Why do you write the kind of books you do?
The fact I write so many different kinds of books might prove to some I have a short attention span. Really, what it amounts to is I have a wide range of interests and don’t want to limit myself to one genre. Thus whenever I get an idea, even if it for a style I have never tried, I jot it down. This book is a classic example of that.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I kind of hope I haven’t had it yet. I tend to be such an upbeat, happy person that each day seems to offer something new to make me smile or laugh. I guess if I had to pin it down it was the day I knew deep down inside I was in love with Kathy. That happened on a night in college and we have been married for thirty-seven years.
How has being published changed your life?
When I landed my first book almost thirty years ago, I quit the real world and gave up the security of having a weekly paycheck. Thus it first changed me by tossing loads of insecurity my way. How it really changed me over the years was by giving me a vehicle to get all those crazy ideas out of my head and onto paper. Finally being published allowed me to get to know a wide-ranging group of people from editors to readers I would have never met. Those people have pushed me to grow.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished a biography of the actress Hattie McDaniel, the first woman of color to win an Oscar. I plan on reading Clive Cussler’s new book next.
What is your current work in progress?
I am working on a devotional book and finishing up final edits on two novels dealing with modern social issues such as abortion, alcoholism, suicide, and cosmetic surgery.
What would be your dream vacation?
How do you choose your settings for each book?
They are set in places I know well. As I write I have to “see” the town, smell the local smells, and sense the local accents. Thus I choose places I have been.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I am guessing you mean someone I don’t know who is alive. My first impulse is to choose a former president, but that seems like such a cop out. Today, if I had that choice, Dr. Billy Graham. All of us go through times of doubts, I would love to have Dr. Graham share his times of doubt with me and give me tools to address those times in my life.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I run or jog in the
hills, I work with our collie dogs, I love classic movies, and listen to radio
programs from the 30s and 40s. I also have two true classic cars I play with —
a 1934 Auburn 652Y sedan and a 1936 Cord 810
Westchester sedan, as well as a 1965 Mustang Fastback. And I love college
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Mine is always starting a project once I get a contract. Ideas come easily, but those first few chapters are tough. Once I work my way through those the rhythm is set and the remainder of the book comes easily.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Writers need to understand that a book is a team project. They must have faith in their editors. I worked with Traci Dupree on this book and she found the holes I missed. I think too many young authors look at an editor as a roadblock rather than the needed element to take their book to the next level.
That is so true. Tell us about the featured book.
The Yellow Packard was one of the most unique projects I’d ever tackled. The only character that goes through the whole book is a 1936 Packard. The car drives the story that includes a murder and a kidnapping. The various people who own and drive the car give a human dimension to the plot. This was therefore a very interesting challenge. I really enjoyed writing a book that was set in the last years or the Depression and ran up into the early years of World War II.
Please give us the first page of the book.
As she lay in the floor struggling for breath she knew her time on earth was numbered in minutes. Accepting that fact was much easier than Abigale Watling had imagined. Death, after a life well lived, was not something to fear. So there were no tears in her blue eyes nor was there a frown drawn on her thin lips. She was ready to see what was next. If it was anything like her adventures on earth, it was going to be wild ride. Yet as her mind began to cloud and her body started to shut down, the irony of dying in the same room with her beloved books was not lost on her. Those volumes that gave her so much enjoyment in life—that took her to so many places and introduced her to so many people—were now watching over the last chapter in her life. And that chapter would never be finished to her satisfaction.
As she quietly waited for the inevitable, she considered all she’d done in her almost eight decades of life. She’d seen the world. She’s been all over Europe and Asia many times and even trekked to
once. How many people could say they heard Big Ben chime, climbed up the
Leaning Tower of Pisa, and jumped on a pachyderm named Sally all in the same
trip? She’d met three presidents, including the one currently in the White
House and even flown once with Amelia Earhart as her pilot. She’d see Babe Ruth
hit a homerun in Yankee Stadium and watched Red Grange roam the gridiron in Champaign. And while
she’d never had children, she had been the guardian angel of more kids that she
could count. And of course she’d become like a mother to her niece, and what a
wonderful experience that had been. So there were really very few regrets—very
few at all!
Even the way she was dying was something she could fully embrace. While most of her deceased friends had gone with a heart attack or cancer she was greeting the grim reaper through very unnatural circumstances. The man digging through her desk drawers at this very moment had seen to that. And she had to admit he’d been clever, much more clever than she would have predicted. So there was a very good chance no one would ever know he’d been responsible for her untimely exit. Yet, by the same token, she doubted he’d find what he so badly wanted to find. Thus he would likely spend the rest of days frustrated knowing he’d murdered someone for nothing. So all things considered there was a bit of justice in it.
Very intriguing. I can’t wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Folks can join me on Facebook or take a trip over to my website at www.acecollins.com
Thank you, Ace, for the wonderful interview.
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The Yellow Packard: A Novel - Kindle
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