I first met Tess Collins more years ago than I’m going to say and I’m delighted that she’s got a new book coming out next month! If you’re not familiar with Tess and her work, I hope you’ll take time to read this and that you’ll hurry to buy Notown when it hits the market!
PJ: How long have you been writing?
TC: I was recently looking through a baby book that my mother kept of my first few years and one of the most frequently quoted phrases that I used was “let’s pretend”. She said I would make elaborate stories for me and my brother where I was the princess and a monster was after us, then I’d make a magic circle for our protection. So how long have I been a writer—well, at least since then.
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
TC: Not sure writers ever feel successful. It’s always a “oh God, what am I going to do next.”
PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?
TC: If I were to look at the person I was when I started pursuing publishing, then I would say, I expected to have a life which was focused on writing that became more of a life writing when I can, promoting as much as I can. But it is what it is.
PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?
TC: (loud, hysterical laughter)
PJ: =) Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?
TC: I suppose at one point I had to choose between writing to the market and writing the stories I wanted to tell. If I chose one, I’d likely be publishing a book a year and making loads of money, but art won out.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
TC: I spent about ten years in writing classes learning craft. Had one book that I sent out a gazillion times that no agent wanted, so wrote another which got an agent within a few months and sold a few weeks later to a major NYC publisher. Goes to show that it is a crap shoot.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
TC: I’ve lots track of time so often that I don’t even know how to answer that question. I’ve tried making schedules—I’ll write this day; promote that day. It never works. It’s all a mishmash of doing multi-tasking and hoping everything gets done.
PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?
TC: It hasn’t happened yet, but in my mind, I play it over and over as: the time I met John Irving.
PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?
TC: That I haven’t met John Irving yet.
PJ: Ok, John – it’s time! What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
TC: The best was having two kids buy my book for their mother and that I’d gone to high school with their mom.
PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
TC: I think you can only write the best book you know how to write.
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
TC: Don’t give up.
PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?
TC: I’m a very introverted person, so being in public takes a lot out of me. I have to float in a blacked out floatation tank after a particular people filled day.
Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
The Law of Betrayal
How Theater Managers Manage (non-fiction)
Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
TC: A day in the life of a woman who decides to kill her second husband.
Where can we buy it?
TC: Amazon, Barnes and Noble; most online booksellers
PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?
TC: I’m a closet MMA fan.
Thanks Tess! All right you guys, let’s get to shopping and reading, enjoy!