About Marcia Colette:
I discovered my love for reading in my late teens with books by John Saul, Bentley Little, Stephen King, and Laurell K. Hamilton. As much as I love the dark side of things, I don’t like gore for the sake of gore just like I don’t sex for the sake of sex. My time is precious, so I want to spend it by reading something that will keep me thinking about it–for good reasons–long after the story is over.
There came a point when I had read just about everything by those authors and others. I needed a fix, so that was when I started writing my own novels. My first monstrosity was 250,000 words of confusion, yuck, and WTH. Needless to say, I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing. It wasn’t until I joined my first writers group at Duke University that I learned how to write a compelling story. From there, it was more writers groups and online classes. As a writer, you never really stop learning. Every book I pick up isn’t just to entertain anymore, it’s a study in the craft.
Today, I write urban fantasies, horror, young adult, and romance novels. I also write science fiction under a different pen name. I’m both traditional and indie published, also known as a hybrid author. My goal as an author is to take the reader on the fun-filled–and sometimes scary–adventures that are stuck in my head.
What inspires you to write?
It’s like I said in my Bio. I have a bunch of stories that are stuck in my head. All it takes is a my going to a movie, reading a good book, or seeing something on TV, and my imagination goes wild. It’s not so much that I want to make a better story, but more like, I want to create my own. I want my name tacked to something that is just as amazing and stupendous as what I had just seen or read and I want to share it with other people. I want to dive into my world and never come out. Because, let’s face it. Sometimes, our imaginations are so much better places to hang out than reality.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write mostly by the seat of my pants. I might have a two-paragraph blurb, but that’s about it. I like to discover the story right along with my readers because that’s builds the excitement for me. Now, about halfway or two-thirds of the way through, I usually stop and start to edit from the beginning. That’s where I usually find my plot holes, inconsistencies, and that WTH that I talked about earlier. I’m not the grammar queen at all. I’m more like a grammar minion who hopes that my verb tenses are right. My biggest problem these days are checking to make sure I’ve developed that deep POV that connects readers to my characters. By the time I’ve returned to that point where I’ve stopped writing, I’ll know if my story holds water or if/where I need to rethink a few things in an effort to bring the reader home to a satisfying conclusion. While my endings might be “content”, my characters always pay one hell of a price for getting there and their lives are usually changed forever, as a result. So while I’ll know the end of a story before it’s even began, try to make sure the thrills are in the journey.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters, but for some reason, their voices are only heard during rewrites. I’ll move them around like pieces on a chessboard during that first draft. They’re mostly silent and don’t care. But when it comes time for edits, that’s when they seem to come to life where they ask me why would they do “that” when they’ve done “this”. I might tell the reader something, but my character is screaming, “No! I need to have that conversation with him.” Then, it becomes dialogue with clenched fists, storming off, or breaking down into tears. When the conversation is over, I usually sit back and ask myself what just happened. That’s when I know my characters aren’t just speaking to me, but coming to life on the screen.
What advice would you give other writers?
Enough with the “never give up” speech. My biggest piece of advice would be know the business. Know and understand your options, if you’re planning to be in this for the long haul. More important, treat this like a business. If you don’t care enough about your work to do your very best, then don’t expect anyone else to return the favorite. There are a lot of scam artists out there looking for people like you. Also, don’t look for overnight success. It seems like it happens a lot, because those are the only stories that ever get reported. I can guarantee that for every overnight success, there are about hundreds of thousands drowning in perceived failure. Notice that word “perceived”. Your success is how YOU choose define it. That’s another piece of advice. You can always up your chances of success by putting out as much as possible and your best work possible. And don’t think that by “best” I mean you’ve poured your heart out over it. Best means you’ve poured your heart out all over it AND sent it to an editor and/or critique partner to hammer on it some more.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I went through the submission to agents-and-editors route with out any luck. Just when I was about to give up, I decided to through smaller publishers, which I particularly like. There’s a lot more control over your book, though it’s not completely hands-off. Smaller publishers are also eager to find that big-hit, so they’re more open to giving books a chance. Their overhead is a lot smaller than NY, so they’re in a better position to accept the risks. Now, that doesn’t mean send them your garbage and they’ll take it. Some of my current publishers have even rejected my stuff. Those things that I couldn’t sell, I decided to self-publish via my indie press Dusk Till Dawn Books. My thought is this. If I’ve spent hundreds–if not thousands–of hours, missing meals, missing life as it passed me by to write this book, then I’m going to put it out there and see what happens. I owe that much to myself, if nothing else. I still submit manuscripts to my publishers, too. I just want the time that I’ve spent writing something to account for something, even if it’s not with a traditional publisher. Even if it amounts to $20 per month in gas money for my car. Better yet, my Microsoft Office subscription (I use Microsoft Word to write) is $10.66 per month, so that means I’ve actually made money. It’s not about putting out anything and everything you write. Believe it or not, I’m not worried about tarnishing my name with a flop or two. Just ask Katherine Hepburn about that. I’m more concerned that not knowing if something is “the one” without ever giving it a chance, might eat me alive.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think writers will gain more control over their creations, as it should be. While NY is a great place to start, if you can get your foot in the door, their contracts will only serve their purpose, which shouldn’t come at a surprise, since they’re a business. More authors will self/indie publish. I also think there were will be a lot more author collaborations and anthologies, too. Advances will continue to shrink, unless you’re a well-known author who has already earned their keep. I also believe that more authors will call it quits because this is a heck of a tough business to be in right now. The market is flooded and nobody has that “golden ticket” to instant discoverability. If they do, they’re not sharing. Many of these changes will have limited affects on smaller publishers. If anything, I suspect more of them will find “the one” book that propels them into game-changing territory. Also, don’t discount audio. Audio books are making a huge comeback, and it’ll probably be that way for a while, since most people are always on the go. One thing to be on the lookout for is interactive books. One of these days, someone will build the technology (if they haven’t already) to make books so interactive, it’ll almost be like the reader can create their own story. THAT will be a huge game-changer.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, Horror, Young Adult, Science Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.