July 25, 2016

Interview Around the Globe with Colleen M. Story

Let welcome to our latest and newest member to our list of authors. Let welcome Colleen M. Story to Nighttime Reading Center. She here on a book tour. She is stopping by here on July 25, 2016. I work with +Laura Fabiani iRead Book Tours and I happy learn about her books and giveaway.

I got the chance to read her book "Loreena's Gift". I enjoy the book. I would suggest that you read my review for "Loreena's Gift". You got a chance to win a  - Win a signed copy of Loreena’s Gift. One winner will also get a $15 Amazon GC (Open int’l). Enter her giveaway Loreena's Gift Giveaway

Let read her Bio and then go to her interview. #Interviews#Interviewsaroundtheglobe#NRC,#Giveaways,  #bookreview, #literary,  @colleen_m_story and @iReadBookTours

Author Heather Siegel at Nighttime Reading Center
Colleen M. Story writes imaginative fiction and is also a freelance writer, instructor, and motivational speaker specializing in creativity, productivity, and personal wellness. Her latest novel, "Loreena’s Gift," was released with Dzanc Books April 12 2016. Her fantasy novel, "Rise of the Sidenah," is a North American Book Awards winner, and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection (Young Adult). She is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com) a motivational site for writers and other creatives. 

​Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter
Nighttime Reading Center Interview, Author Interview
Describe your book in 20 words or less.
Where do we go after we die? Loreena knows. She's been there.
Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?
I read a book by Deepak Chopra—Life After Death: The Burden of Proof. Something in it triggered the idea that the afterlife might be much like the present life, in that it could be shaped by our points of view. How we look at life and our beliefs about it greatly affect the kind of lives we live. A person who typically sees the glass as half-full, for example, is going to have a different experience of life than the one who sees it as half-empty.

What if Heaven, or whatever term you prefer to call it, is not some fixed and defined place (and therefore people are either “right” or “wrong” about it), but instead, is just what we imagine it to be?

If so, wouldn’t a person who sees the good in life—and imagines a beautiful afterlife—find just such a life waiting for her? And on the other hand, wouldn’t a person engaged in criminal dealings who believes down deep in his soul that his wrongdoing could land him in hell, find just such a place waiting for him as a result of his own vision?

The “self-fulfilling prophecy” sort of idea.

I found the idea so fascinating that I wanted to write about it. Loreena gave me a way to do that.

How important are names to you in your book(s)? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you use any resources in assisting you to choose the names?

Names are extremely important when it comes to my characters. The right name will give me a better feel for the character, whereas the wrong one will just never “fit.” I’ve changed names midway in the book for that reason in the past.

Initially, the name just sort of comes to me intuitively, but I have used the name reports from the Kabalarian Philosophy website just for fun, or to help me choose between two names. I don’t follow the religion, but I’ve found that particular online tool to be particularly helpful. I’ve also found that when I’ve chosen a name intuitively, the report lines up with the character’s personality the majority of the time, which is really cool—and kind of freaky! (ha)

Which of your characters (in this book) is your favorite and why?
Oh my, it’s difficult to choose a favorite character. Obviously Loreena (the heroine) means a lot to me because it’s her story and I went through it with her. But I will say that in each book I’ve written, there’s been a character that has sort of “appeared” that I wasn’t expecting at first. Those characters are usually the most fun, because I have such a journey of discovery with them.

In this book, that character was Saul, Loreena’s older brother. He’s a more complex character and is quite troubled, but his love for his sister is a big part of who he is, and that comes through in the end of the book, which makes him particularly endearing.

Was there a certain scene in this book that was harder for you to write than others?
Definitely—the scene where Loreena is (briefly) sexually assaulted. In the later drafts of the book I really wanted to take that scene out, but I couldn’t do that and be true to the story. But it was painful for sure, and I was rooting for her all the way as she fought her way out.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
Difficult question. I’ll take a stab at it here, though I love when an unknown actor shows up in a movie and really kills it. In that fantasy world where Loreena’s Gift becomes a movie, I would be equally as excited about actors that I’ve never seen before if they were able to really capture the characters.

  • Loreena: Saoirse Ronan
  • Saul: Ryan Gosling
  • Uncle Don: Jeff Bridges
  • Dominic: Hugh Dancy
  • Frank: Tom Hardy

What was your favorite part to write and why?
There were a lot of exciting scenes in the book in which I felt I was sort of along for the ride, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be the scene where Loreena finally steps into her power, and takes her future into her own hands. I can’t say too much about it for fear of spoiling the end of the book for those who haven’t read it yet, but after she had gone through so many trials and challenges, to see her step up and become the strong woman she was meant to be was very rewarding for me.

Just as your book(s) inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
So many authors have inspired me over the years. When I was young it was Walter Farley and “The Black Stallion” series and Marguerite Henry, who wrote “Misty of Chincoteague.” As I got older I delved into fantasy and became a Tolkien fan, but I also enjoyed more literary books early on. Margaret Atwood quickly became one of my favorites. I had the great pleasure of meeting her in person last year, which was a delight.

Today, my heroes include Dennis Lehane, Andre Dubus III, David Mitchell, Ann Patchett, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Richard Russell, and I also love Neil Gaiman, Gregory Maguire, Sue Monk Kidd, and so many more. I love discovering new writers as often as I can.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Be your own best cheerleader. The writing life isn’t an easy one. Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com) is one of my creative projects, and I’ve featured over 100 authors there. The one thing that everyone struggles with is self-doubt. It’s difficult to believe in ourselves when we work for such long periods of time with little to no feedback. We have to deal with rejection, over and over again. Once we get published we have to deal with negative reviews (there are always some) and a tough market. It’s an emotional roller coaster, so we have to learn how to pat ourselves on the back, and how to cheer ourselves on through the tough times, because they will come and it’s those who can pull through who will be able to make a life out of writing.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice for how to deal with the bad?
I don’t seek out my reviews, but I have read them. I don’t respond to them, but I have felt the sting of a bad review. I’m learning that though we all want readers to love our books, it’s really irrelevant to our work. A writer writes, and we hope to get better with each piece we produce. Once it’s done and out there, we can’t change it. All we can do is go back to the page and create again and continue to practice our craft.

Reading reviews can get into our heads, which can then cause problems when we go to write again, as it can shake our self-confidence. I’m noticing that as I continue to work and continue to write the next thing and the next thing, it becomes easier to just let it go once it’s complete. The idea is to look at writing as a lifelong endeavor, and not as something where you sink or swim depending on what people think of one book or another.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m working on a novel entitled The Beached Ones. On one level, it’s about a young man who lost his younger brother in a tragic accident, feels responsible for it, and is searching for forgiveness and inner peace.

On another level, it’s about suicide—which amazingly, is the tenth leading cause of death in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Whereas Loreena’s Gift was an exploration of life after death, The Beached Ones is an exploration of suicide, why it happens, and what could happen to people afterwards, as they seek an end to their pain. It’s been a tough book to write. I hope I can complete it in the way I envision it, but that remains to be seen.

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