Today, author Janet Ann Collins joins us to answer 10 questions about her writing. Janet writes fiction for children, as well as articles in newspapers and magazines.
LC: When and why did you decide to become a writer?
JAC: I wanted to be a writer ever since I was in second grade and began reading middle grade novels. I wanted to give back some of the joy those gave me.
LC: What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
JAC: I’m a part time writer. I usually start with a general idea. I‘m neither a plotter nor a pantser so I call myself a framer. For articles, stories, and books I start with a general framework of where I want to go and fill in the details as I go along. Some days I write for hours and other days not at all, but the ideas are always being processed in my mind.
LC: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories? Do you draw from your own experiences?
JAC: When I was a kid my mother always told me I had too much imagination. Everything around me gives me ideas. Then I think, “what if…” and go on from there.
LC: Who is one of your favorite characters from your story(ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
JAC: I love Kim from Signs of Trouble because she reminds me of kids I used to work with in Special Education classes.
LC: Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
JAC: Not that I’ve noticed, but it probably does happen.
LC: Do you find your stories are more plot driven or character driven? Please explain.
JAC: They’re more plot driven, but the characters’ personalities do influence the plot through their choices.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
JAC: Oh, yes. I read about a dozen Middle Grade books every week. I had severe, chronic asthma and couldn’t climb the steep hill to my home after school. I’d hang out at the local library until my mother picked me up on her way home from work. The librarian taught me to shelve books and let me always be the first to read any new middle grade fiction that came in.
LC: How important do you think reading is for writers?
JAC: Extremely important!!! A writer who doesn’t read would be like a cook who doesn’t eat.
LC: Great analogy!
Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
JAC: I couldn’t possibly pick favorites. I read about half a dozen Middle Grade books a week and maybe two or three Young Adult books and one book for grown-ups a month. Can you tell I’m still a kid on the inside?
LC: I think you were, and still are, what is called a “voracious reader.” 🙂
Anything new in the works?
JAC: I’m rewriting a Middle Grade novel an editor at a writers conference expressed an interest in, and I’m playing around with an idea for a YA Sci-fi book. I’ve never written anything like that before.
LC: Best of luck with those projects, Janet. And thank you so much for sharing your writing life with us.
Janet Ann Collins Is the author of several fiction books for kids and has written lots of articles in newspapers and magazines. She lives in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. For more information about her see her webpage.