***Contest following the interview. Be sure to enter.***
Bestselling author Tia McCollors entices the taste buds of her readers with a sweet blend of faith and fiction in her inspirational novels. After leaving a 10-year career in public relations, Tia has emerged as a steadfast author of faith-based books. Her novels include The Last Woman Standing, A Heart of Devotion, Zora’s Cry, and The Truth About Love.
In addition to being a novelist, Tia is an inspirational speaker and instructor for writing workshops. She’s also a founding author with the Anointed Authors On Tour (AAOT), a group of bestselling authors of Christian fiction and nonfiction whose purpose is to spread the Gospel and promote literacy.
A native of Greensboro North Carolina, Tia now lives in the Atlanta Georgia area with her husband and children.
Your latest novel, The Last Woman Standing, has just come out and already the reviews have been fabulous. Can you begin by telling us what the book is about?
Without giving away too much, the book is the story of what some people are calling a “love triangle,” but they definitely don’t mean that in the erotic sense. Ace and Lynette Bowers have been divorced for four years but are now realizing that maybe their love never ended. They haven’t shared this fact with anyone, not even each other. Then there’s Sheila – who is Ace’s current girlfriend. She senses something is happening because something, or someone, is keeping Ace from the ultimate commitment of marriage. Sheila sets out to play the hand of God to make sure that she is the new Mrs. Ace Bowers. Okay, that’s all I can say!
As a fellow writer, I’m always interested in the creative methods of successful authors. When a story idea comes to you, is it usually in the form of a plot idea, an interesting character, a life-moment that you read about or see on television, or some other variation of these things?
I’ve experienced all of the above. Although I currently only have four books on the bookstore shelves, there are plenty more roaming around in my head, waiting for the chance to make it to the paper. As far as the plot of my books, I think they evolve from real-life experiences, people I see walking down the street, a news story on TV, or some heavenly creative inspiration! 🙂
Once you have a main character in mind, how do you determine the character’s facial and body features, and personality? Do you create a character sketch or do you piece the details together as you go?
I do a little of both. I usually start with a general picture in my mind and most of the time it’s their complexion, hair style, and body type. A lot of times I’ll see a random person in a magazine and think that the person looks a lot like one of my characters. If I’m really being on top of my game, I’ll cut out the picture and post it near my writing area.
These days I’m doing character sketches more because it’s extremely important that you know your characters. I have a character “profile” sheet that I’ve been using. One of my author mentors also suggested that an author complete a job application for their characters to learn more about them.
If you could chose one thing about the publishing industry that you could change what would it be?
Get back to me on that one!
What books and writing tools would you recommend because they helped you grow and develop as a writer?
There are quite a few, but I must say these are the top four I would suggest (not in a particular order):
The First Five Pages (Noah Lukeman)
Self Editing for Fiction Writers (Rennie Brown & Dave King)
On Writing (Stephen King)
Writing the Breakout Novel (Donald Maass)
Ideas and inspiration can roll through our minds at any time. Before you go, Tia, can you tell us about one of the funnier moments you had with a story idea that popped into your head?
Gosh, Sharon! I racked my brain on this and couldn’t think of one that I’d care to share! Why? Because my husband is always doing silly things and making crazy comments around the house that he wants me to put in a book. Let me just say they haven’t made it in a book yet. Some things are reserved the McCollors household only!
Now we come to the contest giveaway! Leave a comment for an entry into the drawing to win a signed copy of Tia’s latest novel, The Last Woman Standing. The contest starts today and ends on September 14, 2009. The winner will be announced on the 15th. Don’t be shy, take a few minutes to enter—who knows, you might just win!