Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Today, I’m delighted to be chatting to my on-line writing buddy, Patsy Collins, whose name will be familiar to lots of you. I got to ‘know’ Patsy in 2013 when I answered a request on the Alfie Dog Fiction Forum asking if anyone was interested in joining an on-line critique group. Since then, I have been in regular contact with her and have benefited so much from her wide ranging experience and expertise as a writer. Her latest novel, ‘Firestarter’ is published tomorrow on Amazon.

Patsy, welcome. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself as a writer.
Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Jan.

You already know I write short stories for women's magazines. I've been doing that for over twelve years now and have had hundreds published. I've been writing novels for almost as long, but the first ('Paint Me a Picture') took so long to finish and involved such big gaps that it seems a far more recent development.

I've also had a few writing articles published in Writing Magazine and Kishboo. 

Because I’ve followed the story right from when you started writing it, I’m particularly excited to see ‘Firestarter’ published tomorrow, and on November 5th, too! Can you tell us what inspired you to write it?
Um ... it seemed like a good idea at the time? Sorry, I'm rubbish about spotting what started off a particular train of thought. I suppose it's possible I was thinking about firemen, but why I'd have been doing that I can't imagine.

Really, can't you? What is the novel is about?
That's an easier question - Firemen!

Not really. There are firemen in the story and some are suitably hunky, but the story is really about relationships. Of course there are romantic relationships, but also family relationships, friendships and relationships between colleagues.

How does it compare with your other novels? 
All of my novels have dealt with relationships, two others are romantic, this is set in the same location as my only non romance novels, and they all include at least a hint of crime, so they have things in common.

This one has a larger crime element than my previous books. It's also (in my opinion anyway) funnier.

I like the sound of ‘hunky firemen’ and ‘research’ in the same sentence, Patsy. I have to ask you how much research did you do for the book?
Quite a lot - but nearly all the fireman stuff was by email. I'm nearly over that disappointment now.

I thoroughly researched the wildlife and cakes which both feature heavily - that was fun.

Research into the locations has, in a way, been going on for years as the story is mainly set close to where I live and in places I know well. Even the scenes set in Wales take place in an area I've visited several times. (I'll be back - and hopefully we'll get to meet for real at last)

That would be great if we could! 
I’m often drawn to a cover when choosing a book to read and I love the one you’ve chosen for ‘Firestarter’. Can you tell us how you went about selecting the images and the colours?
I agree that covers can influence our choice of books, so I'm really glad you like it.

I knew I wanted flames, to suit the title and hint at the warmth of the story. I also wanted a couple in a romantic pose to suggest the genre. I passed that (very brief) brief on to Gary Davies, who created some designs for me to consider and share with a few writing buddies. Gary suggested using a silhouette and found a couple which were suitable. The one we selected looks very like my two lead characters.

We experimented with 'real' flames, but they made it look more like a scary thriller than a fun read. The stylised ones seem less threatening. Originally I wanted a sky blue background, but the result was a bit too bright even for me. Then that Jan Baynham woman suggested changing the background to the same gold as seen in the flames. I'm delighted with the final version.

That Jan Baynham woman much prefers the background in the same colour range as the flames that you've got now, so thank you.
On a more general note, do you have a particular writing routine when writing?
Nah. If the writing is going well I keep at it. If not, I do something else for a while.

Music to my ears! Where do you write?
I'm extremely fortunate to have both a home and a mobile office. The mobile one is a campervan and enables me to write many of my stories on location. Both are shared with my husband.

How much planning did you do for each of your novels?
Usually not enough! 'Firestarter' was plotted and planned quite thoroughly, which made it quicker to write. I'll try to learn from that.

What is your proudest writing moment so far?
Someone told me they got so engrossed in one of my books they missed their stop on the train. That's quite a compliment.

It certainly is. What are you currently working on?
I'm attempting NaNo with 'Poppyfield Farm'. It's mostly set on a farm quite like the one on which I grew up. It involves a business providing horse drawn carriages for weddings so there's plenty of scope for romance.

My plan is to write it in first person from two different POVs - one male, one female. I know quite a lot about Phil, but Maria is still a mystery.

Good luck with that. You must be very excited about the launch of ‘Firestarter’  tomorrow. How will you be celebrating?
Hopefully we'll be out in the campervan. We can't have fireworks in there of course, not even sparklers - I'll have to make up for that by drinking sparkling wine and eating ... bangers? No. Crackers? No. I know, a Catherine wheel shaped cake.

There's always cake. ;-)

Thank you so much for taking time to chat to me, Patsy. I wish you good luck with your new book. 

‘Firestarter’  is published by  Amazon on November 5th.

Twitter: @PatsyCollins

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed chatting to Patsy. 

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.


  1. Lovely interview, Jan and Patsy. I've pre-ordered Firestarter and look forward to reading it tomorrow. Best of luck with the NaNo novel too, Patsy.

    1. Thank you, Bea. I'm looking forward to reading my copy too when it arrives on my Kindle tomorrow. From everything Patsy has told us, I think it's going to be a great read. I appreciate you visiting my blog and leaving a comment. :-)


    2. Thanks, Beatrice - really hope you like it!

  2. Thanks for hosting me, Jan.

    1. A real pleasure, Patsy. I hope you' have a great publication day tomorrow and 'Firestarter' sales go off with a bang! ;-)

  3. Fab interview Patsy and Jan! Good luck with Firestarter (and the Nano project!)

    1. Thank you, Samantha. My copy has arrived on my Kindle this morning so I'll be reading Patsy's book soon. šŸ˜€ Thank you, too, for popping by and leaving a comment.

  4. I've got my copy, and I'll be reading it very soon!

    1. Hope you enjoy it, Maria.

    2. Me, too, Maria. Thanks for popping by. šŸ˜€