An Author In 'The Cabin'

Authors are a strange breed, and over the years I’ve come to accept the fact that I am no exception. If you wander into Cabin Fever Coffee on a Wednesday afternoon, you’ll find me sitting alone at a table hugging the wall (because that’s where the electricity lives), then chances are you’ll catch me making faces or gesturing at my computer screen. I’m okay. Really.

When writing, my brain lives in a different world. The scrunched noses, flinches, and fist shaking all correlate to whatever scene I’m running through in my head. I could be mentally embroiled in a sword fight, a heated argument, complicated plot twist, or a deeply heartfelt commitment that promises to last forever. I’ve been known to twist in my seat to determine my left from my right as I pivot through a battle. I’ve been angry at characters, laughed at their jokes, and I shed a tear or two when they die. I’ve startled baristas as I punch both fists in the air after finishing a particularly difficult chapter. I imagine I’m quite amusing to watch.

So why write in the public eye when I could be curled up at home in my pajamas? Well, honestly, it doesn’t bother me to be seen doing what I love. I’ve been a mother for twelve years, which means very few things embarrass me, least of all my own awkwardness. I get one day a week to completely dedicate myself to my books and I treat this as another job. I’m a notorious procrastinator, and if I don’t leave home, I’ll find twenty other things to help me avoid my goal. And…my Cabin Fever office has better coffee than any of my previous workplaces.

I’m the cliché author in a coffee house, but that’s about where the normal assumptions end. Unlike a majority of my fellow authors, I hated reading, though I never struggled with phonics or understanding the subject matter. My nemesis was the BOOK IT! program in elementary, and my distaste for reading continued to grow throughout high school. Nothing could make me read, be it bribery with personal pan pizzas from BOOK IT!, or the promise of $5 cash per book from my mother. Now that I’m grown, I’ve come to understand my grudge was not against reading, but with being told what to do and which books to read. When stripped of personal choice, there is no enjoyment. Luckily the joy has returned with the freedom to choose stories that move me, and this has led me to write the kind of books I personally savor.

I write paranormal romance… Now, don’t run the other way! Hear me out… My series, The Cities Below, features a unique society of vampires living beneath Paris in fully functioning cities. You’ll encounter brutal sword fights, political intrigue, demons, an assassin, a panther, brave children, a warrior woman, and men who will lay down their lives to protect their people and home. At times you can’t help but like an antagonist, and once in a while you may find yourself angry with the hero, even question his motives. In romance, love is the central theme, but there’s so much more to the story. You have the opportunity to watch a civilization break, rebuild, struggle to learn and grow, and in some instances, change their ways. And fair warning: Not every character will live happily ever after in each book, because that’s the truth of life.

I’ve been coming to Cabin Fever nearly every Wednesday for years while I build these worlds of underground cities. My expectations for delicious coffee and an inviting atmosphere are always met. What has surprised me most is the number of friends I’ve made along this journey. After a time, familiar faces smile back, then we engage in a bit of spirited chitchat, and in what seems like no time at all, I’ve gained a friend.

Stop in on a Wednesday afternoon, grab a cup, and say hello. Tell me what you write, or ask me what I’m working on next. I’m an open book.

Jen Colly