Kristin K. Collier

Me and My Work:

My top three values are:
Compassion, integrity, and teamwork.

I do the work I do because:
I want to grow my capacity for love and help others do the same.

If I could invite two or three people to dinner to discuss his/her life journey and career, I’d invite:
Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, and Amelia Earhart.

The next big challenge for me around my work is:
Integrating the marketing of my book into my lifestyle so that I can maintain the relationships and other work that I cherish.

If my clients/colleagues hold on to only one piece of advice from me, I hope it’s:
That every behavior is an attempt to meet a need.

If I couldn’t do the work I’m doing now, I’d be:
Training for the circus. No, slightly more seriously, returning to school to study the psychology of learning and compassion and/or domestic violence.

I can never get enough of:
My home and family.

A person in my field I admire greatly is:
Elizabeth Gilbert.

A famous person I admire is:
Brene Brown.

My favorite question to ask people is:
What are you passionate about?

If an hour suddenly opened up in my schedule I would:
Meditate, do yoga, and read The Sun magazine in the bath.

The biggest compliment someone could pay me is:
They found my writing dead-on true and that I lived as I wrote.

My biggest accomplishment so far is:
Surviving (and thriving) through early motherhood and my husband’s transition from male to female. At the same time.

My top three bucket list items are:
Riding through Iceland and Ireland on horseback, a culinary tour through Europe with my sweetheart, and doing yoga and dance through my nineties.

I would love my name to be synonymous with (or when people hear my name I want them to think):
Integrity.

My favorite work of fiction is:
The Good Earth
by Pearl Buck moved me deeply with its truth.

My favorite nonfiction book is:
It’s impossible to name just one. But one of them is Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton.

 

My Book: (Links to Amazon.com)

Housewife: Home Remaking in a Transgender Marriage (Links to Amazon.ca)

Also available at Chapters Indigo.


What was the deciding factor that propelled you to write your book?
After careful analysis, I decided I had nothing better to do with my free time. I mean that most sincerely.

What was your experience of the writing process?
It was like a rollercoaster – long, slow chugs uphill with feelings of anticipation and terror, then the flying free fall and whipping changes of direction that come with giving yourself over to a greater force. Ecstatic.

Do you have any advice for anyone struggling with the writing process?
Stay with it. Exercise, eat well, and meditate first as a routine, grab every moment you can to write between those routines, too. Consider going on solo writing retreats to cheap Airbnb’s in the countryside where you have no distractions for a weekend. Best working vacations ever.

What has been the feedback from clients and your community since publishing?
They tell me they are grateful for my courage and honesty, though they sometimes feel a little uncomfortable now knowing me so well. People find it well-written (that’s all Carole) [ed. note: don’t kid yourself, you’re an excellent writer!] and engaging to read.

How has your book affected or changed your business?
In terms of changing my business as a writer, the publication of the book has affected what I write. In marketing Housewife, I have lately been writing a few byline articles a week to promote the book. I’ve learned to write to the vehicle of the internet, short sound bites in a string like pearls. Unexpected and new learning.

How has publishing your book given you a bigger voice as an expert in your field?
I am asked to be a keynote speaker for Trans events representing the partner’s perspective and to blog or interview for mothering blogs, magazines, and the lifestyle sections of papers. Ironically, my experience is no greater or different from the experience of many, but the fact that my parenting intersected with my husband’s transition male to female (and I wrote about it) made my opinion on both matters more valuable.

How/where did you publish?
I self-published my book under my own publishing company called Abbondanza. That means “abundance” in Italian. The logo on my card is a block print dandelion, representing the common beauty and medicine of all of our creativity rising like fluff in the air to replant itself exponentially, unstoppably.

Why did you choose this route?
I chose to self-publish first because the timing of my story was important; I felt it needed to get out there NOW, not in three years. Secondly, I wanted full creative license and control of the product. I also loved the challenge of self-publishing a quality product and marketing it as if it were published by a larger publishing company. I’d love for more people to take that risk (it’s happening) to open the writing market to even more voices.

Were there any obstacles along the way?
Dude. So many. In the final stages, we’d fix one thing, and somehow three more would get balled up. The printer made an internal error that affected the quality and it took time to sleuth out the problem, time to fix it, and time to reprint. Not enough time left for a final proof copy and I sweated my choice to order over a thousand, but they came out fine. Customer service at Lightning Source/Ingram was GREAT. I just asked for what I needed to feel good about our relationship on my end, and they delivered. No shame or blame, we just worked the dilemma together. And life. Life always stands up and shouts in so many ways to test our commitment.

Do you have any suggestions or words of advice for others considering self-publishing (independent publishing) for the first time?
If you REALLY think you have a good product, invest in a recommended editor, book designer, and publicist.

What is the best advice you can offer authors-in-waiting?
I was writing only during solo writer’s retreats and I stayed in a writer’s home (Airbnb) one weekend. I had just completed the first draft of my book, and it had taken a few years. I told my host that I only wrote on a weekend every 6-8 weeks. “Oh, you’ll never get a book done that way,” he said, shaking his head sadly. I thought to myself that he was wrong.

Then I realized he was probably right! I made a commitment to writing at least 10 hours a week, which worked out to 8 hours a week split between 3 chunks and a weekend retreat once every 6 weeks. I don’t think I would have built up the discipline needed in the rewriting/publishing process without such a commitment, so I would recommend the same (or more) for anyone who is trying to write a major work for publication.