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Ace Collins Q & A

When and where were you born?

I was born when my dad was in the Air Force.  Hence, I first saw the world at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois on August 17, 1953.  Within a few weeks, after my father’s enlistment was up, we moved back to Arkansas.

Were books a big part of your life growing up? If so, what books influenced you the most as a child?

My folks were educators, so books were a huge part of our home.  I loved reading and the first full-length book I remember reading was in third grade.  It was about a cougar named Yellow Eyes.  By the time I was in fourth grade I was consuming the likes of Sherlock Holmes and a biography of baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean.  That pretty much set a pattern I follow to this day that I never stick to a single genre and dip into both fiction and nonfiction all the time. I also can’t go through a day without reading a newspaper and that has been a part of my life since my youth as well.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

As a child I was entranced by Mark Twain’s storytelling.  Still am to this day.  On the modern fiction side I tend to read authors such as Clive Cussler.  Yet the writer of a story does not draw me in as much as does the story itself.  So my choices are more about the kinds of things I like to read in fiction (action/adventure and historical drama) and then finding information on things that fascinate me in nonfiction. 

What are some of your favorite hobbies and activities, besides reading and writing?

I love classic cars and currently have at 1965 Mustang, 1936 Cord and 1934 Auburn.  They are not show cars, but rather cars that I drive.  I also love college sports.  Thus my television is usually focused on football or basketball games.  Classic film is a passion as well, especially movies from the 1930s and 1940s.  And I would have to say current events are almost a hobby to me.  I love to keep up with what’s going on and then study the history of the moment set against what has been experienced in the past.  And I think all of those things have fueled my books.

How has being published changed your life?

Opened the door to meet some very exciting people.  Given me a much wider range of experiences.  Exposed me to new ideas and thinking.  Really emphasized the fact that we all make an impact on the world.  It has also put me into a changing marketplace that has forced me to constantly grow as a person.  I have found the more I write the more I learn and the more potential my work has to touch others in a meaningful way.  In a sense that might not sound too exciting, but it is.  So in that way it is the readers who contact me that keep me wanting to write much more than it is seeing one of my books in a bookstore.

Where did you get your inspiration for 25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This the Best Christmas Ever?

I had already had three bestsellers in the Christmas market, so it was natural to consider doing a fourth book.  But this book is a departure from the first three because I wanted to create something that had the potential to refocus folks on the real reason for this season.  I had seen that those whose true focus was on Christ had a much more powerful, joyful and meaningful Christmas.  The problem became how could I share what I had learned about the season with others in a written format.  After struggling with the idea for a while I came up with a spiritual advent calendar in a book or written form.

Have you ever felt the Lord speak through your writing?

I have gone back and read some of my books and realized that the wording in certain paragraphs were beyond my ability as a writer. Hence I think that was God speaking through me.  I believe I have also heard him speak through readers who have shared how some of my books have inspired them.  When either of those things happens then reaffirms that I am living my calling. 

I also think the Lord opens my eyes to see things others miss.  This is especially true when it comes to finding special stories in the lives of ordinary people.  I suddenly am given a question or a direction that I know couldn’t have originated in my own mind.

What are your dreams for writing? What dreams have you already reached in writing?

I am storyteller and that is what I want to continue to do.  My biggest dream as a child was writing a novel. With Farraday Road and Swope’s Ridge that dream is being lived right now.  I would love to keep that series going because I feel it has the potential to open up a new market for male readers in Christian fiction (though it seems from the mail I have received that females love the books as well).  So, in both fiction and nonfiction my continuing dream is to not as much “preach to the choir (write just for the Christian market),” but have my work touch those who normally don’t read Christian books.  Those are the folks who most need the story of faith.

What’s your favorite, and least favorite, part of being a writer?

The favorite part is coming up with the ideas and even doing the research for the book.  The writing itself is work, very hard work, and, there are times that becomes a drag.  Yet, even during those long days of trying to meet deadlines and working with tough editors, I love what I do. 

My least favorite part is waiting for a book proposal to find a publisher.  That has been especially true during the economic downturn.  Fewer books are being published so for the time being I don’t get to write my normal four books a year.  Hence, I don’t enjoy the downtime when I am not writing.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

I would guess rejection.  I hate to think that I have a good idea and publishers aren’t interested.  Yet, if I believe in the concept, I keep pushing it.  It took ten years and more than two-dozen rejections before “Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas” found a home at Zondervan.  That book became a bestseller and is still selling today.  Hence, I look at that one event in my writing career and keep believing in the ideas.

How can readers learn more about you and your upcoming releases?

They can go to my website at

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