Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Launch & Interview with Collette Scott

Let's welcome Collette Scott.  I originally met Collette on Facebook and we made quick friends so it is a true pleasure to be able to present her new book to you - IF WE DARE TO DREAM.

Tell us about you.

My name is Collette Scott, and I am an author. In addition, I am a married mother of three fabulous kids and a menagerie of pets that are considered members of the family as well. I’ve been a storyteller all my life (just ask my mom) and finally decided to put my stories out there after a myriad of various jobs ranging from the medical field to corporate America. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s degree in education, but my love has always been the written word. 

What genre do you write?

I write a mixture of women’s fiction and romance. My novels all have strong heroines and feature very realistic, very true issues that many of us face on a day to day basis. However, each one of my tales has a strong love story in it. As a naturally optimistic person, I prefer to end each novel on a vein of hope and survival, and I always focus on the value of support.

Tell us about your book.

My newest release, If We Dare to Dream, is the first of a series due out November 15, 2011. The series started on chapter one, when I wrote the sentence “Jamie Morton, formally Evans…” Surprise, surprise, I had a family member of Chuck Evans from my first book, Forever Sunshine. My characters seriously have a mind of their own!

I began writing this series in April of 2011 and am currently working on the fourth book. As I’ve been getting readers of Forever Sunshine begging me for a sequel, I have been integrating more of Cher’s story into the series, and book four brings Cher back so my previous readers have some closure for my tenacious heroine. However, each book stands alone, with a different member of the Evans family. I’m planning on releasing them three to four months apart, so the second in the series should be out around Valentine’s Day next year, and so on and so forth. 

What inspired you to write this particular story?

If We Dare to Dream came about in April after I spent some time veg’ing in front of the television. I don’t usually watch too much TV, but I started in on The Military Channel and The Discovery Investigation Channel and got hooked for a little bit. As a pacifist, watching our poor kids going off to war was difficult, and having had firsthand experience with PTSD I felt inspired to write about how difficult it is for these kids to come home and pick up the pieces of their lives when they’re feeling all these emotions that they can’t describe let alone accept.

Andrew’s false accusation came after watching a story about a man who was sent to prison for almost 18 years due to a false witness statement. A common theme in all of my books is that it is possible to heal and live life to the fullest, so this story is about Andrew gaining his release and moving past his traumas. While he’ll always have his scars, he does not allow them to cripple him forever.

What can readers expect when they open your book?  Give us something that isn’t on the book blurb. 

My characters are very human. I know that I mentioned that I write a mixture of women’s fiction and romance, and that is true. Where I classify myself as writing women’s fiction is that the problems my characters face are very real. I don’t have greater-than-life, over the top suspension of disbelief. I write about people we can relate to, someone who could live next door to you. The Evans family is a tight-knit family, but they are all very human and potentially flawed people, too. 

How old were you when you started writing?

I started writing pretty much as soon as I was able to write. My first ‘book’ was completed when I was eight-years-old, and I’ve written stories ever since. I’ve lost all of my early writings, but I would have to say that I’ve written at least a dozen full-length books over the years.

Do you stick with one genre, or have you branched out to others?  Which ones?

I would have to say that I pretty much stick to one type of writing style, and that is a blend of women’s fiction and romance. However, that being said… my new series has suspense in it, so I admit that I am branching out a little bit. Once again, it happened on its own - my characters always have the final say! J

Do you think you would ever branch out into another genre?  If so which one(s)?

My stories come to me through my characters and sometimes through dreams, so I would never say that I wouldn’t branch out. If a character wants me to write in a different genre, who am I to say no? I do what my voices tell me to do, and I write what they want me to write.

Where do you get your ideas?

I have been inspired on a couple of occasions by something I’ve watched on the television (e.g. Forever Sunshine came to me in a dream after watching a live funeral on the TV, and If We Dare to Dream came after my stint of watching educational programs), but I have also been inspired through settings as well. At the risk of sounding a little nutty, anything can trigger a story.  :)

Who is your greatest inspiration?

Personally, there are a few that I admire greatly for their courage, one of whom is Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a man who was not afraid to speak out against what he saw as injustice, and he paid the ultimate price for that.

In my writing, I would have to say my greatest inspiration stems from the Victorian Gothic period. I tend to write along those lines, with strong heroines and heavy subject matter.

What are you reading right now?

I am diligently editing my November release, so I’m in the process of reading that right now. I probably won’t pick up another book until that it complete.

Who are your favorite authors?
There are a lot of authors that I admire and enjoy reading, but I would have to say that my all-time favorites are still the classics. As a literature major in college, I read so many different types of stories from different time periods, and they have influenced me the most and held my attention the best.

What is your current project?

Aside from editing If We Dare to Dream, I am in the process of finishing up the fourth book in that series. 

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

Originally I would have said that just publishing my work was my greatest accomplishment. But since I put out my first novel, Forever Sunshine, I have had so many survivors of domestic violence contact me and say that my book is a true inspiration to others. That spurred on my idea to donate most of the proceeds to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, so to date I think that has been my greatest accomplishment as a writer. To be told that your story moved someone to the point of inspiration is the highest compliment, in my opinion. I hope I can keep that up! :)

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way?  If so, will you share with us.

Setbacks? Well sure! Who hasn’t? I guess my largest setback came when I had an agent for Hannah’s Blessing, which was actually written prior to Forever Sunshine. My agent’s wife developed cancer, and he took an extended leave. I ended up shelving all projects for years!

How did you overcome these setbacks?

This year I took matters into my own hands and decided to move forward on my own. I re-edited and updated both previous novels, releasing them this year while I was working on my new one.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely! I went for years working for a job that literally ‘sucked the creativity out of me’. I used to complain to my family about that, too. Haha. I was unable to even dream of novels during that time, and it was a sad period for me.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Edit, edit and edit some more. If your book is not as polished as possible, you can seriously turn others off even if you have a great story.

What is more important to you, plot or character?

I think both are very vital aspects of a story. While I tend to focus more on characterization and the inner development of my characters as they grow and change throughout the story, the plot sets the tone. 

Without a strong plot, any characterization becomes stilted and boring. After all, without a plot where’s the motivation to read?

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Oh, definitely a panster. I have tried to outline before, but my characters take me on their own story, and I am just the person who writes their tales. The outlines I’ve created end up so different from the actual story that it’s no use!

Preferred POV to write.

I prefer the third person, but I have written in the first before. I think overall it depends on the story.

Preferred POV to read.
Third person. However, again, it really depends on the story. Some stories are better when written in the first.

Tell us 5 random things about you the person not the author.

1) I am addicted to chocolate, and I mean addicted. I panic if I don’t have any in the house. Who would’ve thought? But I guess there are worse addictions out there than chocolate :)

2) I am known to my children’s friends as the ‘cool mom’. I think it’s because I still act like a kid at times too.

3) I am a recluse. Seriously, I prefer to stay at home. My oldest daughter recently told a friend that I don’t know what vitamin D is anymore. I asked her if she was secretly telling people that I was a vampire!

4) There was once an email forward that went around a few years back asking friends to describe you in one word. When my responses came back, an overwhelming number of people all said that same thing - “nice”. I would’ve preferred smart or funny, you know, something like that? But no, everyone said “nice”. Hmmm, since then I’ve wondered if that was a good thing or not?

5) I am happiest when I’m outdoors. I love the wilderness, and you’ll often find me hiking in the desert when the weather here permits. My most favorite place to hike is the Superstition Mountain Wilderness, and that is used in If We Dare to Dream, as a matter of fact.  :)

In addition to IF WE DARE TO DREAM, I know you have other novels available as well.
Forever Sunshine
Hannah's Blessing

Where can people connect with you online?

What format does your books come in?

Both ebook and paperback.

Where can people buy your books?

Barnes & Noble:

Thank you for taking part in the Author Interview for Celebrating Authors.

Thank you for having me! I had a great time :)