Ace Collins is the author of both fiction and non-fiction and has more than two million books in print. His catalog includes celebrity biographies, how-to books, an historical children’s series, music-related books, and two best sellers about Lassie, America’s favorite collie.
After having penned dozens of books, Ace calls his latest, The Last Imprint, which was four years in the making, one of his favorites and a ‘passion project.’ You can read the first chapter here.
Ace and his wife, Kathy, live in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?
Let’s talk about your new book, The Last Imprint (The Core Media Group, November 2022). Please tell us about it.
The concept is very complicated, but I will give it a shot and see if I can describe in in a paragraph.
The Last Imprint is the story of an amazing gift that becomes a devastating curse. Dr. Maxine Factor is an imprint, a person who can view the past through the eyes of her ancestors. So, she can actually see history in the first person as it happened. That means Factor could learn the unvarnished truth about the past and know how much of our culture is based on fact and how much is tethered to myth. Because of that ability, she is being hunted by those who fear what she learns might shake the foundations of governments and religions. Set in locales across the globe, with a cast of characters that possess unchecked ambitions, unbounded fears, questionable motives, and deep flaws, this rapidly paced novel takes readers on a frantic life and death ride that doesn’t let up until the last page.
The Last Imprint is more than an adventure novel, it’s a book that will leave readers wondering if the memories of past ancestors really are locked into their DNA waiting to be awakened. And if that’s true, could they or anyone else hold onto their sanity when the experiences of hundreds of others are haunting their every waking hour. Simply put, The Last Imprint is like nothing I’ve ever written.
What inspired it and how did you prepare to write it, research for it, etc.?
About ten years ago I saw a news story about a woman who had been in a coma for three weeks and when she awakened was able to speak a language she’d never studied. As there were no explanations as to how this happened, I decided to come up with a fictional theory based on logic. Those are the bones of The Last Imprint.
The book was challenging to create because I also had to come up with rules for a story about someone whose memories of her ancestors can be reawakened. I had to decide what could trigger these memories, how they could be used, and how she could keep her sanity with that many voices in her head. I also had to create a history about what had happened to other imprints that came before her. In the end I created a rule book of what I could do and couldn’t do so the story was consistent.
The other difficult element of the novel was trying to find motivations for those who wanted to kill Maxine Factor. The quest for her to discover why so many had made her a target meant she had to be equipped to think, act, and react on the fly. I decided that making her a university professor would give her those tools.
People who have read advance copies have raved about it, but they have almost all told me they couldn’t figure out how I thought of the concept. That might have been another way of them telling me my brain works in very strange ways.
In this end, this book is more like a series that plays out on streaming services than a typical novel. Is it my best work? I would still have to point to either The Color of Justice or the In The President’s Service Series earning that status right now. So, time will tell. But I can assure you of this… The Last Imprint is my most creative and imaginative novel. In time, I hope people consider this novel in a class with the others I mentioned, but it has to earn it. So, the readers will decide.
Is there a ‘moral to the story’?
It’s obviously action/adventure/intrigue novel, yet in a subtle but deep sense, the book is about how some crumble when their faith might be challenged. Rather than face that challenge fear will drive them to react violently. They will hunt down those who might possess knowledge that could cause them to rethink what they believe and why. In an attempt to save morality they will become immoral.
A few fun questions…
What Bible story or passage best describes your faith journey?
Matthew 25:35-40. I figure if I try to live out those verses, I might just make a positive impact on the world and have a lot of reasons to be happy.
Who is your writing hero?
Either Mark Twain or Raymond Chandler. Their ability to bring characters into sharp focus is uncanny. The last book I read was written by the former head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners women’s basketball team. Sherri Coale’s Rooted To Rise is one of the most interesting nonfiction books I’ve read in years. Like the two authors I listed as my heroes, Sherri can weave descriptions that fully paint elements of life and people like few I’ve ever met. I hope she writes more books.
It has to be fun to look back on your career and think about the beginning. What prompted you, and gave you the confidence, to write that first book?
My background was in public relations, education, and coaching. I did some writing on the side. I had a friend in the entertainment business who thought I had some talent, and, when she was offered a book deal to write about her life, she asked me to do the book with her. I had to quit my real job and get to work playing with words. For a decade I wrote books for small companies and barely made a living. Getting a chance to pen a book about the world’s most famous dog, Lassie, is what gave me a career. The Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas a few years later earned me the title bestselling author. Few get to do what they love to do and make a living. I’ve been blessed to be one of those few.
Happy New Year, Ace! It’s nice to have you back at Divine Detour.
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You can order The Last Imprint in hardcover here. Or download one of the ebook editions at these retail sites now: