This Author Spotlight features novelist William D. Collins. William lives in Colorado with his wife and their two cats Attila and Bella. He writes full time.
1. How did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was about 10 years old. Even when I was a Marine during Desert Storm, and we lived in our Humvees for months, I was writing in a little notebook when I could. I make sure I have a notebook, a computer, or my AlphaSmart word processor with me everywhere I go nowadays. I love to tell stories and I knew writing full-length novels was inevitable for me.
2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I love writing the first draft when I can turn off my brain and just write. Getting lost in the process and being surprised what a character does or says is an amazing experience. Then, of course, I have to go back and edit and that can be painful because by the end of the first draft, the story has usually changed a lot.
3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
I generally try to write a little every day. I like to write a first draft and then go back and outline. I have tried it the other way, but I always get stuck staring at blank screens and then my Playstation starts calling me. Once I have the chaos of the first draft, I don’t feel so restricted by an outline for my revisions.
4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
I admire Chuck Palahniuk. You never know what you’re going to get with him and I like the untraditional style of his books. I don’t enjoy them all, but there are many that have made my favorite list. I just discovered Jeff Strand not long ago and I love the way he writes, so I’ll definitely be reading more of his books.
5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Outside. You can’t blame it though; it was probably lonely out there.
6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
My first drafts often look like someone shot each page with a comma shotgun. Then I clean it up and give it to my wife to read and she comes back and says, “Either way is right but you have to be consistent!” (The exclamation point is because she has told me this many times and I actually see the (!) over her head when she tells me again). I grudgingly go back and try to be consistent. So, I guess, I’m not committed either way.
7. What is your book A GIRL AND HER CAT about and how did it come to fruition?
“A Girl and Her Cat” is about two main characters surviving a zombie apocalypse. Jack Williams is a war veteran and he’s not all that upset about civilization collapsing. He is a character that is carrying a lot of baggage from his war experience. Thalia is a twelve-year-old girl who has lost everything except her cat. She has strange powers that she doesn’t understand and that are growing in intensity. They are both put to the test by the end of the novel.
It came to fruition from another story I was writing. I had this adult woman (named Thalia) and as I wrote her backstory I decided to put her in this zombie apocalypse novel as a child because she was an interesting character. As a veteran, I felt I had a lot to say about war. Jack was a character who was lost in his past and couldn’t break free on his own. It’s a story I wanted to tell.
8. What’s your current writing project?
It’s a story about a private investigator who has been jaded by life and the realities of the job. He gets the case of a lifetime but that challenges everything he thought he knew about himself and the world. There is a cast of colorful characters that will hopefully make people laugh and think. I worked as a private investigator for a couple years in the Washington, D.C. area and so I’m drawing on a lot of the weirdness of that world. Of course, the main character in this story is also haunted by a ghost that won’t leave him alone and causes him all sorts of aggravation.
9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished “Endurance” by JA Konrath and “Wolf Hunt” by Jeff Strand. My next two, which I just started yesterday, are “Vigilante” by Claude Bouchard and “Hollowland” by Amanda Hocking.
10. Who or what inspires your writing?
I find inspiration from a lot of places: movies, books, history, mythology, and even just life experiences. I am a big daydreamer, so everything I encounter I am pretty much thinking, “How can I use this in a book?”
Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has bought my book so far and everyone who will in the future. It is a massive effort to get a book into its final form and I love that people take the time to read it. It really is appreciated.
My book is available on Amazon right now in ebook and print form. I also have a website and blog at www.williamdcollins.com. Thank you so much for the interview, Ryan, and best of luck in all your future endeavors.
You're very welcome, Bill.
Pick up a copy of A GIRL AND HER CAT on Amazon. And follow Bill on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BillDCollins
If you are a writer/novelist/poet and would like to be featured in an upcoming Author Spotlight, please contact me at AuthorRyanSchneider@gmail.com.