Today, gentle readers, I would like to present to you Margo Bond Collins, the author of a new book titled Waking Up Dead. She resides in Texas with her husband, daughter, several spoiled cats AND a ridiculous turtle! She teaches college-level English courses online, although writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press. Margo is here with us today to share a little about herself and how she began her journey in the world of publishing. She’ll be sharing how her trip started and where she is headed. Without further ado, I present Margo Bond Collins, the author of Waking Up Dead.
Thank you for having me. It’s an exciting moment for an author.
I took a look at the Amazon reviews this morning and you had a 4.5 rating with 51 reviews. That Margo, is truly awesome. I haven’t had a chance to read your book yet, but I will very soon and I’ll review it here on my blog. Ok, then, let’s get started, shall we? Can you give our audience an idea about the plot of your book?
I’ll be glad to. When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?
It’s a paranormal mystery, then. Nice. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always known. The first story I remember actually writing down was basically fan-fiction of The Wizard of Oz. I wrote it in long-hand in a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing ever since.
Lots of authors have seemingly always written; they can’t remember when they haven’t. But what inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But about ten years ago, a friend suggested I join in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). Until then, I had always written short stories. That year, I finished the first draft of what would eventually become Legally Undead—it will be my second published novel, but it’s the first one I wrote.
That’s exciting to hear, because I just did my first NaNoWriMo. It’s such a great program. And I know the fun of writing for 30 days until you write 50,000 words. Tell us how you came up with the idea of Waking Up Dead.
It was inspired by a single moment when I lived in Alabama for a few years. I remember driving to work one morning and seeing just a wisp of fog move across the statue in the middle of the town square. The statue was of some Civil War figure, and I remember thinking that it looked oddly ghostly. In between teaching classes that day, I started writing Callie’s story. It took me less than six weeks to finish that first draft—her voice was just incredibly strong.
Do you have any writing quirks such as you have to write in a certain place, tap your heels together three times, need to write with a certain pen or time of day?
(laughs) I wish I could tap my heels together three times to make it happen, but it doesn’t work that way! I have an office that I use for all my work: academic writing, fiction writing, editing, and online teaching. My desk is against a window so I can see outside. I’m surrounded by books and papers. I write directly on my laptop, but when I get stuck, I sometimes switch to handwriting; this seems to shift my brain onto a different track and helps me get over writer’s block. I write something every day, whether it’s academic writing, fiction, or my blog.
But the single biggest thing that I do to write? It’s narrating. I have an internal monologue—and sometimes dialogue—going on all the time. I think in words; when I have a mental picture, I practice translating it into words in my mind. I tell myself stories and I work out plot lines and I figure out arguments to make about literature. I think about the words to use to explain writing to my classes and I practice describing my surroundings. I think in my characters’ voices and in my own voice. When I get blocked, I go for a walk and let my characters take over for a while until I have another scene.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Usually something catches my attention—a setting, a person, a word, the name of a town. Then I start spinning out stories for myself. Once I have any one part of the story, the rest just sort of shows up. I love losing myself in other worlds!
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I have written five novels. I always love the one I’m working on best—and am critical of the others!
What genre do you write in other than paranormal mysteries ? Is there more than one?
I also write urban fantasies, and contemporary romance. I’m also working on a science-fiction romance and a paranormal romance.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on sequels to Waking Up Dead and to Legally Undead, the urban fantasy I have coming out from World Weaver Press in 2014. I’m editing a young adult paranormal romance. I’m also working on a contemporary romance novel. And I have the beginnings of two others—one’s a paranormal romance, and the other is what I’m calling my Regency Romance in Space.
If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
I love to hear from readers—I work hard to answer any social media messages I get and I’m always excited when someone I don’t know personally contacts me about my book. I write for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact me!
My last question Margo. Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Here is a list of places I can be found. It would be a pleasure to hear from all of you and thank you Eileen for having me here today.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollins
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarch
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins
Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575
Thank you Margo. Good luck with your book and congratulations on your new release. Margo is giving away an autographed copy of Waking Up Dead to the winner of the Rafflecopter whose link is below. Make sure to play!
Excerpt from Waking Up Dead:
As Molly straightened up, the man slipped the wire over her head and twisted it around her neck. She struggled, but he pulled the garrote tighter and tighter.
I was screaming at the top of my ghostly voice, for all the good it did me. I moved up behind the man and beat at his back with closed fists–fists that slipped in and out of his back without ever making real contact. He shuddered a little–clearly he was one of the very slightly sensitive ones–but he didn’t loosen his hands.
I reached up and tried to grab the wire, tried to pull against the pressure he was exerting on the wire and it did loosen for an instant. But only for an instant. The living have more control over solid objects than the dead do. I never resented that fact more than at that moment.
But I kept trying. I kept trying as Molly’s face turned purple, then blue, then black, kept trying even as she drooped in the man’s grip.
Then he loosened the wire and it was too late. I watched that wispy, light-on-fog life force slip out of Molly and move on to wherever it is that other people go when they die. I was glad she didn’t show up next to me as a full-blown ghost. At that moment, I wouldn’t have wished my impotent half-existence on anyone.
I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d been alive, I might have been able to save her. If I could have cried real tears, I would have. As it was, I was sobbing hoarsely and calling the man every dirty name I could think of.
I was still cursing as I followed him around the kitchen. First he opened the pantry and pulled out a box of Hefty garbage bags. Then he grabbed a knife out of the block on the counter. And finally, he picked up Molly’s body and carried it to the bathroom.
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