04 November 2012

Ace Collins Interviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Ace Collins


Ace Collins is the author of The Yellow Packard, The Christmas Star and more than sixty other fiction and nonfiction books.

Ace, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 
Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?

I actually quit my job in the real world to embark on a freelance writing career when I was in my late twenties. My wife was a school teacher and we had just had our first child. Logic would tell you this was not a smart time to start a new career, especially one that had no income guarantee. But I just felt called to do it. It was a struggle for more than a decade just to pay the bills. I wrote for small publishers for smaller pay, tried to land magazine features. On top of that I substitute taught and officiated basketball games. I can’t tell you how many times we came close to starving out. Even though I felt this was my calling, I think I would have quit if it hadn’t been for two incredible women. The first was my wife Kathy. She made a sign to hang over my desk that said, “Don’t Sink.” It was her way of reminding me that with faith we can walk on water. The other was country music entertainer Louise Mandrell. She not only constantly told me that I had been given a talent by God and I had to use, but whenever it seemed we didn’t have enough money to make it until the end of the month, Louise found a magazine that needed a story for me to write or hired me to write a production show for her. Louise really put her faith in me into action.

I look back on those times now and can honestly say that there is no way we should have been able to make it. There simply wasn’t enough money. And yet we did. The fact that the Lord seemed to always give me a chance to land a gig just when I was ready to quit gave me the faith to try for another month. One month led to the next and soon it was years. Then, after more than a decade, I wrote a magazine piece on Lassie that led to my getting a chance to write the official Lassie story for Viking-Penguin. Lassie A Dog’s Life was the turning point.

There were other things that kept me going during this time that proved that driving old beat up cars and not having vacations or evenings out was worth it. I had letters from folks who had found something I had written and those thank you notes, including two who came from people that shared they were going to commit suicide until they read something I had written, also validated that God wanted me to do what I was doing even in the faces of the bills, the sacrifice while our friend were prospering and the overwhelming odds against success.

The book that actually fully established my career came more than 15 years after I’d walked away from the real world to try my hand at writing. When Zondervan offered me a contract on “The Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs Of Christmas” and it became a bestseller, it changed everything. I love the fact that this book was the one that really established my career because it mirrored my struggle in the business. I shopped that idea for over a decade and received 27 rejections. So now I can show those in any business or those who just trying to witness to others about faith, you don’t give up after one attempt, in fact, you don’t give up ever.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Right now it is Matthew 25:35-40. I look at those verses as being a directive to how each of us should live. We reflect Christ not in what we say as much with what we do for those who have nothing. By reaching out to the “least of these” we live a sermon than never needs words. I think those verses have impacted me to such a great extent that the message is evident in even the novels I write.
The Yellow Packard by Ace Collins

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
Most of my books over the past decade have come out in audio formats and there are a few that have appeared in large print. Now what is available varies on a book by book basis, but in time it seems all of them are now being released in audio.
Ace Collins' book covers 2012

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Well, in truth, they must be entertained. If you don’t entertain the reader then you have lost your chance to really make an impact in other ways. Past the entertainment part, my characters struggle with finding callings. They are not strong, they have their doubts and fear, and thus I feel that readers will identify with them in a way that they would identify with a friend. When the reader is finished with the book, I hope they have an urge to look around and find someone who needs to be lifted up.  I also hope they realize that the “least of these” are not just in developing nations, but are really all around us. 

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?

I love the research elements of any project. I just have fun digging into the past. I love to find the story behind things. But in the case of these two books, one that is set in the Great Depression and the other just after World War II, the strength of the human spirit during those really dark days amazed me. These people were struggling in ways I have never had to struggle and they didn’t give up. They pushed forward as much for others as they did for themselves. The people from these eras were about living and sacrificing for others in ways that few of us could imagine. And the other element that is strangely comforting is that we think of those in the past as being towers of faith. Yet when you read about them they had the same fears and doubts as we do. They became towers by working through those. We have that same potential.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
Without meaning to, I seem to always interject stories into my books that can serve as teaching tools for those struggling with doubts, depression and insecurity. My characters are usually dealing with the same issues. They are far from perfect and have to step back from their lives to fully grasp that the Lord working in them. Thus as leads like Helen in The Yellow Packard or Jimmy in The Christmas Star are flawed, insecure and struggling, the way they deal with their problems is something that I feel can teach and inspire. In my next release, Darkness Before Dawn, we really go into a character study of a person dealing with rage, depression and a need for revenge. Thus that book hits has greater potential to be used for therapeutic influence than possibly anything I ever written.

Thank you Ace for agreeing to answer these questions!

I am also on Facebook band Twitter.
My books can be purchased at all online sellers, at bookstores and via my website.

48 comments:

  1. Thanks for the time you spent with me. I deeply appreciate it.

    Ace

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  2. ACE, welcome to Overcoming With God! We are so looking forward to visiting with you this week!

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  3. I would love to win. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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  4. ANGELA, ACE's book are receiving critical acclaim--yes indeed you would be happy to win, I guarantee it! Blessings!

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  5. I am looking forward to reading his books. I would buy the books for the covers alone. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the contest.
    Janet Estridge
    von1janet@gmail.com

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  6. I think I read his “The Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs Of Christmas”. Very interesting. I wish to be entered in this contest, Carrie, so please add my name. debsbunch5@jesusanswers.com

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  7. JANET, ACE is getting so much attention, and fantastic reviews, for The Yellow Packard especially. He has an amazing collection of books he has written over his career!

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  8. DEBBIE, that book of ACE's was a best seller and it is still selling well I believe! I have wanted to buy it for myself as I love the concept!

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  9. ACE, thank you for being with us this week and for sharing your wonderful testimony! Wow, what a journey your writing career has taken you on! Looking forward to getting better acquainted with you AND your books this week!

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  10. Thanks for that great interview CARRIE!
    ACE, I loved that sign your wife put up 'Don't Sink', that's fantastic, what a great encouragement and support she must've been!! My family also went through an extremely difficult time when neither of us were working, but going through that not only enabled us to see miracles after miracles, but also put a burden within us to help others even more.
    It was also SO wonderful to hear about those two people who were on the verge of suicide had it not been for your writing. Praise God you listened to your calling! Looking forward to reading your books!!

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  11. The trailer for The Yellow Packard is intriguing. One of the women in my book club also raved about this book so I am wanting to read it. It would be fabulous to win a copy.
    Though I'm not a writer, I can relate to Ace's story of doing what he was called to do, though it resulted in tough times financially. Thanks for sharing in this interview.

    pmk56{at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  12. Would love to win! I need new authors to read!
    likesmusic2@consolidated.net

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  13. I, like Debbie would love to win. Haven't read Ace's work and am always on the lookout for a good read and a new author! Darlene

    spangldlady[at]gmail[dot]com

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  14. I've read a few of Ace Collins' books and they were great! Would love to win one of his new books! :)

    Frequentreader19 at gmail.com

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  15. Thanks for sharing with us, ACE! Your story is very recognizable to us, because we have been living in a similar financial situation since I had to stop working due to my health problems. God always provides! He is good!
    Blessings!

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  16. I would love The Christmas Star! New author for me. Kathleen
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  17. what an inspirational and touching interview. I love Ace's honesty and obvious desire to minister to the hurting and broken with his novels.....would love to have a copy of this!
    Rhonda
    rhonda_nash_hall@comcast.net

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  18. ACE thank you for sharing your amazing story of God's plan for your life. He never promised us an easy road only that He would help us through whatever comes our way. I am so glad you followed His call, the rewards are out of this world! :) I throughly enjoyed The Yellow Packard and The Christmas Star, both were very moving stories, but more on those later this week when my reviews go up. Once again it's an honor to have you on OTT.

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  19. DIANA, MARIAN, NOELA, and TERESA, I am so blessed to be in Joyce Hart's agency and represented by her, like Ace. We have a loop online that I get to read stuff going on with Ace and learn more about him--he is amazing!!!

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  20. PAM, DEBBIE, and DARLEN--I dk anyone who has read the Yellow Packard who hasn't raved about it.

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  21. MELANIE, I am really looking forward to LISTENING to Ace's books because I have an audible.com membership and can get a lot on there.

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  22. I am awed by your interests. I hope you too love the books when you read them. Even though it is not a Christian book, "Reich of Passage" might be my most intense book. But don't worry, my Christian themes carry through even in my secular work. And there is not profanity or offensive sex.

    Thanks for the comments on the nonfiction Christmas books. They were a joy to write and earned me the title of bestselling author. I so love Christmas. But in truth I love everyday of life.

    Ace

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  23. KATHLEEN and RHONDA--ACE really is like he says above in his comment. He is one of the most joyful and satisfied and grateful people I have seen on the Hartline loop. And inspiration to everyone!

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  24. Ace's books look so very good. Please enter me. Thanks for the great interview and review.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  25. ACE, Thanks for letting us know about the tone of the books. That is always interesting. And with your background and multitude of stories it really sounds like you have written in many genres and subgenres!

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  26. Thanks for the great interview! makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

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  27. I would love to win Christmas Star! I love Christmas books!

    gamergranny64@aol.com

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  28. Ms. CLARK, always love that name lol and have to say so, will enter you and thanks!!!

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  29. I really write because I have to. I can't not write. Even if no one is going to read what I write, I still get my ideas down. I think it is a product of having a curiosity that makes me wonder what the story behind everything is.

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  30. Ace, hearing of someone stepping out in faith is always a cool thing. Your wife is very brave. Give her a "I'm so glad you're mine" kiss tonight. :-)

    Carrie, for the drawing -BC & MA. Thanks!

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  31. His books sound wonderful. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks.

    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  32. MEGAN, Thanks! Ace is easy to talk to, lol! Especially since no hand holding was required and he answered those questions all by himself. Thank you ACE, too!!!

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  33. Kathy, my wife is simply amazing. She is beautiful inside and out.

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  34. Thanks for sharing about your struggles and how God has used you to help people. I think most authors would say that is why they write. Knowing you can reach multitudes through writing is just like being a missionary reaching the lost. I have not read any of Ace's books but would love to win one.

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  35. I forgot to leave my email it is deamundy(at)gmail(dot) com.

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  36. Thanks for coming back to leave your email addy, DEANNA! We will enter you. I totally agree with your analogy. In fact that is one reason we have this blog! We see this as a ministry opportunity. blessings!

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  37. I tried to comment earlier, and wouldn't let me in, so will try again. Enjoyed the interview with Ace. Quite interesting how his writing career came about. If we are doing GOD's will HE usually sees to our needs, Not wants, but needs. I would love to win one of his books. The Christmas book looks good, but, yellow Packard too. I used to have a yellow Hudson. Neat car too! Please put my name in. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

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  38. I've been a fan of Ace Collins for several years. Love your books. You move us to an element of suspense that very few authors do. It's wonderful! Thanks for all you do to write exciting books. What you said about Louise Mandrel is true. I don't know her, but my son-in-law does and he says she is a very generous and loving person.

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  39. MAXIE! Good to see you here. I am sorry you have trouble with the comments. I do have someone who is going to make it easier to find the comment section on the blog but it might be another week or two till she gets to it. That is so cool that you had a yellow Hudson!!!

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  40. KAT, talk about small world! That is so neat that you and ACE have that connection with such a lovely lady and great singer!

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  41. Louise is amazing. We still visit on a regular basis. And and yellow Hudson, you never see a Hudson at a car show and they are fine cars.

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  42. Thanks for the chance to win one of Ace's books. I'm thrilled at the opportunity. I loved your post. God bless you all.

    Glenda Parker

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  43. GLENDA, wow, I have been looking at all of ACE's books and he has some amazing ones! A bunch I can download from audible.com. Will have to put those on my audio page. Thanks for coming by!

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  44. What a great interview and testimony! ACE, I am so happy for you and your success. I know many people have been and will be blessed by your work.
    may_dayzee(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  45. Thanks so much Kay! I have been blessed.

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  46. It is always so wonderful reading a interview of a new to me author and a wonderful testimony as well. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Blessings,
    Jo
    azladijo(at)aol(dot)com

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  47. Congrats to GLENDA PARKER FICTION WRITER! You have won your choice of one of ACE'S wonderful books!!

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  48. Glenda, let me know what you think.

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