Born on Canvey Island in England, Paul Collins was nine when his family emigrated to New Zealand. In 1972, aged eighteen, he came to Australia and two years later founded the specialist science fiction press Void Publications in Melbourne. The following year he published his first novel - the non-science fiction western Hot Lead, Cold Sweat (1975). According to Sean McMullen, Collins established Void to make a bit of money to support himself while wrote his own stories.
After publishing Hot Lead, Cold Sweat, Collins launched the science fiction magazine Void : Science Fiction and Fantasy, with the first issue appearing in the week leading up to the 1975 World SF Convention. He sold his first professional fantasy story in 1977 to the United States magazine Weirdbook and that same year ceased publishing Void (after five issues) in order to establish the Worlds series of anthologies. The first three volumes were published between 1978 and 1979. By 1980 Collins had also sold another eleven stories to magazines and books in Australia and overseas.
Collins began publishing science fiction novels through Void Publications in 1980, with the first title being Jack Wodhams' Looking For Blücher. He closed Void down in 1981 and immediately set up the Cory and Collins press, with artist Rowena Collins.
In addition to publishing his own and other authors' novels, Collins
has edited many science fiction collections, written textbooks and had his works included in educational series such as Crackers, Supa Doopers and Trend. His stories have sold to a wide variety of mainstream and genre magazines. The best of his work has been collected in The Government in Exile (1994). A later collection, Stalking Midnight, has been published by cosmos.com in both POD and e-book. Collins returned to editing in 1994 to compile Metaworlds, an anthology of Australia's best recent science fiction, for Penguin Books. This was followed by Strange Fruit: Tales of the Unexpected, an anthology of dark fantasy tales.
In the mid-1990s Collins began to develop an interest in young adult
literature. Angus and Robertson published his children's fantasy novel The Wizard's Torment.
It has since been selected by the New South Wales Department of School
Education for their Bookshelf List, and extracts were published in
School Magazine. Collins also compiled the young adult anthology Dream Weavers for Penguin, the first original Australian heroic fantasy anthology. This was followed by Fantastic Worlds and the Shivers series of children's horror novels (both published by HarperCollins). Hodder published Paul's next anthology, Tales from the Wasteland: Stories from the 13th Floor in 2000.
Collins interest in taekwondo, jujitsu and kick-boxing (he has black belts in the first two disciplines) has seen him write a martial arts series of books, and with
Meredith Costain he has also written the Welcome To series of travel books.
Since the early 2000s Collins has been closely involved with The Quentaris Chronicles, a fantasy series which comprises individual, stand alone books by different
writers, but with the overall concept managed by Collins and Michael Pryor.
Collins set up Ford Street Publishing and established the speakers agency Creative Net.
Collins has also written under the name Marilyn Fate and he and Sean McMullen have both used the pseudonym Roger Wilcox.