Thrilled to share my interview with New York Times bestselling author and judge for the World’s Best Story contest Kate Collins.
1- What are the ingredients for a blockbuster story to you?
A dynamic opening, a powerful, emotional, intriguing storyline, and characters that I care about and have to root for.
2- What story has influenced your life?
Wow. Could anyone answer that by naming just one book? I was influenced by many writers at different stages in my life. My earliest memory is of a book my mother read to me over and over (by my own request) entitled, “The Little Lame Prince.” I don’t remember the plot, but I do remember being moved emotionally. Then came my horse-themed books years, followed by my Nancy Drew years, which led into my Agatha Christie years. Other notables are Jean Shepherd, Rex Stout, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Sue Monk Kidd, and Barbara Kingsolver.
3- What writer would you consider a mentor?
Jean Shepherd. I learned comedic voice from him.
4- What story do you enjoy reading over and over again?
I rarely read a book twice, the exception being Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries. His witty protagonist Archie is the inspiration for the main character of my mystery series, fiery sleuth Abby Knight.
5- Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
More than I can fit here, but at the very top of my list is to believe in your story. Believe in it so fiercely that you are willing to risk rejection in order to get it published. If you don’t have that passionate belief, your story isn’t ready. So get into a writing group and take classes to make it so.
6- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always made up stories in my head, mostly to amuse myself (and to get myself out of trouble, for which I had to stand in the corner on occasion). I never considered becoming a writer until I retired from teaching to raise my babies and was looking for a hobby. I took a correspondence course on writing children’s stories – and was off and running.
7- How would you increase literacy?
Have huge media campaigns pushing for parents to read short stories or one chapter from a children’s book to their kids every night; encourage teachers to read a chapter from a dynamic book to their class every day. Doing those things will spark imaginations and hopefully get young people to pick up books of their own.
8 – If you could relive one of the happiest days of your life, what would it be?
My wedding to my soul mate. We stood on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico in Key West at sunset and gazed into each others’ eyes as we spoke our vows. It’s etched into my mind like a beautiful painting.
9 – If you were given 5000$ and told you have one day to spend it, what would you buy?
If it was a gift, I’d purchase something totally frivolous that I’d never buy otherwise, like a Dolce and Gabbana handbag.
Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series. Her next mystery, A ROOT AWAKENING, #16 in the series, will be released February, 2015.
All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions both in the U.S. and in the UK. Her historical romances are also available in digital format at Amazon, B&N, and other e-book sellers. Kate is a resident of Northwest Indiana and Key West, Florida.
Find out more about Kate and her books: katecollinsbooks.com