**Author Peek** Interview with Colleen Collins

Collins_HowDoPrivateEyesDoThat BLOG ONLINE PR 800
**Author Peek** Interview with



Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.

After earning a theatre degree at UC Santa Barbara, I packed up my car and moved to Hollywood to find a job in film production. Eventually, I worked as a “script girl” on a TV sitcom, and later an assistant to Michael Ovitz, at the time the most powerful agent in Hollywood, which was a crazy, fun, stressful job.

After stints as a tech writer/editor, even an improv comedienne!, I sold my first novel, RIGHT CHEST, WRONG NAME, to Harlequin in 1996.

In 2003, I opened a private investigations agency with Shaun, my then-boyfriend and current husband. As a former criminal lawyer, he had trained many PIs, so he mentored me in the fine art of sleuthing.

More recently, I’ve written a romantic-mystery series for Harlequin Superromance, and self-published three mysteries and five nonfiction books, one being my current release, How Do Private Eyes Do That?. If any of Karen’s Killer Book Bench readers would like to win a Kindle copy of How Do Private Eyes Do That?, leave a comment (or a question about private investigations, if you’d like). Two winners’ names will be randomly picked from the comments.

1. What appeals to you about the genre that you write?

Romantic-mysteries appeal to my romance-writer background and my investigator reality. Writing nonfiction appeals to the left side of my brain 🙂

2. Are you a plotter or a pantser (one who writes “by the seat of your pants”)?

Plotter. I go into dangerous territory when I “pants.”

3. What is your favorite part of writing?

Those “ah-ha” moments when things click—a plot twist, character revelation, etc.

4. If you had to give up writing and do something else, what would you do instead?

What I already do: legal investigator.

5. What’s your favorite meal of the day?

Dinner. Time to let go of the day and relax with my honey.

6. Which are your favorite characters to write, the female characters or the male characters? Why?

It depends on the character’s personality. The more complex and conflicted they are, the more fun they are to write. I wrote two romantic-mysteries, THE UNGRATEFUL DEAD and THE ZEN MAN, in first person (male POV), who had a wickedly funny outlook on life. Loved writing my last female protagonist, a down-on-her-luck criminal lawyer in MISTLETOE AND MURDER IN LAS VEGAS, who was a mass of contradictions, and said things that made me laugh!

7. If you had a superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it?

Superhuman mentality, a la Brainiac, so I could solve cases faster and finally understand how to do my taxes.

8.  Many writers dream of having the ideal location to write. If you could live anywhere in the world or live a particular lifestyle, where would you be answering these questions right now?

San Francisco. I think Northern California is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.

9.  Do you have any rejection stories to share? Reviews that meant something special to you?

Before I was published, I had an insightful rejection (for a dark mystery) from an agent. He said, “You’re a talented writer, but nobody wants to read sad stories. Write lighter and you’ll sell.” I took his advice and wrote a romantic-comedy, which was my first book sale.

10.  Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?

I’m working on a time-travel mystery series. First book will be out in 2017.


Be sure to come back to read more about Colleen and HOW DO PRIVATE EYES DO THAT? on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!


Links to Colleen’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bnJFk2

Colleen Collins Books: http://www.colleencollinsbooks.com

Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes (PI blog):

Twitter: @writingpis


Amazon Author Page:


Collins_HowDoPrivateEyesDoThat BLOG ONLINE PR 800**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Colleen is giving away a Kindle copy of HOW DO PRIVATE EYES DO THAT? to two lucky readers who comment  or ask a question about private investigations on her **Author Peek** or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs. Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your story with us.

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

12 thoughts on “**Author Peek** Interview with Colleen Collins”

  1. Good morning, Colleen, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I’m with you! I want Braniac skills. Maybe then I could write faster. 🙂 I can’t wait to explore your PI book. I’ve always wondered how PIs work. Thanks for sharing your skills and expertise!

  2. Thank you, Karen, for your warm welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, and good morning, everyone!

    Connie, to answer your question: in the U.S., all but 5 states require licensure to be a PI, and the requirements are listed within a state’s licensing guidelines. Here’s a list (courtesy of Pursuit Magazine, a free online magazine for private investigators) on licensing requirements by state: http://pursuitmag.com/resources/investigator-licensing/

    Generally speaking, those with backgrounds in law enforcement can apply a set of time toward licensure; for example a former police officer’s background might fulfill most of a 5,000-hour mentorship requirement.

    In licensed states, PIs must also typically be 21, not a felon!, pass a background check and written exam.

    Great question, thanks for asking.

  3. To all:

    Let me be a little more concrete (and not with a tone of insinuation) about how Colleen fits in a litigation practice. She will do locates, (or act as a finder of people who, for any number of reasons are avoiding life in a public, pronounced way) and she will assist other lawyers by teaching them some of the same skills/techniques which were described in “How Do”. She will be helping out by presenting testimony or writing an affidavit for a hearing in court at the end of the month. She will address, at that time, the criminal background of a young woman who Colleen identified as the person who drove a car, and who injured my client in an accident while doing so. This should help us get an increased award from the Court. So while her book instructs on how Private Eyes do that, I can tell you that her skill set helps my practice help our injured client get her medical bills paid. It doesn’t hurt our bottom line either.

  4. Wow, Colleen, what fun to read all your answers. It’s been a long haul, hasn’t it? I’m happy you’re doing so well and are so happy.

    I’m going to start a series in 2017 a cozy mystery. So I can’t wait to read your book. Please put my name in the drawing. AND thank you!!

    Leslie Ann Sartor

  5. Thanks to my husband, Shaun, for the write-up on more of what a legal investigator, such as yours truly, does. This past year I’ve found more hit-and-run drivers (such as the one Shaun described) than I recall looking for in years past. Not sure if that is circumstantial or there being more drivers or ?

  6. bn100, I have to say my all-time favorite PI in a movie or TV show is Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files). He really broke the fictional private eye “mold” in that show – Jim Rockford was more laid-back, had done time in prison, lived on the beach in a trailer, kept his gun in a cookie jar, had a self-deprecating sense of humor, and he preferred a day of fishing to working a case. All that said, he was a dynamite PI, too, when he wanted to be. Fun question – thanks for asking!

    1. We do go a long way back, don’t we, Colleen? I fell in love with your writing with Right Chest, Wrong Name. 🙂 I am having fun writing my next book in the Thorne’s Thorns series. It’s more romantic suspense thriller than cozy but that’s where I have the most fun. 🙂

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