Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Interview With Brandilyn Collins
Today I’m chatting with one of the premier authors of Christian suspense, Brandilyn Collins.
RM: Brandilyn, you’re just back from the American Christian Fiction Writers meeting, and it seemed as though everyplace I looked, there you were. I know that ACFW is very dear to you. What were some of the high points of the meeting for you?
BC: Although I’m “out front” a lot since I serve as emcee, each year the highlights of the conference for me take place out of the limelight and in a very quiet venue—the prayer room. Since God granted me a merciful healing from Lyme Disease over five years ago, He has allowed me to have the gift of healing prayer for others. I just love to be present to watch Him work! Every time I’m amazed, even though I know He’s capable of anything. But the way He leads prayer toward areas—spiritual, emotional and physical—of people’s lives because He is choosing to heal that within the person is remarkable. These may not be areas the people were aware of. If some cases the reason for prayers—particularly for physical healing—don’t become apparent until later. It’s wonderful to talk to people who made an appointment to pray with me a year or two previously and see how far God has brought them.
RM: Your latest book, Dark Pursuit, is due out shortly. What can you tell my readers about it?
BC: The protagonists: twenty-two-year-old Kaitlan, estranged from Darell Brooke, her elderly and muddle-minded grandfather, once known worldwide as the King of Suspense. The premise: Bitter, recluse, and no longer able to write after a brain injury, Darell must create the suspense plot of his life to save his granddaughter from a cunning killer.
In creating these characters I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of their ages and experiences in life. Also, through Darell’s character I had fun dealing with the real-life processes of writing suspense. The conventions of the suspense genre and his struggles with writing are highlighted as Darell’s mind morphs from fiction to reality.
As to the symbolism and theme running beneath the story, for years I’ve loved the passage from John Milton’s Paradise Lost about Satan and his cohorts, kicked out of heaven and bemoaning their fate. In revenge Satan visits Adam and Eve on Earth and woos them away from their God. Satan offers them spiritual death—disguised as life. Man falls for the deceit. And so the need for redemption is born. Down the ages some of mankind would embrace redemption; others would be blind to their very need for it.
You can read more about Dark Pursuit, including the first chapter, here.
RM: Dark Pursuit is a stand-alone work, a departure from the four series you’ve previously had published. Why the change?
BC: Series have worked pretty well for me. All the same in marketing/sales with books two, three, whatever there’s the issue among readers that if they haven’t read book one they’re less likely to pick up book two off the shelves. And by the time you get to book four, the bookstore may not have restocked book one. Stand-alones give a fresh chance to market each time. That’s not to say I won’t ever do a series again. If the right idea strikes me, I will.
RM: You’ve also co-authored a YA book, Always Watching, with your daughter, Amberly. What was that like?
BC: Actually, we’ve done two. Last Breath is the sequel to Always Watching in the Rayne Tour Series, which features Shaley O’Connor, teenage daughter of a rock star. The process has been good, although I think the most fun is yet to come—Amberly’s and my teaming up to market the novels when they release starting next spring.
RM: All your friends and fans are glad you’ve recovered from your snowmobile accident of last winter. Olympic Gymnast Kerri Strug says that, years after her ankle injury, people would still stop her in airports and ask about her ankle. Do you still get those questions as well? And, by the way, how is that ankle?
BC: Always the doc, you are. ☺ Thanks for asking. It’s doing fine. I’m back running regularly. Interesting—I still receive numerous hits every day on my blog, Forensics and Faith, from people googling “broken ankle,” or “screws and plate in ankle,” or something else to that effect. In order to help those poor folks who find themselves in the same situation and want to know what to expect, I’ve linked all my scattered posts about the “Saga of the Broken Ankle” together so they can go from one to the other and hopefully find their answers. I’ve put a link to this saga in the sidebar under “Stories” on the blog. Of course, my saga is told in a light tone, and people suffering from a broken ankle need some humor.
RM: Any last words?
BC: For the readers in your audience: Buy Dark Pursuit. Many galleys have gone out to bloggers, and the resulting reviews are starting to come in, both from people who are already loyal fans and those who’ve never read me before. The responses are very positive. “Where has Brandilyn Collins been all my life” one new reader wrote. Well, ya know that makes me smile.
For the novelists in your audience: This is a hard business. If you’re struggling, my heart is with you. We’re all struggling, no matter what point of the journey we’re on. Don’t look at the people in front of you or behind you. Just keep your feet on the path God has given you and keep praying about your next steps.
For you, Doc, a great big thank you for allowing me to be on your blog.
And thank you, Brandilyn, for taking the time to do this interview and for being such a friend and supporter. Please don't kill me off as a character in one of your novels anytime soon.