Betty Collier describes herself as a nurse by profession, author by passion, and storyteller by the grace of God. She is a 5x bestselling, 4x award-winning inspirational Christian author. She writes with a purpose, and that is to bring honor and glory to God.
Her first book series, “Living Inside the Testimony” is a collection of inspirational nonfiction stories. Betty showcases her gift of storytelling by engulfing her readers from the very beginning and captivating their attention throughout the emotional journeys.
In her second book series, “The Birthday Gift”, Betty displays her creative storytelling in a surprisingly extraordinary way with her fictional work. She continues to inspire while lifting the words right off the pages to bring her characters to life. Readers will find themselves hoping for the best and dreaming about the characters as if they were members of their own family.
Betty also co-authored 2 anthologies with visionary author, Paulette Harper. Both are Amazon #1 bestsellers, “For Such a Time as This” and “The Breaking Point.” They feature incredible and inspirational stories from 20 different men and women from all across America.
Betty’s fictional work in The Birthday Gift Book Series is included in the John 3:16 Global Placement Mission as commissioned by founder, Terry Gurley. She uses her talent to introduce readers to the greatest gift ever given to mankind. While taking them on intriguing tales of heartbreak and hope, Betty intricately weaves together stories leaving readers in suspense until the very end. What they have in common is they all beautifully deliver the gospel message found in John 3:16.
On a personal note, Betty has been married since 1986 to William Collier, the absolute love of her life, after first meeting him in middle school. They are the proud parents of two sons and a daughter-in-love, all of whom reside in Shelby County, TN.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed! I didn’t really feel called, but I did actually become a writer overnight after I dreamed about the front cover of my first book, Living Inside The Testimony. I had never wanted to be a writer, but I woke up the next morning after that dream and started writing because I felt divinely inspired by the Lord to share my testimony. I finished the manuscript a month later and self-published it.
What I love most is sharing inspirational stories that bring honor and glory to God. Finding creative ways to share the gospel without being overtly obvious is a challenge that drives me to dig deep within my writing ability to hook the reader on page 1 before they realize that is what I am doing. I have a passion for drawing the unbeliever to Christ through books that they thought were purely for enjoyment but turn out to be life changing in ways they never imagined.
The most frustration I face right now being a writer is actually finding the time to write. I have so many story ideas floating around in my head but very little time to actually sit down and write them.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I’m working on my 8th book now, Dear John, which will launch in December. To learn more about the other 7, readers can visit my website, http://livinginsidethetestimony.com. There you will find details about my nonfiction inspirational book series, Living Inside the Testimony, which feature emotional journeys of love, hope, faith, compassion, forgiveness, and triumph. My fictional work, The Birthday Gift book series, will take readers on intriguing tales of heartbreak and hope, leaving them in suspense until the very end. I also co-authored 2 anthologies as well, so there is a variety of books and topics to choose from.
Among the 7 books that I’ve already published, 5 are bestselling and 4 are award-winning titles. They can all be purchased on Amazon. I also have a BOGO (buy one-get one) free promotion on my website here: http://livinginsidethetestimony.com/anthologies.html If they order either anthology directly from me using the link on my website, I will also ship them a free copy of one of my other paperbacks, either Living Inside The Testimony or The Birthday Gift. They can find all the details on my website.
As for the book I am promoting today, The Birthday Gift: Book 1, it was recognized as a top 2022 book award finalist in a competition that celebrates excellence in books all around the world and has been featured by national media outlets such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and USA Today affiliates. Interestingly, The Birthday Gift has become part of Terry Gurley’s John 3:16 Global Placement Mission and has been travelling around the world as far as Jerusalem, Portugal, Mozambique, and Cambodia. The hidden message in this book series is spreading the gospel message of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
My task is to hide that gospel message in plain site with exceptionally thought-provoking and intriguing tales of heartbreak and hope.
I would also like to mention that Terry Gurley wrote the afterword in The Birthday Gift. Terry is a visionary artist and sculptor. He is Principle Director/Creator of The Gospel Symbol. One of Terry’s pieces is The Message of the Bible sculpture. It explains the gospel using a picture story starting with God’s blood covenant and ending with His return. He founded the John 3:16 Global Placement Mission to install this symbolic monument into all nations around the globe. Readers will have to read the book to understand how it relates to this mission. My book trailer video will give your readers a sneak peak: https://youtu.be/W_TrqtiLYI8
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
My inspiration is definitely inspired by the Lord, as it was with my first book and all that have followed. I often tell people that I am a nurse by profession, author by passion, and storyteller by the grace of God. My inspiration comes from Him.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I have a full-time job as a nurse case manager. Because my passion is writing, I have to make time for it, but of course that can be very challenging when I add in all my other responsibilities of being a wife, mother, church administrator, and bookkeeper for my husband’s business. I don’t outline my books and actually begin them all by praying first, and then I sit down at a blank Word document and start typing. I often dream about the characters, take notes in the middle of the night, and type whatever comes to mind. I have never known the ending of a book until I got there. I am often just as surprised as the reader.
I don’t really have a time frame from start to finish since my writing schedule can be so different for each project. For one book, I wrote the first chapter in one day, but I did not begin chapter 2 until a whole year later. For others, it has been much quicker, anywhere from one to six months from start to finish.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
As an inspirational storyteller, I am ashamed to admit I am not an avid reader. I can’t think of a book that has moved me emotionally even though I hope that is what I am creating for others to experience.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I can’t really pinpoint the most significant achievement because each book has reached its own level of success in some fashion. It’s extremely gratifying and gives me a great sense of accomplishment every time I hold the first copy of a paperback in my hand. Seeing a book take form after beginning as jumbled thoughts in my head to sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, and finally an actual book is as significant an achievement as I can imagine. Then that book reaches its intended audience, most of whom I never knowingly have any interaction with, but deep down I can sense the book is accomplishing what it needs to in this world. That in itself is the greatest reward, simply knowing my book has reached someone and made a difference. Being a multiple bestselling, award-winning author is just icing on the cake.
For the next few years, I will be writing the four sequels to The Birthday Gift book series with one new book planned each year through 2025. I am also launching my own publishing company, John316 Global Publishing in 2023. I will start with one book at a time with plans for expansion which include publishing encouraging and inspirational works of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, blogs, and children’s books that all point readers around the world to John 3:16.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with rejection. One thing that has proven to be true is that authors must develop “thick skin” and never let discouragement stop them from writing what they feel inspired to share.
My advice to any writer is simply to continue writing. On days you don’t feel like writing, write anyway. When you don’t see how you will ever accomplish your goals, keep writing. If you feel like giving up, don’t stop writing. No matter how things may look, if you feel called to be a writer, the biggest mistake would be to stop writing. Most authors never know the lives they touch or trajectories in life they change simply by putting pen to paper. Please don’t deprive the person who needs to read what you have to say of the opportunity.
The traditional publishing process can be a bit discouraging, but in today’s open market and self-publishing opportunities, one does not have to look any farther than the internet to accomplish their writing goals.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
When I started writing, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. I wrote what I thought would be my first and only book, and it never dawned on me that finishing the book was only the beginning of the process. It was a rather rude awakening as I am naturally a soft-spoken introvert and would have preferred that someone else market and promote for me. I have learned that an author has to be his/her biggest cheerleader which was something unnatural for me. However, because of the passion in which I write, I am compelled and even obsessed with doing all that is within me to promote the books.
I feel like what I have written and will continue to write is not just for my circle of family and friends. There is a whole world out there, and my desire is to reach every corner of it. I am working on my author platform and will continue to do so for as long as I am breathing. I tell people that God leads; I write. I may not know the best way to market or promote myself as an author, but I know someone who does. I will follow Him.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
Honestly, I have enjoyed reading everything I have ever written. It amazes me after I am finished that I have created what is between the cover of the book. Sometimes I find myself wondering where I came up with an idea or how brilliant or how subtle or how intriguing or how fabulous something sounds. Yes, I amaze myself, not because I am amazing, but because I am amazed that the Lord has used me as a vessel to tell a story that I had no idea how it would be told until it actually unfolded.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Absolutely not. The worse books are the ones that were never written. It would be a shame for someone to take their untold stories to the grave. Being successful in this industry means different things to different people. While we would all like to top the national and international charts as #1 bestsellers and sell millions of copies, that is not the best measure of success.
As Mark 8:36 says, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” As an author, what would it profit me if I sold millions of books and made millions of dollars, but never changed one life or pointed one person to Christ. Surely my writing would have been in vain. My desire is to entertain readers by lifting the words right off the pages so that they become so engrossed in my work that they experience life-changing moments that make them a better person than they were before they read my books.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I write with a purpose, and that’s to bring honor and glory to God. I’ll quote an excerpt from a press release announcing The Birthday Gift: Book 1 as a finalist in an international book contest. It reads:
“After reading The Birthday Gift, readers will gain a newfound sense of hope. The book teaches readers some of life’s most important lessons including how to forgive, how to deal with heartbreak and trauma, and how to find inner strength during life’s most troubling times. With a central theme of loss, the book brilliantly shows how bad things can happen to good people, and how important it is to not let past traumas envelop us. In a time of global uncertainty and unprecedented change, The Birthday Gift certainly comes to us as a shining beacon of hope.”
My life is filled with hope, and my desire is to share that hope with others.