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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Interview with Author Mari Collier

It is my pleasure to welcome author Mari Collier to my blog today. 

We’ll start out with a few questions. If you choose not to answer any question, please feel free to skip it, and if there is anything that I’ve missed, you’re welcome to add a comment.Let’s get started, Mari.

1)  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

It seems I’m someone who grew up without the amenities of modern life and witnessed the hard, everyday work of a farmwoman as though it were still in the early 1900’s.  It really gave an appreciation for the strength of the early immigrants and their ability to work.

2)   As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to become a Deaconess and serve in the overseas Lutheran Missouri Synod Mission field.  That meant I had to keep my grades up to qualify for their Valparaiso University in northern Indiana.  Unfortunately, allergies prevented me from living in the Midwest.

3)  When did you first start writing?   

I was in the sixth grade and wrote a story about Lazarus, the Wandering Jew (heavens only knows how I knew about that piece of folklore).  The other two classmates (yes, a one room country school) liked it so much they wanted a romance.  I wrote it for them and thought it really insipid.  I didn’t understand how they could like that.  Then Mama put me in charge of writing the Douglas Township news for the Audubon Advocate.  I decided I could write a Western set in the old West.  Of course, it had to be Texas as that is where the Comanche were based. My second oldest brother thought it was hilarious that his baby sister would write a story and kill off all the characters. 

4)  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? 

That was after I had children and began making up bedtime stories for them.  I started writing them down, and then pulled out the Western I had started so long ago.  I decided I needed more tutelage and took a mail order writing course. 

5)  How long does it take you to write a book? 

That depends on which book.  It took over fifty years to write Gather The Children.  Man, True Man I must have written in about six months.

6)  What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

The same every day except when I may have an appointment or visitors.  I write from 2:30 p.m. until 3:55 p.m.  Sometimes it does stretch out to a longer time.

7)  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I like to give short stories a twisted ending.  They aren’t necessarily happy ever after.

8)  Where do you get your information and/or ideas for your books? 

The ideas are just there.  The necessary technical information is in my library or on the internet.  The latter is such a time saver.

9)  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I would love to do more reading, but the writing interferes.  I like to work outside, take walks, and Nintendo forever ruined me.  I like to play electronic games too.

10)    What does your family think of your writing? 

My son couldn’t believe his Mother wrote those books.  My daughter likes one and some of my short stories.  My granddaughters are really proud of her grandmother. My grandsons are perplexed.  My nieces and great-nieces have been enthusiastic in their support.  My one living brother says that I am one hell of a writer, and the one (now at home with the Lord) complimented me for being the better writer.  You see, they are a mixed lot.

11)       What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating books? 

That I could see, hear, and smell the characters.

12)           How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?    

I have written seven novels and four Twisted Tales anthologies.  I really cannot pick a favorite.  It is like asking a mother which of her children is the favorite.

13)          Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?   

It is more like occasionally as far as direct communication goes.  The reviews are one way of hearing your readers.  That means I take the good with the bad.  Fortunately, most are good comments.

14)  What do you think makes a good story?  

Adventure, new or ancient worlds, love and hate, in others words, the essential emotions and curiosity of humans or other beings.

15)  How did you choose what genre to write in? 

It chose me.

16)  Do you ever experience writer’s block?  

No, I have not.  I have found that with other writers that sometimes they create their own blocks.  If something doesn’t go the way they want, they put everything away.  If something doesn’t seem to go right, I just move onto another project.  I usually have three or four others I can choose from.

17)          Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?   

The Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism.  The other main influence was the history books.

18)       Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?    

Oh, please, that was a nightmare as Kindle Publishing, Nook Publishing, and Create Space did not exist then.  I took my brother’s advice and went with a vanity company.  It was a horrible decision.  I am so thankful to have the rights to that book back.

19)       What was your favorite chapter or part to write? Why?  

I cannot pick one chapter, but one of my favorites is The Pastor Becomes The Shepherd in Before We Leave.  One man makes a complete transformation.

20)       How did you come up with the title? 

Trial and error.  Sometimes the title was there just like the book.  The vanity company insisted I change the title of my first one.  At least that vanity company didn’t charge for the cover or the printing.

21)       What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?   

The one that had nothing to do with the novel.  The best came from my granddaughter.  This is it:  My grandmother is the author. But I'm not being biased when I say her books are amazing! I own 4.

22)       Can you tell us about your upcoming book?   

The upcoming one will be The Silver and The Green.  It is a sequel to Man, True Man and takes place on the planet Tonath.  Tonath has almost recovered from the Burning Days, but not completely. One Seeker wants to restore the Star Path Institutes to their original teachings and the other wants to find the ancient family land holdings. Then war erupts between the battling governments and the different Star Path Institutes. Ordinary people are caught between the different rulers and the different religious proponents.

23)       What projects are you working on now? 

See above.  I’m also trying to work on a short story, a new blog, and the next sequel.

24)       Will you have a new book coming out soon? 

I’m hoping The Silver and The Green will be out before this summer.

25)     What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why? 

Martin Luther as his summaries of scripture is so succinct.  Unfortunately, I do not speak or understand German.

26)       What would you serve?  

         Sausages and beer. What else?  We’re German.

27)     If you had a magic wand to grant any wish, what would that be?    

Impossible to say.  I doubt if it would be anything noble. I would think of my family before anyone else.  People wish for peace, but that will never happen in this sinful world.  When lives are too peaceful, people tend to read something with violence within the story or watch a movie, YouTube episode, or television show that will have murder or mayhem of some sort.

28)     Is there anything more that you would like to say to your readers and fans?    

Thanks to all who have read or purchased my stories.  If you haven’t seen or read any of my tales and would like a look  or preview of them, click on the Amazon Author Page below.  A double thanks to all who have not only read the tales, but left a review. Thanks for inviting me, Kenna and much love and happiness to all.

Thank you, Mari, it was a pleasure to interview you. All the best of luck on your upcoming novel, and warm wishes for a happy and profitable year.

Twitter:  @child7mari