Kelly Lynn Colby - Psychological Thriller That Keeps You Turning Pages
Kelly Lynn Colby has tried to write mundane stories but magic always sneaks its way in. The result? The YA epic fantasy duology The Recharging (complete) and the paranormal thriller series Emergence (book three in 2023). The first is safe for young readers while the second is better for adult eyes. She’s learned a ton from her short stories as well which you can find in a plethora of anthologies. When she’s not traveling the country attending publishing or pop culture conventions, Kelly writes and edits and answers an inordinate number of emails at her cluttered desk, coffee shops, and parks in Houston, Texas. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, The Collector.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Collector is about.
The Collector is a paranormal thriller. The main character, Fauna Young, is an empath. She can sense emotions from people as well as impressions of strong memories left on objects. She thinks she’s the only one in the world who can do this until she finds an object constructed completely of impressions from many different people. When she finds the artist, he’s been murdered and Fauna might be next.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
In a tiny eclectic shop near my home, I found a mixed art statue of the torso and head of a man. One arm was a child’s baseball bat. The voice box was the inside of a music box. Something about the piece grabbed me and I stared at it for an hour curious about the story behind each piece. Which made me imagine what it would be like if I could actually read a memory from the person who owned the original object. That was the spark that inspired The Collector.
Tell us more about Fauna Young. What makes her so special?
Fauna has a dark past where she did some things with her empathic ability that she’s not proud of. So she spends most of her time hiding what she can do. Even her best friends have no idea she can sense emotions. They think she’s germophobic since she always wears gloves and doesn’t like to be touched.
Why did you pick a small computer repair shop in Houston as the background for your story?
I also write epic fantasy with worlds I create from scratch. It’s a lot of work and a lot of spreadsheets and wikis and always one more thing that I need to consider. For this series, I wanted to write about a location I was intimately familiar with. Houston grew from a setting to almost a character as I made it the place Fauna felt safe because it was the only place she lived long enough to call it a real home. And I didn’t have to make anything up.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m the Editorial Director at Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing where we publish speculative fantasy for avid readers. To introduce readers to new writers, I host the podcast “20 Questions with your Favorite Author” where we ask authors important questions like “Why would you agree to be on this podcast?” We record every Tuesday at 8 p.m. Central on our Twitch channel.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
I found a picture on a stock photo site for that model and I knew immediately she was Fauna Young. So I downloaded every picture of her I could find on that site, regardless of the pose or background. Funny enough, my cover artist, Stefanie Saw, didn’t use the one that first attracted me to this model. Which is why I trust her. The city scene is of Houston since the city itself has a starring role in this series.
What did you have the most fun with when you wrote this story?
The mystery bit. I’d never written a mystery before so I had to carefully craft when a body dropped and where to place the suspects and when to rule them out. It was such a puzzle and so exciting when it finally all came together.
Readers say your scenery descriptions are vivid and realistic. How do you pull this off?
The book is written in first person exclusively from Fauna’s point of view. Since she can sense others’ emotions and experience memories on objects, the premise lends itself to visceral scenes. I take full advantage of this quirk to bring everything to life.
This is book 1 of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
The Collector is book one in the Emergence series. They can be read out of order but the reader will get more from the experience if they start at book one. The series is cumulative and will end in a huge climax that I’m super excited to write. In the already-released book two, The Healer, you meet Fauna’s brother and find out more about why she feels guilty about her past. This one is also 99 cents right now. I’m drafting book three, The Twins, right now and it’s set for release this fall. We meet all of Fauna’s extended family and find out a bit more about what is happening with Fauna and her changing abilities.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I like to start a new book by developing the main story points for each main character, including the antagonist, and deciding how they intersect. For this series, the next step is setting up the timing for the body drops and clues. Then I usually take some time to laugh at myself because I thought for a single moment that I could pull off anything so complicated. After re-reading the previous books in the series, I get a bit of my confidence back and construct a detailed outline. Usually, there’s a bit more cursing and crying involved, but I get there eventually.
What are you working on right now?
I’m drafting book three in the Emergence series, The Twins. At the same time, I’m outlining a brand new epic fantasy series about an innkeeper’s daughter who can talk to animals and an acolyte orphan who hears voices that guide him. It’s really fun and I forgot how much I adore world-building.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find me on my website at https://kellylynncolby.com. Or you can see me live on Mondays and Tuesdays on https://twitch.tv/curseddragonship. Plus, I’m on all the social media sites as kcolbywrites.