Wednesday, 20 November 2013



Writers chatting to each other on writing. Tedious or devious? Let’s have twenty questions, and find out. In this guest-spot, Margo Bond Collins delivers the answers...
   Though this series of posts supports the READ TUESDAY sale, not all authors are able to host a sale on the day. Margo has a sale day lined up for December, but not on READ TUESDAY.
   Beyond that, I'll add that I hope to feature unpublished authors in these sessions soon...

1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?

If I’m stuck using a book to shield my face, I’m going for heft! If I can use an anthology, it will be my Riverside Shakespeare. If not, I’ll use Clarissa by Samuel Richardson or House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. All of these pack a serious punch!

2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?

Aphra Behn. She was the first woman to make a living writing in England. I love, love, love her plays, and she wrote some of the earliest novels in English.
   Virginia Woolf said every woman writer should lay a rose on Behn’s grave; I would love to discuss writing with her! (But not with Virginia Woolf, oddly enough — I find Woolf’s essays inspiring, but her fiction leaves me cold.)

3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.

Imagination, Time, Drive, Desire, Self-Discipline, and for me, COFFEE! 

4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.

Dracula. Because vampires are much more interesting than Frankensteinian monsters.

5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?

It depends on the situation. If I already have the basics in mind, I’ll power through. If I am having to try to figure it out, I’ll sleep on it and let my subconscious take over for a while. I often wake up with whole scenes ready to go! 

6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up?

I’m totally an “evil twin” kind of writer.

7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely absitively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?

Probably! But then, I write supernatural thrillers, so dead isn’t always permanently dead!

8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?

I’m at sea? I save whichever one is most likely to help me! That probably means the idealistic hero, though I’d really rather spend time with the tragic villain on a normal day...

9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done?

Heartlessly. And maybe a little gleefully.

10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)

I’m sure I have, but I can’t think of any at the moment. But I tend to add extraneous Es to the end of words, thus creating a Ye Olde English effect.

11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?

If I’m typing thongs, I’m probably falling out of my chair laughing...

12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.

Dammit. I am currently writing Pride and Prejudice in Space. Back off!

13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?

Almost always the book, though there are sometimes movies that are improvements. Hannibal, for example. Much better movie than book. But that’s rare.

14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.

More than once, I’m sad to say.

15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?

When I was a child, I read the Trixie Belden books as I could get them—and in the days before internet, that meant whenever the bookstore had a new one I hadn’t read. So I got used to reading them out of order.

16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?

I keep going. My story will almost certainly be different. That’s what I’ll tell myself, anyway.

17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of?

Hm. Probably?

18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?

Under the ancient, crumbling castle for a Gothic touch.

19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…

Desiree Bleu.

20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?

I’d probably simply smile and say thanks—why embarrass someone over something like that?

Here's Margo's blog: Margo Bond Collins.
   And here's here Amazon Author Page.
    I answer my own questions on this page of Margo's blog.
Author of Waking Up Dead, international bestselling paranormal mystery, Solstice Shadows Publishing, 2013;  and Legally Undead, Vampirarchy Series #1, forthcoming from World Weaver Press in 2014.

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