Reich of Passage is a modern “save the world” adventure where the bad guys are now leaders in most of the major countries of the world. As crazy as it sounds these men come from a different era and were literally frozen and thawed to accomplish their mission. The only way to beat them is throw the use of two others from the era who are also brought back to live 70 years after they supposedly died. One of these is the actress Jean Harlow.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I am fascinating by people who die young. I have long wondered the “what ifs” if they had lived longer. Jean Harlow is one of the most interesting people of her era. She was bright, well read and intelligent. The fact she died at the top of her game at the age of 26 in 1937 made her the perfect just to put into medical hibernation. Bringing her back to life in a time when everyone she knew is dead was the perfect way to examine the real Harlow, her coping skills and her ability to adapt. It also gave me a chance to let readers realize how lonely being “out of your time” really is. Thus the challenge is giving her a calling in a modern world.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
The plot, as fantastic as it was, were completely conceived. There were twists and turns that the characters actually wrote as I developed them. And while I knew the full elements of mystery, action, adventure and intrigue as I wrote, I think they romance snuck up on me.
Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?
I was writing about people from a different time, so I read magazines, biographies, looked at old newsreels and studied films from the 30s and 40s. Then I also spent a lot of time studying the dialogue of that era and how it would sound in a modern context. One of my favorites parts of the books dealt with characters saying something they thought was clear but having those listening view their words in a much different context.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
The main goal of any book has to be entertainment. If the reader is hot having fun, if the ideas they find in the text do not excite them, then the story is flat. So goal is to create a plot so involving and characters with such appeal that the reader is actually said when the story ends.
How has your background influenced your writing?
My writing is influenced by my interests. I love music, movies and classic cars, so they find their way into my books. I am curious my nature and want the story behind everything. And I have always been a people watcher and so my characters have to be as interesting as the people I meet in my real life. In fact a lot of quirks I see in my friends show up in my books.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I write between 3,000-8,000 words and day and also edit and rewrite those words several times each day before I quit. So that makes for long days. But once I am on a roll I can’t sleep anyway. The story and characters keep me awake. Then when I finish the entire book, I go back and rewrite it a couple of more times before sending it off to the publisher.
Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?
I rewrite and edit in the morning and write in the afternoon. I am most creative then. To stoke my fires I consume sweet tea.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Wrote my first short story in third grade, so writing has always been there. The last three decades of being able to do what I love has been a real blessing.
What is the easiest part of the writing process?
Story creation is very easy for me. I have hundreds of plots written in my log book.
Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?
I have had readers get mad at me for killing off a character, but never had any trouble doing it. Death moves story lines and brings out emotion. Those things enrich the reader’s experience.
What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?
The most important element is having characters who have depth who readers want to get to know. Once you have that link the rest is gravy.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
From my website acecollins.com