Interview: Margo Bond Collins, author of Fairy, Texas
What’s your story? How did you get into writing?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making up stories. 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 ended up as an English major in college because I was fascinated by the ways stories work. And then I went on to graduate school because I couldn’t figure out what else to do. I ended up with a Ph.D. in literature almost by accident; I just never quit wanting to learn about all the stories in the world!
So now I teach literature and writing in my day job, and the rest of the time, I write, both as a fiction author and as an academic.
What advice do you have 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.
What are you working on now?
This month, I am finishing up edits on a contemporary romance coming out with Entangled Publishing later this year. Then my next novel, Legally Undead, will come out in May. And then I’ll finally get back to working on sequels to everything. I also have an idea for a sci-fi novel kicking around in my head.
What has been the most challenging part of publishing or marketing your book?
Reading negative reviews. I’m torn between reading them for possible criticism that can help me improve my writing and ignoring them because they bother me. I always try to remember that not everyone is going to like every book. I love Virginia Woolf’s essays, for example, but her fiction bores me. I took a Woolf class in graduate school and it was miserable. But I can recognize why other people might like it. So when I get a bad review, my first thought is that my style doesn’t mesh with that reader’s preferences. Fine. If the review really bugs me, I go look at the bad reviews of some of my favorite authors (I find it comforting that Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, and even Jane Austen have gotten 1-star reviews!). And in one case, I went to check out the reviewer’s other reviews and was relieved to discover that the reviewer had given several of my favorite books 1-star reviews—a clear indication that we have wildly different tastes.
What has been your favorite part?
Hearing from people who have enjoyed my books. I didn’t know that it was possible to be as excited as I was the day I got my first piece of fan mail.
Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to count! Because I’m a literature professor in my other life, I have piles and piles of favorite authors. Right now, though, I’m particularly fond of Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, Holly Black, Ann Aguirre, and Melanie Karsak. What I love about all of them is their ability to create such realistic worlds, to draw me in and keep me interested in the stories they spin out.
What gave you the idea for your current work?
Many (most, really) of my ideas come to me while I’m driving. In this case, 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!
If you could be any character in the book, which one would you be?
Laney, I think. As much as I’d hate to be start school in Fairy, Texas (going back to high school would be bad; tripping over a dead guy in gym class would be even worse!), there are a lot of exciting things in store for her.
What other books have you written and/or are working on for the future?
Waking Up Dead, a paranormal mystery, was published in 2013 by Solstice Shadows. Legally Undead is an urban fantasy coming out from World Weaver Press in May. And I have a contemporary romance coming out soon. I’m also working on sequels to all of these books!
What’s your favorite quote?
“You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.” –Neil Gaiman
What’s your favorite supernatural creature?
That’s a tough question; I like pretty much all of them. I’m fascinated by zombies because they’re so unrelenting. But I also have a deep, abiding love for vampires—the creepier, the better!
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.
Buy Fairy, Texas
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. 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. Fairy, Texas is her second novel. Her first novel, Waking Up Dead, came out with Solstice Shadows Publishing in October 2013. Her third novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.
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: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575
Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18428064-waking-up-dead
Be sure to add Fairy, Texas to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19502285-fairy-texas