It is a true pleasure to have my friend and fellow author/illustrator, Mark C. Collins, here to share a little about himself and his incredible work. I have known Mark for several years. Thank you so much for stopping by today, Mark.
Mark C. Collins
Please tell us something about yourself.
I make a living as digital illustrator, but have been a traditional artist since I was a child. Aside from my illustrating and writing children’s books. I’m also a singer/songwriter/bassist in a rock duo.
Jjspina: You certainly are a talented guy, Mark.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I’ve written poetry since high school. I started writing songs in my early 20s. I began writing short stories (unpublished) in my 40s. After illustrating a series of children’s books for an author in 2013, seeing her work inspired me to write my own kids’ books, and by the end of that year, I released my first book.
Jjspina: It is a wonderful feeling to see your work in print. Congratulations to you for taking that first step.
What process do you need in order to write?
I spend a lot of time writing in my head, going over the story before ever laying pen to paper. Most times an idea germinates into a strong direction, but the ending usually is a surprise to me, as the story seems to write itself once I’m two thirds through the first draft.
Jjspina: I know what you mean about the story writing itself. That is how my stories are completed, a surprise to me too.
How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
Inspiration usually comes by accident… like while I’m in the shower, or while driving. A rhyming phrase, title, or a concept with a twist is usually what kicks it off. I write much easier in rhyme than in prose.
Jjspina: You never know where or when inspiration will come. Just go with it and be thankful.
What projects are you currently working on?
Several, actually. One being a children’s book about a grumpy grandfather, another about 3 little people who show cooperation in the face of a problem, and finally a YA novella which I’ve been writing in my head for the last 2 years, but can’t discuss it here due to the original nature of the story. I’ve also returned to easel painting… something I hadn’t much time to accomplish these past few years with my client projects.
Jjspina: You are definitely having a wonderful time with inspiration by evidence of all these WIP. Good for you that you are back to painting. I bet your paintings are extraordinary like your illustrations.
What do you expect to accomplish in 2023?
Finish one of the 2 children’s books previously mentioned, and get on the first draft of the YA novel. Also determined to finally do some live gigs with my band, as well as getting a body of paintings completed for a possible gallery show.
Jjspina: Good luck with your projects and your upcoming gallery show. How exciting!
What hobbies do you have when you are not writing?
I’m an avid health and fitness nut, lifting weights 4 times per week, and eating healthy. Also the previously mentioned rock band. I also like longboard skateboarding on nice days… it’s like soul-surfing.
Jjspina: Keep up the good work and stay healthy.
What is your target audience for your book?
Eleven of my books are for kids 4 through 9 or ten. The other is a chapter book for older grades.
Jjspina: I’ve read a couple of your books and found them delightful and entertaining with beautiful illustrations.
Please share your links and where to purchase your books.
All my books can be purchased on Amazon… via my website: www.markcollinsillustration.com
What advice would you give prospective authors?
Keep writing. Ignore trends and follow your heart. Don’t preach… kids know when they’re being patronized. Your goal should be enlightenment through entertainment. And finally; save up some money and hire a quality illustrator. You’ve invested so much time, effort, and creativity in writing your story, so why cheapen it by hiring style-less amateurs to illustrate it? You wouldn’t frame a masterpiece of art with a cheap plastic frame. This will probably sound harsh, but I estimate that 80- 90% of self-published children’s books are garbage due to poor illustration, design and layout of the book, regardless of how good the writing is.
Jjspina: Wonderful advice, Mark. Thank you for sharing.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Florence, Italy. We visited back in 2017, and I feel like I left my heart there.
Jjspina: Italy is a beautiful and magical place. It is easy to lose your heart there.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
Have more time to do everything my crazy creative brain comes up with.
Jjspina; There never seems to be enough time to accomplish all one needs or desires to do.
What would you do if you were not a writer?
Probably be a painter.
Jjspina: It sounds like you have already accomplished that too.
Do you have any unusual talents? What are they?
I can do ventriloquism. I taught myself how to do it in the 4th grade.
Jjspina: That is an amazing skill to have taught yourself. You are a man of many talents.
Here is Mark C. Collin’s Amazon Link.
Here are my reviews of Mark’s books:
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adorable and Creative Children’s Book!Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 23, 2014
What a fun and energetic read for children of a little boy, Ben, and his busy day! Ben has all kinds of adventures using his imagination. This is a creative book with clever rhyming and exceptional illustrations that will keep children mesmerized and actively engaged.
This is the second book I have received for an honest review. Mark Collins is an artistic and extremely talented author and illustrator. I would expect to see many more excellent books from him. I highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comical but Sensitive Story! Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 24, 2014
This is another winning book by talented author/illustrator, Mark C. Collins. It is well written and the illustrations done in caricatures are stunning. The story handles a common problem among the older generation in a sensitive and sweet way.
This is the third book I have been gifted for an honest review. I honestly enjoyed this cute story as I know children will too. I look forward to more outstanding books from this author whose star is surely going to rise.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adorable and Comical Story! Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 11, 2014
An entertaining and sweet story about a little boy who has a bad hair day. Harry wakes up one day with wild hair and can’t make up his mind about what hairstyle he should try. He tries several different styles of some famous people such as Elvis, Einstein, The Beatles, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, and Pablo Picasso.
The author, who is also the illustrator of this adorable story, has created a clever and comical story that children will love. Mark C. Collins also gives a little information after the end of the story about each of the famous people mentioned in the story. Mark is an incredibly talented author/illustrator. I look forward to more endearing stories from Mark.
5 out of 5 Stars!
This is a fun rhyming book for young children that will have them giggling from the first page. What a delightful book with adorable illustrations that are eye-catching and colorful.
Children will love this story and are sure to want to read it again and again. The author has created a an entertaining read with one rhyming line per page with an explanation at the end of all the words used enabling children to add more words to their vocabulary.
Mark C. Collins is a talented author and illustrator of some amazing books that you should add to your children’s library for hours of enjoyment.
Thank you so much for sharing your books with us today, Mark. It was lovely to see you. Please come back again when you have more work to share. Best wishes for much success with all your projects.
Thank you, readers, for stopping by to read this post. I hope you will check out Mark’s incredible books and illustrations soon. Reviews are always welcome and appreciated by authors everywhere.
Blessings & Hugs! Stay Safe, Stay Well and God Bless!
READING GIVES YOU WINGS TO FLY! SOAR WITH JEMSBOOKS ALL YEAR THROUGH! HAPPY READING!
Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina
Jemsbooks for All Ages!
AMAZON.COM AUTHOR PAGE (All books)
AMAZON.COM JE SPINA NOVELS PAGE
What a wonderful interview. I love Mark’s advice about not following trends and write from the heart. That is the only way I know to do it! Thanks, Janice, for featuring Mark!
Thank you, Jan. Yes, great advice! Thanks for stopping by. 🥰
Such a treat to meet Mark here on your blog. I love the colorful book covers shared herein. Their energy grabs you and pulls you in! I wish him much-continued success.
Thank you, Annette! Great covers, I agree! He is quite talented! 🥰
Thank you, Janice, for the honor of allowing me to introduce myself and my work on your fine blog! And thanks you to Jan and Annette for their thoughtful replies!
My pleasure, Mark! Good luck with all your books and future endeavors. 🥰
Great blog post, Mark! Your work as a digital illustrator and traditional artist is impressive, and your passion for writing is inspiring. I completely agree with your advice for prospective authors. It takes hard work, dedication, and a willingness to invest in quality illustration, design, and layout to create a truly great book. My question for you is, what inspired you to become a digital illustrator, and what do you think are the advantages of working in digital versus traditional mediums? Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
Thank you, Yoyedib154 for stopping by. It was a pleasure to host Mark.