Episode 32

Change is the Spice of Life

Anna E. Collins is a Seattle area author of contemporary romantic comedies and women’s fiction who was a dual debut in 2022 with romcom LOVE AT FIRST SPITE, and women’s fiction novel THESE NUMBERED DAYS. Anna grew up in Sweden where she was always a voracious reader with a vivid imagination, but other than occasional poems and songs, she didn’t start putting her own stories into writing until after she had kids. By that point, she had worked as a high school teacher for several years, married an American, undertaken two international moves, and needed a new outlet.

Her first venture into fiction was a gargantuan 260,000-word historical family saga that will never see the light of day but that sparked a passion for creating people and worlds that illustrate and illuminate aspects of the human experience that connect us. A couple more books and a master’s degree in educational psychology later, Anna caught the break that would allow her to consider writing more than a hobby when she got into PitchWars in 2017. Since that crash course in editing and the world of publishing, she has never looked back. She placed 2nd in the PNWA literary contest 2018 and was a RWA Golden Heart finalist in 2019 with two of her women’s fiction novels. Then in 2020, with the pandemic upon us, she decided to branch into something more lighthearted and wrote the romcom that ended up being her debut.

Regardless of genre, Anna aspires to write characters that jump off the page, and relationships that are as complex and imperfect as the ones we find in our everyday life. The sweet spot is where recognized experiences can be infused with fictional sprinkles to create something that’s familiar but just enough “other” to transport the reader and widen perspectives.

When not writing, Anna stays busy driving her teenage kids around, training her eternal shadow and companion Archie the mini goldendoodle, and engaging in other creative pursuits such as drawing, woodworking, and baking. She is currently in the middle of the launch of her second women’s fiction novel, A Life in Bloom (Red Adept), and revising the second of two romcoms scheduled to be released in 2024 and 2025 (Forever).

You can keep up with Anna on Instagram @aeccreates, and on her website www.aecollinsbooks.com where you’ll also find links to order her books


Support your local bookstore & this podcast by getting your copy of A Life in Bloom at https://bookshop.org/a/


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Shawna Rodrigues 0:00

Welcome to Author Express. Thanks for joining us today. I'm Shawna Rodrigues, one of your hosts, and the founder of Authentic Connections Podcast Network, which makes this podcast possible. This podcast is where you discover the voice behind the pages of your next favorite book. And I'm excited about the author we have for you today.

Shawna Rodrigues 0:21

RWA Golden Heart finalist in:

Anna Collins 1:23

Thank you. And I will just clarify a little bit. The romantic comedy is, Love at First Spite, not love at first sight.

Shawna Rodrigues 1:33

That actually makes much more sense. You mean, I actually have to read what the words say instead of make up words?

Anna Collins 1:40

It's a common mistake. I'm just pointing it out.

Shawna Rodrigues 1:45

I'm not the first person that's done that?

Anna Collins 1:46


Shawna Rodrigues 1:47

nope. Well, Love at First Spite makes it much more fun, and definitely tells you how clever your play on words are that so many people don't get that right, huh?

Anna Collins 1:56


Shawna Rodrigues 1:57

We'll go, we'll go with that. And instead of me just not reading very well. Let's go with that.

Anna Collins 2:02

It's totally cool.

Shawna Rodrigues 2:03

It's because you're so clever. That's all there is to it. That's wonderful. So, tell us, what is the most interesting thing about where you are from?

Anna Collins 2:11

Well, it's a completely different country. So, I grew up in Sweden. And I think the balance between work and life is very different there. Which is something that sets it apart maybe from here in the US. And I would say the most interesting part or the most appealing part is the access to nature. Basically, 95% is beautiful.

Shawna Rodrigues 2:37

Yes. Is that hard being so far away from it?

Anna Collins 2:41

Well, the Pacific Northwest is beautiful, too. I mean, I always look forward to going back visiting in the summers. But I've made US my home. So, I don't necessarily miss living there. I miss my family and my friends.

Shawna Rodrigues 2:55

Yes. But you do visit every summer pretty regularly?

Anna Collins 2:58

Yeah. And my parents are actually coming out here, too.

Shawna Rodrigues 3:03

Oh, nice. That works both ways. That's wonderful. Well, keeping with that vein, can you tell us one of your favorite memories from growing up?

Anna Collins 3:12

Oh, I spent my summers in the south of Sweden because that's where my mom was from. So, my grandparents had a farm. So, going there in the summer, to the beaches. They have white beaches in the south side of Sweden, you know, the really fine sand. It's a completely different atmosphere than living in, I mean, obviously, the cities in Sweden aren't huge. I'm from the fifth largest town or city and it's not super big. But it's still different than spending summers in the countryside. So, I would say, the reset and the animals. My grandparents always had kittens and being a country girl for a few weeks every summer is a really, that's a memory I treasure.

Shawna Rodrigues 4:00

Yes. I love that the beaches had white sand. I would just think of rocky coasts.

Anna Collins 4:05

They're gorgeous.

Shawna Rodrigues 4:06


Anna Collins 4:07

yeah. I mean, there are other areas that have rocky, rocky, but it's called the Riviera of Sweden is what they call it.

Shawna Rodrigues 4:14

Oh, I love it. It sounds beautiful.

Anna Collins 4:16

It is gorgeous. Yeah,

Shawna Rodrigues 4:17

it's nice to have that difference in the typography, too. Where you have that variance of where you can go and have seen and so much of it.

Anna Collins 4:24

Yeah. So, I think that's probably my most treasured memory and we still go there in the summer when I go visit.

Shawna Rodrigues 4:30

That's lovely. Now everyone listening is gonna have to go there, too. There's gonna be this overtaking of the beaches.

Anna Collins 4:35

Oh, no. Don't do that.

Shawna Rodrigues 4:37

She didn't tell you the name. It's not southern Sweden. It's northern Sweden.

Anna Collins 4:41

Right. I used to go to the north of Sweden too because my dad's from up there actually. So, we would let our time

Shawna Rodrigues 4:51

cover it up. Cover it up. That totally works.

Anna Collins 4:53

Yeah, exactly.

Shawna Rodrigues 4:54

That's too funny. So, with your book that just came out, what do you think that readers are going to take away and enjoy most about it?

Anna Collins 5:04

Well, this book is, it's sort of a love song to challenging mother-daughter relationships. And I'll be really clear, like, I have a great relationship with my mom. It's not. That's not the inspiration for the book. But the ability to overcome and forgive and maybe see past the surface. I think a lot of the time kids don't know their parents, like, it takes a long time for a person to know who their parents are. Because the title parent kind of covers

Shawna Rodrigues 5:32


Anna Collins 5:33

covers everything. The role of being parent kind of negates letting the child know who you really are. Not all, not always. But I think there's a lot of things that kids just don't know about their parents, even as adults.

Shawna Rodrigues 5:45


Anna Collins 5:46

And so, this book was sort of an exploration and that, it's about a woman and her elderly mom and they have always had a strained relationship. But, I don't know, I don't want to give away too much. But, my main character ends up, she's helping her mother complete a bucket list before she dies. And so, it's about the, it's a physical journey, kind of a road trip, kind of fun in that way, a lot of adventures and stuff that they go on, but the inner journey of both for my main character, what she learns about herself, but also the reconciliation between the mother and the daughter, and kind of that to be open, for there to be more than one side to a person.

Shawna Rodrigues 6:28


Anna Collins 6:29

And that can be transformative.

Shawna Rodrigues 6:32

Yes, that's amazing. I like that. Sounds like a wonderful book. Great read over the holiday and over the summer.

Anna Collins 6:40

Yeah, I hope so.

Shawna Rodrigues 6:42

Yeah. So, what part of writing brings you the most joy? What do you enjoy most about it?

Anna Collins 6:47

I enjoy most those moments you have when you sit down and you open your laptop, and you know exactly the scene you're gonna write, and you write it and you look up and three hours passed, and you have no idea where the time went, and you have life on the page. That's what I like the most. And everyone who's an author will tell you that those moments are not daily.

Shawna Rodrigues 7:12

That flow is not easy to find.

Anna Collins 7:14

No, but finding the flow in it, I think that's what makes many writers come back to it over and over.

Shawna Rodrigues 7:21

Yes. I love how you say that the life on the page that like, you were able to commute that piece.

Anna Collins 7:28


Shawna Rodrigues 7:28

Put it there. That's beautiful.

Anna Collins 7:30


Shawna Rodrigues 7:31

Yes, very well said. I like that a lot. So, what is the book or story that inspires you the most?

Anna Collins 7:39

I'm gonna limit myself to two books that have inspired my women's fiction particularly. Because otherwise we could be here forever.

Shawna Rodrigues 7:48

All right.

Anna Collins 7:48

Cause I'm gonna go back to childhood. I'm gonna have to talk about temporary stuff.

Shawna Rodrigues 7:52


Anna Collins 7:53

So, I mentioned two titles. I think one of the most inspiring for my women's fiction has been Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Not necessarily for the suspense and the drama of it, but because the characterization. She is such, she's so gifted at pinpointing personality and character and very, with very small measures. And so, being able to bring depth to a character with a line. That, that's something that I aspire to do. So, in that way, her writing has really been inspirational to me. The other book I mentioned is nonfiction. It's called, The Boys in the Boat. Have you read it?

Shawna Rodrigues 8:37


Anna Collins 8:38

out the UW rowing team in the:

Shawna Rodrigues 9:56

Oh, that's wonderful. And there's a youth version of the book. So, the same author wrote two versions of it then?

Anna Collins:

Yeah. So, it's a slightly simplified version that for schools.

Shawna Rodrigues:

Oh, very cool.

Anna Collins:


Shawna Rodrigues:

That's definitely something worth checking out. I like that.

Anna Collins:

Highly recommend. Yeah, so, those. I'm picking those two books.

Shawna Rodrigues:

I think those are two great books to choose. I like that. And I love that. And now I'm going to want to read them both. Well, I might read different because I've definitely been wanting to check out Liane Moriarty. And so, I think there's another book of hers that was on, high on my list too. I'm trying to remember what it was.

Anna Collins:

I think, Big Little Lies is my favorite of hers. I think, I've read most of her books.

Shawna Rodrigues:

Good to know. Very good to know. That's wonderful.

Anna Collins:


Shawna Rodrigues:

So, obviously, people need to go get your book because it's out today. But, what is the best way for folks to find you and follow you online?

Anna Collins:

Best place to find all the information is on my website. It's aecollinsbooks.com. Or you can find me on Instagram, @aeccreates.

Shawna Rodrigues:

Oh, I like that. AEC creates.

Anna Collins:

Also, if you want dog content, that's where Archie is with me.

Shawna Rodrigues:

If you want to meet Archie, that's where you have to go.

Anna Collins:


Shawna Rodrigues:

That's very good to know. Very good to know. Okay, so then, we'll have all of that the show notes. So, it'll be easy for them to get connected to you and get the copy of the book that just came out so they can be in sync with that and learn more about. So, how many books do you have out total then at this point?

Anna Collins:

So, I have two books out from 22. And then I have this book out that just came out yesterday. And then I have two rom coms under contract for 24 and 25. I have something else in the works that I'm not at liberty to discuss at the moment.

Shawna Rodrigues:

Oh, I like that. It sounds very mysterious.

Anna Collins:

By the time this is out, there's hopefully too

Shawna Rodrigues:

we have to go to your Instagram and start learning about these things, right?

Anna Collins:


Shawna Rodrigues:

So we can know what that mystery is about.

Anna Collins:


Shawna Rodrigues:

Okay, well, thank you so much, Anna. It was so lovely to get to chat with you and learn more about you and your writing.

Anna Collins:

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Shawna Rodrigues:

Yes, absolutely. Thanks for joining us. I hope you take a second to give us a review or a couple of stars on your favorite podcasting platform. And we'll be here again next Wednesday. Follow us on Instagram, at Author Express podcast, to see who's coming up next. Don't forget, keep it express, but keep it interesting.

About the Podcast

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About your host

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Shawna Rodrigues

Shawna Rodrigues, Founder and Director of Impact at Authentic Connections Podcast Network, Host of The Grit Show (https://podcast.thegritshow.com) and Author Express (https://bit.ly/AuthorExpressPod) and coming in 2024- Authenticity Amplified. Shawna is a Podcast Mentor, Internationally Best-Selling Author (www.shawnarodrigues.com) and consultant.
Find her on Instagram @ShawnaPodcasts.