Please welcome Featured Author Margo Bond Collins to the Indie Spotlight. Margo is the author of Waking Up Dead, the story of Callie Taylor who mysteriously wakes up dead as a ghost in Alabama. Margo joins us today with an awesome interview, excerpt from her novel, and is also generous enough to give away a copy of Waking Up Dead to one lucky reader!
1. Welcome Margo to Mother/Gamer/Writer. For those readers who are not familiar with you or your work can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
In my other life, I’m a college professor; I teach English courses online. I live in Texas with my husband and our daughter and a number of thoroughly silly animals. Waking Up Dead
, a paranormal mystery, is my first published novel. My second novel, Legally Undead
, is an urban fantasy forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press. I got the offers to publish the two novels in the same month. That was officially the best month of my life!
2. Do you have a particular writing style? Any odd writing habits?
My narrators tend to be pretty snarky; they often say the kinds of sarcastic things I am too socialized to say. As far as odd habits go, I use the word “ultimately” far too often—something I find funny because it’s rarely the right word (if it’s “ultimate,” it can only be once, right? There’s no need for fifty “ultimatelys” in a book!). So the very first thing I do when I finish a draft is run a word search for “ultimately” and change it out.
3. Who would you consider your favorite authors, or where do you draw inspiration?
I tend to have lists of favorite authors according to genre and to time period. But at the moment, here are a few: I love books by Neil Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Faith Hunter, Stephen Graham Jones, Ilona Andrews, Carrie Vaughn, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, Holly Black, Janny Wurts, Jennifer Estep, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, Janet Evanovich . . . and those are just the ones who come to mind immediately!
4. What books are currently on your bookshelf?
So many books, so little time. . . . I just started Holly Luhning’s novel Quiver and am really enjoying it! Last week I finished re-reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I re-read this book every year or two. McKinley does a beautiful job of setting up a world that is almost, but not exactly, like our own. The eponymous protagonist almost seems to ramble sometimes, but the voice is perfectly her own and the things she reveals about herself are beautifully woven back into the plot. Also, the vampires are creepy as all get-out!
5. Without giving too much away, can you tell us what were your favorite scenes, chapters, or characters to write?
In Waking Up Dead, the character of Maw-Maw is actually largely based on a combination of my own grandmother and great-grandmother–the only real difference is that they were white and from Texas rather than black and from Alabama. Otherwise, she talks like them and acts like them. It’s my great-grandmother’s voice I hear in my head when I write her dialogue, my grandmother’s movements I see when I picture her walking around. Physically, I imagine her looking a bit like Ruby Dee in the television movie version of The Stand. But her attitude? That’s straight from my own family! I loved writing Maw-Maw. Every time she opened her mouth, she delighted (and sometimes surprised) me.
6. The main character is a ghost, did you find that difficult to pull off?
When I was first working on Waking Up Dead, someone asked me why I would want to limit my protagonist by making her a ghost, unable to easily interact with the world around her.
I didn’t have a good answer then, but I’ve thought about it a lot since.
And here’s the deal: I love writing about Callie and her limitations. Because ultimately, that’s what many books are about, right? The limitations we face when interacting with the world around us. Callie’s limitations are just more immediate and obvious. She has to really work to have an impact on the world, and that’s something we can all sympathize with. Who hasn’t had days when getting anything done felt like swimming through peanut butter? When, try as we might, we can’t seem to communicate with the people surrounding us. When our attempts to move people or things fall flat and we have to start working on new ways to try to be seen and heard.
For Callie, these obstacles are instantly recognizable, but her attempts to make connections echo the attempts in our own lives. So why would I want to limit my protagonist by making her a ghost? Because sometimes, we’re all ghosts. But if we keep at it, we can overcome that little problem.
So I guess the answer is no, I didn’t find it difficult; I found it fascinating!
7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
The very best advice I ever got was just this: keep writing new things. Always have a work in progress. Finish writing a piece, do a quick edit, and submit it somewhere for publication. Then move on to the next project. Don’t wait to hear back—that way lies madness! If it’s rejected (and often it will be; that’s the nature of writing for publication), don’t let it get you down. Just send it out again and go back to your work in progress.
8. Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your fans, or to people who are considering reading your novel?
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!
This or That:
- Tea or Coffee? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
- 2. Reading or Writing? Both! I would wither and die if I couldn’t do both.
- Walking Dead, True Blood or Game of Thrones? All of them. I spend most Walking Dead episodes yelling at the characters to set a guard! True Blood is so over the top that it makes me laugh with joy. And Game of Thrones keeps me on the edge of my seat.
- Books or Movies? Books, usually.
For More Information, Please Visit:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins
Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575
Buy Waking Up Dead on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Dead-ebook/dp/B00FOXWLM8/
Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18428064-waking-up-dead
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions; it has been my pleasure having you on Mother/Gamer/Writer!
Thanks for having me!
“Hey,” I said, hurrying after the woman. “Wait up.”
“I know you’re not talking to me,” she said. She stared straight ahead and pushed her cart down the middle of the aisle toward housewares.
“I am talking to you. Look. I know this is really weird, but I need your help.”
“Well, I’m not talking to you. I don’t know what your problem is, but you can take it somewhere else.”
I wanted to reach out and grab her cart, to make her stop and talk to me, but of course I couldn’t. Which gave me an idea.
I scurried out in front of her, planting myself in her path.
“Move,” she said.
“Not until you hear me out. Please?”
She moved her cart to the left. I stepped out to intercept her. She moved to the right. So did I.
“You got some kind of death wish or something?” she asked.
I laughed and shook my head. “If only you knew.”
“I’ve got no time for this,” she said. And she slammed into me with her shopping cart.
At least, that’s what she planned to do.
The shopping cart, however, slid right through me. When it stopped, the basket had sliced cleanly through my midsection. The bottom rack merged with my ankles. From my perspective, it looked like two perfectly solid objects–me and the shopping cart–had melted together. I don’t know what she saw.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.
The woman’s eyes widened, then rolled up into her head as she slumped to the ground in a dead faint.
I bent down to try to wake her up, but no matter how hard I concentrated on making contact, I couldn’t even touch her.
I hate being a ghost.