Blog Archive

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Writing for all Ages: Author Interview with Colleen Coble

My interview today is with Colleen Coble who is the author of multiple series including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and other books as well. To date she has sold more than 2 million books in print. Let's see what she's learned from her experiences with writing.

I am in awe at the number of books you have written and how you can easily move between different fiction styles. When did you publish your first book? At that time did you think you could make a career at it?
My first book came out in 1998 after working at it for 7 years. My initial dream was just to have a book in the library. After Without a Trace sold to Thomas Nelson, I realized I might actually become a career novelist. It was at that time I quit my job as a church secretary and went full time into writing.

Your writing includes different facets of the romance genre. Do you prefer one genre to write in more than another?
If I HAD to pick, I'd pick contemporary. But I really enjoy the historicals. It's fun to research and find out more about history.

Do you have one time period that you especially like to write in?
My favorite historical time period is the early 1900s. I love all the new technology coming out, things like early telephones and cars. Women were beginning to realize who they were separate from their roles as wives and mothers.

How do you keep the writing fresh and contemporary after so many books?
I'm always researching and finding new things that interest me. I hope that if I'm interested, my readers will be too!

When you do research for your books do you ever actually visit them or is the research mostly internet or book researched?
I always try to travel to the spot where I'm setting the story. Internet research can't substitute for actually BEING there, smelling the air, visiting the local hangouts, listening to the dialect. My husband travels with me and is a great help with research. He often notices things that go right over my head.

Have you ever gone somewhere and thought this would be a great location to use as a backdrop to a story?
Right now, the place I've visited where I'd love to set a book is the Adirondacks. Someday. . .

Do you think there will always be print books? Or do you think it will all go digital?

I think there will always be print books. At least I hope so. I love the feel and smell of a new book in my hands! I like reading digitally too but nothing is quite the same as a print book. I think digital books are a help to authors. More people are reading and that's a good thing! There are more books being sold. I know I am reading and buying even more books that I used to. It's so easy to click that buy button and have the book go to my Kindle or Nook!

You’ve received numerous awards for your writing over the years. Is there one that stands out with special meaning for you?
I'm especially delighted with winning the Best Books of Indiana award for Anathema. I was smiling from ear to ear when got to put a copy in the Indiana State Library. I mentioned I just wanted a book in the library when I first started writing so libraries have always been important to me.

I see one of your current books is a lovely children’s picture book. Will you be doing more children’s stories?
I'm not sure. I would love to, but we'll see. It's especially important to me since it's for my granddaughter!

You are currently CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). How long have you been a part of this organization?
I'm not sure exactly how long, probably 10 years at least. I love ACFW. When I first started writing, I didn't even know another writer. It's a lonely place to be when you feel like no one really understands your dream. The camaraderie and fellowship as we strive towards a common goal is so important. Luckily ACFW has Robin Miller as our director and she and her staff do a bang up job of handling the day to day issues.

ACFW has regular conferences for writers. What do you think is the best way for an attendee to prepare before attending a conference to make the most out of it.
Our conference is 2nd to none! Go to the conference prepared to meet new friends. Decide right up front that you won't hide out in your room but that you'll try to step out of your comfort zone and meet others.

Books that are Christian themed are growing in demand. Why do you think that is occurring?
Readers are tired of the graphic language and sex that fill so many of the books out there. They want a good story without having to wade through pages of things they need to skip. I'm that way myself. I read widely in the general market, but I don't want to feel like I need to take a bath when I'm finished with a book. And Christian books offer a hopeful ending which I love!

ACFW features a yearly contest for “First Impressions” contest which includes a short 200 word blurb on your book and the first five pages. I run into many writers who aren’t sure how to write that jacket back/inside flap piece. Could you give us some advice as to how to successfully put it together?
Figure out what your "hook" is. Always start your story knowing the conflict that will make your reader want to flip the pages. Never start a book with only your main character in the scene. That's a boring place to start. And don't start with backstory, not ever.

What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
Be an avid reader. Read extensively in the genre you are writing. Attend one good conference a year. I still do that even though I don't have to.

Are there any other points about writing that you would like to add?
Never give up. Building a career takes time and commitment. Always be reading a book on craft. You should see my bookshelves!

Fabulous questions, Chris, thanks so much!

That's it for today's interview. If you would like to learn more about the other books that Colleen has written here's the link to her website...

If you are interested in the "First Impressions" contest. Here are the details. The contest begins September 25, 2013. All contest entries must be received by 4:00 PM central time on November 1, 2013. For more details go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment