Friday, 29 June 2012

Interview with Sage Collins

Today we're chatting with author Sage Collins about her recent debut, LOVE SUCKS.

Hi Sage! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Oh, man, you want to know about me?  Well, I'm a mad scientist by day, a writer by night, and a singer any time I think I can get away with it.  I am obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Just this March I found out that I could actually run, so now I'm working my way up to doing a half-marathon at Disney World next February.

How long have you been writing?

Technically, I've been writing since I was a little girl, making up stories about little cats and poems about Alaska.  Then I went through a phase where I decided I couldn't write at all.  In 2001, I started writing fanfiction for myself and my friends based on a RPG we were playing.  I've been writing original fiction since 2004.

LOVE SUCKS has a gorgeous cover! What’s the story about?

Thank you!  Love Sucks is about a girl who drains love with her touch, but wishes desperately to be loved herself. Or...How much love would a love sucker suck if a love sucker fell in love?  (Try saying that three times fast.)

The description from my publisher is:
Mailee’s greatest wish is to be an ordinary teenage girl, but thanks to one stupid demon gene, she consumes love from any human she touches.  The only person she can touch is her best friend Eric, a hot lust-drainer. Except for slight hand-brushes to keep from starving, she avoids humans.

Until she meets Logan, a diabetic and the first human who could understand Mailee’s diet angst.  She grows closer to him, but each touch risks his love for her.  If she wants a normal relationship, she’ll have to become human. But the only way requires her to free and be infected by demons representing the Seven Deadly Sins. Sloth? Pride? No problem.  But when wrath-infected Mailee punches the cheerleader who’s making eyes at Eric, she realizes getting through the sins might cost too much.

Like Eric. Because if she turns human, he’ll be the only one she can’t touch.

Sounds awesome! How did the idea of the story come to you?

You're going to think all my stories come from games!  There was a game on a writing site where we practiced our characters' voices.  My character from a previous novel was talking to a character who drained some kind of negative emotion.  And mine exclaimed that that was just horrible.  The other character said it wasn't bad at all, that it was the love-drainers you had to watch out for.  Instantly, I envisioned this poor girl who drained loved with her touch, but didn't want to.  She wasn't malevolent, she just needed to eat.  And she wanted nothing more than to be loved, but a single touch would take that away.  Enter Mailee.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I self-edit first and get the novel pretty clean before I send to betas.  My betas come from various sources, including my real-life writing group (my NaNo peeps), a group of online writing friends, and whoever volunteers on Absolute Write.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I'm a planster.  I do not outline because a rigid outline makes me be less creative, but when I have no idea where I'm going at all, I find myself floundering.  I usually have several scenes planned out in my head, and I aim for those.  I also loosely outline by making a soundtrack that grows and evolves while I write.  The advantage of the soundtrack is that I find it really easy to remove songs, add songs, or change their positions when I realize something needs changing. Sometimes the story I've already written dictates the soundtrack, but sometimes the soundtrack gives me guidance for the plot and character arcs.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

These days I have no confidence in my romance scenes.  I don't know why.  It happened some time after I wrote Love Sucks, but so far my betas assure me that the romance scenes in the novel I'm revising are perfectly fine.  In one novel I wrote, I was so thrown by a romance scene that I couldn't write for several weeks (and I needed to know the outcome of that scene to move forward). 

In general, sometimes I get bogged down in the Great Swampy Middle and have trouble finding the motivation to write.  I usually feel okay about beginnings (even those I know I need to rewrite are a good starting point), and I love writing my climaxes and ends, but the middle is usually where I lose motivation.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

My iPhone.  For one thing, when I'm deeply writing, I need to have my headphones on and music playing (the Doctor Who soundtrack is my preferred writing music, particularly seasons 3 and 4).  If I'm querying, the iPhone gives me the assurance that I'll hear it when an e-mail comes through so that I don't have to keep flipping to the internet to check. And I've found recently that when I get stuck on how to word the next piece of description or action or what the next bit of dialogue will sound like, I can take a Bejeweled Blitz break.  I always think while I play (hold arguments with people I'm mad at, remember scenes from television shows or movies, or, more helpfully, imagine a scene in a novel I'm working on), and since it's a one-minute game, I'm held to going back to work a minute later.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

When I was younger, I would picture myself sprouting wings from my shoulder blades and taking off.  I realize now that that would probably be kind of painful.  But being able to fly would be pretty awesome.  I have a few novels with winged girls (and boys too).

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

I Googled this for the book I'm revising and failed to find the answer, unfortunately.  In my college zoology class, I dissected a gravid alligator.  She was supposed to have eggs in these cavities in her body, but instead of eggs, my partner and I found baby alligators.  My prof gave a reason for why these eggs hatched inside her, but it was 14 years ago, and I don't remember.  So I tried to Google the reason.  Well, it turns out that while I can find all sorts of information about alligator egg-laying and egg care or all sorts of information about trying to end alligator dissection altogether, I cannot find the answer to my question.  (I suspect the eggs hatched after mama died.)

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: outrageous, minuscule, and ski lift

(What is this "quick writing" you speak of?) LOL!

Jasper looked beyond his outrageous, neon-orange shoes at the people far below his seat on the ski lift and marveled at how miniscule they looked from up here.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

*takes some bows*  Thank you, thank you.  This couldn't be down without the outrageous support of the Musers, who keep me as sane as a writer could be.  My NaNo peeps' help is far from miniscule, particularly during the plotting and writing stage.   And I would like to thank my parents, who are currently on vacation and could totally be reading this on their phones from a ski lift, for always being supportive no matter what creative endeavor I take on.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

My poor blog has been neglected lately, but I always go back.  You can find it here:
Facebook (Be nice! I'm new to it.):

Love Sucks is an e-book, and it can be found at:

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Sage! I will definitely be reading this book. 

Thank you so much for having me over, Dorothy!


justbishop said...

Great interview! I'm still jealous of those who can write while listening to music. I get way too distracted, lol!

Dorothy Dreyer said...

I get distracted too. Sometimes it helps, but usually I have to turn it off to really get into my story.

Unknown said...

Awesome interview! I love writing with music playing softly in the background! With the sword fights, I actually play Metallica to get into the mood. Sometimes, I play a song over and over developing the scene with the music until its written.
Congratulations Sage Collins!