Guest Post and Excerpts by Author Margo Collions of Waking Up Dead
Writing Ideas, Writing Rituals
by Margo Bond Collins
“Where do you get your ideas? What kind of writing rituals do you have?” These are two of the most common questions authors get—so much so that they’ve become clichés, the kinds of questions that authors joke about answering. But we keep getting these questions because people are interested in the answers. I’m interested in hearing other authors’ answers; I love learning about the creative process as it is experienced by other authors! And because I teach writing, too (I’m a college professor in my other life), I’m always interested in finding out how it is that my favorite authors do what they do.
I have been writing all my life. 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. 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 third published novel, but it’s the first one I wrote.
I used to have elaborate rituals for writing. I used to make sure my office was perfectly clean and my day was absolutely clear for nothing but writing. But writing Legally Undead changed all of that. In the process of finishing that first novel, I learned to write even when I didn’t feel like it, when my house was dirty, when my day was busy, when life got in the way—because life will always get in the way! Now I make time to write every day, no matter what else is going on. Sometimes it’s just for fifteen minutes; other times it’s for several hours in a row. And what I’ve discovered is that once I get started, I can generally keep going until life intervenes again.
And when I get good and thoroughly stuck, I go for a drive. Most of my best ideas seem to come to me when I’m behind the wheel. 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 (I was living in Alabama at the time), and I remember thinking that it looked oddly ghostly. In between teaching classes that day, I started writing Waking Up Dead. Something similar happened with Fairy, Texas, the YA novel I have coming out in February. I was driving through rural Texas near where I grew up and passed the sign for the cut-off to the town Fairy, Texas. I must have driven by the sign hundreds of times in my life, but this time I started wondering what it would be like if the town were actually occupied by fairy-like creatures—not exactly European fairies, but a race that could intermingle with the humans of our own world. The book developed from there!
What I’ve learned over the last few years, though, is that ideas can come at any time, from any place. A glimpse of fog, a sign for a town, the curve of a hill, the way a tree dips over a fence, the smile on a person’s face—any of these things can lead to a story. The important thing is making time to bring them to life!
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though 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 Blurb:
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?
Waking Up Dead Excerpt
When I died, I expected to go to heaven.
Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.
Instead, I went to Alabama.
Yeah. I know. It’s weird.
I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife--and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.
At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it--ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.
And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.
You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me--I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.
Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.
Not this dead chick, anyway.
Waking Up Dead buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Dead-Margo-Bond-Collins-ebook/dp/B00HKQQRJA/
Fairy, Texas Blurb:
Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.
Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.
She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.
Fairy, Texas Excerpt:
Fairy High could have fit into one wing of my old school. The three-story, red brick building looked like it had been around for at least a century—it actually had carvings over two of the doorways that read “Men’s Entrance” and “Women’s Entrance.” I was glad to see that none of the kids paid any attention to those instructions.
“Counselor’s office,” I muttered to myself. At least I wasn’t starting in the middle of a term—though given the fact that there were fewer than 500 students in the entire high school, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go unnoticed, even in the general bustle of the first day back from summer vacation.
I walked through the door marked “Men’s Entrance,” just be contrary, and faced a long hallway lined with heavy wooden doors. The spaces in between the doors were filled with lockers and marble staircases with ornate hand-rails flanked each end of the long hallway. Students poured in behind me, calling out greetings to each other and jostling me off to the side while I tried to get my bearings. None of the doors obviously led to a main office; I was going to have to walk the entire length of the hallway. And people were already starting to stare and whisper.
God. I hated being the new kid.
I took a deep breath and stepped forward. I made it halfway down the hall without seeing anything informative—all the doors had numbers over them and many of them had name plaques, but neither of those things did me any good since I didn’t know the name or office number for the counselor. I was almost getting desperate enough to ask Kayla, but of course she was nowhere to be seen.
I turned back from scanning the halls for her and caught sight of the first adult I’d seen—and almost screamed. As it was, I gasped loudly enough for a guy walking past me to do a double take. The man standing in the open doorway was tall, over six feet, and way skinny—so emaciated that it looked like you ought to be able to see his ribs through his shirt, if his shirt didn’t hang so loosely on him. He had white hair that stuck out in tufts, thin lips, a sharp nose, and pale blue eyes that narrowed as he watched the kids walk past—and all the kids gave him a wide berth without even seeming to notice that they did so. He stood in an empty circle while students streamed around him in the crowded hallway.
But none of that was what made me almost scream.
For a moment, just as I’d turned toward him, I could have sworn that I’d seen the shadow of two huge, black, leathery wings stretched out behind him.
Connect with Margo
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 (Waking Up Dead): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575
Facebook Novel Page (Fairy, Texas): https://www.facebook.com/FairyTexas
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/MargoBondCollins/
Be sure to add Fairy, Texas to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19502285-fairy-texas
Thank you so much for being on my blog today! Really loved the guest post and the excerpts! I have to say both books sound amazing, and for those looking for new books pick up your copy and give it a try! Don't forget to leave a review.