IndieView with Paul J. Collins, author of Ellie The Eagle (The Rockefeller Christmas Tree)

  When did you start writing the book? I typically noodle a story for anywhere between a day and about 6 weeks. I want to give kids strong positive messages and values through my books. It takes about 4 hours to fully type a story of this length.   I have set up a charitable foundation to give money to various children’s charities I like. I believe every kids story should have a strong positive message. I have put a list together of all of the classical pieces I enjoy (over 1,000 pieces of classical music). I also read a lot of biographies and history. I will edit throughout. My focus is boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 9. The message in the story is that we should always try to help others. Kids love color, action and interesting characters. A portion of the proceeds from each book goes to my foundation. With classical music you don’t get caught up thinking about lyrics. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? What came easily? Each illustrator is picked for a specific book. Ellie The Eagle is one of six books on my website. What are you working on now? I want kids who read my books to love them and hopefully have them become their favorite books. My kids appear in many of my stories. In Ellie all three are featured, although the main character is my youngest, Adeline. I know then that I have tapped into their true imaginations. No, I self publish. I was born in Dublin, Ireland. I read both fiction and non-fiction. 3. I thought about the tree and how I could weave in a story about an eagle….the rest is history. Do you have a target reader? Because you don’t hear the music very often you can enjoy it for what it is. What would you like readers to know about you? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? The illustrator for each book does it under my direction. It takes about 4 hours to type a story of this length. In December a seventh book and the first coloring book will be added and available on the website. Yes, I have a long-term launch and marketing plan. That’s when I came up with the idea of using Pale Male and Octavia, the famous New York City hawks. Art is critical to the success of a kid’s book. We pick the illustrator together. Copy edit format describes the scene I want for each page with the specific text for that page below it. I moved to the US when I was 21. In 2019, I expect to add at least five new titles and a second coloring book. I sometimes need to adjust the text to fit the final artwork. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? Eventually I will invite other authors onto my label under three conditions. 1.Their stories have a positive message/value. She saves an eagle from being shot by hunters, and they become best friends. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? The story takes them all over New York City, where Adeline and Ellie search for the tree. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? I realized that I don’t want to do that. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? I have had kids ask me if the story is real. Finally, with the help of two famous New York hawks, they save the eggs and create a wonderful new holiday tradition. I love to read. There are two primary reasons: my charitable foundation and picking the right illustrators. I want to help kids charities. Each of my stories has at least one principle that is relevant. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree was the first thing that came to mind. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? About Writing
Do you have a writing process? I wouldn’t say any one author has influenced me. As a child I read a lot of the classics: Charles Dickens; Mark Twain; Shakespeare; James Joyce; Oscar Wilde; the Bible; etc. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? End of Interview:
For more from Paul or to get your copy of   Ellie The Eagle   visit his website. I typically noodle a story for anywhere between a day and about 6 weeks. About the book
What is the book about? Nearing Christmas, Adeline’s dad cuts down the tree and sells it to New York City where it becomes the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. If so can you please describe it? Ellie took about three days to think through. Two years ago, my daughter, Adeline, asked me to write her a story about the American Eagle. Ellie the eagle builds her nest in the tree outside Adeline’s bedroom window and soon there are four baby eaglet eggs in the nest. Paul J. My website address is https://www.moonlightpuppies.com. I have had kids ask me if the story is real. I know then that I have tapped into their true imaginations. How long did it take you to write it? Adeline, flying on Ellie’s back, sets out on an exciting adventure to save the baby eaglet eggs. I will think about an animal (eagle, crocodile, bear, tiger cub, etc.) or an event (Christmas, Halloween, etc.). In several of the stories I use animals as the main characters. As a writer it is a wonderful feeling when a fiction story can seem real in the eyes and minds of kids. Collins – 7 January 2019
The Back Flap
In this exciting and heartwarming New York City-based adventure story, a young country girl helps her best friend, Ellie the Eagle, rescue Ellie’s four eggs hidden in the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. I pick all my own illustrators for that reason. We all know how important it is for writers to read. This is the reason I developed my Ten Principles of Life which I believe are very important for kids to live by. They are also willing to give part of the proceeds to children’s charities. I thought about Christmas in New York City and what image best represents the holidays. 2. I grew up about 20 miles outside Dublin on a horse farm. Once I have come up with a story, I will tell it to my kids to test their reactions. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? It was the week before Christmas. I believe we should all give something back to society. My website carries books that have real values and principles for kids. Based on their reactions I might tweak the story a little. I am currently working with eight different artists. Adeline Colby lives on a farm not far from New York City. About You
Where did you grow up? Most publishing houses have their own in-house artists they want you to use. I will edit all the way up to the final version of the book. The hardest part of the story was trying to figure out how someone recognizable from New York City could be used to help Adeline and Ellie on their quest. As a writer it is a wonderful feeling when a fiction story can seem real in the eyes and minds of kids. I listen to classical music when I write. Did you hire a professional editor? She in essence wanted to use her background and experiences to change my story. I wanted to keep that someone kid/Ellie friendly, but still make it seem real. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? Some people coach baseball, others teach, do community service, etc. Where did you get the idea from? Consequently, I created a series of books and a publishing company to do just that. When I first wrote Ellie I showed the story to an editor. Do you outline? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Was it a particular event or a gradual process? The hardest part of any story is coming up with the story line and the messages I wish to get across in the story. I do not want others to rewrite my stories so therefore I don’t use an editor. All of my stories are action based so I tend to like current authors focused on action/thrillers: Dan Brown; James Patterson; John Grisham; Jeffrey Archer; Wilbur Smith; Ian Fleming; Tom Clancy; Nelson DeMille; etc. She wanted me to completely rewrite the story and turn it into a real life non-fictional story about a family that owned a tree that was cut down and actually used as the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. No, I just type up the story in copy edit format so I can send it to the artist/illustrator I want to use for that particular story. Do you listen to music while you write?