Interview with Colleen Author PA, By K.C Poitras

Allow me to introduce Colleen. I had the pleasure of meeting her only a few short months ago, through social media. She runs a group that I was interested in and invited to by one of the authors in the group. It took no time for me to know I liked her. She was active, friendly, and welcoming. As I got to know her, I decided I wanted to work with her. She is now my wonderful PA and is gaining quite the reputation over social media, as a trusted one. When I started guest writing for NZ. I knew I had to interview her. Her story paralleled with my own. She was able to quit her day job and follow her dreams, just as I had. Ultimately, this allowed her more valuable quality time with her daughter. Let’s hear from her and all that she offers.

What services do you offer?

I am a PA and currently work with 3 wonderful authors. I am trying to build up my PA resources with lots of lists, spreadsheets, groups, and questions, and I hope to be able to offer my services to a few more authors soon! I am also an editor/proofreader. I do developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading for all fiction writing. I specialize in romance, but I have worked with horror and mystery/thriller writers as well. I am also an audiobook narrator and voice-over actor, like I needed any more jobs, lol. I really enjoy bringing characters to life and have a lot of fun trying out different voices.

Are you an author?

I am not an author. I have an understanding of English and writing but I don’t possess the wonderful creativity that all the authors I enjoy working with do.

At what point did you realize you could retire and become a full-time PA?

I was tired of corporate involvement in my healthcare job and how we never had the resources to do our job, and the pandemic was the last straw that pushed me over the edge. I spent a year working on courses for editing/proofreading and started getting involved in narration and the wonderful romance book world online. I fell into the PA world. After interacting with authors and other PAs, I realized my manic OCD organizational skills would come in handy in the PA world, so I set about learning everything I could about the book world. I am still new compared to some, but I worked very hard for a year to build up my knowledge and gain experience so I could leave my day job and do what I love most, deal with books! With the wonderful support of my husband and all the lovely authors who have given me a chance, I was able to leave healthcare 2 months ago and work full time from home.

What’s the favorite part of your job? Reading, lol. I have always loved to read and started absorbing books when I was about 5. I ran out of books in the school library in elementary school and moved on to my mom’s mystery novels. I then moved into romance in high school and if I could spend all my time just reading and reviewing, I would. I love helping indie authors. I know it is a struggle to get your book and name out there with so many others. I really want everyone to read and enjoy all the books as much as I do.

What’s the hardest part?

I have a hard time giving criticism. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I know every author has put their heart and soul into their story and I know it hurts to have someone critique your work. I try my best when editing to be polite, concise, and supportive when giving feedback and making changes. I want to be as helpful as possible so their book can be even more wonderful than when they started writing without taking their meaning and love out of the story.

How do you stay organized and focused?

I have 2 daily planners, 2 wall calendars, and my phone calendar where I keep appointments. I also have binders for information separated by each topic, with lots of tab separators for each subject within that topic. I have folders on my computer as well for all my documents and images pertaining to each author and general PA work. I have 2 filing cabinets in my house to keep everything organized and tidy. I love sticky notes as well, color-coded, of course.

Tell us where you’d like to be 5 years from now? I would love to PA for a few different authors from multiple genres. I also hope that my voice can be recognized and listeners enjoy the characters I bring to life in their audiobooks. I hope I am still a part of this wonderful book community I have found and doing exactly what I am doing now, but better, and hopefully, I can do even more for all the wonderful authors I have met.

What’s something unique about you? I don’t know if it’s unique, but I am and have always been a singer. I used to want to be a professional singer on Broadway and was a part of multiple musical productions through high school and college.

What would be the first thing you’d tell someone wanting to get into the PA business? Love books and especially the type of books that you are working with. It is important to have some amazing organizational skills and design skills certainly don’t hurt either but most important I think is a passion for what you are working on, and in this case, it is promoting and selling books and the authors that write them. If you don’t love books, then it makes it harder to do your job and less enjoyable.

What’s a day in your office look like? I start my morning with coffee of course, and then I work on math and science with my daughter who I am homeschooling this year. Luckily, my parents are just next door and they help with history and English while I get some work done. Then, if I am lucky and the weather is nice, I take all 4 of my devices outside on the deck and set up for most of the day. I work on social media in between trying to get editing work done. Some days I spend in my spare bedroom closet where I have my sound studio for recording, then I spend a few hours with my headphones on sound editing. It all depends on what jobs I have at the time, but I am very happy that I can do it from home and spend some quality time with my daughter as well!

Lastly, where can people find you? & do you turn away any genres? I have a website but is still in the works. It has basic contact information and what I do but does not include my PA work yet or my references. I have been so busy I haven’t taken the time to update it. I do not turn away any genre. I have no triggers and I will work in any genre. I love romance and mystery as they are my favorite genres to read, but I also read horror, thrillers, poetry, sci-fi, urban fantasy, paranormal, and just about anything I can get my hands on. I will also work with non-fiction if it is science-related since that is my field of study.

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