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Hollis McCollum (Author)

What motivates your creative ideas and creative activity? What role do you think emotions play in your creative process?

Like most creative people (probably) I'm highly inspired by the work of other creatives. Sometimes, just looking at a painting will spark a new narrative in my imagination, or hearing that song lyric that strikes the right chord (pun intended) of inspiration. I am also inspired by nature.

I frequently take long walks and let my mind wander freely.

Emotions most certainly play a role for me. I frequently make writing playlists that put me in the right sort of mood to write certain idioms. There is a huge difference in a fight scene I write without listening to my hard rock playlist, and the fight scene where I am listening to it.

When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others?

I don't think I have ever had the realization that I wanted to express it, because I always have done so from a very early age. I have been strongly encouraged to express myself creatively for as long as I can remember. My parents were my first (still my favorite) cheerleaders, of course, but my wonderful siblings, friends and other family have all been extremely supportive of it.

Most of them are creatives in their own right as well, so we all sort of recognize the need and fulfill it for each other like that. I'm a supremely fortunate person, and I am forever grateful.

If you could teach everyone in the world one concept, what concept would have the biggest positive impact on humanity?

Oh, this is a very interesting question. I like it. Honestly, when I watch world leaders, or even just everyday people, argue over what is a matter of opinion, and therefore, unknown as to what would be the most beneficial solution in actuality, I think to myself: "There is no need to get so heated over it. Just because you disagree, doesn't mean you can't show respect for one another."

In short, I truly believe that if people were more concerned with solutions, as opposed to an over competitive urge to be the one who is right in any given situation, we would live in a much more productive world. Even if you don't agree at all with someone, you can still hear them out respectfully, and they should do the same for you. Listening doesn't mean you agree, it means you aren't so ignorant to think that you are the only one with an option.

At the end, you can still completely disagree with them. At least you're making an informed decision at that point. Who knows? Maybe their idea will lead to an even better idea and create an opportunity for collaboration that benefits even more of the world.

In one of your Instagram posts, you shared a photo wherein you were writing by using pen and paper, is handwriting a lost art? Why is handwriting still important in the digital age?

I don't think that handwriting is a lost art, but it's certainly a dwindling one. It makes me a bit sad, honestly.

There is something very special to me about the smell of ink and paper, and utilizing that medium to create a tangible work that you can feel and smell.

It gives the work more body, more emotion. At least, I think it does. I actually wrote a blog post about this very question a little while back. So, if you want to in depth answer to that question, check out my blog:

What is the inspiration behind your book, "To Save a World"?

In short, Dungeons & Dragons role playing! I actually adapted an original adventure campaign I played with my best friend back in 2007 when I wrote the story. The main vein of the story is the same, but I changed a lot from our original adventure in order to make it work as a novel. When I first sat down and started writing, it wasn't actually my intention to get it published. I have simply always enjoyed writing, and that campaign was particularly inspiring to me. Once I had some friends and family read it though, they told me I had to publish it, so I did.

Can you share an overview of your writing process? Do you start with a theme or do you let the characters define the flow and path of the story?

I'll keep this as summarized as I possibly can, but I'm happy to share it. Of course, we all have a different process, so maybe this won't work for someone else, but if anyone out there can find it helpful, I will be glad. I like to decide on a highly generalized theme of the world and/or story. I do mean highly generalized. Just a couple of basics, so I can know what sort of characters I can create. I then fully develop my main characters. I mean, completely suss them out, right down to pet peeves and the color of their eyes.

For me, knowing the motivations of the characters, is what creates my plot.

Once I know who my characters are, and what they want, I use it to write out a plot line with certain milestones along the way. I don't get too detailed with that either. I keep it very high. It's just something that lets me know what main story events I need to hit, and in what order to keep things moving along.

These milestones are always subject to change along the way, however. Then, I just start writing! I'm definitely a "pantser" sort of writer. Can't do the extreme, detailed plotting thing. Just not for me.

Writers are often known to be deep thinkers, imagine that you are tasked to re-design society – what changes would you make?

Oh jeez... That's a VERY loaded question. Frankly, my historian brain (my degree is in history with a specialization in ancient cultures and medieval Europe) immediately tells me that society has been redesigned and re-imagined hundreds upon thousands of times throughout time already.

No matter how nice I try to make things, experience tells me that there will always be rebels who would call my ideas oppressive, and those that simply don't like or want it.

It's an universal human condition that shows itself to be unchangeable throughout many thousands of years. So, I wouldn't take the job at all.

If I absolutely had to, I would simply decree that everyone needed to use common sense, and not be jerky detriments to society.

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