Barbara Collins first made her name in mystery fiction by writing a number of unique and excellent short stories for various anthologies. She has recently been collaborating with her husband Max Allan Collins on a series of cozies marked by its wit and clever plotting.
1 Tell us about your current novel.
Antiques Bizarre is the fourth in the cozy mystery series that I write with my huband, Max Allan Collins, under the penname Barbara Allan. The series revolves around Brandy, a 30-year-old divorcee on Prozac, seventy-ish bi-polar Mother, and their blind diabetic dog, Sushi. Somewere in there is a mystery, among bad-pun titles.
2. Can you give us a sense of what you're working on now?
I'm just beginning the first draft of the fifth book, Antiques Knock-off. (Max doesn't see it until I'm done; then it's his turn to fix the plot holes).
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
When a book is done...not because any feeling of accomplishment, but that I'm not in hell anymore.
4. The greatest DIS-pleasure?
Writing so slowly that character's names change half-way through the draft, and I can't remember the plot.
5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?
Let a writer have his or her own style and not fit a mold. We were lucky that our editor, Michaela Hamilton, at Kensington, accepted our quirky take on the cozy format.
6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in
I mostly read biographies, because nothing is more vivid than real life.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that
It's thrilling, of course, but scary, because suddenly writing is not a pastime or hobby, but real work.
8. What do you consider the highlight of your career thus far?
Antiques Flee Market was recently nominated for best amateur sleuth mystery of 2008 by Romantic Times Book Review.
9. How about the low point?
Every time I know some piece of writing isn't very good, but don't know how to improve it.
10. Which book or short story would you recommend to readers unfamiliar with your work?
Antiques Roadkill, the first in the series by Barbara Allan.