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Thirteen Reasons Why
Before I Fall
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My Sister's Keeper
The Love We Share Without Knowing
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
A Perfect Darkness

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Interview With Collette Scott, Author of Forever Sunshine--About Writing

Firstly, I just want to thank you for taking time out to be here with us today. I know that you are very busy. We do appreciate the visit.
Oh, Lenmeo, thank you! I am very happy to be here, so it is my pleasure.

When did you realize that becoming a published author is what you wanted to do?
I started telling stories at a very young age. I seem to have known all along that I wanted to be a writer. I remember sitting in my high school guidance counselor’s office as a junior and her telling me to get into computers. I crossed my arms over my chest and said ‘I want to be a writer’. From there, my schooling has primarily focused on honing my craft, despite other odds and ends jobs/careers over the years.

How long would you say that it took you to get published?
That’s a tricky question. Randomly through the years I would query publishers and agents, but then I would stop because of other things in my life popping up - such as the birth of a child, a move, school, jobs, etc. It was mostly my fault. I had an agent for about two years until his wife contracted cancer. He had to take an extended leave from work, and because of a move I never re-connected with him. This time around, I published very quickly. Things have gotten easier with the Internet and eBooks. No six-month long waiting periods where you’re anxiously watching the mailbox daily!

What would you say has been your biggest obstacle in becoming published and how did you overcome it?
My own fear for sure! I have been writing all of my life, but I always listened to the voices saying: ‘you’ll never get published’ and ‘the market is all about who you know’. Writing for me has always been very personal. My characters are like my children, and it was very hard to share those stories with others when that niggling voice in the back of my mind was saying ‘no’. I was finally able to overcome that fear when I shared a rough draft of Forever Sunshine with my best friend, Jenny. She read it, passed it along to family and friends, and the next thing I knew everyone was screaming at me to publish it.

Who or what has been the most instrumental person or thing to you as far as getting published?
Without a doubt, my husband. He is my biggest fan, harshest critic, and devoted editor. Before Jenny and her family/friends started pushing me, he had read Forever Sunshine and told me it was one of the best books he had ever read. Of course I didn’t believe him. After all,he’s supposed to say that, right? However, as he has read more of my work, I have come to realize that if he doesn’t like something, he will not sugarcoat anything and can be so brutal at times that I want to throw his clothing outside and set it on fire! 

As an author, is there any one author or book out there that inspired you write a specific genre?
No, actually, I write the stories that are in my head. The weird thing is that they primarily focus on the power of love, emotional development, and the interaction between people. Therefore, I classify most of my writing as either romance or chick lit. However, while I do read all types of genres I generally tend to gravitate toward suspense and adventure novels. Funny, isn’t it? I do read romance, but it's not my favorite genre!

Would you say that being a reader is important to being a writer?
Without a doubt! Anyone who wants to write should always read. Not only is it a good way to see what their genre is trending, but also because viewing different writing style sand experiencing different voices can help a writer hone their own craft.

I know that many authors today utilize other authors while they are writing their books as critique partners. How do you edit your books?
Once I have finished a rough draft, I put it aside for at least a month. That way I can come back to it a little fresher and more willing to do those critical cuts, re-writes, and adjustments. When I feel I have it somewhat polished, it next goes to my husband. He makes his own list of corrections, picks out the awkward or unnecessary spots, and generally shatters my confidence. Once I have picked myself up off the floor and shared a forgiving hug, I get back at it. One of my children has also taken on the role of ‘reader extraordinaire’, and now she helps me out by telling me whether or not she likes it. If I have their approval, I will pass it on to others.
I am very grateful to family and friends in my immediate circle who view it first and pick out those pesky typos that I may miss since I have read and re-read it a million times at that point. I couldn’t do it without them. From there I work out the final glitches and get the ball rolling.

Are you a part of a critique group? 
Informally only. I have read other author’s work and they mine. We share our opinions.

Would they or yourself be interested in being contacted about critiquing other authors?
I am always open to helping others when I can. I know all of us writers are most concerned with getting our thoughts down on paper. Once that is complete the hard work comes. Cutting/editing/re-wording - all those things are a necessary and sometimes painful trial. There are scenes I didn’t want to remove, but I knew I would have to in order to make it work/flow better. Seeing your story through another person's eyes is so helpful. If there was another writer out there that didn't have that option I would be more than willing to help where I could.

Do you have a favorite place to write that helps bring inspiration to your stories?
I will write anywhere, anytime. I have sat in my bed, sat outside, in my kitchen, living room, you name it. However, that being said, I prefer to be in a room alone without distractions. Even someone sitting next to me makes me self-conscious and interferes with my flow.   

Do you listen to music when writing? 
Yes, I do. I have pluralist of classical music that I play when I’m writing. If I listen to music with words I can’t concentrate well, so the classical instrumental pieces are my favorites.
Would you say that writing has gotten easier for you now that you are published? 
I don’t think it has changed me at all. I still have the stories in my head, and I’m still just putting them down on paper. It’s an itch that just won’t go away, and even if I never published a word I believe I would always be writing.
How long does it generally take you to write a book? 
That depends on so many factors. Lately I’ve been writing full-time, about 12-14 hours a day. Was able to complete a rough draft in a month. When I was working, I could only dedicate a couple of hours a night so it took much longer. There was also time where my job was so demanding that I was unable to write for about two years; it sucked the creativity right out of me!

Thank you Collette for being here today and answering questions about the writing process.  I am certain that your answers helped many aspiring writers with their questions.  I look forward to finishing the interview tomorrow with Forever Sunshine questions.  See you then!


Collette said...

Thank you again for featuring me, Lenmeo. I had such a great time.

jennymilch said...

It is really interesting that you write genres you don't primarily read. Your process sounds a lot like mine--right down to the husband who has so much of value to offer (right after we get past wanting to burn their clothes :) Thanks for sharing so much of your journey and career.

Collette said...

Thank you Jenny for stopping by! I think a lot of us work in a similar way, but I believe we are truly blessed when we have such supportive people in our lives, don't you agree? And I have to admit that I love reading anything at all that sounds good. It's a great way to escape from life, isn't it? =)

Anonymous said...

What a great interview, Collette! It is very true about having supportive people around you. They are our driving force, cheerleaders, and silent muses.

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