Today my guest is author Scott Collins. Scott and I met on Facebook through mutual friends when he asked how we find books. He also hoped to find other avenues of exposure, so I gladly offered to have him visit with us here.
Scott is a Southern California native, (my husband was born in Van Nuys), but has moved to Denver,(we lived there for about a dozen years). He has two sons; (I also have two sons). It always amazes me as to how I can find things in common with others as soon as I begin conversing.
Let’s see what else some of us might have in common with Scott.
You chose Denver as the place to raise your sons. Denver is a great place for families; so many outdoor spaces available, the theater, museums, activities, etc. What are some of your family’s favorites?
Just about all of it. I’ve long since discarded the need to collect things. I want experiences. I love the theater. We’re members at DCPA. [Denver Center for the Performing Arts] We frequent the Museum of Nature and Science and are also members at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I love to ride my bike, kayak, ski, and play ball with my boys. If it’s outside, chances are you can count me in.
What is a typical day for you?
Well, I still work full-time, so it’s up early to catch the train into Denver for work and then back home. I try to get some writing done while sitting on the train, but usually wind up reading instead. Once home, my kids keep me busy. Baseball, parkour, theater classes, etc keep me running them back and forth to their activities. Weekends are much of the same with some writing done either early before everyone else gets up, or late at night after the boys head to bed.
You started out with a novel for adults, but now write Middle Grade books, geared toward boys. I would think that many girls would also enjoy your series, but I applaud you. We have lamented the fact that more books seem to be geared toward girl readers than toward boys. Small wonder that many more boys lose interest in reading earlier than girls. I believe the gap is narrowing, with boys who read losing the ‘Nerd’ connotation, (indeed, “Nerd” itself is losing its negative overtone), but unfortunately, I see fewer older girls reading. Any thoughts?
Unfortunately, I think this has a lot to do with what’s popular at the time. When Twilight came out, I believe a lot of the teen female crowd was captured and engaged. Hunger Games was another with a strong female protagonist that attracted readers. I haven’t really seen or heard of another series, or book for that matter, that has drawn a following among young female readers since. I hope that I can cross over between the sexes and that Scepter will be a story that can be enjoyed by both sexes.
You started writing your books with your sons in mind; do you foresee your works growing in maturity levels (YA) as your sons also grow? What can we expect to see next from you?
Scepter will continue to mature along with my boys. As I close in on the end of the series, the story will become darker as the children close in on their final battle with King Argyle. Once this series is done, I’ll be transitioning back into the action/thriller genre. I’ve a book already in mind that needs to be written, and I don’t want to hold off on it too long.
So far I have only read “Scepter”, the first book of the Scepter Trilogy. Did you envision it as a series from the beginning?
I did. Once I went through the story in my head I realized I would either have a 3000 page MG Fantasy book, or that I’d need to split it up to make it more manageable. The children are on a quest for four stones at the end of book one. It made sense to split that journey into four additional books.
Kids easily read books if they can identify with the protagonists, and can dream of having adventures or attributes that the characters possess. How did you decide on the powers that you gave to each of the heroes?
Funny enough, it was by watching my kids play when they were younger. They’d race around the house or yard, chasing each other, a ball, a dog, or nothing at all. Or they’d crawl around barking, meowing, growling, and snapping their teeth. Of all the wonderful fun times we had playing, the two that stood out were the two they wound up having in the story.
The world you created is a mix of our world and another. The names of people and places are a meld of the common and uncommon. How did you arrive at your choices?
Ha! Good question. I’ve asked for input on my Facebook page for some, others are translations from a variety of languages that have very specific meanings or are symbolic, and a few are just random names that popped into my head that I thought had the right feel to it.
You also combine herbs associated with illnesses in our world with those in the world of the Scepter. What was your inspiration for this?
Well, it’s a fantasy world as you mentioned, with a bit of a blend into our world. I didn’t feel that having a Walgreens out in the middle of the prairie would keep my readers in the story, so how to treat illnesses? As it happened, I picked up a great book on herbal medicines at about the time I started writing Scepter, so it seemed a simple fix for the problem.
In the story’s world there are supernatural inhabitants common in human lore. Why did you add these particular creatures?
I love the supernatural and fantasy. I grew up reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and J.R.R. Tolkien among others. I picked my favorites to integrate into Scepter, where it made sense. Obviously I could add them all, and only some would fit into the plot line, so I had to make some tough choices. I’m happy with the results and hope my readers are as well. (And don’t you know that you must never eat food offered by fairies?!) Wait, what?!! Why? (You will be stuck in their realm forever.Just sayin’!)
Being the resident “Foodie” here, I had a laugh-out-loud moment when the centaurs served haggis and jugged rabbit! I have to ask you to explain these choices.
I was looking for something a bit more exotic than lemon peppered chicken with a side of broccoli. I remembered going to the Highland Games near my home a few years ago and having haggis. Repulsive stuff and not any better with the “Scottish Gravy” they added to it after my first bite. It got me thinking and searching the internet for another interesting dish to be served alongside it. Jugged hare was the result. I’m equally repulsed by the thought of it, though it may be absolutely delicious. In my experience, it’s better to try it and then ask what it is rather than finding out first and then having a preconceived notion of whether or not it’s gross.
Thank you so much for being with us, Scott! How can our readers find out more about your work?
Thank you so much for having me. I thoroughly enjoyed answering your questions, as it was a trip down memory lane, reliving what got this story going in the first place. I hope everyone enjoys reading the series as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s a wonderful experience to escape into my own universe and pour my dreams out onto a page, and even better when someone takes the time to tell me thank you, that they enjoyed reading it. Happy Reading, all!!!
Thanks, Scott! See you on Facebook!