Gerald So — poet, editor, teacher and private-eye aficionado — interviews Colleen at his blog Chatterrific, where she answers questions about similarities between her private-investigator world and those depicted in private-eye fiction, what common mistakes she sees in private eye stories and her own writing life. Excerpt of interview below, with link to full interview.
Gerald So: Describe each of your ebooks in your own words.
Colleen Collins: How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths: After fielding numerous writers’ questions about private investigations, we started teaching classes (both our own, and classes for regional and national writers’ organizations/conferences) about private investigations. We used this material, as well as narrative on other investigative topics, for this book. Sampling of subjects: investigative specializations (yes, there really are pet detectives); techniques PIs use to find people, conduct trash hits, orchestrate stationary/mobile surveillances; when and why a PI might be retained to investigate a crime scene; how PIs work with private forensic labs, etc.
How Do Private Eyes Do That?: A compendium of articles about private investigations, culled from pieces I’ve written for Professional Investigator Magazine, Pursuit Magazine (online trade journal for private investigators), various writers’ publications/organizations, as well as my blog Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes. Articles are for a more general audience, although there are articles geared to writers, too.
The Zen Man: A medium-boiled PI-team novel I sometimes refer to as a “21st-century Nick and Nora” story. The book isn’t only about witty banter and cocktails though, it offers love, death and lawyers gone bad.
Gerald: The introduction to How Do Private Eyes Do That? touches on how you unexpectedly went from being a fan of private eye TV shows/fiction to becoming a real private investigator. Tell me a little more about how that happened.
Colleen: Back in 2003, I was writing novels full time for Harlequin when several of those lines closed. My then-boyfriend’s (now husband’s) job was downsized that same week. Because he was a former trial attorney who’d trained numerous PIs, I said, “Let’s start an investigations agency.” And we did.
Gerald: Your books mention that the majority of today’s PIs are specialists, not Jacks-of-All-Trades. What led to your specialties — witness locates and interviews, surveillance, and infidelity investigations?
To read the rest of the interview, click here.
Praise for The Zen Man
"Great humor. Great dialogue. Author did a great job of establishing the relationship between Rick and Laura. It never overshadowed the mystery, but it made the book truly multi-dimensional."
~New York Times best-selling author Dorien Kelly
"A real page turner. I enjoyed this book full of suspense and surprises. I have never read this author before but will look for her next surprise."
Interviews & Articles
2015 Aspen Gold Award Winner
"I loved The Zen Man and really had fun catching Rick and Laura's first case in the prequel, The Ungrateful Dead. These novels have everything I love in a mystery: smart dialogue, a flawed hero, a little romance and a great plot. Murder at a coroners conference? What could be more fun!"
~ Nancy Warren USA Today Bestselling Author of The Toni Diamond mysteries