.
6. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
A combination of both. I can plan up to a point, then I just want to get cracking. As a result my drafting process is chaotic: two steps forward, then sometimes three steps, or even one giant leap, back.
7.Can you name three of four of your current favourite authors?
I’ve been reading a bit of Amy Andrews lately. She writes with wit that puts me in mind of Jenny Crusie. And she writes a great sex scene.
Also clogging up my Kindle is Kate Perry and her small town Laurel Heights series. Again, it’s her wit that wins me over and her sex scenes aren’t bad either.
For something completely different, I’ve got a strange obsession with Lynn Kurland’s medieval time-travel series. It’s not my usual thing, but Kurland is such a master at characterisation, I get drawn in every time. There’s no sex in these ones, Kurland’s heroines are predominantly virgins and her hero’s terribly chivalrous, but she still sucks me in.
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
No! It’s a closely guarded secret. I can say it will be a slight departure from the style of the Evans Trilogy, but given my current writing ‘routine’, this one is going to take a while to write, and I’m not ready to let anything slip just yet.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
Go ahead and do it. But don’t expect to be an overnight success. Instead, expect to learn along the way, at every stage and with every win and every loss. And be patient. I should heed my own advice.
Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.
She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep. These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn't necessarily let them sleep.
Andy Evans is on the move. For six long, lonely years, he’s been running from his past, leaving his family and his life as a drug-addicted rock star far behind. His latest move takes him to the sleepy seaside town of Oamaru, New Zealand, to sell cigar-box guitars to tourists. The only running he’ll need to do will be training for half-marathon in nearby Dunedin. But when Andy sets eyes on Steampunk HQ, Oamaru's main tourist attraction, he realises his days of running might not be over, especially if a certain Steampunk fan from his past catches up with him.
Annie Martin is on the cusp of great success. Her career as a Steampunk academic is about to take off, as long as she can convince one disagreeable, New Zealand-based Professor to sign up to the anthology she’s putting together. Thankfully, Annie is a master at maintaining her poise and few people, no matter how nasty, can rattle her. Not any more. In fact, it’d been a good six years since anyone had gotten under her skin, after her best friend’s brother had vanished into thin air.
When Annie finds her future career on a collision course with her secret past, Andy Evans is the last person she expects to find tangled up in the mess. With a vengeful drug-dealer or two hot on his heels, and a vindictive academic determined to ruin her credibility, can Annie bring Andy back to his family before it’s too late? Annie and Andy are used to being alone, but if they don’t work together, there’ll be much more at stake than her livelihood and his sobriety.
Website - http://www.jennifercollin.com/
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Goodreads link is: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24261182-bring-me-back