Colleen’s Interview on Adele’s blog
Hi, Colleen. It’s so good to have you here. Please, take a seat. Tea or coffee?
Thanks, Adele. I’m really excited to be here. I love tea – especially British tea. 😀
Now that we are comfortable I’ll begin. Where have we heard that quote before?
1. What event or book inspired you to become an author?
I would have to go back in time to when I was a child. I loved reading and read constantly. Some of the first books I remember reading were: Elsie Dinsmore, by Martha Finlay. Then, there were the Bobbsey Twins, by Laura Lee Hope, followed by many more books. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder really inspired me to become a writer, though. I still love those stories and have read them many times. By the time J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series, I knew I wanted to write fantasy, but had no idea what my story would be about.
2. Your new novel, Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy, could you share with us how the idea came to you.
Yes, you know how I call myself a fairy whisperer? I bet a few of you are scratching your head wondering what I am talking about – a fairy whisperer? Let me tell you the story of the greatest experience I have ever had.
While on a walk during a warm, foggy morning in November 2014, I had a close encounter of the fairy kind. At the time, we were living in Pensacola, Florida. I still remember the day, as if it has been carved into my memory; something I will never forget.
The road I took on my morning walk
As I walked along the road, I heard a sound that instantly caught my attention. At first, I considered the possibility that the sound might be an injured bird rustling in the thick underbrush. I peered into the foliage and drew back in surprise. At first glance, I thought I saw a ruby-throated hummingbird with brilliant green feathers. However, that was not so.
Instead, appearing in front of my eyes was a tiny green swamp fairy floating on delicate wings that looked like transparent leaves. The little being had hair the color and consistency of corn silk. Bottle green leaves adorned her small body. The heady fragrance of lavender, patchouli, and sandalwood wafted on the air. If I close my eyes, I can still smell that scent today.
I stood at the edge of the road transfixed by the vision. I realized then, I had witnessed a miracle. I had been given the gift of fairy vision.
The spot where I saw the swamp fairy
The petite winged-being stared at me with eyes as green as the leaves she was hiding in. I must tell you, this meeting felt something akin to a spiritual encounter. An overwhelming feeling of peace and love surrounded me and held me within its grasp. In an instant, she was gone. The swamp fairy vanished into the fog that swirled around me.
I shook my head and continued my walk. I remember, my feet felt lighter that day. I knew something had changed. The swamp fairy had ignited my imagination. I knew what this fairy encounter meant. I had been granted the ability to become a fairy whisperer.
Soon after, I started to write stories about the swamp fairies which I posted to my blog. The stories came in quick succession. Next, the dreams started. I began to channel the stories of the fairy nymphs that had inspired me that day long ago.
Each day on my walks, I observed the real swamp as it was being crowded out by the building of new homes. The natural wetlands were disappearing at a rapid rate. Slowly, a story began to form in my mind.
Fairy Swamp is found behind this development site in Pensacola, Florida
By fall of 2015, we moved to Colorado. The dreams continued and grew even stronger. The stories changed. The fairy nymphs wanted me to tell their stories. And, that is exactly what I have done. The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy is that story, which I published this year.
3. How long did it take you to write and polish the Heart Stone Chronicles?
It took me a little over two years to write, edit, and rewrite this novel.
4. What was the worst thing about this writing process?
I had no idea how to edit and rewrite. So, you know what I did? I asked for help. I was lucky to have an accomplished author, Melissa Barker-Simpson, who showed me the ropes. Sometimes you can’t move forward if you can’t tell what you are doing wrong. I also used five or six beta readers who helped me edit and rewrite until the book was perfect.
5. Have you always been interested in Faery and the connection it has to the land?
That is the funny thing. Until we moved to Northwestern Florida, I had never had a fairy encounter. We lived in a rural area surrounded by fields and swamps. It was the first time I had lived so close to nature. I am convinced that it was my destiny to write these stories.
6. There will be more novels in the Heart Stone Chronicles how far along the writing path are you?
I am working on the second book in the series – The Meadow Fairy. Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester journeys from Blackberry Ridge, Florida to Bent Grass, Colorado when her Aunt Magnolia accepts a job as a researcher working for an author who specializes in writing about myths and paranormal activity.
Abby, along with her deceased mother’s most sacred possession, a calcite pendant, continues her legacy as a Fairy Whisperer to the primordial fairy nymphs who inhabit unique places scattered about the world.
In Colorado, Abby meets two young friends, Crosby and Landon Miller, who along with their family are beekeepers on a small farm under the shadow of Pike’s Peak. Abby is summoned by a primeval nymph who asks her to resolve the secret of why the bee population is disappearing from the prairie meadows.
With the help of Nate Bannock, a Native American Ute rancher, Abby learns the astonishing truths behind the decimation of the bee population. Does Abby have what it takes to save the bees and the Meliae Meadow Nymphs before it is too late?
7. Do you have a typical writing day?
Not really. I find that I write in spurts and when the inspiration from the fairies fills me with a great urgency. I try to set up at least two days a week that I dedicate to my novel writing. For whatever reason, that seems to work the best for me. If I schedule the time specifically devoted to my book, the words spill out of me.
8. When you are not writing, what hobbies do you love?
During the winter months, I try to take time out from writing to work on my crochet. I love crocheting with thread and creating lacy doilies. In the summer, my favorite place is in the dirt. Gardening keeps me in touch with nature, and I love growing herbs, vegetables, and flowers.
9. Do you have any pets?
I have two little-old-lady Pomeranian dogs, named Sugar and Spice. They both came from the same litter and will be thirteen years old next month. These girls are my writing companions.
Spice & Sugar
10. What cause or charity is close to your heart?
My husband and I are both U. S. military veterans and support many veteran’s organizations.
11. If you were not an author, what do you think you would be?
I have had an interesting life and many jobs. I retired early so who knows what my next great adventure will be? I love writing and finally feel like I have found my niche in life. Although, I am interested in exploring some of my psychic gifts that I am just now finding out that I possess.
12. Have you a plan in place for 2017?
I have plans to publish a book of poetry and short stories with my friend, Wendy Anne Darling, dedicated to dragons, myths, & magic. The second in the series of The Heart Stone Chronicles, The Meadow Fairy, will be published by the end of this year.
13. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Many years ago, I was stationed in the United Kingdom at RAF Lakenheath in East Anglia. I would love to live there again, but I doubt that dream will come true. If we were independently wealthy, we would spend our time traveling and living in Europe and some of the countries in Southeast Asia.
14. You also write tanka where did this interest come from?
I love poetry and especially Haiku and Tanka. There is something about the brevity of words that gives a unique power to your words. I spend a great deal of time selecting the perfect word for the meaning. In fact, I wrote a Haiku poem at the beginning of each chapter in The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy. I thought the poetry added to the story like a premonition of what was to come.
Thank you, Colleen, for allowing me to interview you today.
Thanks so much for having me, Adele.
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About the book The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy