A former Taylorite has become a best selling author on Amazon while inking a major audiobook deal.

Stevie Collier went from watching Detective Pikachu, to learning that he became the number one fantasy writer on Amazon, with his book “The Jigsaw Blade (The Bizarre Blades Book 1).” On his way to number one, he surpassed J.R.R.Tolkin, the author of “The Lord of the Rings.”

“I was walking out of the theater when my PR guy called me and said, ‘hey, did you see Amazon? You’re a bestseller in fantasy,’” Collier said.

It took him a full day to grasp the fact that he was a bestseller, and his climb to the top of Amazon was not overnight. His rule of thumb is to write 5,000 words a day, in an effort to become a better writer. It took a year, and writing a million words to reach number one.

“I got a good reaction after [doing that],” he said. “My writing style is unique and strange, and what kept me going was when I said [to myself], ‘I say what I want as a writer’.

If Collier had a daily mantra, it would be to write for yourself. Additionally, he said that writer’s block occurs when a writer is working for someone else.

“You’re not letting the fun cool ideas flow,” he said. “Write for yourself with a passion, write everyday and journal stories.”

Inspiration of that passion came from authors such as J.K. Rolling, Stephen King and R.L. Stine from Goosebumps, who were authors that Collier read as a student at St. Paul in Taylor.

As a self-described class clown, he would visit the adult section of the library to read scary stories by Stephen King, and wrote horror stories when he was nine.

“I also went to St. Mary’s, and one time I wrote two short stories,” he said. “It was something about this guy, and his skin coming off, and the nuns got a hold of it. My English teacher said it was inappropriate, but also said it was very well written. I always remembered that for the rest of my life.”

Along with his teacher’s encouragement, his mother and grandmother’s words made him believe he could achieve anything, even when he wrote stories that he felt were not so great.

“People have emailed me that they hated my writing,” he said. “One guy said that I would never be a [J.R.R.] Tolkien. But that same day, another guy, who had asbestosis, told me my book made him forget about his pain for a day. And that made me cry.” Despite some negativity, the positive reinforcement is what makes writing worthwhile for Collier.

“The world is full of haters,” Collier said. “There will be people who hate your books, there will be people that love your books and there will be people that will follow your books for life.

Currently, Collier is slowly releasing the rest of the series of his books and has recently signed an audiobooks deal with Podium Publishing, who published The Martian, a book that led to the 2015 film.

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