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Soulful Storytelling: An Interview with Jackie Collins, author of Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets

Jackie Collins 1

Born in Nebraska and raised on a farm, I currently live in the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, along with my husband of fifty years and our nine-year-old dog, Rusty. I am thankful to have three children, four grandchildren and three granddogs. My children jokingly claim I love my dogs more than them. I have always been interested in a person’s story and find it helps me in navigating my own life. I am drawn to memoir writing and have been inspired to write my own. In fact, every one of us has a story to tell or write.

You can buy Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It really didn’t take long to create our book’s title. We each wrote suggestions and then compared them. Each of us tagged certain words or ideas we liked, then blended them into a title that fit perfectly.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

There’s no other word to describe it than “surreal.” I sat in my office and placed it on my desk, just staring at it. It was a deep sense of fulfillment. Even more than I realized writing the book. Finally, finally proof we were writers.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

As a child, I developed a passion for reading books. In the process of becoming an adult, I started writing and have to say, it was the praise from others and being picked for certain events that required reading my writing out loud. Writing came naturally for me and was always the avenue for my deepest communication.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

My career was a speech and language therapist. I doubt many know that in the 70s we lived in western Nebraska, the location of the Sandhills. I traveled to the country schools, often miles from town. It wasn’t unusual then to drive through snow tunnels a smidgen higher than the roof of my car to reach the students. It was a different world, teaching at these schools. Sometimes there were three students at one school, another had twenty or more. While teaching at one of the smallest schools that was clearly many miles in the country, I traveled dirt roads that were impassable if it rained or snowed too much. This was the school where three students still rode their horses to attend.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Capturing our stories. For a very long time, I felt it would be sad if we met as a writing group for twenty-five years and didn’t have a body of work that captured our stories. We would try to begin, then quit, then try again. I moved to another state and felt writing a book was hopeless. However, magic happened and we started once more during the pandemic, zooming until we nearly wore our computers out. It took commitment, but we finished it. The stories were together and in print. That was the reward.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope readers can see how important it is to be part of a writing group. The encouragement to write and forming friendships along with respectful critiquing is rewarding. The perfect reader would be a writer considering a writer’s group, either to form one or participate. Our book does not define how to begin a writer’s group, but rather shows through our stories, the great benefits of belonging.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I would like to say I’m busily working on a new book. I’ve been in a lull since our book came out. I’m not sure why. Is it the responsibility and work attempting to market our book? Am I taking a break from writing our book? Am I letting everything else be more important than sitting down to write? I’m guessing the answer lies in the last question. There are disciplined authors that produce book after book. It requires discipline, which is how we completed Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets. I have written a complete memoir that’s been sitting in a green notebook, in a woven basket among boxes in my closet. It’s been years. My writing group and mentors have encouraged me for a very long time to submit it. I just can’t seem to get there.

You can buy Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.