Interview with SA Collins

What are your five favorite books, and why?
There are many that I've loved throughout time. I guess my first two books that I loved as a boy were The Mystery of the Crimson Ghost by Phyllis A. Whitney. Then there was a book called Bryn that was about a dog - though the plot to that book is somewhat murky with the passage of time (it's been over 40 years). I love the books by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles), Christopher Rice and EM Forster. Then in my teen age years when I began to realize who I was sexually I no longer had the desire to translate works to my own budding desires in life. I was no longer satisfied with the typical m/f relationship questions. I required more. While on a trip to the mall with my family I broke away as I often did and perused the bookstore. Only this day was going to be a game changer. Amongst the books on literature, I found a work by John Rechy called "The Sexual Outlaw." Reading the blurb on the book cover I was intrigued that this was a man like myself. I devoured that book and anything else I could find by him. This invariably led me to discover another prominent gay author Gordon Merrick. These men saved my young gay boy life at a time when there was precious little to tell me I was good and normal and more importantly, that I was going to be okay. I carried those books in my backpack every damned day in high school. They were my bibles. Merrick and Rechy were literary gods to me. It really hasn't changed with the passage of time. Next up with marriage to my husband, and a burgeoning family, I took up Harry Potter and became enchanted with it. Suddenly reading was cool and sexy again. We all owe JK Rowling a big high-five for that singular point alone. Lastly, on the eve of my wanting to finally sit down and write my own works, I happened upon TJ Klune's Into This River I Drown. This book nearly more than any other (save for Rechy's Sexual Outlaw), transformed how I looked at storytelling. I enjoy reading from a number of authors but the works by gay men are often at the top of my list. I craved their voices as a confused 16 year old boy and it really hasn't abated since.
What do you read for pleasure?
Gay literature and Sci-Fi (sometimes both at the same time if I can get it) - oh, and graphic novels and comics (I never really grew out of them like most people do).
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Nook HD+ and my iPhone.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've recently tried a promotional group that specializes in blog tours to help gain notice that you're even out there. With the plethora of self-published works it is harder and harder to stand out from the ever growing crowd. I am thinking of employing (contracting) a tweeting service next to see how that pans out. It's a bit of trying something and pinging other authors to see what they're doing that works.
Describe your desk
A creative if slightly apocalyptic mess.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up (born and reared - you raise corn, not children people) in California (San Diego, to be exact). I know many love the sun and the tropical setting. I actually hated it. Couldn't wait to get out. Now I live in Northern California and I couldn't be happier. Richer, perhaps ('cause the Bay Area ain't cheap, kids), but definitely happier. I would say that there really wasn't any direct influence that San Diego gave me by way of my writing. In fact, I didn't become inspired to write until I moved north and began to settle in amongst the old oak forests and the tall and all encompassing redwoods. Northern California is definitely an influence in that 90% of my works are set in fictitious towns in that part of the state.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing off and on all my life. But i didn't get serious about it until a few months before my half-centennial birthday in August of 2014. I started to write in earnest about 5 or 6 months prior to that date and I completed my first full-length novel just prior to my birthday.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It deals with a very timely topic of homophobia in competitive sports in high school. Since there are so many young men and women coming out during those formative years I wanted to write about that type of environment. But since happiness doesn't sell too well (as one of my great opera singing buddies reminded me - "no one goes to see a happy opera") I had to write about the coming out experience from the other side of the coin. This doesn't mean that it doesn't have a Ever After Happily, because it does. I just put my boys through hell to get there. Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot will be available April 1, 2015. It is a trilogy and the second one is about 2/3 written and is scheduled to be released in the latter part of Summer 2015.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Control over my project. I know that might mean I have to put a whole lot of work into producing the product but I do all the work (aside from editing which is handled by my double-doctorate husband (in psychiatry and quantum mechanics physics)) – from the manuscript through the layout of the ebook and print editions to the actual cover art itself (have years of experience in graphic design for the theatrical community that I lean on to get the covers done). I just gotta nail down marketing. But doesn't everyone?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I think the ease of distribution and production. As long as you produce clean manuscripts that adhere to their guidelines the whole process is rather painless. I use Scrivener to write all my manuscripts and I haven't had a single issue with my files on the Smashwords system.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I predominantly write character studies. This is no doubt, because of my years of being a character actor. As such, you have to dive deep to create a fully fleshed character from text provided on the page. In most cases you don't have a whole lot to go on. So I learned to develop sub-text and became quite good at it. Often subtly imbuing my actions on stage with things I'd developed as backstory but never going so far as to pull focus. This is what I find infinitely fascinating about my work. I deep dive into the psyche of my characters. It is far more important for me as an author that you don't just walk through the situation, I want you to intimately know why the character is motivated to do what they do. I want you to come away (as a reader) knowing as much about them as I do in creating them. Since most of my work involves queer characters, I want to impart the essence of what it's like for a non-queer reader to understand what that world is like. I pull no punches with my work. They are gritty and real because they are culled from my own half-century of experiences and those of my gay brothers out there that I've had deep discussions about their own lives. It is often what is NOT said in a conversation, what's trapped up in your head, that will be of interest to a writer like me. Most of my work is inner-monologue (though not at the expense of a good yarn - there's plenty of interaction). I hope that the work is as fascinating and provocative as I believe them to be.
What do your fans mean to you?
It's quite simple - I was a confused gay boy who was floundering (even though I had fully supportive family members behind me - I felt an enormous disconnect with their world because I knew they weren't like me). John Rechy and Gordon Merrick saved my life with their words. When I was licking wounds from a hellacious day of bullying at school those words kept me going, helped me keep my chin up and press forward. I've often said and I fully maintain, I would trade five million five star reviews for ONE fan who said I affected them as Rechy and Merrick affected me. If I get one of those, I'm good. I'll be golden.
What are you working on next?
Three works - Angels of Mercy – Volume 2: Marco (follow-up to Vol 1), A Quarrel of Sparrows (my second episode in my werewolf Sparrows Hollow adventure series) and Fae Wars: Fear the Feigr (which is a take on Norse Fae (that predate the Celtic variety)). It is a book that is queer Sci-Fi masquerading as magic.
Published 2015-03-22.
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Books by This Author

Angels of Mercy - Diary of a Quarterback - Part II: Prince of Mistakes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 235,080. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Told from Angel of Mercy's Marco Sforza, this is the second part of a two-part prequel series detailing the events leading up to the main Angels of Mercy series by SA Collins.
Angels of Mercy - Diary of a Quarterback - Part I: King of Imperfections
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 250,210. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Coming of age
Told from Angels of Mercy's Marco Sforza, this book is the first of a two-part prequel to the main Angels of Mercy series by SA Collins.
Angels of Mercy - Diary of a Quarterback - The Boxed Set
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 485,060. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Coming of age
Told from Marco Sforza's point of view, these two books pre-date the main Angels of Mercy series by SA Collins. They detail Marco's coming of age to understand that in being your own man, you just might have to question what you think you know about yourself. Courage on the football field for a jock like Marco, that's something that comes naturally to him. Sorting who he is? Not so much.
HO'M,O - Henry O'Malley, Omega
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 64,670. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
(5.00 from 1 review)
Hank O'Malley is about to have his idyllic West Virginian life turned upside-down. It's 1956 and Hank leads a quiet, boring life of a senior at Cavanagh Gap Regional High School. On the cusp of his 18th birthday the pack of bad boys at school have told him, "It's time..." - just what that means for unassuming Hank, he can't begin to imagine. With a new threat on the horizon, he might not have to.