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Author Interview: Margo Bond Collins

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What kind of books do you write? When did you start? Where are

you from etc.

Texas with my husband and our daughter and a number of thoroughly silly animals.

Waking Up Dead, a paranormal mystery, is my first published novel. My second novel,

Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press. I

got the offers to publish the two novels in the same month. That was officially the best

month of my life!

suggested I join in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). Until then, I had

always written short stories. That year, I finished the first draft of what would eventually

become Legally Undead—it will be my second published novel, but it’s the first one I

wrote. My first published novel, Waking Up Dead, was inspired by a single moment

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 I remember thinking that it looked oddly

ghostly. In between teaching classes that day, I started writing Callie’s story.

In my other life, I’m a college professor; I teach English courses online. I live in

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But about ten years ago, a friend

2. Most authors also read a lot in addition to their writing. What kind of books to you prefer to

read? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Never ask an English professor to discuss books unless you want the multi-
paragraph answer! Like most novelists, I am a voracious reader in my field, which means

that I read all kinds of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction. But in addition to being an

urban fantasy writer, I have Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature. This means

that any time anyone wants to talk books, I have more than my share to say!

heroes and monsters: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Knight’s Tale. I

love Shakespeare’s plays, but my favorites to teach are Hamlet and A Midsummer

Night’s Dream because each is such a great example of its genre. Hamlet’s tragedy seems

virtually unavoidable, and Midsummer’s comedy hits all the high (and low!) points.

novels written by some of the first women to make a living writing in England, such as

Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, and Delarivier Manley. Behn’s 1688 novel Oroonoko tells

the story of a king who became a slave and found the woman he loved in the process,

only to kill her and their unborn child to save them from slavery. In Haywood’s

Fantomina (1724), a young noblewoman sets off on a sexual adventure full of disguises

and intrigue. And in Manley’s The Wife’s Resentment (1720), a young woman takes

revenge against her unfaithful husband with a gruesome murder. These early novels

influenced later gothic tales, with virtuous damsels in distress and monstrous villains out

to destroy them.

In early British literature, I love the classics—but especially the stories with

In my own sub-specialty of eighteenth-century British literature, I love the early

I think these various loves in more traditional literature—monsters, heroes, strong

women, and gothic settings—are all parts of what have influenced my love of urban

fantasy and horror. I love seeing many of the same tropes and ideas in more recent

publications that influenced earlier works, as well.

genre and to time period. But at the moment, here are a few: I love books by Neil

Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Faith Hunter, Stephen Graham Jones, Ilona Andrews,

Carrie Vaughn, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, Holly Black, Janny Wurts, Jennifer

Estep, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, Janet Evanovich . . . and those are just the ones who

come to mind immediately!

week I finished re-reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I re-read this book every year

or two. McKinley does a beautiful job of setting up a world that is almost, but not

exactly, like our own. The eponymous protagonist almost seems to ramble sometimes,

but the voice is perfectly her own and the things she reveals about herself are beautifully

woven back into the plot. Also, the vampires are creepy as all get-out!

As far as favorite authors go, I tend to have lists of favorite authors according to

Also, I just started Holly Luhning’s novel Quiver and am really enjoying it! Last

3. Tell us about your book.

Waking Up Dead is a paranormal mystery. In this novel, 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 went to

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?

4. Do you have a favorite character in your book? Do fans gravitate towards one character more

than others and why do you think that is?

I am always most connected to my narrators in my first-person novels. But in Waking Up

Dead, the feisty grandmother Maw-Maw is far and away my readers’ favorite. She 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! I think that realism is what

draws people to her. Plus, she’s smart and funny and calls things like she sees them.

5. Do you listen to music when writing? What kind of music would best suit your novels?

I try to find music that sets the tone for the novel. For example, I’m currently writing one that is

set in my home state of Texas, and I have started listening to country music—even though I’m

not really a country music fan in general. But I listen to a little bit of everything: opera (this week

I’m listening to Carmen for its attitude), classic rock (“Sweet Home Alabama” was on the playlist

when I was writing Waking Up Dead), rap (I’m deeply impressed by the skill involved in good

rap!), classical, disco, alternative rock, easy listening. If you can think of a genre, I can think of a

song or artist I like in that genre.

6. If your book were made into a movie, who would play your characters in your dream cast?

Callie: Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence has the perfect girl-next-door vibe, and if you’ve seen the clip of her

joking with Jack Nicholson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJmhsJ5T5L0), it’s

clear that she can also do funny and snarky, which is an absolute necessity for any actress

who plays Callie!

Ashara: Kat Graham

I just love Kat Graham. I love it that she’s beautiful and smart (she speaks something like

five languages!). Ashara has to be strong and kind, too, and having seen Graham’s work

in Vampire Diaries, I think she would make the perfect Ashara.

Maw-Maw: Ruby Dee

There was never any question about my dream actress to play Maw-Maw. The first time

I saw Maw-Maw in my mind, she had Ruby Dee’s face (and my grandmother’s way of

moving and my great-grandmother’s voice!). Maw-Maw is canny and wise and smarter

than anyone gives her credit for being.

Stephen: Chris Hemsworth

Because who wouldn’t want Chris Hemsworth in a movie?! Seriously—Hemsworth’s

blond good looks will suit Stephen nicely. Also, he can do quiet and strong nicely;

Stephen often takes a supportive role, keeping Callie, Ashara, and Maw-Maw safe and

working to help all of them as they solve the mystery surrounding Molly’s death.

Clifford Howard: Billy Burke

The villain needs to be creepy! Burke isn’t ugly like Howard is in the book, but he can

do an amazing sneer. I think he could play up the psychopathic elements of the book’s


Molly McClatchey: Jessica Alba

Although Molly has only a small appearance in the book, as the victim, it’s an important

one. I think Jessica Alba would be perfect for this role—her dark hair, dark eyes, and

olive skin are important to the plot, and Alba’s sweet demeanor would play nicely, too!

Rick McClatchey: Jared Padalecki

Jared Padalecki does emotionally distraught so perfectly that he would be a great

candidate for the role of Rick McClatchey, a man wrongly accused of killing his beloved


7. If you had a chance to collaborate with any author, indie or mainstream, who would it be and


Ann Aguirre. She’s my current author hero because she’s smart and straightforward and

incredibly creative. I would love to see how her writing process works!

8. What’s next on your agenda?

I’m currently working on sequels to Waking Up Dead and Legally Undead and I’m

writing a paranormal romance novel. I’m also editing collections of academic essays on

Farscape, Teen Wolf, and The Vampire Diaries.


Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575

Tumblr: http://vampirarchybooks.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves: http://www.goodreads.com/


Buy Waking Up Dead on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Dead-ebook/dp/



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