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Brandilyn Collins
Personal Information Women's Fiction Suspense

~How I Became an Author of Christian Fiction
If you really must know details . . . .

Born: Miraj, India (mom and dad were missionaries)

Raised: Kentucky (figure that one out)

Now Live: California Silicon Valley Area

Parents: J.T. and Ruth Seamands (incredible folks)

Sisters: 3 (I’m youngest, and I don’t let them forget it)

Brothers: 0

Husband: 1 — Mark (he’s terrific!)

Children: 3 — Ryan (stepson), Brandon and Amberly

Dog: Mallie (Australian Shepherd)

Member: Christian Booksellers Association; Romance Writers of America; Faith, Hope & Love (RWA inspirational chapter), American Christian Writers, American Christian Romance Writers (on board)

Hobbies: jogging (five miles a day), singing, reading, e-mailing author friends and family

My writing career began in second grade, when I won the illustrious award for best short story in my class. I still remember the opening line: "Once there was a stallion named Betsy . . . ."

In high school, when my friends were cheerleading and studying home economics, I was ensconced in creative writing, drama and typing. (Result — I can type like the wind but can’t sew on a button.) In college I completed a major in drama, then changed to journalism. To this day, my drama background is a tremendous help in writing fiction.

In 1982 I founded Vantage Point, through which I wrote marketing materials for companies, such as brochures, annual reports, articles, press releases and such. It quickly grew through word of mouth to a full-time business. I worked at home around raising my kids. Today, I freelance edit through Vantage Point (see Editing Service).

But I really wanted to write books. So eventually I began writing a suspense novel. Research for the novel took me to a local murder trial. After two days of watching the trial, I was hooked. I ended up writing a book about the case — A Question of Innocence (Avon mass market, ’95). It was a sad and difficult story to write, but it also was one of hope. The case was nationally watched due to its unique psychological and legal issues. (A four-year-old girl died inexplicably in her sleep. Months later, her 15-year-old half-sister wrote in her diary that she had killed the little girl. But was this the truth? The parents found the diary and turned it over to police. The defense attorney was the renowned Melvin Belli.) The book sold respectably -- through a first printing of 50,000 quickly and into a second printing. Lots of signings and national TV (Phil Donahue and Leeza Gibbons) were the key to these sales. It also sold foreign rights to Germany. As of summer 2000, the book is out of print. (I have seen used copies for sale over the internet.)

I then finished my suspense novel and, completely changing course, wrote two women’s fiction novels. During these years, I worked and worked to learn the craft of fiction. When I wasn’t actually writing, I was studying about writing. Finally the novels were marketable, and my agent was poised to send them to the secular industry. Then in the summer of 1998, God really got hold of me. I had been a Christian for years, but that summer, Jesus my Savior became Jesus my Lord. One of the first things God started talking to me about was my writing. He wanted my books. So I rewrote them, weaving Christian content into their very fabric. As I wrote, God supplied the theme. In January 1999, my agent sent out the first of these novels, and they began to sell. God was indeed blessing my obedience — a humbling (and thrilling!) experience for me. (You can read more about these books, including excerpts, in my Suspense Novels and Women’s Fiction pages.)

Projects in other genres are currently in the works. These include a nonfiction that borrows characterization techniques from method actors and adapts them for the novelist — a unique approach to writing fiction. I’ve also written a young adult mystery, the first in a series of four. These projects are now in the capable hands of my agent.

I write what God lays on my heart, praying my way through every story. In the process of writing, the theme begins to emerge. I want my novels to make Christians think, as well as being entertaining. And I want them to be stories that Christians will feel comfortable giving to non-Christian friends as an outreach.

Blessings as you read,

~ Brandilyn Collins