Saturday, December 01, 2007

Kristen and Kevin Collier - Children's Book

Today, we're going to talk to Kristen Collier. She's written a children's book, and her husband Kevin has illustrated it.

Kristen, what has drawn you to writing for children?

I started by writing a picture book about the Second Coming as told through a child’s eyes. I want to help children and teach them about their Lord.

What is the quirkiest think you have ever done?

Nothing. I’m the most sane, rational person you’ll ever meet ;-)

Actually, no writer is completely sane. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I don’t think of myself as a writer. I’m really a horse person. But five years ago God gave me a story, and I’ve been working ever since to get it out. That led to the other books, the children’s books. And best of all, it led me to my wonderful hubby.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Not to be a sycophant, but my favorite books are my husband’s ( ). He’s a literary genius and he’s as sweet as can be (except when he’s being naughty). But Kevy’s an incredible poet. Just blows me away. And he’s so emotional that his books just rip your heart out. It’s crazy to think of when he’s being a rascal, that I’m married to this amazing author, but he’s an exciting person to live with. Never boring. He teases those he loves, just like a little boy who dips the girl’s pigtails in the ink.

From a purely entertainment point of view I love Christian sci-fi. Can’t get enough of it and am always looking for more. That’s a growing field, which I’m really happy about, because there’s very little of it. I love Shane Johnson’s The Guardian. Reminds me a bit of Alduous Huxley’s Brave New World. Also, Bill Myers and Alton Gansky are great Christian sci-fi writers.

But the best book I’ve ever read besides the Bible was Blessed Child, by the late Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) and Ted Dekker. It was the most inspired book besides the Bible I’ve ever read. Just incredible.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My favorite book I’ve written is Heaven Quest, a YA book I wrote with Kevin. It’s not published yet. Heaven Quest is about an alien that comes to earth in search of heaven. What I like about it is that it’s really funny. There are a lot of quirky ;-) things in that book, like, for example, when Izzy first eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and thinks it’s this gourmet delicacy.

I have an e-book, also written with Kevin, called Dreamchaser (Guardian Angel Publishing, fall ’07). It’s about an urban teen, destined to become the next LeBron James, who learns that the greatest life is one that serves others. But the book closest to my heart is King of Glory, a novel in which Jesus walks invisibly with the characters. That’s the book God gave me to write one morning. I have some other YA books and picture books as well, none published. And I’m a feature writer for The Chronicle of the Horse. That I enjoy because I used to do dressage and eventing.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I was a single mom for nine years, so I’m used to life working nonstop. Now that I’m married, I don’t run myself into the ground anymore. I still work hard on the writing when it demands my time, but my focus is on finding a job and taking care of my family. Kevin and Jarod come first.

How do you work together as a team?

Well. We both work incredibly fast, we’re used to working hard, so we work great together. And from a literary standpoint, our strengths are complimentary: Kevy’s strength is dialogue, and mine is narrative, so what more do you have than that? It’s a beautiful compilation.

I started writing with Kevin two years ago, after we’d met in a Christian e-authors group online. We wrote two books together before we’d even met! What a crazy world this is, that you can write a book with someone you’ve never even met!!

Kevy would email me the chapters and I’d add to them. One day I was working on Natalie’s Ark, a story about a girl who gets caught in a deluge and God sends a magical rowboat and talking animals to help her find her way home. I added something and was stunned to find that Kevin had written the same thing just a few lines later! I remember calling him and telling him how freaky that was! It was like ESP or something, it was way weird! Now that happens and I just laugh. But that tells me we’re on the same wavelength, so the stories only have more symmetry. And he’s always said we write better together than we do apart, so in the long run it only helps the readers, because they get a more enjoyable story.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?

King of Glory. It’s gotten some good comments and has moved people to go back to church.

That's wonderful. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A beautiful, winged golden unicorn. Because I love horses, and a winged unicorn is so beautiful. I actually have a beautiful golden winged unicorn in a YA chap book I’m writing called The Fairy Princess. It’s a deliberately transparent allegory for prayer, but I like it because it’s for girls, young and old, who find themselves in a scary world but still say, “Here am I. Send me, send me.”

What is your favorite food?

Milk Duds.

Is it hard to break into the children’s market?

Not if you’re married to Kevin Collier, ha ha! No, but seriously, he’s gotten about 60 books published by now, either as author or illustrator, so he’s helped me a lot. But it is phenomenally hard to break into any writing market. I know that God brought Kevin to me to help me get the stories that He’s given me to the world. And Kevy’s the best husband and father that any woman or child could ever ask for. He’s a wonderful man. The most generous, selfless person I’ve ever met.

What advice would you give to an author wanting to break into the choldren's market?

I have a lot of periodicals under my belt, which looks great on a resume and gives me credibility. So I would start by writing for as many different periodicals as you can. Don’t just stick with one. If you have just one article for a periodical you can put them on your resume. And that looks great. And it doesn’t have to be for pay—Kevin’s gotten as far as he has by doing a lot for free. What impresses a publisher is a resume. It doesn’t matter if it’s for e-books, online magazines, or your local paper. That looks great when they see it and then they pay more attention to you.

Also, get online. Do a blog. There are so many ways to market your writing for free now, with blogs, online groups, etc. It’s a great way to promote your writing and it really has worked for us. Also, join some writing groups and Yahoo groups to promote your writing. From a writing standpoint, learn the craft well so that you can give the world something of quality to read.

Copyright 2007 - Kristen and Kevin Collier

Here's an illustration of Joy the jellyfish with seahorses. Isn't it beautiful?

How can readers find you on the internet?

I’m on Shout Life (, Kevy’s website (, and the Joy page( All of these are free pages, so we’ve been able to market a lot for free.

You can also do free merchandise at Café Press (, so in conjunction with our publisher, we’ve been able to sell Joy merchandise before the book’s even out, at no cost to us or the publisher! And they’re making the book available for pre-order, so there is a lot you can do if you just take charge, be aggressive, and get online!

Kristen, thank you for spending this time with us.

Readers, you can leave a comment on the interview for a chance to win a free copy of Joy the Jellyfish.


Anonymous said...

I have 3 little ones that would love this book!!

Unknown said...

Awsome!! I love to have your book for connor.

Ill blog ya too:

Andrea said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book for my son! :) It sounds great!

Blessedmom said...

We loved to read! My daughter would love this book! Thanks for the chance to win :)

*Tanyetta* said...

Please! count me in we LOVE books at our house! Thank you.

houseofeling said...

I would love to win a copy for my two little girls....thanks!

Bebemiqui said...

My kiddos would enjoy this book.

tetewa said...

I have a neice who would enjoy this!

Pamela J said...

I have three grandchildren. Sounds like an awesome book for them to grow up reading. Please enter me in the drawing.

emerald peacocks said...

My niece and nephew are coming for Christmas. This would be a fun thing to give them--especially since me niece is obsessed with fish. For her birthday, I had to make her a seahorse on a stick. After all, why ride a regular hobby horse when you could ride a seahorse? LOL

Anonymous said...

My niece and nephew are coming for Christmas. This would be a fun thing to give them--especially since me niece is obsessed with fish. For her birthday, I had to make her a seahorse on a stick. After all, why ride a regular hobby horse when you could ride a seahorse? LOL

Mom & Montana said...

This is an awesome book, both the illustrations and the story. I am getting several copies for my family for Christmas gifts.

Carole Halter

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great...I bet my little man would love it! Thanks for the chance!

Anonymous said...

this book looks really cute!! enter me please!!


you can contact me on my shoutlife:

Jcollaird at aol dot com said...

your book would really work so good for my new grandson,he just loves books and yours are so to win

Doreen said...

This sounds like a really enjoyable book!! :)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to win a children's book. The illustrations look awsome. Count me in.

Anonymous said...


Count me in please!

blogged ya:

Unknown said...

We'd love a new book- we're one of the best customers at our local library- we're out on the lookout for new writers all the time.

Janna said...

My children would love this book - please enter us :-)


windycindy said...

"Happy December!" I love children's books. My great-niece and great-
nephew would love to receive this adorable book as a gift. Thanks for the chance at winning the book! Cindi

Rockin' Mama said...

Count me in please. I have a little boy who I would love to read this to....

Michelle Constantinescu said...

Looks really cute! Please sign me up.


Kristin said...

My boys would love this book!

Kevin Scott Collier said...

Thank you for all of the sweet comments. My wife Kristen wrote the book, I illustrated it. I am posting to let everyone know that both Kris and I will autograph the book AND I will be slipping an original Joy the Jellyfish colored pencil drawing into book, signed also, for this contest. Merry Christmas!
- Kevin Scott Collier

Qtpies7 said...

That illustration is just too adorable! I would love to read the book with my little ones.
I have thought about writing a book and having my husband illustrate it. Thanks for the great ideas in that area.

ChristyJan said...

I have three little granddaughters that I'd love to read this book to.

God's Flame said...

This interview was very insightful, congratulations Kristen. Also, your husband's support with your writing career is a blessing, all the best to you and your family!

Cherie J said...

I would love to win this book for my son. Enjoyed the interview!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win Joy the Jellyfish for my granddaughter. What a fun interview with a delightful couple.


kitty said...

Sounds like a cute book.

dodo said...

I would like to have this book.