Today my guest is Ellie Collins, author of Daisy, Bold & Beautiful. It’s a young-adult novel about a middle-grade girl who finds inspiration in a Greek goddess for dealing with everyday challenges such as friendship and peer pressure–and it’s proudly published by Fresh Ink Group. Ellie’s mother, writer Stephanie Collins (With Angels Wings) is very protective of her participation in all kinds of media, so it’s a treat to have both here today in person! First, the book blurb, then an interview with the young novelist herself!
D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she’s starting middle school in the city with kids she’s never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she’ll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can’t possibly be real—and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.
Meet Ellie Collins!
What is your book about?
It’s about standing up for yourself. That’s the message I got from Persephone’s story, and that inspired me because it’s so important to know what you like or what you need and make sure that happens for you.
Which character is most like you?
I think I’m most like Hudson. First of all, we’re both all about our sport. He’s all about soccer, soccer, soccer, and I live at the gym and my life is all about gymnastics. We both really like to be funny, too. I’m happiest when I can make other people smile. Go ahead! You know you want to! AH – THERE IT IS! 😊
Why did you choose Persephone, out of all the Greek God/ess’?
I love that she’s the goddess of spring and summer, which is all about life and growth, but at the same time she’s strong enough to put up with living with Hades and all his doom and gloom.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
I guess writing from my mom, but I think I got storytelling from my dad. When he puts me to bed, sometimes he brings our pug up onto my bed and moves the dog’s front legs around as he pretends that Pugly is telling a tale about being the King of Puglandia or Master of all Pugdom. I love helping him make up those funny stories and I love the awesome voices my dad uses when he’s telling them. They’re so fun!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve just written for school like everybody else, until this past summer. One day my mom was yelling at me to get off electronics. I asked her what I should do (because REALLY – what is there to do that’s any fun other than electronics?!), and she said I should write a story. I asked her what I should write about, and she said, “Well, you like Greek mythology, right?” That’s where it all began. This book was a lot of fun to write, so now we’re working on another one.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
It was hardest coming up with the characters. My mom told me to decide on characters, then to write everything about them – what they look like, what their families are like, where they live, what their personalities are like – EVERYTHING. It was fun, but it was hard to think up all those details.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really liked coming up with the story. Once I decided on the message I wanted to share (stand up for yourself), I had fun making up a story that would show that lesson.
What inspires you?
Lots of stuff! This book was inspired by Persephone, but there’s so many awesome things in the world that inspire me – music, art, my friends, cool stuff I find on Youtube, games… the whole world is full of inspiration!
How did you get to where you are in your life today?
By making mistakes and learning from them.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Well, there’s my mom of course. She helped me a ton on this book. I told her the story I wanted, what I wanted the characters to do and say and stuff, but she helped to make sure the writing made sense (like, my sentences started with capitols and ended with periods and stuff). She also helped me to describe things so they would sound the way I was seeing them. An author I really like, though, is Erin Hunter. She writes the Warriors series. OMG, I love those book! She just has such a way of making you feel like you’re THERE and seeing all that’s going on.
Do you participate in Nanowrimo?
Ummmm… I guess not. I don’t know what that is.
Do you plan on writing more in the future? If so, what kinds of books?
Oh yeah; I definitely plan on writing more! I’m working right now on planning out the second book in the series. This one will be about Aphrodite. I don’t know exactly how many books I’ll write, but I want a whole, big series of books about Greek Gods and Goddesses. I might write other books sometime, too, but I’m not sure right now what they’d be.
Finally, who is your favorite character in this book?
May is my favorite character. She’s fun, energetic and always the life of the party. She spreads sunshine wherever she goes. She makes up ah-MA-zing high-five’s for all her friends (with really cool added moves like butt waggles and jazz hands). And she ROCKS at Overwatch, which is also PRETTY awesome!