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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Colleen Coble -- author spotlight and interview

All right, I am SO late with this, and I apologize. For all I know, Colleen could have already stopped by and wondered where her interview is. :) I intended to post this last night and get it all ready, but interruptions got in the way. Then, this morning, I overslept and almost missed my lunch meeting. Just now getting home and hope everything will still work out.

Although I've had this blog since last November, I'm just now getting into the swing of things and networking to get the most out of this space. Thanks to fellow authors and friends, I know of many different ways to do this.

Colleen Coble photoOne of these is to offer my blog space as part of a blog tour, allowing a guest author to visit and post. This is my first one, and I'm pleased and honored to feature Colleen Coble. She is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and a dear friend and mentor. With a true heart for encouraging other writers and offering uplifting insight, she takes her own writing journey to new heights.

Join with me in welcoming her...but first, learn a little more about her newest book with this synopsis:


For some people, Alaska is a breathtaking wilderness adventure, full of light and beauty. For Haley, it is a dangerous world of dark dreams and tortured memories. On the surface, she's here to document wildlife activist Kipp Nowak's bear encounters. But her real reason is to unearth the truth about a past murder. The suspense mounts when another body turns up, and Haley beginst to wonder if the tragedies she experienced in the past are connected to the dangers and mysterious incidents of the present. From behind the viewfinder of her camera, Haley observes it all, including Tank Lassiter, the bear biologist who has been forced to lead Kipp and his team into the Alaskan backcountry. As she watches him with his work, she feels a growing attraction. It will take great courage and faith to confront the truth she once ran away from. Before it's over, Haley may be viewing herself from an entirely new angle.

Alaska Twilight is the story of a young woman's emergence from the shadows of past sorrow into the light of forgiveness and grace.

Buy the Book!

Amber chats with Colleen

1. You have a successful career now writing romantic suspense, but you began with category romance. How and when did you make the transition, and what was the most difficult aspect of the change?

Editors can tend to look at a past body of work and think that's all you're capable of. I'm so blessed that Ami McConnell, my WestBow editor, was willing to look at what I was capable of doing. I'm thankful for the category romances I wrote because they taught me how to write STORY. To write from a strong conflict. I'd always hoped to write suspense because that's what I've always read—starting with Nancy Drew books—but it took time for me to gain the skills necessary to do it. Mystery is a hard genre. There are so many threads you have to weave together. I'm still growing and learning.

Alaska Twilight Cover2. Alaska Twilight has gotten great reviews across the board. What was your favorite part to write? Your most difficult?

I loved Haley's story. Her past hurts, the way she'd lost her leg. I realized I really LIKE writing about heroines who have physical adversity to overcome. But the flip side of that was it took a lot of research to understand the challenges she faced.

3. What themes exist in Alaska Twilight that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Oh you are digging deep! The major theme was that we too often let our past dictate our future. We can't change what's happened to us, but we can control our response to it. That's in our own hands. A secondary theme was that it takes compromise to build a relationship.

4. How did you come up with the idea for Alaska Twilight?

I've always been fascinated with bears. Terrified of running into a grizzly. And something about Alaska has always called to me. I'd written the first chapter or so and shown it to my agent who hated it. I didn't understand it because I really felt drawn to the story. When Ami asked if I'd like to do an Women of Faith book, I immediately thought of it again and pulled it out. Oh my goodness, my agent was SO right! It was TERRIBLE. I trashed everything except Haley's name and profession and started from scratch. I'd heard about Timothy Treadwell and his fiancée being eaten by brown bears and wanted to weave in a story about how misguided some people can be. Wild animals will always be wild animals. You can't expect them to act like people.

5. Describe your writing space and schedule. How many words per day do you write and do you have a minimum goal you hope to reach before you push away your keyboard?

I have a leather wingback recliner where I sit and write on a Sony laptop. I have a laptop desk my friend Kristin Billerbeck got me for Christmas one year and it's wonderful. I try to write a chapter a day (2500-3000 words). Now granted, I'd probably get it done in two hours if it weren't for email, but as it is, I'm usually at my computer all day.

6. Writing can be a difficult career for the back and body. What are some of your suggestions for avoiding the discomfort and wear and tear on your body...especially during a deadline?

You're asking the wrong person. LOL I’m OBSESSED when I'm on deadline, hardly taking time to eat—well except for DeBrand mocha truffles. LOL Seriously, my buddy Randy Ingermanson recommends walking every hour. I'm going to try to be better about it.

7. You are well-known as a favorite mentor to so many new and growing writers. You've even won the mentor-of-the-year award with ACFW two years in a row. What would be your top 2 pieces of advice to give to aspiring writers?

Attend conferences! That's huge. This is a business, and you need to go into it knowing you’re going to have to commit some money to it. Think of a conference as a college class. They’re essential for networking with other authors, editors and agents. The second thing is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. Don't think you can write anything because you can’t. You have a specific voice and passion that you need to find to write from a position of strength.

8. How important do you believe it is for a new writer or even an established one to join a writing group such as ACFW?

Vital! One reason I mentor aspiring writers is I remember what it was like to wander in a wasteland where I knew no other writers and had no one who really understood the battles I faced every day: doubt, insecurity, fear. There is tremendous help and support at ACFW. Tons of forums, editors and agents belong to it as well. We're a thousand or so strong now and still growing by leaps and bounds. We've started adding local chapters too. ACFW rocks!

9. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The next book out of the gate is Dangerous Depths. It's book 2 in the Aloha Reef series. It's a treasure hunting type story, lots of action and adventure. And romance of course.

10. Anything else you wish to share?

Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Get the picture?

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If you'd like to learn more about Colleen and her books, visit her web site.


Stuart said...

Yes, always remember the motto of Galaxy Quest: "Never give up! Never surrender!"

Always had a fascination with Alaska too. :)

Romance has never been my cup'o'tea, but this book does pique my interest. :)

Unknown said...

This book is WONDERFUL! Marvelous! I was fortunate to have read it in ms form, and it blew me away BEFORE edits! Here's my review...
Colleen Coble's greatest romantic suspense yet! Set in the Alaska bush, amid bear country, readers can fall in love with
heroine Haley, a photographer who must face the fears and torments of her past, and the hunky hero, Tank, a bear
biologist who must uncover the secrets of his wife's death. Watching these two fall in love amid unraveling the mysteries
surrounding the secrets of their pasts was like riding a fast carnival ride. Coble has woven a carefully plotted suspenseful
story with characters who will stay with you long after you close the book. An added bonus? Expect a surprise appearance
by Coble's most beloved characters! This book is a must read for any suspense reader! I give it my highest rating!

If you haven't read the book.....RUN and get it!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I look forward to reading this book. Nive interview

Anonymous said...

I'm a member of RWA, not your group, but Robin sent me this way. I have to say, now I'll have to go buy the book. I'm looking foward to visiting the whole blog tour.

Colleen Coble said...

I just realized I said Dangerous Depths was book 2 in the Aloha Reef series. It's book THREE. LOL Slip of the tongue. Er, keyboard. LOL

Are you going to RWA nationals, Anonymous? I think I'm going to go this year.

Stuart, are you a Trekkie? I'm a HUGE Star Trek fan! Love, love, love Mr. Spock. I used to have the most romantic daydreams about him when I was a teenager. I'm sick, huh? LOL

Unknown said...

LOL, you know C, I totally didn't catch that about DD.....I must be slipping in my old age! LOL

WOO HOO, Colleen's gonna go to RWA National! Can't wait! :)

Stuart said...

Romantic daydreams about Mr. Spock? Was he in Pon Far at the time? Though I guess that just goes to show the incredible oddities of the female mind. Go after the guy with no emotions. :)

Anyway I'm not really a trekkie. I prefer Star Wars and Stargate.

But I look forward to the day when you put those teenage daydreams to use and write a romantic suspense with the romance being between a human and some crazy alien. ;)

Unknown said...

I ordered the book today. Once I've finished the ones submitted to Book of the Year, I'll get to read it. Ya'll don't forget to visit my blog. Looks like we all asked a little different questions.

Colleen Coble said...

Well, Stuart, Mr. Spock was an alien. I have PLENTY of daydreams to cull for that one! LOL