Clanton teen pens book, readies for signing eventBy Emily Reed Published 4:37pm Friday, August 8, 2014
As Hunter Collins holds in his hands a copy of his poetry book, “Purity Defiled Lost to Insanity,” he reflects on the moment he saw his self-published book for the first time.
“I remember I got the package in the mail, and when I opened the package, I held the book in my hands, which was such a neat feeling,” said Collins, 17. “The moment of realizing that my name was on a book with a cover was interesting and cool all at the same time.”
Collins, who graduated from Chilton County High School in May, is gearing up for his first book signing Aug. 12 at the Chilton-Clanton Public Library at 2 p.m.
His book features 33 original poems dealing with topics such as depression, difficult situations, atrocities of war, with some mythology mixed throughout.
“Most of the poems in the book focus on aspects of depression and anger,” Collins said. “Things people feel, but not a lot of people talk about. No one casually talks about feeling bad, angry or hateful. People usually keep it impersonal in passing talk, so I wanted to write something that would evoke emotions that aren’t always popular to talk about.”
Although Collins said his book appeals to a young adult audience, he hopes adults would also be able to find something they would enjoy.
“I think the book targets the audience of teenagers who are still in high school or about to head to college, but adults who have experienced things such as anger or depression, would relate to this book as well.”
Collins has always enjoyed reading, but it wasn’t until he was in middle school that he started delving into different books and writing poetry.
“In middle school, I had an English teacher who made the class memorize ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost,” Collins said. “She was apt on getting her students to read. It was in her class that I started picking up some works of fiction and really got into reading. I would then start looking for authors who wrote the novels I enjoyed to see if they also wrote poetry, and that is how I got into writing poems.”
As Collins got older, he continued to write in high school, and started writing many of the poems featured in his book.
“It was my senior year when I went through the poems I had written and started picking and choosing which poems I thought would be good for a book,” Collins said. “I put them together how I wanted them, finally got it all down into a manuscript and had several friends read them. They helped me by giving feedback about which poems they enjoyed and which ones they thought could be taken out. I started making a table of contents and found a company to publish my book.”
The book was published during Collins’ senior year by Xlibris self-publishing when he was also asked to write a class poem for the 2014 senior class at Chilton County High School.
The poem Collins wrote for the senior class is not featured in his book, but was titled “Gates,” featuring a graduate who reflects on his life as he is waiting to move on to the next adventure.
“Every time the word ‘gate’ came up in the poem, it signaled a break in time from an infant, to a child, to a student and then to a graduate,” Collins said. “It was written for my classmates as if they were going through different stages in life, and they had finally arrived at graduation where the next step is an open gate to the next adventure in life.”
One poem listed in Collins’ book is an ode titled “Reality” which he wrote after his 10th grade English teacher challenged the class to write various styles of poems.
“I really enjoyed that class in school,” Collins said. “I remember the assignment to write an ode, and I really enjoyed writing that.”
Collins draws inspiration from authors Ernest Hemingway and J.R.R. Tolkien.
“Both of them have influenced how I write,” Collins said. “I hope to become a known author who has multiple works.”
Collins will attend the University of Montevallo in the fall where he will pursue a degree in math, but he hopes to continue writing and possibly have other books published in the near future.
“The next thing I plan to start working on is short stories, but I haven’t decided if I will publish them through magazines or put them in a book,” Collins said.
When asked what advice he would give for other young adult writers looking to publish a book, Collins said he would encourage them to just start writing.
“One of my favorite quotes says that when you sit down to write, you don’t just write, you bleed,” Collins said. “I think sometimes people sit down to write as if it is work, but you have to learn to write for you. Also, no one usually likes homework, but a teacher’s assignment is to make you better. My teachers pushed me to be a better writer so I would say, take the work the teacher is giving you and strive to continually improve.”
Collins is the son of Ivan Ray Collins Sr. and Wanda Fay Wise Collins of Clanton.
His book will be available for sale at the book signing for $15.
Collins said the book can also be purchased online at www.Xlibris.com, www.books.google.com or through the Kindle Store.
The books are $16 online and $4 for e-books.