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Messages of Hope and Forgiveness – Writer and Illustrator Kevin Collier
I recently came into contact with Kevin Collier, who writes and illustrates children’s books, although he seems to have done a lot more. (You can read all about him at his Wikipedia entry.) He agreed to a Q&A for my website.
You seem to be doing so much. As briefly as possible, please tell me about what you do.
Kevin: Most people imagine you're either a writer or you are an illustrator. I am both. But, I don't just draw pictures for my own stories, I hire out as an illustrator for other writers and work as a freelance or stringer for a few small publishers as an artist. So, half of my book credits are books I am the author of, and the other half are books I have illustrated for other authors.
Do you only write for children?
Kevin: Pretty much, but I write many articles and columns for adults for magazines. So, I could write for any age market, but my imagination leans to youth readers via fantasy. I have had success in the market with this genre so it is an enjoyable niche.
Please tell me a little about your faith and how it influences your work.
Kevin: I was once asked, "What element does every story have to have to be good?" The answer is, "Hope." No matter what age group a fiction story leans to, or no matter the subject matter, there has to be a ray of hope. My faith is brushed all over my books gently but the delivery is not is a preachy fashion. I just think any writing without faith is without purpose. Faith is believing without knowing... but knowing begins with belief.
Are your books written for Christians only, or do they appeal also to a secular audience?
Kevin: Most are in the mainstream and found in traditional book markets. Many people read them and don't even realize they are faith-based. A few are more religious in nature. My books have ended up in many public schools, so they do cross over. I think the messages of hope and forgiveness in my books resonate with all readers, regardless of religion.
I know a surprising number of people who have written children's books, but they have been unable to get published. What is your advice to them?
Kevin: Write good stories that have a purpose, and keep hope alive. No one is ever going to believe in you as a writer if you don't believe in yourself. I have always said, "If a work is good, it has legs. And, if it has legs, it will walk." It has to possess potential. Focus on writing great works, and the market will find YOU!
How is the internet changing the world of children's publishing?
Kevin: The internet, in regards to authors who start blogs and build their own websites, creates name awareness for many entry level writers. Online writers’ groups afford contacts and connections between writers, reviewers and publishers. Also, concerning publications, e-books are slowly crawling up the ladder and writers are finding entry-level opportunities to write electronic download books. The internet puts us all within a hand's reach.
Finally, what are you working on now?
Kevin: I am writing a sequel to the 2005 Tweener Press print book "Esther's Channel" which features a cast of talking reptiles, water creatures and animals. The book, "Gack Vanishes" will be published next year. Another book I am writing is an e-book about a character I write and draw as a series called "Journeys of Hope." Hope is the name of an angelfish who swims the ocean. I am also illustrating a few books for other writers, one having to do with a baby elephant, another a mouse family that lived in the stable where Jesus was born. It's always something inspiring
Kevin, thank you very much.
September 16th, 2006