Interview with Robert Collins

Lisa's Way


I’ve had three SF novels published: “Monitor,” “Lisa’s Way,” and “Expert Assistance.” I’ve also had a coming of age novel published called “True Friends.” I’ve had stories and articles appear in periodicals such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine; Tales of the Talisman; Space Westerns; Sorcerous Signals; Wild West; and Model Railroader. I’ve had two biographies published, one of “Bleeding Kansas” leader Jim Lane, and the other of a Kansas Civil War general. I’ve had six Kansas railroad books published by South Platte Press.

                                                          Bio provided by Author

It was my pleasure to interview Robert and get to learn a bit more about him and what he likes to write. He has written quite a bit of published works on various subjects and genre’s. So please give a warm welcome to Robert Collins!

1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
A story. My job is to tell a story.
As to inspiration, it comes from anywhere. Lisa Herbert was partly inspired by young women I knew. Her effort to rebuild society came from my research into the Santa Fe Trail for a series of travel booklets I published.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I need to have some outline of the plot. Characters can be short descriptions or just names. I find that figuring things out in advance keeps me from getting blocked.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I write in the morning, after I eat, shower, and so on. I have a goal of writing 4 pages a day. That goal keeps me going. I might not write every day, but that goal keeps me honest.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I don’t a favorite author. I’m more a story person, in the same way that I don’t have a favorite music artist, but I have songs that I like. That said, it was inspired to write by Asimov on Science Fiction. That book showed me that writing could be an outlet for my creative nature.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
Waiting. Waiting to hear if a story’s been bought or rejected. Waiting for sales. The waiting is not fun.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I try, though I can’t afford to buy much. I’ve gotten into Wattpad, and I’m trying to read material I writer I know has posted, and some other things on my reading list. Since I’m not researching any nonfiction books at the moment, my reading has slackened a bit.
7. You have several different styles of writing, which do you prefer to do? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
I don’t have any preferences. Either I want to tell a story or I don’t.
As to personal life, no. My life is pretty dull. What sometimes goes into my fiction is my nonfiction research. I’ve gotten story ideas that way.
8. Your books have been published with Smashwords and, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
If you mean ebooks, yes. It seems that ebooks are replacing the mass-market paperback. Ebooks make it easy to have lots of books easy at hand. They’re also opening up avenues for novellas, short novels, and even short stories and short-story collections.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
Always! I’m working on sequels to Lisa’s Way and to my first novel, as well as new works.
11. Who would be your first choice to play Lisa Herbert from your book “Lisa’s Way”?
It used to be Amy Davidson, Lauren Ambrose, or Felicia Day, but they’re way too old now. I don’t know of any young red-haired actresses today who would fit. Molly Quinn from Castle is close.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Maybe Jim Lane, since I wrote a biography of him. I don’t know what to ask first. I’d just like to figure the man out and make the definitive statement on him.