Colleen Smith has always wanted to be an author, publishing her debut novel in 2023 is a dream come true. She is a multi-genre writer and doesn’t like to be put into a box – just try and get her to answer what her favorite anything is.
When she isn’t writing she’s trying to figure out life and stay sane while doing it – so far, most days she’s succeeding.
Genre: I’m a multi-genre author, but my debut is a coming-of-age contemporary novella.
Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what is it about?
The Summer with Annagale is about a young man who is going through some difficult times. In dealing with that, he’s pushing people away and shutting down. Then he meets someone during summer! It’s about holding onto hope, the power of friendship and seeing the world in a different way.
Q2: How long does it take you to write a book? How long does each stage of the process usually take?
That all depends on the season of life I’m in.
drafting and can usually write the first draft of a book quickly. Editing takes
Writing is an ongoing process for me. While I have always written, I’m still new to this craft and I’m still learning what works for me.
It doesn’t seem to matter how much I may plot before writing; things always change once I get into the head of my characters. I’m also only doing this part time; finding moments throughout my week to write – that definitely extends the length of how long things take me.
The Summer with Annagale was the most fleshed out from the get-go, besides a few additions and tweaks, what is being published is exactly how the story came to me in those early morning hours. But from first draft to published book it took about two years of stolen time to finish.
Q3: What is your favourite type of character to write?
Whatever kind of character my book needs! I love seeing the various kinds of strengths characters can have, but also seeing their vulnerability. I love exploring how that may present itself in different types of characters.
Q4: Do you mine your own life for ideas, settings and/or characters? If so, please give an example from your current book release where you have done this.
I definitely think that when I do my stories are stronger! That became very clear with The Summer with Annagale. I myself was going through a tough time, I had lost hope and was struggling. The Summer with Annagale draws from a lot of those feelings and emotions. It was also therapeutic. Writing about Aidan and Annagale helped me process what I was experiencing.
Q5: What is something you wish you had known earlier on in your writing career?
So many things! I wish I had studied the craft more, but also trusted my instincts more. There’s a lot of advice for writers out there and while there is power in learning as much as we can, we also need to understand what works for us and what we want in our own career.
Q6: What do you do when you find yourself in a bit of a writing rut? Is there any strategy you find works for you to help the words start flowing again?
I have a few things. Usually when that happens, I’ve been in my head too much or I’ve let expectations overwhelm me. Stepping away and free-form journaling is one of the best practices I have. Letting all my thoughts and feelings out on a page helps to clear my mind and help me refocus.
Also, talking it out with someone. They aren’t in the thick of the story or issue and have a whole new perspective. I can’t count the times I’ve talked to my sister or critique partner and they’ve easily fixed an issue I was struggling with.
And sometimes I need time away to fill my creative well. Reading books, watching movies, doing a puzzle, or I even like glue-booking! That’s where I am right now. The last week or so I haven’t written anything, but my book is in the back of my mind, my ideas percolating – and I’ve figured out some plot issues that, had I forced myself to write, I wouldn’t have come to.
Q7: What is your favourite writing resource?
Books and stories! My goal is to read more craft books this year. But also, fiction books and watching movies are a great resource. We’re all telling a story and the more I consume the more I can see what I’m drawn to as a reader and breakdown what and why I like specific things.
Q8: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
While it is a YA, it’s for anyone who has ever gone through a hard time. Anyone who has felt angry, hurt, broken, hopeless.
Q9: What authors or books inspire you the most?
As Danielle from Ever After said “I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens.” Ever since I was young I have loved reading. As much as I’m a multi-genre writer, I’m a multi-genre reader. Each book I have read has inspired me!
Q10: What are you currently reading?
I just finished the Inheritance Games series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I’m almost done with On Wings of Ash and Dust by Brittany Wang and I’ve just started The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.
Can a summer change a life? Can a moment last forever?
Aidan’s life is falling apart – everything he thought he knew has been shattered. Now he’s forced to spend the summer at his mom’s aunt’s house in a small seaside town.
Angry and hurt, he plans to avoid everyone and everything. But when a local girl passes him multiple times with large baskets of yellow flowers, he can’t stop his curiosity. The decision to follow her might not only change his summer but his life as well.
Is there more than meets the eye to a Caesar salad, a yellow flower, or a seashell? Can hope and friendship be found in a seemingly broken and confused world? The Summer with Annagale is a reminder that there is magic in everyday life, and even in dark times hope can still exist.Like this interview? Please consider Buying Me A Coffee to keep them coming :)