Monday, October 28, 2013

EKKO Mysteries has long admired hard working authors, which is why we started the EKKO Mysteries Author Spotlight Series, focusing on emerging authors and their stories.

This time we bring you
Margo Bond Collins, author of,
Waking Up Dead

Was there a moment or specific event that made you commit to writing?

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer, for as long as I can remember. 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.

What is the working title of your book?

Waking Up Dead

Where did the idea come from for the book? What genre does your book fall under?

I wrote Waking Up Dead, a paranormal mystery, when I lived in Alabama for a few years. I remember driving to work one morning and seeing just a wisp of fog move across the statue in the middle of the town square. The statue was of some Civil War figure, and thought that it looked oddly ghostly. In between teaching classes that day (I’m a college professor in my other life), I started writing Callie’s story.

How would you describe the pace of the story?

It’s a fast-paced murder mystery. Callie, the ghostly protagonist of the novel, witnesses a murder, and everything takes off from there.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Callie: Jennifer Lawrence
Ashara: Kat Graham
Maw-Maw: Ruby Dee
Stephen: Chris Hemsworth
Clifford Howard: Adoni Maropis

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Callie Taylor died, she expected heaven or hell; she got Alabama.

Is your book self-published, published or represented by an agency?

It is published by Solstice Shadows Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six weeks—the first novel I ever wrote was during National Novel Writing Month ( and I’ve used that method ever since!

How have your friends and family influenced or helped you in the writing process?

Absolutely! The feisty grandmother Maw-Maw in Waking Up Dead is actually largely based on a combination of my own grandmother and great-grandmother--the only real difference is that they were white and from Texas rather than black and from Alabama. Otherwise, she talks like them and acts like them. It's my great-grandmother's voice I hear in my head when I write her dialogue, my grandmother's movements I see when I picture her walking around. Physically, I imagine her looking a bit like Ruby Dee in the television movie version of The Stand. But her attitude? That's straight from my own family!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a tough one. The narrator is pretty snarky, especially when she’s out of her depth, so it’s kind of like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum mysteries—except there’s a paranormal element. It’s got a paranormal element that is perhaps reminiscent of Laurell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake novels—except it’s only one ghost and (as far as Callie knows) there are no vampires or shapeshifters or other monsters. Ultimately, I think I drew on a lot of the mysteries and urban fantasies I’ve read and mashed them all together in one book!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I read tons of urban fantasy and love just about any kind of fiction with a paranormal element; there was never any doubt that what I wrote would have a supernatural slant. But I didn’t know that Waking Up Dead was going to be a mystery until I had written the first few chapters—I tend to start with a character and then see what happens. Once I knew I was writing about a ghost, I knew I wanted to see the world from her point of view. And what she saw when she watched Molly die made her need to take action.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Here’s the book blurb: In Waking Up Dead, when Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she ended up in Alabama. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

What is your favorite response from a reader?

I love it when readers contact me to tell me they started the book and then couldn’t put it down. One of my favorite Amazon reviews says “I crawled into bed last night intending to just read the first few chapters before bed, and ended up, well after midnight, bleary-eyed but satisfied at a ripping good read! I really couldn't stop till I finished and found out how it all ended.”

Great interview! Kudos to Margo for her hard work!

Where can readers find your work?

Connect with Margo
Goodreads Author Page:

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