Sunday, October 02, 2011

Welcome Author, Poet, and Newspaper Editor Collin Kelley

This week I would like to welcome Collin Kelley.  I just finished reading his second book, Remain In Light which came out yesterday, and will post my full opinion next month on Rochelle's Reviews.  I definitely recommend this book.  It is a thought-provoking page-burner.  And now... Collin!





RW:  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a journalist by day and poet/novelist by night. I really enjoy all types of writing and have dabbled in play-writing, screenplays and I’m about to start working on a memoir about all my travels to England.

RW:  How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was a child. My parents taught me to read and write very early. I always read far above my grade level. I got into poetry in high school, dabbled in fiction, but poetry came first. While other kids wanted to be firemen and astronauts, I always wanted to be a writer.

RW:  What is/are your favorite genre/s?

I love literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, paranormal. I used to work in a bookstore, so I read a little of everything – from Danielle Steele to John Updike—because I wanted to explore every kind of writing and find my own voice, style and genre.


RW:  Who are your favorite authors?

Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, John Irving, Anne Sexton, Walt Whitman, Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, Stan Rice, Michael Cunningham—far too many to name.


RW:  What is a typical day like for you, and when do you get your best writing done

I have a very busy day job as a newspaper editor in Atlanta, so my creative writing happens in the evening. I’ve found my sweet spot is from about 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. I finished writing and edited Remain In Light during those hours, accompanied by BBC Radio 2 streaming from London.

RW:  What else have you published?

I have a novel called Conquering Venus, which was published in 2009 and is a literary mystery. I’ve also got three poetry collections: Better To Travel, After the Poison and Slow To Burn.

RW:  If you went to “that God-forsaken rock the Moon,” what one special thing would you take?

Will there be wi-fi on the moon?  I can’t live without my laptop.  

RW:  Tell us about your current book.  How many words/pages is it?

Remain In Light is about a Parisian widow, Irène Laureux, whose husband was murdered during the student and worker riots in 1968. She’s been looking for his killer for 30 years and finally catches up with him with the help of American expat writer, Martin Paige. But finding the killer reveals a much larger conspiracy. There’re crooked cops, detectives with questionable motives and stolen identities. The e-book version came out October 1 from Vanilla Heart Publishing and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. The print version will be out in January. It’s 88,000+ words, so probably something readers could get through in a couple of sittings. It’s very fast-paced, so I hope folks will find it to be a page-turner.

RW:  Where did the idea come from?

Both Conquering Venus and Remain In Light are part of what I’m calling The Venus Trilogy, since the books are connected but can be read in any order. I was inspired by a trip I took to London and Paris in 1995. It was an amazing experience and I got to meet some very interesting people and immerse myself in the cultures. Paris is usually portrayed as a city of love and romance, but it has a dark underbelly that most tourists never see. I wanted to look beyond the guidebooks and explore the Paris that is just beneath the surface of the postcards. As the character Irène Laureux says, “This city is not always full of light.”

RW:  How did you choose your setting?  Have you woven any of your own life or environment into it?  If not, how did you research the details of the area?

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel back and forth to London and Paris over the years to be able to soak up that flavor. I wrote a big chunk of Remain In Light while I was in the UK and France last summer. I tried to go and spend some time in all the locales I wrote about, especially in Paris, and took hundreds of photographs.

RW:  Who is your favorite character in the story?

That’s a bit of a Sophie’s Choice, but Diane Jacobs is a very opinionated and slightly unhinged school teacher who takes no guff from the other characters in both Conquering Venus and Remain In Light.  She’s a little xenophobic, doesn’t really like kids and has no business being a teacher, so the snarky and sarcastic things that come out of her mouth are a hoot to write. She’s also just an average citizen who gets swept up into the mystery and intrigue in the novels, when she’d rather be drinking a bottle of wine while a hot guy kisses her toes.

RW:  How many drafts did you do before the manuscript was ready for submission?

Remain In Light went through four drafts before I had it the way I wanted it and my editor said it was coherent enough to publish.  I didn’t agonize too much over the storyline, since I had outlined it and knew exactly what was going to happen. I didn’t use an outline for Conquering Venus, and realized later that was a mistake. The outline kept me focused and help me get from point A to point Z quickly.

RW:  What's the one thing you hope readers will take away with them when they finish reading Remain In Light.

I hope they’ll be thrown a little off-kilter by the characters and the situations they are put into. As I mentioned with Diane, the characters in Remain In Light are not detectives or secret agents, but ordinary citizens who must step up to solve a series of mysteries because the police and government are in collusion. I also hope readers will see the great bond the characters have with each other. None of them are related, but they become a tight-knit, if slightly dysfunctional, family.

RW:  Where can we buy Remain In Light?
The E-Book version will be out Oct. 1 for Kindle, Nook and in various e-pub formats at Smashwords. The print version will be available from Amazon and B&N in January 2012.

RW:  How can we reach you?



Twitter:   @collinkelley


Blurb:

In 1968, Irène Laureux's husband was murdered during the Paris student and worker riots. Thirty years later, she is still on the hunt for the man who knows how and why Jean-Louis died – his secret lover, Frederick Dubois.

Aiding in her search is American expat Martin Paige, a writer still reeling from a love affair gone wrong with a student, David McLaren. Martin meets a young poet, Christian, and the two fall in love, but their happiness is shaken when Martin's friend, Diane Jacobs, arrives in Paris with news that David has gone missing.

Diane discovers that David's disappearance is more than just a missing person case with connections to drugs, stolen identities, long-hidden government secrets and a shocking connection to Irène's past. This literary mystery takes readers from America to London and into the dark underworld of the fabled City of Light.


Excerpt: You can read the first four chapters of Remain In Light at this link:

RW Note:  This was post was prepared on September 29.  Therefore buy links were not yet available for the e-pub edition.













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