Grays of Novart

Read our interview with J. A. Collie, an emerging author who's conquering the realms of science fiction and romantic suspense. In her recent masterpiece, "Grays of Novart", a riveting novel published by Koehler Books Publishing, Collie showcases her knowledge of the latest technological advances and her talent for crafting heart-racing stories that leave readers wanting more. As a respected techie and author of contemporary romance novels, Collie shares her views and process of writing, taking us on a thrilling journey through the creation of her fascinating stories. With titles like Staking the Claim, Call Me Anytime (The Corporation Series), and Make Me Yours (The Corporation Series), her works reflect her successful information technology career and love of suspense.

  1. In writing Grays of Novart did most of the futuristic ideas of telepathy and implanted computer chips come as a result of your prior work in the IT world?
              When I crafted the story, I imagined a futuristic world would have reached that level of technological advancement. My experience with IT played a significant role in building the gray world of Novart and its technologies. What I really wanted to do with the story was to answer the question: if intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, would it be akin to human beings? I’ve made the Grays of Novart just like us, although different. I hope it leaves one to wonder if human nature is a trait of all intelligent beings. 
  2. Do you believe that much of what you wrote about in this science fiction book is a future reality that we will experience?
    While Grays of Novart presented futuristic technologies, the concepts are Earth-like. It will not be surprising that years from now, humans will have implanted supercomputers and communicate with them telepathically. 
  3. What are the moral implications of what you are envisioning in your novel?  Do you see a future where we will be tethered to a knowledge source and how would it work for society?
    The story hinted at some of these implications. We might need to ask: Who owns the supercomputer? What can the supercomputer force its host to do? How much control does the supercomputer have over the host? Can someone hack it and cause harm to the host? The larger question is, why do we want to go that far? There was once a time when business and consumerism drove technology. Now technology is driving everyone and everything. The possibilities are endless, but are they good?
  4. Do you enjoy writing science fiction more than writing romance novels?
    I love writing novels regardless of the genre and don’t want to be boxed into either. But I would say that the techie in me always wants to burst out in my writing. My romantic suspense stories have many tech-savvy supporting characters, heroes, and heroines, and often technology is the backdrop to the novel.
  5. What prompted you to write in a new genre and specifically science fiction?
    I’ve always written in both genres. The three books in the Grays of Novart Series were drafted in 2015 and 2016. When story ideas pop into my head, I figure out if they would be best as sci-fi or romantic suspense. It just happened that novels written after Grays of Novart were published earlier. 
  6. Are you a big science fiction reader?
    I prefer watching sci-fi movies and series. I read more romance novels than science fiction. I love watching real science documentaries about the awesome universe and what could be out there. 
  7. What does literary success look like to you?
    I would like to make a living from my work someday, but getting people to read and appreciate it is the goal for now.
  8. How do you like working with a publisher now compared to when you were self-publishing?
    I prefer working with a publisher. While you lose some control, you gain a valuable partnership with professionals who have a proven track record and a dedicated reader base. I look forward to finding a romance publisher as well.
  9. Do you have unpublished or half-finished books waiting for publication?
    My unpublished works include one half-finished romantic suspense; a completed romantic suspense duology which I plan to turn into a trilogy; one completed stand-alone romantic suspense; two completed novels in the Grays of Novart series; one completed novel in another sci-fi series; one half-finished novel in yet another sci-fi series. I’m hopeful that Koehler Books will publish the rest of the Grays of Novart series, approximately five novels.
  10. Are you a full-time writer now?
    Writing is still my labor of love. I have a full-time job. 
  11. Having been self-published and now published by a professional publishing house what are your thoughts on your previous challenges as a self-publisher? 
    My experience as a self-published author made it easier to work with Koehler Books. I don’t regret self-publishing because it forced me to learn about the industry, and now my expectation for success is measured.
  12. Does being with Koehler Books give you more confidence in your work?
    As an emerging author, your confidence soars whenever a publisher requests a copy of your novel. And when you’re offered a contract, you believe you’re well on the way. But I’ve had the experience where a contract doesn’t result in a published book. That, too, is a great experience. I want to tell all struggling writers, please don’t let it crush your dreams. Keep trying. The more you write, the better you become.
  13. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
    It’s a double edge sword. Sometimes it helps you to recover from crushing rejections, and other times it gets in the way of your ability to learn and grow.
  14. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
    I write the story in my head, following the rules of good storytelling to a certain extent. Usually, I put myself in every scene and imagine standing next to the characters as I craft them. Then I ask myself: if this was someone else’s work and you were the reader, what details would you want to see…how much action…and how deep would you want to go in the character’s mind. My stories do not always tow every line of the genre, but I believe readers want something new, original, and well-written. Getting to this point is my north star. 
  15. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
    Not so much hiding secrets for a few people, but sometimes I have to hide a revelation in plain sight and find it challenging. 
  16. Do you consciously express your views and feeling through your characters?
    I will admit this happens in my writing at times. Not only my views but those of others. When crafting characters for your stories, you draw on your own experiences and that of other persons you encounter in daily life, either good or bad. 
  17. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
    I read my book reviews, understanding they are the readers’ opinions and will be subjective. I don’t let it swell my head when they are good and upset me when they are bad. It took a lot of effort and courage to put my work out there, and I hope some people will like it and are willing to be ambassadors and write good reviews. But I’m mindful that a bad review can be excellent feedback and good reviews don’t always sell books.  
  18. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
    Keep trying and look for helpful resources very early in the journey. You’ll move much slower than you want, but there will be fewer painful rewrites. 
  19. What’s the most difficult thing about creating characters?  Do you get attached to these fictional beings?
    I try not to make my characters so over-the-top that I forget who they are and spend too much time keeping their personalities straight. I avoid getting attached to characters - only the heroes and heroines. But thinking about it, only awful characters have died in my novels. Perhaps I’m more emotionally connected than I believe I am. 
  20. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    If on leave, I can write a 90,000-word novel in four weeks. On average, it will take ten to twelve weeks. But keep in mind that this is just the original draft.  
  21. What authors do you read, respect, and feel influenced by their work?
    I respect anyone willing to put their work out there and take the author's journey. That takes a lot. Years ago, when writing novels was a faint idea, I would read a book and wonder how an author could craft such work. I am especially awed by authors who have written many books and are still putting out new novels.
  22. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
    Editing—content edits, line edits, bata reads, and proofreads. I would venture to say that new authors should invest in editing to get their work to the next level. And, of course, they should take the excellent advice…accept the red lines, and see each correction as a learning opportunity. 
  23. What are we going to be seeing from you next?
    You will likely see book 2 of the Grays of Novart series as my next published novel, and perhaps I'll add one of those romantic suspense stories. 
  24. What is your best advice for new writers?
    I’ve mentioned some of them before, but they bear repeating: find helpful resources, edit your work professionally, and take the advice you’ve purchased. Most of all, stay focused and don’t give up. If you’ve done your edits and still feel your work is not its best, you're probably right. Have your novel assessed. 

Book Review Request

Instant Grammar Checker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an affiliate, this website earns from qualifying purchases.

Book Reviews of Featured Books

Stopping the Rise of Sea Level
Best Friends Christmas
Grays of Novart
June 17, 1967 - Battle of Xom Bo II