26 February 2012

Interview - Brandilyn Collins



Brandilyn Collins is the author of Over the Edge and of 23 other books, including her latest release on March 1, Gone to Ground.  

Brandilyn, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?
In 2002 I became very ill. I literally went from being a healthy, five-miles-a-day runner to falling down on my kitchen floor and not being able to get up. My legs had suddenly gone weak. Eventually in 2003 I learned I had Lyme disease. The disease crippled me and made me unable to perform the normal duties of being a wife and mom. My husband had to cook all the meals and take care of the home on top of his already demanding job. I couldn’t do much for my kids. My daughter, 13 at the time, thought she was losing me. It was a time of great fright and facing the unknown in our family.
During that time I learned how to truly praise God through difficult circumstances. He taught me how to use the psalms for both praise and supplication. I prayed them aloud every day, sometimes praising with tears running down my face. I learned that praising God is an act of will, not emotion. When I eventually lost the ability to read because of Lyme, I listened to the psalms on tape and praised that way.

In May of 2003 God granted me a miraculous healing from Lyme. It’s an amazing story that’s available to read on my website. Today, many people around the world have read about this event.
It is this experience with Lyme disease, and with facing the general medical community’s tendency to dismiss the disease and its diagnosis and treatment, that led me to write my novel Over the Edge. The book features the first person story of a woman infected with Lyme. And woven into the story are the background issues of the battle between Lyme sufferers and the medical community. I have received wonderful praise for this book, both from reviewers and from readers who have Lyme or wanted to know more about Lyme. Some who have been sick for years, undiagnosed, realized they should be tested for Lyme after reading Over the Edge. Now they’re finally getting treatment. Imagine receiving a note that says, “Thank you for helping to save my life.” Other people have given the book to family and friends, who now can understand what they’re going through. All in all I see how much the book has helped people. Even those who simply pick it up to read a fast, tense suspense walk away knowing more about Lyme disease. And I was able to weave into the story my own journey in learning how to praise God through it. This is also what my main character, Jannie, learns.
So, yes, Lyme disease was a terrible, formidable opponent. But I wouldn’t want to give up what God taught me through it. Then God gave me a chance to use to the experience, through writing Over the Edge, to help others.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
My life verse God gave me—Psalm 138:8: “God will accomplish what concerns me.” (NASB) Or as the NIV translates it, “God will accomplish his purpose for me.” If I can believe that—really walk in it—that about covers it. Easier said than done.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? 
Numerous of my books are available in audio format as well as large print. Over the Edge is already out in large print. Because I have so many novels, it’s hard to list every one that’s available here. The best way to see is to click my name on Amazon and see all the variations of my books that come up.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
First and foremost, I want my readers to enjoy my novels for the suspense experience. My trademark brand, Seatbelt Suspense®, carries a four-point brand promise: fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. Although ultimately I hope the reader will latch onto the faith message woven into the story, I don’t sit down to write a “Christian suspense” or to write a story with a certain Christian message. Most of the time I have no idea what the Christian message will be until I’m some distance into writing the story. The faith element must arise naturally from what the protagonist is facing, and her own experiences, background and built-in fears. Readers pick up my novels because they love suspense. So I must deliver that experience to them. If they like the suspenseful story, if they can empathize with my main character, then they’ll finish the book. And within that reading they will see the faith message. (Which they can ultimately accept or reject.) But if I don’t deliver on the suspense, readers will put down the book at page 30 or so. Then what good is my message? It’ll never be read.


The natural faith element in my novels allows me to have both Christian and non Christian readers. With Over the Edge I’ve had a lot of readers who aren’t necessarily Christian, because this novel has been so talked about among Lyme sufferers. People who’ve never read my books are picking up Over the Edge and recommending it to others. They want to read a great suspense about Lyme. From all indications via reviews, I am delivering that. But they also are reading the faith message. And in the back of the book I have a lengthy author’s note, which includes information about my own experience with Lyme and a link to my Lyme page and healing story on my web site. Now many people who may have never found that recounting of my healing are reading it.
God works in all kinds of unexpected ways.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I did do a lot of research on Lyme for Over the Edge, even though I had a good basis of knowledge to begin with. The stories are so heart-wrenching. Such as people who are crippled today who could be well if they’d just been diagnosed and treated. Instead doctors refused to test for Lyme, or assured them “We don’t have Lyme disease in this state.” Other sufferers are diagnosed but can’t find a doctor who’ll treat them. And many doctors who have treated Lyme long term are sanctioned and scared out of treating through the threat of losing their medical licenses. It’s a really sad situation all around. Bad enough to be so sick, but to have to fight the medical community as well is heart-breaking.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In the author’s note at the back of Over the Edge is a fairly lengthy explanation of Lyme disease and its challenges in treatment/diagnosis. I link to the Lyme page on my web site, which has further helpful links in understanding the disease, finding a Lyme doctor, etc.

Thank you, Brandilyn, for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!




Brandilyn's books are available through CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Brandilyn's books, including her latest - Gone To Ground, releasing March 1, 2012!!!


45 comments:

  1. It is so nice to meet you Brandilyn and to hear what you have been through i can see your courage in your smiling face.
    I would love to read one of your books and thanks for sharing today.
    I must make comment, do you like country music? You look almost like Dotty West, hope you take that as complement as it is meant to be...
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  2. Oh wow, did you know that I just love this site? To be able to win books written by wonderful writers!!
    I would just love to win one of you're books!

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  3. Dear Brandilyn,
    Marian read you're book over the edge, to see if the book is a book that is worth translating it in Dutch.
    She told me that this is a book for me.
    My dad had lyme in august 2008, he went from a busy business owner young in heart and mind( even though he was 70 years old, to a man that could hardly stand up straight, not knowing the simples things, looking like a drunk ( he could not stand still ).

    It took a while before the doctors took action, now almost 4 years later, he still has some side affects. Somedays his mind is good and somedays his mind is not. He still has dissy spells and he still somedays can not get his legs to work. I really lost a vital Dad, and in return got an old Dad, with some days short term memory loss.
    I must say that this last year it go's better with him, but if he has any stress than its back.

    I would love to read you're book about this topic and be able to share your story with him :)
    Thanks so much for share it with us!! I think it could help a lot of people.
    xoxo

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  4. I love Brandilyn's suspense filled books and can't wait to find out who the culprit is in Gone to Ground. Thanks for a chance to win one of her books!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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  5. Either through the library or purchasing, I've read most of Brandilyn's books. Cannot get enough! Please enter me!

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  6. This sounds like an interesting read about an often misunderstood and misdiagnosed malady.
    I would love to win a copy.
    Shirley
    beekeeper5(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  7. Brandilyn, thank you so much for being our guest this week on OTT-WGT. We are so honored and blessed to have you with us!

    As someone who has suffered for a little over a year with an inexplicable health issue (the doctor told me I know you aren't depressed, but I want to put you on an antidrepressant, to help with your loss of equilibrium problems and dizziness...to which I said, "uh, uh"), your testimony has really built my faith up this morning!

    All through the scriptures we read of God's people receiving great deliverances from praising God in the midnight hour, such as Paul and Silas. Thank you for reminding me that the praises of God put the enemy to flight! As you well know, it's so hard to want to do everything you once did for your family and church family and can't, and it becomes very discouraging.

    I'm going to hop on over to your website to read more about your miraculous healing. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us, and may God continue to bless your writing.

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  8. Thank you Brandilyn for this interview. I read your story before on your website and now that I'm reading this interview I'm touched by it again. Thank you for sharing!

    As you probably know Over the Edge is releasing in Dutch this month. I pray many Dutch readers will enjoy the book and learn more about Lyme.

    I have a friend with chronic Lyme. She's in her early 50's and she went undiagnosed for too long. She has lost her health, job, friends, etc. She's looking forward to read the Dutch edition of Over the Edge as soon as it release in the Netherlands.

    God bless!

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  9. POL, MERRY and LINDA. Thanks for commenting. Brandilyn's books are terrific! I have read Over the Edge and Gone to Ground and loved them both. Later this week my reviews of those books will go up on OTT-WGH.

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  10. MIRJAM, thanks for stopping by my dear friend. Let me remind you that you already have Over the Edge... hehe ;)
    If you win then you better choose Gone to Ground. I'm sure you'll love that one! :))

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  11. haha, Marian yes I remember now haha. Thanks dear friend!

    Diana Flowers, maybe you should look at the following site about adrenal fatigue http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/ , It opened my eyes, maybe (I don't know what you're heath issues are) it helps you. I also bought the book written by DR. Wilson.
    :)

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  12. MIRJAM, you bought the book by James Wilson? Good! There's a lot of info in it.
    I see you are OTT's new follower. Thanks Mirjam. So nice to have you around. :)

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  13. Thank you, Mirjam! I'm sure my adrenals are fatigued...everything else is! On a more serious note I will take a look at the site and I so apppreciate you sharing the link.

    Thank you for becoming a follower! I'm with Marian, we love having you around! :) You are such a blessing!

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  14. Brandilyn - thanks for the great interview. "Over the Edge" is being read by several of our book club members and they are loving it! I started reading your books way back when "Cast A Road Before Me" first came out. Would love to win a copy of one of your books.
    Sharon
    smoore at tcq dot net

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  15. Always so good to read the life stories here.
    Thanks for sharing Brandilyn. Also has read your story on your website. Wow, amazing.
    Bless you!
    I read a couple of your books and love to read them. This book must also be amazing.
    Thanks!
    Erika

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  16. Hi, Erika, and Sharon! I'm so glad you are such good fans of Brandilyn's books, and I'm sure she is too! Hoping you win another great book by Brandilyn!

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  17. Wow, what a great interview. I have heard of Lyme Disease but had no idea how horrible it is and how hard it is to get treatment/diagnosed.

    I have only read Gone to Ground since I had an opportunity to review it and loved every second of it. I can't wait to read more books by Brandilyn!

    Jen
    jen.whitney08[at]gmail[dot]com

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  18. I would love to read this one of Brandilyn books. As a nurse who has worked with clients with Lyme Disease, I would love to see her follow up of it. I have read many of Brandilyn's books and love them

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  19. Hey Erika, good to see you here, too! Brandilyn is an excellent writer, don't you think so?

    Jen en Lori, thanks for stopping by. :))

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  20. Carrie said on Julie Lessman week that the longer she is married to hubby the more she can't keep her hands off him. What does that have to do with this post? Not a thing, except it's her hub's birthday today, and I have a feeling there's a whole lot of kissy face stuff going on in VA today, which is why she hasn't shown up today! LOL! You just give that good hubby of yours the birthday celebration he deserves, Carrie. I'm sure you are... :)

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  21. I read your story, Brandilyn, months ago on your website because a friend of mine has a daughter who suffers from Lyme Disease. Very powerful and moving testimony to God's faithfulness to His children!

    I must be the only one who hasn't read any of Brandilyn's books but maybe that will end when y'all draw a winner :) If not, then I'll just have to get one at the library.

    I love the book description on Gone to Ground! Sounds right up my suspense lovin' alley ;)

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  22. Oh.My. Have y'all seen the book trailer for Gone to Ground?!

    It.Is.Creepy.

    I want this book :)

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  23. No, you aren't the only one who hasn't read Brandilyn Collins, Anne. I won't mention any names, but her initials are D. F. Shhhh...if you figured it out! lol I hope you win b/c I know you like CREEPY, just don't be reading it and calling me when there is a power failure and and a thunderstorm and you are home alone....hehehe.

    OOH, we'll have to post that trailer, Carrie!

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  24. Thanks to all of you for your feedback and thoughts.

    Paula--country music isn't my favorite. I'm a rocker girl from the 70s. :] But I do take your comment about Dotty West as a compliment. Thank you.

    Mirjam, I am so sorry to hear about your dad's struggle with Lyme. Such a tough disease. It's hard to see someone you love go through it. I think OVER THE EDGE will be a help to you in understanding what your dad is feeling when he's hit with symptoms.

    Merry, glad to hear you're reading GONE TO GROUND. Hope you enjoy.

    Linda, thanks for being a loyal reader!

    Diana, I'm sorry to hear about your struggle with health issues. A year undiagnosed is a long time. Many people with Lyme have similar stories. If you read OVER THE EDGE you can compare your symptoms to those of Jannie in the book. I've received letters from people who'd been undiagnosed for years, then read OVER THE EDGE and realized they needed to be tested for Lyme. The tests were positive. They're now finally diagnosed and in treatment.

    Mirian, thanks in advance for your upcoming reviews of my books. And THANK YOU for the Dutch translation!

    Sharon, you have been reading my books a long time. CAST A ROAD BEFORE ME was my first published novel, back in 2001.

    Erika, Jen, and Lori, thanks for your kind words about my books. Lori, you have certainly seen Lyme up close!

    Anne, thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed the GONE TO GROUND trailer. I returned to Mississippi, where the book is set, to audition those voices so they'd sound just right. The woman who read for Cherrie Mae is named ... Cherrie Mae. That's right, when I first met her I asked if I could use her name for my character--it was so perfect. Her voice was perfect too.

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  25. I just watched the trailer, Anne. SCARY!!! Right up your alley. Great trailer, Brandilyn!

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  26. Diana, The trailer is awesome for the book! You definitely should read the book, you won't be disappointed!

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  27. I have to check out that trailer...

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  28. Happy Birthday to Jeff! I hope Carrie gave her hubby an unforgetable birthday party!

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  29. MARIAN, thanks for the birthday wishes for Jeff and we used the adorable Dutch napkins with his birthday lunch,too!

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  30. So funny... so you thought of me yesterday when you looked at those napkins. LOL

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  31. The voices are perfect!!! I love the name. So glad she let you use it. Such a good southern name :)

    I downloaded the wallpaper for Gone to Ground! Oh.Oh. Brandilyn, is that a drop of blood?! So creepy. I can't wait :)

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  32. Carrie, I do hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration for your honey!

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  33. I'm a new fan of Brandily, but MAN does she deliver the suspense!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway--I got my coworker hooked on her books too, so I know who I'll be sharing a copy with--no matter if I win or not. :D

    (email in profile)

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  34. Hi CASEY, good to see you here. :))
    Yes, Brandilyn knows how to deliver suspense! I have read a couple of her books, but not all. I plan to read many more of them!

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  35. DIANA, YES, there was lots of kissy face going on yesterday with birthday boy celebrating with our little family. I swear that man just gets better ever year!!!

    MARIAN, yes we thought of you!!!

    ANNE, THANKS!!!

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  36. I have not read any of Brandilyn's books but have the last 2 on my wish list and have her as a new author. I hope to read both of these books and then read more. Diana, Thanks for the interview. My daughter has a friend who was dx with Lyme then the drs decided it was not Lyme but something else. Once she was treated this time she began to get better and is almost good as new. She has always been very active and has 4 children and now she can keep up with them again as well as keep up with her house painting (she paints part of her house every yr)redecorating and taking care of her family.
    Thanks for stopping by Brandilyn to chat and share with us.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  37. hi misskallie!
    I hope you'll enjoy Brandilyn's last two books when you get the chance to read them. They will be reviewed by me this week. They were awesome! Maybe you'll win one of her books this week.
    Thanks for sharing with us about your daughter's friend. Thankfully she's doing better!

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  38. Too cute, Carrie! I'm sure Jeff feels the same way about you. I'm glad he had a nice birthday.

    JEN, I might try that one just for you! Thank you for recommending Brandilyn's books!

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  39. Diane, now I feel the pressure in case you don't like it..but I hope you really enjoy it!

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  40. Miss Kallie, the story of your daughter's friend is all too common. Doctors just don't seem to want to diagnose Lyme. If they'd just treat it soon, it wouldn't become such a problem for the patient. But left untreated, it makes the patient very sick and is much harder to eradicate from the body.

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  41. Would love to win one of Brandilyn's books. Thanks for the chance!

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  42. Great interview! I love Brandilyn's books! Would love to win this giveaway - thanks for the chance! :)

    Melanie
    frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  43. CHERYL, Thanks for coming by. MELANIE, you, too! I will put you both in for the drawing!!!

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  44. Thanks Marian and Diana, yes I boughed the book by Wilson.
    Thanks for the kind words Brandilyn.
    Can't wait to read your new book!

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  45. WINNER this week is PAM MEYER as picked by random.org. Congrats, Pam!!!

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