Friday, December 21, 2018

Today in The Loft: Author Lee Collins!

Today in The Loft, I have the pleasure of interviewing eXtasy author Lee Collins. Lee writes M/M romance and has written 14 books, including the Men In Love And At War Series and the Apparition Intervention Series. I must admit until now, Lee has been a bit of an enigma to me, someone who I would encounter--briefly--on the outskirts of eXtasy Books. Perhaps the fact that he lives in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, has something to do with that! 

Author Lee Collins

S:   Good morning, Lee! I must admit I am a bit in awe of a writer who lives in an actual paradise. I can't imagine what it must be like to be surrounded by beaches, eternal sunshine, a volcano, and the Atlantic Ocean. That seems to be enough inspiration for a lifetime!

Let's start with the basics. What would you like people to know about you?

L:  In brief, I am fifty-two. I was born and raised in London and worked as a successful management consultant until I was 35. Then I decided to move to Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands, which are a part of Spain) to pursue a relationship. I gave up my career, sold everything I owned in London in the hope that I’d found true love. BUT, it went horribly wrong. Seventeen years later I still live here and I have found a new prince charming, so yeah, it didn’t go that horribly wrong. Now comes the really tough part for me. I lost both my parents when I was 27 to cancer, so it’s been me and my older sister supporting each other from thereon in. Thankfully, we have a very loving relationship so life goes on and my memories of my parents will never die. If you really want to know me, then read my book Sun, Sea and a Contemporary Art Gallery. It is basically my memoirs, but a literary agent recommended that I rewrite it in third person, which I did. The main character is Berkeley and he took on a life of his own. Due to popular demand, I wrote another seven books featuring Berkeley. Now I’m in a really good place.

S:  You made an incredible sacrifice for love! That took a lot of courage. I think many people fall in love when it's easy. Few are willing to make sacrifices to pursue it. 

Is that why you write romance?

L:  I write romance because I am a die-hard romantic. I have had a lot of relationships, fallen in love, had my heart broken more times than I care to mention, but for me, romance will never die. I also love to write books about how I wish a romance I’ve had should have gone. I also use it as a platform to vent my frustration. I live with my ex, but the love and bond between us is stronger than ever, so I’ve got my prince charming/knight in shining armour and I wouldn’t give him up for anybody.  I found true love, even if he is a pain in the, ahem, at times!

S:  (chuckles) They can be the love of your life, but that doesn't mean they're perfect! 

If someone wrote a song about you, what would it say?

L:  (Laughs) This is going to sound so corny, but I actually wrote some songs when I was in my 20’s and I wrote a song called ‘Making Rainbows," because I wanted to make rainbows for all my loved ones. It is featured in my first book, "Mistela." I would have to choose this one for that reason. The words mean so much to me--

Making Rainbows

There was a time
When I believed
That I’d been deceived
Because I didn’t have all of the things that I should
Then much to my surprise
I finally realised that nothing in life is free

When it comes to money and love
And when it comes to push and shove
You’re the one to make it happen

You have to make your own rainbow
If you’re looking for a pot of gold
You have to shoot cupid’s arrow
If you don’t want your heart left in the cold

So if no-one's gonna give
Then use your initiative
To get the things in life that you want

It’s a lesson to be learned
That all you want can be earned
Rather than waiting and never getting

You have to make your own rainbow
If you’re looking for a pot of gold
You have to shoot cupid’s arrow
If you don’t want your heart left in the cold

Mistela (Men in Love and at War Book 1) by [Collins, L.J.]
Mistela was Lee Collin's first book

S:  Wow. That's really beautiful. "You have to shoot cupid's arrow if you don't want your heart left in the cold." That's a lesson some never learn, but it is one of life's truths.

Complete this sentence for me. Writing is... 

L:  First and foremost a crazy experience, and one you have to be absolutely determined to pursue and succeed in! I sent my first book to about 40 publishers and literary agents and got turned down by all of them. I had balls and guts at the time and I refused to accept their judgment and decision so I kept on trying. Then I struck gold with eXtasy Books who specialize in the type of genre that I write in (MM romance). Fourteen books later it is now a question of when the fingers connect with the mind. I plan things—plots, stories, etcetera, in my head, but when the fingers take over something else comes out. (Chuckles) I can’t complain though. I think my subconscious takes over and I am always happy when it does. I go into a "zone’ when I’m writing and I have to be in that zone or I write a load of… Being a writer is not easy, but I love it, and I don’t have to do it for financial reasons. I do it for the love of being given the opportunity to be creative and express my inner being and thoughts. I get so much joy and satisfaction from it, and I hope you all will when you read my books.

S:  (Smiles) I also go into "the zone" when writing. And I can stay there for hours or days. The importance of that mental state to my writing is something non-writers have difficulty understanding.

Where do you do your best thinking?

L:  I have lived in Tenerife for 17 years, so there are a plethora of places where I do my best thinking--the beach, the mountains, the forest, and the list goes on. That said, I bring it all together in our kitchen. That’s when the ideas all come together. I have a desk and computer upstairs in my study, and I need to get used to writing there, but for some reason I feel more comfortable writing in our kitchen. From there I can see the outside world and people passing by. I thrive on that--life! From my study I have a beautiful view of Mount Teide, trees, but no people! What would life be without seeing people? Writing is a very solitary career so I need to see and have people in my life.

S:  Complete this sentence for me. When one of my books is released, I...

L:  (Laughs)  I’m a gay man who has no children, but when one of my books is released to the world I feel as if I have given birth--and some of them have taken more than nine months to give birth to. There is a lot of excitement before the moment, but when reality sets in there is a lot of worry and apprehension that my baby will, or will not be, accepted and appreciated. Then I get over that and just rely on the reviews to tell me if I’ve written as well as I could have done. If I know that I’ve written it as good as it could have been, then I’m happy.

S:  Is there one person who inspires you?

L:  Barbra Streisand! Pronounced "strei" and "sand." (Laughs.) Me and my friends adore this woman and I was fortunate enough to see her live in concert in London. If there is a woman who can inspire flights of fantasy, it is Barbra. Love her!

S:  What would you consider to be your biggest achievement?

L:  After growing up in the east end of London, being mocked and called a barrow-boy throughout my career by people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths, it has to be graduating from the Guildhall University in London. I passed with honours and it stood me in very well throughout my successful career as a senior management consultant. My mother passed away six weeks before I sat my final exam so it was a very hard time for me, but I was more determined than ever to make her proud and do it! My motto is, never give up on your dreams!

S:  What do you crave?

L:  Easy one this! I live in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, and we don’t have kebab houses, Indian takeaways, decent quality prepared/packed foods. I have to cook everything from scratch and I can’t get most of the ingredients that I used to use when I lived in London. A day trip to Marks & Spencer would be a dream for me!

S:  You are offered one of the following gifts--a day back in time, a glimpse into heaven, or perfect health. Which would you pick and why?

L:  Okay, this is an interesting one! After the health scares I had last year, I would want perfect health. If you had asked me that question a year ago, it would have been a glimpse of heaven. Thank goodness I can now change my selection!

S:  Lee, thanks so much for this peek into your world!

Lee's books--written under L.J. Collins--are available at all major booksellers. His books include: 

For more information on Lee and his books, visit--

Facebook: https:/

Next week in The Loft: Author Dee S. Knight! 

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