Meet the Author: Colin Galbraith

What a nice way to end the week; I’m pleased as all get-out to introduce my readers and friends to a truly neat individual. Colin Galbraith, whom I first met in a cyber way (and yet to meet in a real-time way) about 5 years ago. Details of our first acquaintance are iffy – it could’ve been when Anne Wayman was the stellar hostess of the About.com writing forum, or it could’ve been on her current About Freelance Writing site.

Either way, Colin has enjoyed much freelance success since that time. His latest novel, Stella, which is being released June 7th, chronicles the story of Randolph Lowe, hired to assassinate the world’s least accessible, yet most-wanted assassins. Little does he know his target is the beautiful Stella. The story takes many twists and turns as Randolph falls in love with his target, who isn’t at all what she seems to be, for she’s hiding her own secret.

What was the inspiration for Stella?

The idea for STELLA first came to me in 1988. I was listening to an album of the same name by Yello, and I developed a series of images to certain songs in my mind as I listened to the album. I always promised myself I would one day write these images down into a cohesive text, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I felt my writing had developed enough that I could give it a bash.

I began by writing down these images, and from that I used the music to further inspire the gaps in between. Slowly, a story began to unfold until I had a first draft. It took a lot more work to make it into what it is today and I’m delighted with how it turned out.

Why write a paranormal mystery; you’ve never written in this genre before?
It wasn’t meant to be a paranormal book. My original idea was for the book to be a spy novella, something with its roots in the mysteries of underground eastern Europe. As the ideas began to develop on paper, though, the book began to take on its own form and it made sense for a paranormal aspect to come into it. I can’t honestly see it working without it now.

Did you enjoy writing in the paranormal mystery genre?

Very much. Looking back, my writing has diversified naturally over the past couple of years. My favoured “genre” is crime, but I have found the two other most enjoyable types of writing I have indulged in has been paranormal (through STELLA), and children’s poetry, through my e-chapbook, Silly Poems for Wee People Vol.1.

At the start of 2009 I vowed I would write more about the things that made me happy, and since making that decision and sticking to it, I’ve had more success and fun with my writing than any other year.

What research went into writing Stella?

Not as much as you might think. Most research concerned the locations in the book that I hadn’t been to, but which I wanted to appear in the book. It’s fast moving story and takes the reader all around the world, so while I could write vividly about Prague, Amsterdam and London, I knew little of San Francisco, Brooklyn NY and Fes, Morocco.

There was also a bit of research into demons and black roses, but mostly it’s all made up – the kind of writing I enjoy most.

Will we see more of Stella and Randolph?

STELLA was originally meant as a personal writing experiment and I never meant, or expected it, to ever be published. However, now it has been, and having enjoyed working with Stella and Randolph so much, I want to do more with them.

Both Stella and Randolph are such strong characters and there are so many questions I have now STELLA is behind me, that I want to find out more about them. And where the author has questions, so too I expect will the readers.

I’ve already begun work on the sequel and am planning on making their story into a trilogy. The book I am writing just now – the sequel to STELLA – is called BACCARA BURNING.

Colin’s bio: Colin has published many short stories, poems, articles and reviews, in both print and online publications. His novel, Hunting Jack, was serialised in 2004, and his chapbook, Fringe Fantastic: The Poet’s Experience of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, was published by Smashing Press in December 2005 to critical acclaim. Poolside Poetry soon followed, published in March 2007. He has published three e-chapbooks: Brick by Brick (2005), Silly Poems for Wee People Vol.1 (2006), and Selektion (2007). He edited his first anthology, Full Circle, in 2007 and his hugely popular children’s poem, River Monkeys, appeared in the anthology, A Pocketful of Fun, published by Forward Press in 2006. He is proud to be the Chief Editor and Publisher of The Ranfurly Review literary e-magazine, and an Associate Editor at The Scruffy Dog Review.

Want to host Colin on your blog? Give him a shout.

Do you have any questions for Colin on the writing process or on his book? Feel free to leave comments here!

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Comments

  • Colin Galbraith June 5, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for hosting me today, Lori!

    Reply
  • devonellington June 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Hey, Colin, great interview! I can't wait to read the book when it releases.

    Lori, and here i thought I'd introduced the two of you! 😉

    Question: How do you feel your experience writing poetry enhances your fiction?

    Reply
  • Lori June 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Maybe you did, Devon! LOL I'm old – the memory is shot. 😉

    Reply
  • Colin Galbraith June 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I can't actually remember when I first "met" Lori. I think it's long lost in the grey matter mists 🙂

    Thanks for coming over Devon; I can always rely on you to hit me with a tough question, lol!

    I think poetry and fiction have many things in common: Both require the writer to see things differently; examine the world through a third eye, to feel and become a part of an extension of whatever it is being written about. Even if that happens to be fantasy or sc-fi or whatever, the author still has to attach to the emotions – everything seems to come down to emotions at the end of day – for me anyway.

    Following on from that, I think fiction writers and poets must attempt to explain these thoughts and ideas in a coherent sense that’s visually apparent to the reader. The prose must read to a natural flow and rhythm, and it must be tight and concise – no wasted words, and certainly, no more than is required.

    So for me, writing poetry has given me practice in viewing the world differently, and to train myself in both standing off a subject enough to appreciate it, while absorbing myself in it enough to become part of it.

    Also, poetry has helped teach me the art of trimming sentences and in getting the point across without losing the emotion.

    Thanks for a challenging question and possibly next topic of my next book! 🙂

    Reply
  • Marinela June 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Congratulations Colin 🙂

    Reply
  • anne wayman June 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for the link… I love cyber meetings – in fact Lori, you and I have yet to be f2f – came close a couple of years ago and I'll bet we make it.

    Reply
  • devonellington June 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Colin — great point. Amazing how different format require us, as writers, to change our viewpoints!

    Reply
  • lwidmer June 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    You bet we will, Anne. You're one of my top chums and I can't imagine NOT meeting you. 🙂

    Colin, I can see where tight writing from poetry training can benefit the book writer. My questions – does your writing process involve outlines or character development charts? How do you begin a story?

    Reply
  • Amie June 5, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Hmm, I may have to add STELLA to my reading list–sounds like it's right up my alley!

    Reply
  • Colin Galbraith June 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Marinela – thank you so much!

    Amie – if you do buy a copy, I hope you enjoy it 🙂

    Lori – Another cracking question! How do I begin a story? Mainly it will come from an initial idea, a kernel from something I’ve seen or heard that intrigues me, that I then let my imagination run riot on.

    My previous book, Hunting Jack, was conceived after I saw a homeless boy begging on the streets of Edinburgh during the Festival, and it struck me how he blended in and seemed to be no different to the street acts, other than the fact he was doing it to survive day to day.

    Stella was born after a feeling and image I got in my mind after listening to an album. Small triggers with big ideas! 🙂

    The actual writing of a story, thereafter, involves an initial ‘getting to know’ and development of the characters, but I can only take that so far. I don’t really get to know them until the story begins to unfold, and I don't really appreciate the full range of charactrers until I begin either. Someone new always comes in along the journey to stir things up!

    With Stella, I had a fair idea of the two main characters, but even then they have surprised me with their attitudes and things they have done. Stella wasn’t supposed to leave Randolph standing in a hotel in San Francisco; she just did it and it hacked me off because it meant I had to change the plot a bit. Stella is a very strong character, and like all strong women, I’ve found there’s no point in arguing with her!

    Reply
  • Colin Galbraith June 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for stopping by today 🙂

    Reply
  • L.L. June 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Sorry for being so late to the party!

    First off– congratulations, Colin, for the upcoming release of Stella.

    My question to you is:

    I have a piece, that hasn’t seen the light of day in some time, which was solely inspired by Peter Gabriel’s, In Your Eyes. Aside from Yello’s inspiring album, do you find that music and writing go hand in hand?

    And, great interview Lori!!!!

    Blessings, Laura

    Reply
  • Colin Galbraith June 6, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Thanks L.L.!

    Music and writing definitely go hand in hand for me, whether it’s for inspiration or mood creation. For instance, Stella, as I mentioned, was inspired by the images the songs created in my mind, whereas some pieces need a mood behind it to create the feeling and emotions from which the words can be generated.

    Here’s a couple of examples: I listen to Mogwai or Pink Floyd a lot when writing crime fiction because it creates a feeling of edginess and sub-culture; I listen to reggae when writing poetry to lift my spirits and open up my mind; and I listen to classical when I’m editing because it relaxes me.

    Thanks again to Lori for having me! 🙂

    Reply