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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Brandilyn Collins and Amber Morn

I have to confess. Every time I see this author's book title, I have to do a double-take. It's so similar to my writing name that catches my eye every time. I'd like to believe there was a smidgeon of partiality to her title choice, but that would be stretching things quite a bit. She IS a big fan of my husband's writing...and she even has a character in this series patterned after him. But, that's where the favoritism ends, I'm afraid.

Oh well, a gal can dream right?

Anyway, back to our spotlight guest. :) I am honored and pleased to share Brandilyn Collins with you as part of the CFBA blog tour:

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Amber Morn
Book Four of the Kanner Lake series
(Zondervan - April 1, 2008)
by Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline

“Don’t forget to b r e a t h e …®”

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 19th book. Her first, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences.

Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith. Visit her Website to read the first chapters of all her books.

Buy Your Copy Today!


The whole thing couldn't have taken more than sixty seconds.

Bailey hung on to the counter, dazed. If she let go, she'd collapse—and the twitching fingers of the gunman would pull the trigger. The rest of her group huddled in frozen shock.

Dear God, help us! Tell me this is a dream . . .

The shooter's teeth clenched. "Anybody who moves is dead."

On a beautiful Saturday morning the nationally read "Scenes and Beans" bloggers gather at Java Joint for a special celebration. Chaos erupts when three gunmen burst in and take them all hostage. One person is shot and dumped outside.

Police Chief Vince Edwards must negotiate with the desperate trio. The gunmen insist on communicating through the "comments" section of the blog—so all the world can hear their story. What they demand, Vince can't possibly provide. But if he doesn't, over a dozen beloved Kanner Lake citizens will die...

Amber Morn is the climactic finale to Collins' widely read Kanner Lake series. All first three titles in the series, Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, and Crimson Eve, were bestsellers. Library Journal placed Crimson Eve on its Best Books of 2007 list, and hailed it the "Best Christian suspense of 2007."

A few early reviews of Amber Morn:

"… essential reading … a harrowing hostage drama." – Library Journal

"… heart-pounding … breakneck pace … satisfying and meaningful ending." – RT Bookreviews

"This cataclysmic ending left me breathless … Kanner Lake is the Best Suspense Series of 2007/2008." –

"Collins has saved the best for a last .. a powerful ensemble performance." --

"… a staccato tempo … Sometimes you just have to close the book in order to come up for air." – Dale Lewis

"…a masterpiece of page-turning suspense with a cast of dozens." – Peg Phifer


1. This is the fourth book in your series, one that features a cast of characters that readers have come to love. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Because books 1-3 feature different protagonists with the same set of supporting characters—the bloggers at Java Joint—I wanted the finale to feature all those characters. And I wanted the story to revolve around the real Scenes and Beans blog, which was started with the release of Violet Dawn. I thought it would be cool thing to combine fiction and reality like this.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

There’s very little of me in these characters. As I was creating them for the first book in the series, I asked for suggestions for various quirks from my blog readers. I tried to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible. Old codger Wilbur, who’s always raising his shirt to show his scar from heart surgery—yup, that was a suggestion from one of my readers. I can’t imagine the series without that character.

And I wanted to feature a quirky science fiction writer. S-Man, as he’s called, is completely fictional, but as you know, Tiff, the manuscript he’s writing isn’t. One day we’re going to see Starfire, your husband’s novel, published.

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

I often have underlying symbolism in my suspense. Many readers don't see it because they're just caught up in the action of the surface story. And that's okay. But for those who want to think more about the story, or perhaps use the novel for a book club pick, I have discussion questions for the Kanner Lake series on my web site. These questions help lead the reader to some deeper thinking. For example, Violet Dawn is about a frightened young woman who has to make a terrible choice when she finds a body on her property. But that story's really about emotional scars, and how different people handle them. Wilbur, with the scar from heart surgery on his chest, is the overt symbolism. He deals with his physical scar by showing it off. He's proud of the trauma he's endured. Paige keeps her emotional scars totally secret, and thinks she can get away with that emotionally. That never works—not if you want to live a victorious life. Chief Edwards lives with his scars over the death of his son every day, going about his normal business, but dragging around this chain of grief. The ending scene between Wilbur and Paige is a subtexted scene that speaks to this symbolism. I didn't want it to be overt, and many readers may not have caught it. But of all the characters, crotchety old Wilbur was the one who addressed Paige's scars and how she should handle them.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The difficulty for Amber Morn came in handling so many points of view and keeping straight in my mind where every character was at any given moment. Also the time sequences. Things happen at a rapid pace at two main locations—Java Joint and the negotiation command post. Many times I needed to show what was happening at one location, then back up in time to show what happened at the other. This needed to be done without confusing the reader. The third difficulty was in concluding all the loose ends in the characters' personal lives. As the conclusion for the series, Amber Morn needs to leave the reader satisfied as to what happens to all these characters.

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

My next novel is a stand-alone titled Dark Pursuit. Here's the back cover copy:

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, recluse and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.

Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she's rebuilding her life.

In Kaitlan's town two women have been murdered. She is about to discover the third. The only possible culprit? Her boyfriend, Craig, son of the town's police chief.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he'll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.

But can Darell's muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan's plight may be the stunning answer to the illusive plot he seeks ...

* * * * *

Thank you, Brandilyn, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of Amber Morn.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:" when you leave a comment and type the email address where you'd like them sent. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

* * * * *


windycindy said...

Good Day! Please sign me up for an entry. I am ready for a book with seatbelt suspense. Many thanks! Cindi

Carolynn said...

Please include me, I love Brandilyn Collins books. Thanks for the chance to win!

Cherie J said...

Definitely one I am interested in. I like her books.

Grateful Gramma said...

Please enter me. Thanks!

Lauralee Bliss said...

What can I say, Brandilyn is a gifted writer and speaker! Congratulations on this newest release!

Julie Arduini said...

I love all her books, and I'm hooked on the series. I'm interested!

tetewa said...

I enjoy her books!

Carole said...

This is not the type of book I generally read, but I'd love to give it a try. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed this interview with Brandilyn and would love to be entered to win a copy of AMBER MOM.

Karin said...

Please enter me---thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love these books. Please include me in the contest.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner for this FREE book, and that is:


Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so we can get your book out to you.

Readers, there are 5 other winners announced today, so check out the other spotlights from the past 3 weeks to see if you've won.

Thanks for your continued support.