Here on 'Ralph's Rant's' you'll find information about my Sci-Fi (#SciFi), Epic Fantasy (#EpicFantasy), or Sword and Sorcery (#SwordandSorcery) Novels as well as reviews of other authors books. You'll also find interviews with New Pulp Authors and artists displayed here. and of course there is my almost daily blog posts called 'Your Daily Ralph" There's always something new to find here at Ralph's Rants. Become a member of this blog and get a heads up when there's new content.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Lisa M Colins Interview on Ralph's Rants.
Hi Lisa, How
I’m good, Ralph. Thank you for hosting me on the site.
to talk about your new novella, ‘The House Bast Made-Reid Cannon Archaeologist.’
What can you tell us about the title character and the story in general?
The House Bast Made is an adventure where a young
archaeologist, Reid Cannon, learns myths need not be fairytales.
Reid is a Ph.D. student in Archaeology from the
University of Chicago. He hails from Arkansas and got his bachelor’s from
University of Arkansas, Master’s from UCLA. He is fond of the ladies and likes
long walks on any beach where they serve drinks with umbrellas. There is a long
line of archaeologists and anthropologists in Reid’s family tree. This
particular adventure finds him on one of his father’s worksites. Reid got his
nose for adventure from his grandmother Jane Roberts (Her story will be in an
anthology this fall). Much like grandma Jane, Reid has an uncanny ability to
sniff out the fantastical and paranormal.
is this a sci-fi story? I know you’re interested in sci-fi.
Science fiction is where my heart lies, but I wouldn’t
call this story sci-fi. It is more of a pulp adventure with some
paranormal…genres can be hard to nail down. On Amazon it is listed in the
paranormal mythology section.
The genre I write is speculative fiction, and I mostly
write science fiction or paranormal. Dictionary.com defines speculative fiction
as: A broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural,
fantastical, or futuristic elements. In this genre I can write a love story, a
mystery, a court drama, or anything really, and then add all the futuristic and
fantastical elements that excite my imagination. The main thing I like about
that freedom is my stories do not have to be bound to what society calls real
life. I can be as audacious or daring as I want!
There are tons of books out there about real life or
some snazzed up version of real life. I read books, watch movies, and play
video games to escape reality. I want to see new worlds, meet new types of
people, to “Boldly go where no one has gone before!” I want adventure and
excitement, not day-to-day fiction based on everyday life. I know there are
other readers out there who feel the same way I do. I write for them. I write
so that maybe for a few hours out of the day my readers can relax and feel the
wonders of the universe—to see something new that sparks joy in their soul.
Am I correct
in assuming this is your first book?
Actually the first book I wrote is still in my “OMG
this needs work” file on my hard drive. However, ‘The house Bast Made’ isn’t a novel;
it is a novella of around 40 pages.
Some people don’t like writing short fiction, but I
enjoy the challenge of writing to a specific word count. I had a friend once
say, “I need 10,000 words just to get my stories going.” Today’s readers aren’t
going to stick around for you to finally do something exciting 10K down the
road. They have already moved on to the next book. Writing short fiction teaches
me to get to the heart of the matter.
What are you
writing inspirations? What writers inspire you to take up the keyboard and
start typing out a story?
I find inspiration everywhere. Books, TV, Radio, and
Movies make my mind feel like a sponge. My WIP (work in progress) was inspired
by an article I read online. The article is about the micro apartments some
Chinese people are living in today to save on costs and space in the larger
cities. Some of these apartments are only around forty…that’s right four zero,
40 square feet! There was even one that only measured 28! That made me wonder
what would happen to the world if overpopulation became a global pandemic. What
would humans do? The sci-fi, Jedi, Trekkie, Browncoat, Whovian, geek girl in me
has a plan. J
There are so many outstanding writers on the scene
right now, so it is hard to choose. I would have to go with Hugh Howey and Michael Bunker…their
experience in taking a short story and then building an entire world of
publishing around a simple idea—that inspires the heck out me. If you don’t
know who they are or their books, prepare to be amazed by their industry.
Cannon your main character that you intend to write about more in the future?
Is he your guy, your hero?
I do have plans for more Reid Cannon novellas and
perhaps a novel. The next time we see Reid in action he will be going to South
America to one of his mom’s dig sites. Archaeology is a family affair in this
Reid is a hero…but he isn’t the only one. I wanted him
to have a group of people that will cameo in further stories. We meet his best
friend Peter who is Southern good ole boy, who is also a bone specialist. There
are two girls on the trip, Ashley an outstanding linguist and Pam an
anthropologist.Lastly, we have Ali, the
tech geek, and Jason the historian.
Cannon inspired by someone else? Is there a real world Reid Cannon?
Sadly, there isn’t a real-world Reid Cannon.
I would say Reid is based off four characters I adore,
so I wrapped them all up into him. First, would be Indiana Jones. I love the
movies and they fire my imagination. Indie is rugged and daring; I wanted those
qualities for Reid foremost.
Second, is the book character, Amelia Peabody. She is
the main protagonist of the Amelia Peabody (archaeology mystery) series, by
Elizabeth Peters. Amelia’s adventures in turn of the 20th century Egypt
are a far cry from my usual fare, but the books are thrilling. She uses her
intellect and moxie to solve ancient and modern mysteries, and I want Reid to
have her same sense of curiosity about the world.
The other two characters I based Reid on are in the
same movies. The Mummy series starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz (later
Maria Bello) is a Collins household favorite. Rick O'Connell and his wife
Evelyn are a powerhouse couple on the screen. I wanted Reid to have Evelyn and
Rick’s blend of noting the necessary minutia of archaeology to solve puzzles
and to know when brawn should win out on decision making. What can I say, ♫
These are a few of my favorite things! ♫
Tell us all
about your writing history. What got you into writing in the first place?
In 2008, I was between jobs and decided I would take
up my childhood dream and try writing. I came across NaNoWriMo, or National
Novel Writing Month. I took up the challenge and wrote a fantasy adventure
story that tipped the scales at over 50K.
By mid-2009 I was back to full time employment, but
the desire to write never left me. Eventually, I had articles, poems, and
essays published in non-fiction venues, such as the state newspaper and
journals, but my passion was to write fiction. I wanted to recapture the feeling
of freedom I felt writing my NaNoWriMo novel, but I was working full time. I
needed a plan.
I love goal setting and lists, so I set a goal of writing
one short story a month, and a secondary goal to find publishers who might
print my work. As you can guess, I got my fair share of rejection letters.
Rejection is hard, but I didn’t let that hold me back.
I went back to the drawing board. Read books on craft. Read novels like I
wanted to write. The day finally arrived in early 2013 when my first science
fiction short story, The Tree of Life, was accepted into the Holdfast 2013-2014
anthology. I was over the moon!
Who are your
favorite authors right now?
At first I thought this might be the hardest question,
but when I gave it a moment three authors sprang to mind. A.G. Riddle, author
of ‘The Atlantis Gene’, J.A. Jernay, author of the ‘Ainsley Walker Gemstone
Travel Mystery’ series, and Susan Kaye Quinn, author of ‘Debt Collector’ series
and she also wrote a book near and dear to my heart—‘The Indie Author Survival
Guide’. That is a book I recommend almost daily to my writing pals.
‘The Atlantis Gene’ is A.G.’s first novel and it has
sold over One Million copies on Amazon. I have read the book and I must say
Riddle knocks it out of the park. I look forward to reading more of the series.
And let’s be honest, as writers we know we need to read to become better
writers, but time is also a major factor. So when I take the time out of my own
writing to read a novel and I plan to read book two as soon as I’m able, you
know the series is a winner.
J.A. Jernay’s style is what keeps me coming back for
more. This author writes like I hope my own writing comes across. Jernay has a
flare for economy with words. Each sentence is a tightly crafted machine
leading the reader deeper into the story without a single wasted mark. The best
part the Ainsley Walker series is non-stop fun and mystery on every page. I
expect a lot from this writer in the future.
Susan Kaye Quinn has several series, but the one that
got my attention was the ‘Debt Collector’. The books are dark, gritty,
futuristic, noir. That’s a mouthful, but each word is necessary to describe the
series. One of the things I like most is Quinn walks right up to the line of
eroticism and fear, lets us peer over the edge, then moves on without mucking
up her story with unnecessary gore or sex. The books were produced in series
form. I had the pleasure of listening to the entire series at one time by
audiobook—An experience I highly recommend.
out a little about Lisa Collins herself, what do you do in your spare time?
I work a 40hr a week job, so free time comes at a
price. There are days when I get home I want nothing more than a bag of pizza
rolls and a Netflix Star Trek binge. I can find time on my breaks or at lunch
to jot a few words down, but those times aren’t really productive. I hit my
creative stride around 5pm-8pm, and if it wasn’t for the pesky commute I do at
5:30-6:30ish that would be my ideal time to get my word count in for the day.
For now, I write after my shift while waiting to be picked up, then again after
diner while I’m hanging out with my family, and on the weekends.
I do have a running racing team called Wookiees
for Cookies. The Wookiees at this
time consist of my good friend and author Bonnie J. Sterling and myself. We do mostly 5k but we have done a half marathon. Our next
races are the Race for the Cure in October 2015 and the Little Rock Marathon
(Half) in March 2016.
I have an online persona, Tea and Cornbread. I
am a foodie…not a food snob…but I like the vittles! My favorite thing to cook right
now is roast chicken, which I make in a slow cooker. I have a great selection
of recipes and directions on how to slow cook a whole bird in my second
cookbook called Five Slow Cooker Recipes
Every Southern Cook Should Master. The complete series is available on
Amazon for Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-M.-Collins/e/B00PPV5QYO
Is writing a
job or business to you or is it a hobby or is it somewhere in-between?
Writing to me is not how I pay my bills (currently)
but it is how I want to pay the bills. I have been taking my word production
more seriously as of late. I have a Gantt chart for each of my stories. I am a
very visual learner and having the bar graphs show me where I am in a project
helps me tremendously.See how the bar
goes from hot to cold as the date for finishing part of the project nears? That
is a motivator and cue for me to get my rear in gear. J So I guess to answer the question, writing is a
business for me, but it is the industry and artistry that makes me happy.
What are you
writing next and when will we see it?
I have so much in the pipeline right now. Where to
begin…I recently got the rights back to reprint ‘The Tree of Life’, so my plan
is publish the short story most likely in July. It is a traditional science
fiction story about a generational starship from Japan.
In August, if all goes well with my beta readers, I
will be publishing my first novel. Chevron is the working title and it is a
science-fiction romantic-suspense story. Here is the back cover blurb:
Doctor of Psychology and matchmaker extraordinaire,
Margaret Morris, leaves her stale academic career on the Moon for a posting on
Earth’s only colony outside of the Sol system. As a professional in relational
psychology Maggie is hired by Western Federated Military to help colonize the
planet Chevron and keep peace on the space station.
Maggie’s quiet life living aboard the station is
turned on its head when newly assigned Lieutenant Mac (Toro) Castoro literally
crashes into her office. Toro is a no frills uber-Marine. He sees what he wants
and takes no hostages.
Dr. Morris’ mandate is to pick the perfect Eve for
every Adam. Keeping her clients at arm length has never been a problem, but
Maggie finds that she must disavow her own desires to complete her mission.
Not everything is harmonious on Chevron station. As
the colonists begin to put down roots someone on the station is working behind
the scenes to disrupt Dr. Morris’ best laid plans. Petty officer, Michael
Donovan will do whatever it takes to see that Chevron will be cut off from human
intervention. Michael’s religious zeal will reach the tipping point, leading
him to attempt the destruction of Chevron station. Margaret and Toro must find
the traitor and uncover his plot before the new Garden of Eden is cut off to
mankind once again.
Thanks so much for joining us here on Ralph’s Rants,
Lisa, and good luck with your new novel.
Lisa M. Collins has
always been interested in Outer Space, Adventure stories, and Southern culture.
She was born in Dixie and has always lived south of the Mason Dixon Line. She
graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in history
with specializations in American and Russian history. Lisa lives in central
Arkansas with her husband and an adorable cat, Baby Girl, who believes she is
Lisa’s co-author. They have one adult son who is married to his high school
Lisa’s non-fiction has
been published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Dead Mule School of
Southern Literature. She copy edited and researched on Understanding Global
Slavery by University of California Press. Her science fiction story, The Tree
of Life, is in the 2013-2014 anthology by Holdfast Magazine. These days she
edits for Metahuman Press, and is an upcoming creative contributor with Pro Se
Productions and Mechanoid Press. She is a Sally A. Williams Grant winner from
the Arkansas Arts Council for writing.
Where can readers find out more about you and where
can they buy The House Bast Made?