Author interviews have become a joy for me to do. So I decided, as you can probably tell by now, to focus on an author every Thursday. Last week I was asking my fellow writers if they knew of any author’s would accept an interview with me, then I left it up to the Universe.
While filling up a prescription at the pharmacy a couple of weeks ago, I picked up our local Newsletter “Community Connections” and low and behold there was an article about Colleen Baxter Sullivan. I am so happy to have found an author from Deux-Montagnes where I live, and was even more excited she agreed to an interview.
Both her books are published through Chipmunka Publishing, a company “dedicated to giving a voice to the survivors of mental illness.” The main character ‘Lil’ both in ‘Lil’s Way’ and its sequel ‘Jaded’ suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder.
To quote writer, Gordon Wetmore, in his article for Community Connections, Colleen Baxter Sullivan is: “outgoing and “anything but jaded herself”. She is warm, witty and possesses a self-deprecating sense of humor.”
Describe yourself in 5 to 7 words:
Loyal, Friendly, Humourous, Perceptive, Dedicated
Apart from writing, what do you love to do?
Well, with five grown children and three grandchildren, it is easy to see how I can keep very busy. When I am not writing I am usually enjoying my family. I also look after my mother, who will be 90 in August. I attend to all her needs. This is a fulltime job, but I am very happy to still have her with us. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by my entourage, as I jokingly call them. I would one day love to take up horse back riding again. When I lived in England for a short period of time, I jumped. I want to buy a horse and share this wonderful experience with my grandchildren.
How did you discover your love for writing? I’ve read you once got very discouraged at an early age? Tell us about that.
Writing/storytelling, one in the same thing … I never stop talking, so it was only natural that I would want to write. I started writing at a very early age. Even though I got discouraged by a teacher in grade three, this did not hold me back. Writing is like any other artistic talent. Unfortunately this teacher thought the grammatical side of writing was more important than the creative side. How can it be an art if it is not coming from within. Grammar and creativity are two different elements in writing. Anyone can learn grammar, but creating a storyline is an art. It took me sometime to realize that. But, she did not stop me. I, still on a personal level wrote all my thoughts down. I loved to journal.
Not at all! I, after many years know that I am good. Hell, you have to believe in yourself. Everyone has a different opinion of your style, but if you feel good about what you do … that is all that matters. You are the artist, no one else.
Who inspires you?
Khaled Hosseini (Author of the Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns). I was online talking with him, when I first started to write. He gave me the best information and encouragement ever. I will never forget his kindness.
What book struck you as a child/teen and why?
‘Little Women‘ by Louisa May Alcott. First of all, it was the very first book that I had ever read, from cover to cover. I fell in love with the household and family. That is when I discovered the effect of your imaginary vision while turning page after page. I will never forget that first
What is the last book you read?
B is for Burglar, by Sue Grafton – excellent author – easy read.
I read, you can be up writing at 3 o’clock in the morning? What drives you?
I lie in bed and think of a storyline. The characters never rest. I am plotting all night long … in my sleep that is. So, I figure, why not get up, and write down these thoughts. My mind is
always at work. I never rest.
Your first book, Lil’s Way was rejected 139 times. What pushed you to go to 140?
Because I thought it was good. And I have the type of personality that never takes no for an answer. I read so many books that were complete rubbish. Some authors get published by their name, Ex: if your husband is a television personality, you’ve already got your foot in the door. Singers, actors – they all want a piece of the pie, and many a time they have no writing ability. Also, many a time these books are pure crap. I don’t like NO. I truly felt if others especially like that can get published, then so can I. I always see the cup half full rather than half empty.
The only way to truly get the complete picture is to check out my website: www.colleenbaxtersullivan.com.
What are your future projects?
I am writing a murder mystery, called ‘Devon’s Heart.’ I don’t know if this time it will deal with Mental Health Issues. I am veering from that at the moment.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I can go anywhere in the world if I choose to, but, I would probably live in France if I had a chance. That is where all the famous writers, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice B. Toklas, lived during the 1920’s. It was full of literary art and the remnants are still there. That is why I love Montreal so much, it reminds me a wee bit of France.
Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers? Any advice?
Embrace what you do, but remember you must have strong shoulders, for there will be a lot of critique regarding your work. Everyone will give their advice. But it is you that has the talent. Listen attentively, with open ears, but in the end follow your heart. If you have a favorite author, try to learn from them. There are so many online forums to get information from. And most of all, don’t settle. Get your book published and get it published well.
Colleen Baxter Sullivan presently resides in the small town of Deux-Montagnes, just on the outskirts of Montreal, the city where ‘Lil’s Way’ takes place, the city that she has always been enamoured with, her city, her Montreal. Her first love is her family. She is a wife (married 25 years next year), and the mother of five beautiful grown children, two grandsons and one granddaughter. (quoted and paraphrased from colleenbaxtersullivan.com)Colleen’s blog : Colleen Baxter Sullivan – Author