Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Interview: G.G. Collins

1.       What was your inspiration for this book?  While reading a book on Native American culture, I ran across a ceremony to return the dead. The first thing that came to mind; what if the wrong spirit returned? And what if experiencing the ritual revealed powers you were unaware you had? “Reluctant Medium” resulted. And Rachel Blackstone will have to develop a few other supernatural talents in the forthcoming “Lemurian Medium.”

2.       Would you classify your writing as plot driven of character driven? Definitely character driven. I enjoy my characters. They’re like friends to me. Both Rachel and Chloe (her best friend) have characteristics I have—not always good ones—and some I wish I had. The plot is manipulated by the characters as I discover how they will react when presented with a given situation. They surprise me from time to time.

3.       Can you tell us a little about your main character? Rachel Blackstone is a reporter for a Santa Fe, New Mexico magazine. Her father, also a journalist, was killed in a suspicious car wreck. The trauma has caused her to leave her husband and her life, but writing sustains her. The money isn’t great, but the work keeps her going. She’s cynical, dislikes kids, almost everyone she knows is angry or disappointed in her, she doesn’t get along with her brother—her only remaining family member, and drives a big gas-guzzling car (it was an independence statement of sorts). Her relationship with Chloe is her only healthy relationship when we meet her. The two have some funny and poignant experiences as they solve paranormal mysteries.

4.       Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write? Oh, the brother. He’s the mayor of Santa Fe. He and Rachel have nothing in common, other than being related. Journalism runs in their blood, but Rachel thinks her brother must have had a transfusion. She hates politics and is fairly certain her brother is dishonest. He’s a womanizer and not a popular mayor. We’re talking unsympathetic character at best. But as the story unfolds he has to endure unsavory things. It’s easy to dislike him early on, but difficult to encourage empathy for him later.

5.       Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. Rachel is confounded by what is unfolding—all because she wanted to talk with her father one last time. Almost immediately after the ceremony goes wrong, she hears a wolf howl that doesn't belong. Later in the night she sees a ghost. Her life is already out of control and now she seems to have some unpleasant residual effects from having performed this Native American rite. How she copes with this new-found “talent” becomes the story.

6.       Why did you choose this genre? Thrillers, mysteries and horror have been staples in my life since I read my first “adult” book, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson. Wow! That was exciting after a steady diet of “Hardy Boys.” From there I read everything by Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Mary Higgins Clark. When I found Stephen King, a whole new world of reading opened up. I’d always had an interest in the paranormal. I continue to watch television that inspires new ideas, shows like “Ancient Aliens,” anything on the Bermuda Triangle, vortexes and power centers.  I never miss an episode of “Supernatural.” I find the possibility of lost time, wormholes, time travel and parallel universes unfailingly intriguing. Currently, my coffee table is heavy with books on astral travel, crystals, Mesoamerican culture and the lost continent of Lemuria. Hmm, something's up. 

7.       What do you hope readers take away from this book? I hope they have a good time! “Reluctant Medium” is fast-paced and strange, with a dash or two of horror—and my readers tell me it’s funny. That’s a great compliment! And at its heart, is a wonderful friendship. Rachel and Chloe are very different people, but they meet in the middle, they respect their differences and enjoy them. And no matter what you’ve heard, they don’t smoke all that much pot.

8.       Who are your favorite authors? I’m a big Shirley MacLaine fan, like that's a surprise. Her book “Out on a Limb” changed the way I interpreted a lot of things. It was one of those transformational reads. Amelia Kinkade, who writes about animal communication, is another favorite. Lately, I haven’t been reading fiction, because I don’t want to sound like another author, but I've spent many a happy hour reading the “Spenser” books by Robert Parker. Chaim Potok’s “My Name is Asher Lev” was assigned in college. I loved it. And I've read “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank three times.

 9.       Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? I can’t write without tea! Can’t be done. Chocolate also helps--but not much, of course.

10.   Can you tell us about any future projects? Oh yes, I’m working on “Lemurian Medium” which I hope to release in June 2013. In this Rachel Blackstone book, she must travel the astral plane to save a friend who disappeared into a painting at a posh Santa Fe gallery. Next year? It’s “Atomic Medium.” Let’s just say that Nazis and the 1940s are going to be a real trip!

Stay up to date on G.G. Collins books on her blog, Shelfari, and Goodreads

Reluctant Medium is available now from AmazonSmashwordsB&NKoboiBooks, and Diesel