Thursday, October 8, 2015
Interview with J. J. Collins
Great news! As of this writing, Lost and Found has made it onto All Romance E-books' Top 50 bestsellers list! I was able to get hold of writer J. J. Collins and sit her down at the keyboard for an email interview. Take it away, J. J. --
Collins: Hey! My name's Jen Collins and I live in northern New Jersey with my wonderful husband Chuck and a garden tortoise named Toby. No dogs or cats. We're holding off on kids.
I hear the tale of how you met your husband is quite the romance story in itself.
I'll say! We met at a science fiction convention. We were both in the costume contest. We're both fans of Elfquest. I was Ember, he was Teir. It was Recognition.
Have the Pinis okayed this?
We've never met them, but I'm sure they'd approve. After all, they met through the letters page of the old Silver Surfer comic. It has symmetry.
What got you into writing?
Oh my. I've been writing since I learned how to hold a pencil. My dad used to read to me from those Disney storybooks, only he'd do funny voices and go off script and make up his own endings. In his version of Snow White, the dwarfs opened a car parts dealership--Manny, Moe, Jack, Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey and Al--and the Evil Queen got her own talk show. The Magic Mirror was her announcer. My dad was a storyteller. I wanted to be a storyteller too.
So you set out to make a living as a writer?
I set out to make a living. I've been a secretary, a costume designer for a local theater group, a proofreader for a small publisher and a telemarketer. A lot of you reading this have probably hung up on me. Fortunately Chuck has a great job so if I happen to be between employment opportunities we can still skate by.
Does he write?
He writes science fiction, but he hasn't been published yet. I keep telling him to get off the fan fiction sites and write his own stuff.
Why romance? And why M/M?
Because in all those comic books and all those fantasy stories I read, I was never happy unless there was a girl and a guy getting together while slaying dragons and saving the world from aliens. I didn't even think about writing M/M until Chuck pointed out all my favorite fanfics were slash. There's just something soooo sexy about two hot men falling for each other. I love writing about how they get together.
What does your husband think of that?
He thinks I should be writing lesbian porn. I told him if that's what he wants to read, he can write it himself. Then I told him if he ever did, I'd divorce him.
Do you have a novel in the works?
Not yet. I have a ton of unfinished books cluttering up the closet. For now, I want to concentrate on short stories. That way I can focus on the romance and not get distracted by subplots.
Is Lost and Found your first published story? How did it come about?
Yes, it's my first professionally published story! Yay! I saw Evernight was looking for anthology stories about bad-boy alpha shapeshifters and immediately thought, "That's for me." Unfortunately, the story I wrote was too long for their word count. I also missed the deadline. Finally I decided to heck with it, just finish it the way it wants to be and see what they say. They said yes. I have some ideas for M/M stories that I want to send to their Romance on the Go line. Maybe I'll think about a novel in the future. It's just that they take so long to write. Stories are quicker. I can plot a story during Dancing with the Stars if I get bored.
Any chance you and Chuck might collaborate on a book?
We've thought about it. It would probably be science fiction, He'd do the world-building, I'd do the relationships. I don't think he'd let me write an M/M SF novel. But none of the women in it are going to have huge tits. That's my only rule.
Any advice to the aspiring writers in the audience?
Never give up! Persistence and patience are two of the most important writing skills you can develop.
Lost and Found is available from Evernight Publishing at