Colleen! Let's jump right into our Q&A session.
4. Our readers would be interested in your writing process. Would you share your methodology? Plotter/SOTP?
I'm kind of in between but mostly SOTP. I start off with an interesting premise and some kind of fun conflict between my protagonists. I often don't even know who the murderer is myself though. I've tried plotting, but it takes the fun out of it for me if I know who did it. :) So I throw my characters into harrowing circumstances and see what happens.
5. Every writer has research secrets. Do you have any tips for our readers on conducting research?
I approach research a little differently. I start with a PLACE. People in Michigan's Upper Peninsula are different from people in Arizona. And the things that are in the news are different. So I figure out where I'd like to set a story, and then I read history and newspapers in that area to get a feel for the kind of people who settled there and the interests they might have. It really gets my creative juices flowing.
6. What new projects are in the pipeline? Will there be a new release in 2011?
There is always something going on! In April the 3rd book in the Mercy Falls series will release. It's called The Lightkeeper's Ball, and the cover is just fabulous. In October my 4th Lonestar book ships. Lonestar Angel is my favorite in that series. I've also done something new and fun with my writing buds, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt. It's a novel in four parts called Smitten. It's about four friends who decide to save their dying Vermont village by turning it into the romance capital of the world by playing off the town's name. The fun thing is that our characters have our own personalities!
I'm planning a new contemporary series right now too set in an imaginary town in North Carolina called Hope Beach. I'm excited about it too.
Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your great insights and writing tips. I'm writing notes on your SOTP approach and research. No wonder I can't figure out whodunnit as I'm reading! You keep yourself in suspense as well as the reader. :)
Question for Readers: Have you read any of Colleen's novels? Which one is your favorite?
Question for Writers: I thought Colleen's SOTP and research approaches were unique. Do you have some unusual research tips? Do you think you might try starting out with finding a setting for your characters before you get into the plot?