Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Author Interview - Colleen Coble - Part I

Bio: Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, national REaders' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. Visit her website at http://www.colleencoble.com/.

1. Welcome to Christian Writer/Reader Connection, Colleen! How did you select romantic suspense as your genre?

Oh, I love suspense and mystery! I grew up on Nancy Drew and love that element in stories. And I'm also all about relationship. I love watching interactions between men and women.

2.  I noticed your books moved from a contemporary timeframe to a historical period. What influenced this switch?

My early books were prairie romance. I love history, and I asked my editor about doing a historical series that incorporated my love of suspense as well. It's been fun to go back to my roots, but I will likely never do historicals exclusively. I love normal romantic suspense too much to give it up.

3) You are one of the few authors who keeps me guessing about whodunnit. Where do you get your ideas?

The ideas come from everywhere! The Rock Harbor series came from an article in a hunting magazine, of all places! I was in a doctor's office, and there was nothing there to read but several hunting magazines. I was desperate though, so I  picked up one and ran across an article about search and rescue in Yellowstone. I thought it would be an interesting profession for my protagonist, and that series is one of my most popular. The Aloha Reef series came after watching a documentary about how the Navy was using dolphins to search for bombs during the first Iraqi war.

Question for Readers: When your favorite authors change genres, do you stick with them?

Question for Writers:  Colleen brought up interesting professions for her protagonists. How do you decide on your characters' career paths?

Next week, we'll continue with Part II of our interview with Colleen. She has an interesting approach to research.

37 comments:

Diane said...

I am a hugs Nancy Drew/Trixie Belden lover too. If I like the author I would see how they do in another genre. :O)

Rhonda Schrock said...

I love mysteries and devoured Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a young girl.

Do I follow my favorites when they change genre? Depends.

The reminder that inspiration can come from anywhere is so true - love that!

Thanks, Susan. Very interesting!

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda

Jessica Nelson said...

Great interview! I've only read a few of her books but I liked them and will read more.
I haven't chosen interesting professions in past stories but I will in future ones. :-)

Faith Imagined said...

Great interview! I've heard so much about Colleen's books. I can't wait to read some. Thanks for highlighting her work!

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I loved the Rock Harbor series. The characters and the events pulled into the stories and kept me there. Besides the mystery element, she incorporated some romance.

Janna Qualman said...

Great interview! Awesome gal. :)

I would change an author who switched, I think, especially if it were a favorite, because for me it's most about voice.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Diane -

I read some Nancy Drew, but I gravitated more toward Cherry Ames (nurse stories).

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I won't automatically follow an author into another genre. Like you, it depends on what they select.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I'm fascinated with stories where the protagonist has an unusual profession. I haven't tried this in my own work either.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

I've read a couple of her books and enjoyed them. As Jessica said in the comments, I'll be reading more. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

You took the words out of my mouth (or maybe I should say, "out of my pen"). :)

I read one book in the Rock Harbor series and want to read the others. Right now, my TBR pile is filling an entire shelf.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janna -

Good point! Even though an author switches genre, it's still written in their voice.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jill Kemerer said...

Colleen, I will read anything in a doctor's office--including the hunting magazines too! Love how you find your inspiration!

Susan, great interview! I can't wait to learn more about research!

Stephen Tremp said...

I think its okay to change genres but its not easy. I wouldn't try to do it. And I read the Hardy Boys when I was a kid too.

Stephen Tremp said...

I think its okay to change genres but its not easy. I wouldn't try to do it. And I read the Hardy Boys when I was a kid too.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I like your interviews, Susie, because they are not overly long, but they're interesting and fun.

When a favorite author changes genres, I usually stick with them. It's fun to see versatility.

kristen said...

Fun interview!

I love research, so when I hear about a really cool career path, I'll usually research it and it will sooner or later show up in a book.

Thanks, Susan!
Have a wonderful day:)
Kristen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

I always bring a book in case there are no good magazines. See, I would have missed out on the hunting and fishing ones. LOL!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Stephen -

I wonder how many authors actually switch genres? There must be quite a few. I can name at least five off the top of my head.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Thanks! I know how many blogs people visit and respect their time constraints. I'd rather split an interview into two or more parts and give them a quick sound bite.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Thanks! Colleen made the interview easy. She's a sweetie.

Hmm, maybe we should start an idea file for occupations.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Carla Gade said...

Great interview. I'm actually now reading Coleen's The Lightkeeper's Bride. Her novels are so filled with intrigue and fast moving. Talk about a page turner!

If I really love the author I would read a different genre. Though I tend to read historicals exclusively.

As for writing, one of my favorite things to do is find a unique career. It helps create an element of interest to utilize throughout the story. So many careers have been overdone.

Marja said...

Thanks for the interview Susan, what a great gal, she looks so sweet!
I enjoy a John Grisham book every now and then. His Painted House was really a delight (his best, maybe) although it had nothing to do with his 'normal'genre. I was surprised he could write such a great folk story!

Karen Lange said...

Great interview! Loved hearing Colleen's angle on her ideas and protagonists. Thanks to both of you. :)
Blessings,
Karen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carla -

I read and recommended the Lightkeeper's Daughter. I'd like to read a lot of her books, especially the Rock Harbor Series.

Maybe I'll get more in a few months. Right now, I have a stack waiting for my attention. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marja -

I've heard of John Grisham, but never read his books. Switching genres is possible, but tricky.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Be sure to check out Part II next week. She has an interesting method when it comes to research.

Great to see you back! I hope your unplugged time was productive.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Colleen Coble said...

One thing I want to mention is that only the time period changed in my stories. They are still the exact same mixture of mystery and romance. :) I would never change genres. I love writing what I write.

Good to chat with all of you!

Sandra Heska King said...

Loved this.

I just finished Lonestar Sanctuary. Yep, my first Colleen book and was blown away by the characters as well as all the twists and turns.

I can't wait to read next week's interview.

I've spun one of my current characters off my great-great grandfather who was a logger. Another is a nurse, of course. ;)

I guess I'll have to start reading those hunting magazines.

P.S. I loved Nancy Drew AND Cherry Ames.

DenaNetherton said...

If I like an author's voice, I'll follow them from genre to genre. I have enjoyed Colleen Coble's books and would follow her just about anywhere!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Colleen -

Duly noted. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sandra -

I've read two of Colleen's books so far. I can't wait to read more. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Dena -

Please see Colleen's comment. Although she's changed time periods, she hasn't changed genre.

I agree. If I like an author's work, I'll give another genre a chance...unless there are vampires or aliens involved.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Marianne said...

A beloved author is a beloved author - those who change time periods or genres. i love those books of Colleen's that i have read.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marianne -

Well said. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Outlook Exchange said...

I loved the interview! She is a wonderful writer!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Outlook Exchange -

Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Don't miss Part II on Wednesday, 3/9/11. :)

Blessings,
Susan