Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, S.A. Collins – S.A. Collins, or Baz to his writing friends, is kind of a force of nature. I met Baz on Facebook, and Mark and I helped him (with substantial help from our Italian friends Marco and Fabry) on some Italian in his novel Angels of March Volume 1. Baz is also one of the principals at the WROTE (Written on the Edge) podcast, which interviews queer and queer friendly authors and is in the midst of a 12 Days of Christmas story extravaganza, of which I will be taking part in late December. The first four stories are posted (scroll down on the WROTE link above) with four more coming this week. Baz anchors the final spot the next week.
Thanks so much, Baz, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
S.A. Collins: After numerous conversations with many authors I’ve come up with that I write character study works (which are hardly in demand) that are centered around “Queer Romance.” Which is markedly different from M/M fair. The emphasis is on the ‘queerdom’ in the relationships that I write about. It isn’t beholden to rules but borrows heavily from them, but with a big gay “out-of-the-box” slant. I really love SciFi and Fantasy. Comics are a heavy influence. I like to push buttons and envelopes. Not an easy path to take, but a refreshing and purposeful one.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
SAC: HO’M,O – Henry O’Malley, Omega. Co-incidently, it was my winning NaNoWriMo 2014 story I’d written for my first fan (outside of my family). He loves werewolves so I decided to write him a story about gay weres (which I am fully aware there are a bevy of them out there). But I wanted to write something for him. I even named a character for him. He was pleased that I did.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
SAC: Hmm, not sure how to describe it. I am always ‘writing’ in a sense. I often joke that paper napkins at a restaurant are fair game, but it’s sort of true. While I love the various types of digital smart devices around – sometimes old skool pen and paper can be quite cathartic and revealing because it slows the process down tremendously.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
SAC: I once provided tech support to Cher. Yeah, the real one – not some drag version. She was having an issue with her Mac. At the time I worked with Chaz Bono’s girlfriend (back then). She asked me to help her out while she was at Cher’s house to get her back up and running. After it was all said and done Cher asked what did she owe me. I told her nothing. I was happy to help out. She asked my friend (Chaz’s GF) what my favorite thing in the world was. The only thing Laura knew was that I loved this particular cookie from a bakery in the City (San Francisco): Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk (yeah, they’re pretty amazing). So Cher ordered me like four dozen of them (they’re pricey cookies too – well, for someone like me, that is). She had them delivered to my place of employment. Laura had a smile on her face because she revealed that Cher bought the cookies because of her recommendation that I loved them. I ended up sharing them with the office. Laura said Cher also asked if I’d like some piece of autographed lingerie or something but when she asked me that I said no. I was good with the cookies that everyone else was eating. She said Cher asked her if I was really gay. She said yes, I was. “Must not be a good one then.” So yeah, I have the distinction that Cher doesn’t think I make a very good gay guy. My work is done.
JSC: What was the first speculative fiction book (sci fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror) that you ever read? How did it influence you?
SAC: The first book I read in Spec Fic was Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (a Star Wars novel). I remember that I loved seeing a different side of that universe. But it was Mercedes Lackey’s Vanyel series (Magic’s Pawn, Promise and Price) that truly made an impact on me from a SciFi/SpecFic perspective. The gay characters simply were. To read something like that in the 80’s was truly astounding to me. My boyfriend (at the time) and I used to read them to each other. It was sort of a romantic thing we did. We began to read all of her works just because of the inclusiveness queers had in her worlds.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
SAC: 1) A survival manual no how to survive being on a deserted island, 2) a solar powered charging station and 3) A geo-satellite device that could alert others to get me off the fucking island.
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
SAC: Kill – (From Angels of Mercy) Beau Hopkins (which I do in my book – spoiler alert – and I’m fairly ruthless in how I do it) because I hated jock douche bags like him in high school.
Fuck – Thorn Hadley (from my upcoming Fae Wars trilogy) because he’s (Norse) Fae for fuck sake… how much hotter does it get? Vikings on steroids and with magic. Done!
Marry – Marco Sforza (Angels of Mercy) – hands down. Because he is the personification of my husband. (Everyone is free to say – Awwwww…)
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
SAC: Probably cliché as all fuck, but be true to what you want to do with your story. Be open to learn from others, but don’t let them rewrite what you do. It’s YOUR story. You’re the God/Goddess in it. Own that shit.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
SAC: After numerous discussions on the Wrote Podcast, I’ve well established I am a pantser – What people may not know is that I put up tentpoles and milestones and then meander along to find my way back to them as I write. So ultimately, I’m a hybrid of the two.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
SAC: Angels of Mercy – Volume Two: Marco (The Fall of the Sforzas) Due out by the end of this month (November 2015). Then the same set of events in that timeline but from the boyfriend’s POV – Angels of Mercy – Phoenix In The Fire (due a month later – they were written in tandem).
And now for Baz’s new book: Angels of Mercy – Volume Two: Marco: The Fall of the Sforzas:
Volume Two picks up the same day as the climax of Volume One, only told from Marco Sforza’s (Elliot’s boyfriend) point of view. This is a character study series where each man in the tale takes the reader on an introspective journey of coming to grips with the horrors of homophobia in competitive sports and the consequences when those scenarios become violent. Part two of a three part series.
Amazon: Click Here
S.A. Collins hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his (legal) husband, their daughter and, wonder of all wonders, a whirlwind of a granddaughter!
Along with two exotic looking cats, they happily live out the Republican Neo-Con nightmare. In their near 20 years together as a couple they’ve (truly) not had a single argument (doesn’t mean they haven’t debated passionately) – so they must be doing something right. Their home is filled with laughter and love whilst shouting at the top of their lungs (or very near to — it’s just how we communicate as a family) – something that causes great aggravation to the hubby who prefers solemn quietude (he’s seldom rewarded for his wishes – though he often tries). Science and knowledge reign supreme in their home and no topic is too sacred to discuss.
When not consumed with writing, Mr. Collins is a classically trained singer and has performed with several opera and operetta companies throughout California (under a different name). His tastes in music, the arts and with food are varied and eclectic. He can’t think of any other way to be. It’s the variety of life that sparks the imagination, after all.
In his day to day life (what he calls his “Clark Kent” gig ’cause writing is the Superman job), he wrestles with computers, servers and networks to keep things afloat in between his writings – though he often wishes things were simpler and less technically inclined. A good pen and a nice piece of paper would be just lovely, thank you very much.
Mr. Collins specializes in character study work. It is more important for him as an author that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters, and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of his work.