|An interview with Brandilyn Collins by Marilyn Rhoads.Q. Brandilyn, your first book, A Question of Innocence, landed you on local and national TV and radio. Was it a true story?
A. Yes. In the middle of learning the craft of writing, I attended a murder trial for research purposes. The book was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Because of it, I was interviewed on the Phil Donahue and Leeza TV talk shows, plus many radio shows.
Q. How long did it take you to see your first novel published?
A. I was a professional writer with my own business, Vantage Point. I wrote nonfiction for businesses, but I always wanted to write fiction. It took ten long years to realize that dream.
Q. Most people probably don’t know you were born in Miraj, India.here?
A. My parents were missionaries. After they left the mission field, we moved to Kentucky, which is where I was raised. That would make for a rather interesting accent, if you think about it.
Q. What motivated you to write the craft book, Getting into Character: Seven Secrets a NovelisCan Learn rom Actors?
A. The book is based on techniques from method acting. Acting was one of my majors in college, and I learned how to create characters onstage. When I began writing fiction I automatically turned to those method-acting concepts to create characters on the page. But when I’d talk about them to other novelists, I got blank stares. I realized my techniques were quite new and different. So what are ya gonna do? I wrote a book.
Q. How do you structure a normal day?
A. I exercise in the mornings and reward myself with a latté. I start my workday with devotions, checking email, and doing marketing. Then it’s time to fulfill my daily word count.
Q. What do you do when you’re not working?
A. I spend time with my husband, read, and watch true-crime shows on TV for plot points. I attend three or four writing conferences a year to get out of my cave a bit. I’m always at the American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference, where I serve as their emcee.
Q. Your own life has had some ununusual bends and turns. In 2002 and again in 2009 you were infected with Lyme disease, which crippled you. How did you recover?
A. In 2003 an ACFW friend established an around-the-clock prayer calendar and people prayed for me in 15-minute intervals. On the same day I went to the Healing Rooms in Spokane, Washington, with my family for prayer and had an almost instantaneous miracle. The second time there was no miraculous healing, but six months of antibiotics. I have a flare once in a while, but I depend on antiobiotics to keep it under control.
Q. Your output of titles is amazing, especially considering the physical battles you’ve fought. How many books have you published to date?
A. Twenty-eight. My latest releases are a contemporary, That Dog Won’t Hunt, and a new Seatbelt Suspense®, Dark Justice. Of all the suspense novels I’ve written, Dark Justice—about terrorism against our electrical grid—scares me the most. Because at some point in our country, it’s likely to come true.
Q. You’ve won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice. How many times have you won ACFW’s Carol Award?
A. Three times. Awards are nice to receive—sort of like extra icing on the cake. But they’re not necessary. What’s more important is getting my books out to readers and having them say, “What a great story!”
Material excerpted from Brandilyn Collins’ website, Christianbook.com, and Parchment Girl. Our thanks to these sources.
Join us on Saturday, October 12th, at Multnomah University from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Brandilyn will deliver two keynote addresses and teach two workshops on craft.
Register at: www.oregonchristianwriters.org.