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Today and Tomorrow ONLY, You can download copies of ALL 3 of Callie C. Colbert’s books!
Callie C. Colbert is a delightful person and a very busy author. As she says, ” write. I drink coffee. I write some more. J I write books, song lyrics, and poetry.
We met via running in the same MARSocial circles (Shout Out to Coleman Weeks!) and when I saw what she was writing, I knew I wanted to feature her on my blog. I’ve never heard of the Christian-Paranormal genre until now. See what can be gained by interviewing a variety of authors?
And the timing could be better! With her new release “Graze the Night” hot off the pres…upload!
“God first, family and friends second, and writing third.
Everything else will fall into place.”
Genre: Paranormal/horror, psychological thriller, Christian-paranormal (I didn’t pick my genre. IT picked ME.)
Provide and enticing, titillating, interesting, or fun fact about your book or series: ‘Graze the Night’ is written in first person. It also leaves the readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not the cop is insane or a victim of the paranormal. I had a great time writing it.
And now a some exciting facts about Callie:
Tell us about your books:
I write all sorts of things into my books…spirituality, horror, paranormal, etc. so that covers a wide spectrum. One of my reviewers basically said I did a great job of working in a Christian aspect without becoming “preachy.” If you like paranormal, horror, etc. it’s there. If you like something uplifting and spiritual, it’s there as well.
Wow! You’re covering a lot of ground. I’m looking forward to reading them. So tell me, what does your writing process look like?
My writing process varies, depending on my mood. The stories come to me much like watching parts of a movie in my head. I write those sections down and work at filling in the rest. While I am doing that, more of the story comes to me. It’s interesting because I get to watch the story unfold as I write it. I don’t know where the story is going at that point any more than a reader would. I get anxious to see what my characters will do next! It can take months for this whole process to happen.
There are times when I can’t write down the words fast enough, but then there are times when I really have to work hard at filling it in. It seems to always be one or the other. I’m not disciplined as well as several other authors I know; it is very difficult for me to sit down and tell myself I will complete x amount of words/chapters before I get up. It just doesn’t happen like that for me. It goes in spurts. The characters tell me what to write. I just roll with it.
That sounds very much like my own technique. Do you have any strange writing habits?
I can’t believe I am going to admit this. The majority of the time, I like to have a horror movie playing on the television while I write. Once in awhile, I like peace and quiet. Occasionally I will play classic rock, spiritual, or contemporary Christian music. Yes, I do understand this probably makes me bi-polar in my writing. J
Yep, you pretty much just diagnosed yourself! J I like having movies that fit what I’m writing playing in the background as well. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
Writing physical fight scenes seems to be my most difficult task. I want to learn and grow as a writer so that I will get better at that. All writer’s have things they need to work on…none of us are exempt. I can see the fight scene playing in my head, but putting that into writing seems to be difficult for me. Fighting in dialogue form comes much more easily for me.
I’ve been there! Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
I love all aspects of spirituality, and I respect everyone’s choices in that area. However, I personally couldn’t write anything promoting cults, hate, etc. It’s just a personal choice. My books have plenty of evil/negative elements, but they are always tempered with life lessons and love.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series? T
hey just came to me. I don’t have to sit down and go through any long process of coming up with titles. They are just ‘there’. I still have to research them to make sure they are not in use, though.
I usually change my titles two or three times. Just as your books inspire other authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
Stephen King is a very prolific writer, and I admire his style very much.
Stephen King keeps coming up as an answer and I’d have to agree, 100%.
Billy Graham has also written some amazing books. Again, I understand I am bi-polar when it comes to writing. J There are some indie authors that I absolutely admire, and I enjoy reading their work. James McAllister, Rachel Dyson, Coleman Weeks and Pamela Winn instantly come to mind. Chris Tucker, who interviewed me awhile back, writes a zombie series that reminds me of ‘The Walking Dead’, which is my favorite television show. Each has a different writing style and genre, but they are ALL very talented writers, as well as good people. The writing world is insane; we have to stick together! J
I think we need to re-evaluate your self diagnosis…you’re not bi-polar; more like schizophrenic! J But have no fear! You are in good company! I think it is important for a writer to be a well rounded reader as well. The world can be a dark and scary place, and reading how others put that into words can be very helpful in working out how your own characters express themselves. So…you go for it! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
My favorite character is Lexie, the little spirit-girl from the ‘Lexie’s Journey’ series. She is growing mentally and spiritually through each book. Alicia, from ‘The Tibuens’ and Jo from ‘Threads of Reality’ are also admirable characters. They both ‘come into their own’ through the process of each story.
How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
My least favorite character is Badgeal from ‘The Tibuens’. It’s a love/hate thing. He plays a very important, necessary role in the story. He’s arrogant, deceitful, mean-spirited, and conniving. In fact, he is just evil-as-sin in the very literal sense of the word.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name-choosing resources you recommend?
I never use a name-choosing resource. The names of my characters just come to me. There is no changing the names once that happens, because that is just who each character is. I did run a contest to name the characters in ‘Threads’ prior to writing it, but none of them fit. As the story itself continued to develop in my head, the character’s just ‘had their own names’ and that is how it was. That is how it works when I write.
I’m pretty good about sticking with a name, but I have one character that I’ve changed his name three times and another guy has had two. What can we expect from you in the future? I
hope to write at least one more book in the ‘Lexie’ series, but I suspect there will be more than that. I also plan to work on my doctoral dissertation in the fall, but that depends on where I am at concerning a new book.
The stories hit me from nowhere…so I never know WHEN a new one will come to me. Once it’s in my head, it begs to be written so that is what I do. If I don’t, the characters will bug me until I DO write their story. J It’s not really an option for me. I don’t, and can’t, put a story on a back-burner unless there are crucial, critical things going on in my life during that time that require my full attention.
“When a character is born, he acquires at once such an independence, even of his own author, that he can be imagined by everybody even in many other situations where the author never dreamed of placing him; and so he acquires for himself a meaning which the author never thought of giving him.”
So, lets have some fun! Have you ever been in trouble with the police?
Well…I HAVE spent plenty of time in a jail, but not for the reasons you might think. I was a security officer and then a police officer for many years, so I am actually on the other end of the spectrum. I saw the bars from the front side. J So no, I have never been in trouble with the law.
Good for you! Thank you for your service and protection. Serisoulsy. Now tell us, what is your favorite snack food?
My favorite snack set-up is Flipside crackers with cheese and summer sausage, along with a fruit/veggie tray. Additionally, I have to have a pot of Starbuck’s coffee brewing all the time as well as a large cup filled half with Sprite and half with water. Chocolate, as well, is a necessity.
Let me tell you the best “how to drink hotel coffee” recipe that I came up with while traveling for my real job.
Empty a package of hot chocolate milk into the bottom of the cup.
Fill the cup 3/4 full of robust coffee
Stir in 3 tiny containers of French Vanilla liquid creamer.
At least it is an improvement!
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that I will write something that no one is touched by. I want to know that at least ONE of my readers could either relate to a character, or at least have empathy for that character. I write to entertain, but I also write to touch people.
What literary character is most like you?
I would say the character that is most like me, or vice-versa, is Alicia from ‘The Tibuens’. She has some rough edges and is going through hell in her life. As the story develops, she becomes a strong force to be reckoned with, yet maintains her huge heart.
She sounds awesome!
Do you make up your bed every morning?
It really bothers me if my bed isn’t made every morning before work.
What is on your bed right now?
Right now I have sheets, a comforter, two regular pillows, three throw pillows and a teddy bear on my bed. J Additionally, I have one of those really soft, fluffy blankets that I like to throw in the dryer, and then curl up in. It’s folded up at the foot of my bed for easy access.
Please describe something you ‘deleted’ from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit The Delete Key!
‘The Tibuens: Lexie’s Journey, Book I’ went from about eighty-thousand words to just over fifty-thousand. My friend and fellow author, Rachel Dyson, taught me ALL about using the delete key. I wrote down the sections that came to me, but when I worked at filling in the rest, I had way too much going on in it. I had sub-plots within sub-plots within sub plots. My imagination took over and, well, the rest is history. Although, as the author, I knew everything about the story, it didn’t read that way to others. It was too hard to follow and went in far too many directions.
After months of tearful re-writes and pouting as I pulled out numerous plot lines, the story began to work better and I was able to maintain everything I wanted, which was to write an entertaining story that contained life lessons. I didn’t have to sacrifice my characters whatsoever…I just had to pull some of the fifty plots that were going on. I also maintained the ‘good vs. evil’ component, which was the basis for the book. Essentially, I pulled out a full book from my novel. I remember making a Facebook post about it. It was something along the lines of: “That moment…when there’s thirty-thousand words laying on the cutting-room floor, but it reads so much better than it ever did before!!”
It was a painful lesson. For many authors, including myself, we put pen to paper and create a story, characters, etc. and that work becomes a part of us. We get attached to the characters. We get excited about the plot. To pull that much from my novel was very emotional and I actually considered giving up at one point. But, like all of us, I had to learn that lesson, and I have utilized the delete key more than once in my new book.
You can maintain everything great about your story while cutting it down. It’s not only possible, it’s a good idea to help the reader be able to really understand your ‘key points’. Sometimes too much is just that…too much. Sometimes less is better. Sometimes the delete key can be your friend.
NOW THAT IS IMPRESSIVE EDITING!!!! Congratulations! I think you’re the winner, winner, chicken dinner for the most text deleted in a single story.
I just wish I had an appropriate prize for that!
For more information on Callie C. Colbert
Awards and Speaking Engagements: I have received awards for my poetry as well as for other writing ventures. I have also been listed as one of the Admiral’s favorite authors at http://www.Fortiter Publishing.com. My next venture is to have print versions of my books. I have just published ‘Threads of Reality: Lexie’s Journey, Book II’ and it is now available, with my other books, on Amazon.