L.L. Collins - Emotional, Heartfelt Romance

L.L. Collins - Emotional, Heartfelt Romance
author of the day

When L.L. Collins isn't wrangling 25 preteens during her day job as a teacher, she writes heartfelt, emotionally charged romance novels. Books in which the heroes are not always alpha males and the heroines everything but perfect. In her book, Snared, Collins also addresses tough subjects such as mental health and foster care. As our author of the day Collins reveals why she chose to write about a shy rock star, her own experience with foster care and talks about her journey as an author.

Please give us a short introduction to Snared.  What is the book about?

Snared is about Beau Anderson, the drummer for the rock band Jaded Regret. He’s had a very hard life and suffers from mental illness, so playing drums is his escape. He thinks love isn’t in the cards for him, until he meets social worker April. She is everything he shouldn’t want and doesn’t deserve, but there’s just something that draws them to each other.

Have you always dreamed of becoming an author? Did you ever have a single, defining moment when you suddenly realized that you have made it, you are now an author?

I have always, always, wanted to be an author. It was my life goal. When I was a kid, I had notebook after notebook of stories (and still have them). When I had to write in school, I would write pages and pages. I went to college and got a Creative Writing degree. I was determined to make it happen. I remember hearing about self publishing in 2013 and started thinking about doing it. I had a story in my head and I began writing it. I went to a book signing as a reader and decided right then and there that this was going to be me. I was going to do this. The second I held my first published book in my hand, I felt like all of my dreams came true.

Did you know right from the start that Jaded Regret was going to be a series?

Not at all. I started with Sentenced, which was a spinoff of another book, Back to the Drawing Board. I knew that character had a thing for female rockers, but I had no idea the woman he would become interested in would then lead me into the whole band and that, as they say, is history.

Beau and April come from very different worlds.  He is a drummer and she comes from a wealthy family. Why did you decide to bring such a seemingly mismatched pair together?

Beau needed someone that was strong, yet sensitive, caring, and compassionate. April, despite growing up wealthy, had a heart for children with difficult life stories. Therefore, she was the perfect match for Beau and she was able to identify with him.

Being a rock star, Beau seems like a bad boy but he is really very shy and inexperienced with women.  This is very different from the cocky, confident, experienced men one usually finds in romance novels.  Why did you take this approach?

Beau’s character, from the start even in the first book Sentenced, was quiet and tortured. He doesn’t fit the mold of anyone, and he knows it. The only thing that’s kept him going all these years is playing drums and being with his band. I always knew Beau had a much different story to tell than the rest of his band.

How do you make your characters so believable? Do you ever base them on people you know in real life?

I sometimes take parts of them and mix them with people I know, or things I’ve witnessed or heard about. But most of them are fictional. I guess I would say I’m good at empathy--- feeling what someone may go through without actually going through it myself.

You tackled some heavy and tough subjects in your book, such as mental health and life in foster care.  Why were these issues important to you?

These issues are important to me because they are so often swept under the rug. We have a stigma in our country and in our world about mental illness. I know many people that suffer in silence, being misunderstood and labeled, all because of undiagnosed or untreated mental illness. Also, I have firsthand knowledge of the foster care system. I was a social worker for several years, and I see what many kids go through. I think it’s important, despite it being fiction, to tackle important issues that others may shy away from. If it helps one person, I’ve done my job.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I’m a teacher and manage to wrangle 25 preteens on a daily basis, plus actually teach them something. I’m also a mom of two boys, one teen and one preteen, that I’ve managed to keep alive this long.

 Tell us a bit about your writing habits. Where and at what time of the day do you like to write? Do you plot out your books before you start?

I write whenever and wherever the mood strikes. I have an office and if I want to write, I usually stick in my headphones and ignore everyone while I pound out the words. I do plot my books out, though every single time, the characters change something while I’m writing and I end up saying, well okay then. So my plotting is always subject to change.

What do you do when you are busy with a book and the idea for the next one keeps nagging at the back of your head?

I write notes so I don’t forget. I talk it out with author pals so I can get all the little details ironed out so I can go back to what I was doing without it being in the forefront of my mind.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block and how do you deal with it?

Yes of course. If I have writer’s block, I get together with a friend that is good with talking out plot with me. Sometimes, I also need to just step away and do something. My other remedy for writer’s block is to take a drive by myself. Something about the car makes things clearer to me. But no one can be with me.

What was the most romantic thing that you have ever done for someone or someone has done for you?

Wow. That’s a hard question! My hubby is so good to me, better than I often deserve. To me, the most romantic thing is doing the little things. He always tells me I’m beautiful and he loves me. He still enjoys spending time with me after over 20 years together. Really, romance to me is about the little things.

What are you working on right now?

I’m about to release Exposed, the final book in the Jaded Regret series. I’m plotting out two books right now and will see which one gets top billing for what is next. One book my readers will recognize the main character (but I can’t tell yet), and the other is a complete standalone.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

All social media, my website www.llcollinsauthor.com, and all of my books are on Amazon.

This deal has ended but you can read more about the book here.