Sunday, October 13, 2013

Paul Collins, Author


From Melbourne, Australia, welcome international acclaimed writer Paul Collins!

A successful multifaceted writer, Paul Collins’ award winning books are world-renowned. His newest release The Beckoning is flying off bookshelves. 

As a speaker, he encourages and supports fellow writers in their marketing and publishing endeavors. He is a mover and shaker in the publishing industry; creative, captivating, inspiring, and so much more….

Paul’s many books for young people include Trust Me Too, which he edited (just selected as a White Raven 2013 title) and series such as The Jelindel Chronicles, The Earthborn Wars, The Quentaris Chronicles and The World of Grrym in collaboration with Danny Willis. His latest is The Maximus Black Files (Mole Hunt, Dyson’s Drop and The Only Game in the Galaxy). The trailers are available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S-eKDYqpEs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4tTn_WXCiw.


Paul is also the author of over 150+ short stories. His adult horror book, The Beckoning, was just published by Damnation Books: http://tinyurl.com/ny6urwy (and other platforms). A review can be read at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/729375232. It’s ranked 7 on the psychic thriller page (just behind Stephen King’s latest!) and 37 on the occult suspense page.

Paul has been the recipient of the A Bertram Chandler, Aurealis, William Atheling and Peter McNamara awards and has been shortlisted for many others including the Speech Pathology, Mary Grant Bruce, Ditmar and Chronos awards.

He is currently the publisher at Ford Street Publishing (www.fordstreetpublishing.com) and runs the speakers agency Creative Net (www.fordstreetpublishing.com/cnet).

When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

PC: I didn’t read books as a kid – but I read many Marvel Group comics such as Iron Man, Captain America, Spider Man, The Hulk, etc. For some inexplicable reason I figured I could write these as a novelist. I remember my father laughing when I told him I wanted to be a writer. He was of the opinion that only university-educated people were writers. Decades later, after I’d had about 50 books published, I asked him if he remembered telling me I’d never be a writer. “No,” he said, “I don’t. But if I did, it was because I knew you would set out to prove me wrong.” I guess that tells you something about me. I hate to be told I can’t do something. I published a science fiction magazine called Void when I was 21. I’d only vaguely heard the name Asimov. I was told by Australian fandom that I couldn’t do it. In fact, there was quite a bit of animosity toward me because I set out to prove everyone wrong. Luckily, many of Australia’s leading SF writers of the day, including A Bertram Chandler and Jack Wodhams, got behind me and sold me original stories. And away I went.

How do you organize thoughts and ideas?

PC: I have to write everything down because I have a lousy memory. Luckily editors often pick up threads that I’ve left dangling. Every now and then one escapes even their eagle eyes and gets through. Then a reader will point it out and I have to ensure it’s fixed in case there’s a reprint.

What's the key to writing a great fantasy; dragons, spells, etc?

PC: Following the 12-point structure* is a sure-fire way of at least ticking a lot of the boxes. I think a sound knowledge of history helps, but isn’t a prerequisite. And for every bit of good there needs to be a bit of bad. Power is not infinite. If a magician uses it, obviously there has to be a drain somewhere. No one can be omnipotent otherwise there won’t be a worthy adversary. For my own part, I like writing action, page-turners. I guess I’m more plot-driven than character-driven. Having said that, I think characters develop their own personalities if the author allows them to.

Describe your writing studio ...

PC: I’ll go one better. Here’s a pic. Mind you, it’s not “staged” so please excuse the mess! I run three businesses from this room, and I have to say it’s usually in a state of disarray. Which is odd, because I am quite an ordered sort of person. It just doesn’t look like it. The rest of the house is maintained to a high standard. Truly!

Who is your favorite author?

PC: When I get a chance to read for pleasure (most of my reading time is spent reading the unsolicited pile for Ford Street) I love Eoin Colfer and Philip Reeve. They write the type of books that I endeavor to write, as outlined above.

What are you currently writing?

PC: I’ve been commissioned by Macmillan to write six books for their Legends in Their Own Lunch Box series. These feature a martial arts called Lucy Lee. I haven’t had much time recently to concentrate on writing as I’m on the promotion trail for two current books, The Only Game in the Galaxy, Book #3 in The Maximus Black Files http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FDJXF0K, and The Beckoning, an adult horror novel just published by Damnation Books.

Any advice for novice writers?

PC: Persistence is the key. I wrote The Beckoning about 30 years ago. None of the major publishers wanted it. Luckily for me, I persisted with it, transferred the MS to a computer (it was originally typed on a manual typewriter!). I stored it on various devices such as zip drives, 3 ½ floppies, USB stick and what have you. Just recently I saw that Damnation Books was after MSS so I thought what the heck and sent it to them. It was published six months later.

List a few things about yourself that would interest your fans ...

I used to be a spotlight operator at Festival Hall in Brisbane. I worked on such shows as Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. On one show the solo trumpet player started and the director said into my earphone: “Spotlight number three, tight focus trumpet player stage left.” For the life of me I couldn’t see the trumpet player. So my spotlight wandered around the stage in front of a packed house. LOL. “Spotlight number three, don’t you know what a trumpet looks like?” drawled the director. Which is funny, because I used to play one.

I have two black belts in taekwondo and ju-jitsu. I was also a kickboxer trained by Dana Goodson, then Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion of Australia. I trained alongside Stan “The Man” Longidnidis, 8-times World Champion.

I worked as a bouncer so I could afford to write stories that have never financially compensated me for all the hours I put into them. A familiar story to any writer, I’m sure.

I live in an historic bluestone building in Ford Street, inner Melbourne. The house was built in 1861 and was the first house in the area.


I have a kelpie called Jack and a red heeler called Molly – these are a sheep dog and a cattle dog respectively. We also have a cat called Harriet, six chickens and a handful of goldfish. I live here with my partner, children’s author Meredith Costain. She’s written about 200 books for younger readers. Luckily the house is so big we each have our own study at opposite ends of a corridor.

I published Australia’s first heroic/epic fantasy novels back in the early 80s. The were Lances of Nengesdul by Keith Taylor, The Tempting of the Witch King by Russell Blackford and The Ring of Truth by David Lake. All three went on to write great books. In those days, though, it was hard to get distribution. So after one distributor folded on me, and another disappeared owing me money and taking all my stock, I decided it was too hard and started writing instead.

My first book was called The Wizard’s Torment. HarperCollins published it in 1995. I have had many books published in the US, but the most popular books were The Earthborn Wars, published by TOR and Bohemian Ink.

Connect with Paul….

*Note from Gina .... The 12-point structure is derived from Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, also known as the Hero's Journey. It is the premise for most heroic tales, including legends such as Odysseus, and modern epics such as Star Wars


1 comment:

Nikola Vukoja said...

Really enjoyed reading this.
Paul is awesome! not just an amazing talent but so helpful. I cannot tell you the number of times his little 'comments' via FaceBook or email have helped me push through.
He is one of the most giving people I know. Congrats & all success to him :)