Brenda M. Collins Here Now

I would like to thank Brenda for coming to be with us today !!!

Thank you so much for inviting to meet your friends today.

I’m in my office in Alberta Canada, watching the sun sparkle off the ice on my window. Winter has come in like a lion this year; we’ve already had almost two feet of fluffy white snow fall this week. I can almost hear those Christmas bells ringing! ;-)

Rad-Reader:  What made you decide to become a writer?  How and when did you realize you wanted to do it?

Brenda:  My mother, concerned that I had so little interest in reading as I entered my teens, bought me my first romantic suspense novel. That’s when I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up—the next Agatha Christie. However, as often happens, I let LIFE get in the way. And it’s taken me decades to circle back to that dream.

Rad-Reader:  Tell our readers about yourself… Is there anything personal, you the writer, would like to share with our readers that they would find interesting.  Something no one knows about you?  How about something personal? (Funny childhood story).

Brenda:  There’s an Irish saying, May you live an interesting life, so I would say I have the luck of the Irish. My first career was in computer security when it was in its infancy, so I got to see the emergence of the internet while travelling all over the world.  At one point, when I was in my late twenties and in Paris on business, I got lost in the warehouse district late one night when the subway shut down, and was rescued by a dark, handsome stranger. I finally wrote the whole episode down after having to repeat it to friends so often. It’s posted on my website if anyone wants to read the whole true story. Now, I’m pursuing my dream of being a commercial fiction author. It’s not as lucrative, but just as interesting. With my dear hubby, I also love rock hounding, silver-smithing, and am willing to try anything else that peaks our interest.

Rad-Reader:  Where did you grow up and did it influence your writing at all?

Brenda:  I was born on an the island in the North Atlantic, off the east coast of Canada, called Newfoundland. Its history dates back to the Vikings, and, culturally, we lean heavily to Irish. Folktales, and storytelling, are bred into my family genes.

Rad-Reader:  What books influenced your writing style do you think?  Why?

Brenda:  According to some sketchy family lore, I’m related to Wilkie Collins. LOL But I learned the power of a well-placed clue by reading Agatha Christie. I discovered strong character development from Rex Stout and Dick Francis, and romantic suspense from Mariah Stewart and Kay Hooper. And of course, like everyone else, I’ve learned so much about the art of storytelling from Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb!

Rad-Reader:  What genres do you like to write and which do you write the most of?

I’m a bit of a genre bender – I’ve always got a cozy mystery running through my stories, and a hero and heroine who have to build a relationship of some kind to resolve the puzzle and reach their goals. But then I may weave in paranormal elements, or give it an old style detective twist, or wander into the international suspense thriller genre…really wherever my imagination and mood takes me.

Rad-Reader:  What kind of books do you like to read?  What new authors have peeked your interest?

Brenda:  I’m all over the paranormal suspense and romance genre at the moment. I can’t list all fabulous authors I’ve found. And there are more great ones yet to be discovered, I’m sure. I picked up Jeanine Frost’s HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE this Fall and fell in love with Cat and Bones. I’ve already read the rest of the Night Huntress series and can’t wait until January  2014 when UP FROM THE GRAVE is due to be released. And Roxy Boroughs can write anything from literary fiction to romantic suspense. It amazes me that she can create a sweet romantic hero, like Jimmy Frost, in Home for ChristMas, and then a chilling serial killer, like the one in A Stranger’s Kiss. Isn’t that the definition of a virtuoso–a person with exceptional skill across many areas?

Rad-Reader: Where you good at English/Writing in school?

Brenda:  My mother told me recently that I was the only one of her six children who would refuse to leave the kitchen, where she would supervise our homework,  until she had helped me find the exact word I needed to capture my story for a writing project. Apparently my imagination exceeded my vocabulary even then. LOL

Rad-Reader: Are you in any writing groups?  Do you use long hand, computer. Typewriter, or dictate it?

Brenda:  I’ve been attached to a computer for too many years to count—I don’t think I know what to do with a pen anymore. I’ve been a member of the Romance Writers of America since 1998, and the Calgary chapter (CaRWA) since its inception ten years go. I’m also a member of RWA’s Kiss of Death and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters. For some silly reason, I didn’t pursue my writing in university – what was I thinking! – so I’ve depended on those wonderful groups to teach me everything I need to know about the writing craft and the publishing industry. I’d be lost without their expertise, support and friendship.  Rad-Reader:  As a person who grew up with paranormal activity in our home and have esp and and a long line of family members with it, it is hard for me to read about it.  I can live it just can't read about it.  I know I am weird, been told that my whole life.  LOL :D
Rad-Reader:  What about your characters?  Are any of them real?  You know based on real people you’ve known or at least some of their traits?

Brenda:  Most of my characters come to me in my dreams fairly well formed so I wouldn’t say they are real. But certainly I am a people watcher so I’m sure my subconscious is pulling in traits and mannerisms that I’ve observed. I’m also a research hound. While Joey Frost’s actions are her own in The Holly and The Ivy, I relied heavily on Officer Devon McCrea of the Polson (MT) Police Department to make sure Joey didn’t stretch police procedures beyond the breaking point. And I suspect that the characters are often reflecting some facet of my own personality, for better or for worse.

Rad-Reader:  What made you want to be a part of this trilogy series?

Brenda:  That’s an easy one – CJ Carmichael and Roxy Boroughs. Those two are amazing authors and I was thrilled and honored that they wanted a newbie like me to join them on this project. They were so supportive and encouraging as we developed the through-plot of the abandoned baby mystery, and we had a hoot for a week doing the continuity revisions together at Carla’s place in Montana. My writing has grown so much through this experience,  I can’t thank them enough for including me.

Rad-Reader:  Is there more you want to do with the story that you could not fit into the three books? Do you think or did all the characters say what they needed to say or will there be a reunion?

Brenda:  Funny you should ask-the three of us got together for lunch to discuss our launch plans and started talking about our secondary characters. We each had come up more story ideas before we’d even launched the first three! We haven’t made a decision yet to move on our ideas so let’s see if the readers have a few suggests before we tell you who caught our attention, shall we? Rad-Reader: No question whatsoever.  You have to at the very least have a reunion.  We have to know if everyone ended up doing what they were meant to do and if the towns people they were helping made it too.

Rad-Reader:  Tell us about your cover.  How did you select it?  How important do you think it is to the sale of your book?

Brenda:  A book cover is your critical first impression to your reader. It has to leap out to your reader yelling, “I’m the book you want to read!” For A FROST FAMILY CHRISTMAS series, CJ, Roxy and I nearly drove our cover artist crazy trying to find exactly the right set of covers that would convey the heartwarming, New England romantic holiday nature of our trilogy. We had the added challenge, because we were indie publishing, of needing covers that would still be clear and readable when shrunk to a 1” by 2” thumbnail on Amazon. We think we succeeded on all counts but would love to hear from our readers’ opinion on that.

Rad-Reader:  Was Christmas important to you or was it a was it just another day?  Any traditions like the Frost family?

Brenda:  Christmas was HUGE in my family! I don’t think my mother got to bed on Christmas Eve until the last of her children moved out of the house! She blamed it on having to get ready for Christmas Day, but personally, I think she just got too excited to sleep. She even started a tradition called the Christmas Ball, that’s still in play (pun intended) to this day within the extended family across North America. She uses paper streamers, coins and dollar store trinkets– she writes funny verse for each ‘prize’. After the big family dinner, we pass the Ball around the table and each person reads their verse, and opens the prize. New rules have evolved over the years, like if the streamer breaks, it’s bad luck, and, as more of us moved farther away, whoever gets the $1 coin has to write the thank you note to Mom. She’s 88 years old this year and still makes one for each of us and several of our first cousins’ families – so we’re all wrapped together in streamers on Christmas Day!

Rad-Reader:  How many books do you have out?  What is your newest book that is out?

Brenda:  I’ve published a sweet paranormal romance, WITCH IN THE WIND and a sweet romance anthology called STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE with Roxy Borough, for which all author proceeds are donated to the fight against breast cancer. 
 Rad-Reader:  This is my second year cancer free from thyroid cancer stage one and I want to thank you for all cancer patients out there this is so nice of you both to do.

I’ve just released a sweet holiday romance, The Holly & The Ivy (A Frost Family Christmas - Book Three). It’s one of three heartwarming stories that take place in the fictional town of Carol Falls, Vermont in December. Each novella is a complete romance, with a mystery running through all three books that is resolved in my story.

Book 1: “What Child is This” by C.J. Carmichael -
Book 2: “Home for Christmas” by Roxy Boroughs -
Book 3: “The Holly & the Ivy” by Brenda M. Collins -

Rad-Reader:  Finally: How can we get in touch with you

Brenda:  Here are all my links . . .

Brenda’s website:

Thanks again for having me today. It’s been great fun!
We thank you for being here with us!!!


  1. I would like to thank all our readers for coming by to check out our interviews each week. But especially this week for we have one of the three authors from the Frost Family Christmas Series Books, Brenda W. Collins. I hope you enjoy her interview.

  2. Thank you so much for inviting me to join you this evening. I already have some feedback on this post - from my dear hubby. He informed me that the IRISH saying I quoted at the start, is in fact a Chinese curse! >:-0 He still hasn't convinced me that having an interesting life could possibly be a BAD thing. Would anyone really like to have a BORING life? What do you think? BMC

  3. Hey Brenda, listening to you talk about how we worked on our books this summer in Montana, made me wish we could time travel back to that week and enjoy another happy hour on the deck! It sure was interesting to be writing about Christmas in the middle of a hot Montana summer! Thanks Rad Readers for spreading the word about A Frost Family Christmas!

  4. "OH NO MR. BILL SAY IT AIN'T SO" I think I just dated myself with that saying from an old 70's radio show.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Carla!
      And at the risk of dating myself too - Wasn't that a TV show - Saturday Night Live - back in the early years?

  5. Okay I just want to be able to just get to the point to allow anyone to read anything I have written and you all are just going off to Montana in time travel. WOW I want to live your boring lives. LOL

    1. As I said - gotta love that boring/interesting life!!!

  6. You three have done a great job with this series and readers do yourselves a favor and not miss this. Give it to your friends as a Christmas gift. This is just the sweetest family. And it has something for everyone.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Rad Reader, and letting us hang out with you tonight!

  7. See not only did I lose my thyroid I lost my mind too. Yes, it was a t.v. show not that you mention it. Thanks for that save Brenda!

  8. I will have Carla here Next week Readers. So think of the questions that you may want to ask her. Thanks for being her both of you and I will see you next week Carla. Brenda thanks for everything and for having my back tonight. Loved your book.

  9. Had to stop by and say hello!

    I LOVE Wilkie Collins. I had no idea you were related, Brenda. I learn something new about you every day.

    And thanks for your kind words, my friends.

    1. My aunt uncovered some link to Wilkie Collins a few years ago when she was investigating another branch of the family tree but I don't know if she was able to substantiate it. It would be interesting though. We do have a lot of writers in my family so I suppose it is possible.


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