Sunday, April 09, 2006

Come with me and discover COLLEEN COBLE

One of my blog buddies, Robin, introduced me to an amazing author:
Colleen Coble.

She's a Romantic Suspense Author and after reading the excerpt of her latest book, I think I'm hooked!

I am honored to be able to spotlight her on my blog and share with you our Q & A session.

I'd like to start off with her new release. Alaska Twilight.
Isn't the cover beautiful?

Here's the 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 biologist Tank Lansing’s work with bears. But her real reason is to unearth the truth about a past murder. The suspense mounts when another body turns up, and Haley begins 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 the man who studies grizzlies. 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. Will she have the courage to move beyond the role of observer and embrace life—and love? Or will Haley forever remain in a twilight world of guilt and shame?
Alaska Twilight is the story of a young woman’s emergence from the shadows of past sorrow into the light of forgiveness and grace."

Sound intriguing? Click here for a peek at the first chapter !

Come with me to meet Colleen

Hi, Colleen! Robin sent an excited SOS about using my blog to share the excitement about your new book. I am pleased to do so.

Hi Michele! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. This whole blog tour is a fun idea!

First question...How do you know Alaska so well? Native or some awesome research? or a smattering of both?

It’s from a long time obsession with Alaska. I should have lived there. I’ve read stuff about Alaska for years—I bet I’ve watched John Wayne’s North to Alaska 20 times. I was also fortunate that a couple of writing friends who grew up in Alaska (Amy Bang and Kristin Blincoe) read the manuscript to make sure I got things right.

Does the title, Alaska Twilight, give a hint to a focal point in the story?

Yes it does! I like to try to have the title reflect a hint of the theme of the story. Very perceptive question! Haley has been wandering in a twilight of her own for years, not really living because of the fear of being hurt again. She’s hiding behind the lens of her camera, never really experiencing life in its full, vivid reality

I'm an avid reader of varied romance genres , but this is my first exposure to Christian Romance. It really amazed me how casually, naturally you have Augusta talking about the role of God and I have to was refreshing.

God is in the business of doing just that. Giving us the insight we need right when we need it. The thing I love about the genre I write is that I’m able to explore the full human experience. Sometimes in the secular market, authors are restricted in the spiritual area. We all have a spiritual side. All of us are searching for meaning in our lives, for the reason we’re here. I’m allowed to delve into all aspects of our humanity. I don’t have to ignore the spiritual side. Every writer, no matter what they write, has a worldview that comes across in the book. My books rise from my own worldview that God exists and he cares about people. I try very hard not to be preachy, but to be real and show the struggles we all go through to understand our world and our place in eternity

What do you tap into to reach those emotional depths that are able to touch and grab a reader from even just one chapter???

I think all writers tap into our own joys and tragedies. I have a lot of empathy—maybe all writers do—but I FEEL pain for people I love when they’re going through hard times. And when my grandmother died, and then my brother a year later, it was a roller coaster of emotion. I even questioned God and was angry with him for a while. I wanted to have a character going through those same feelings to show that it’s okay. God is big enough to handle our questions and loves us enough to answer them .

What impression do you hope a reader comes away with after reading Alaska Twilight? Or indeed, any of your books?

I wanted to show that we don’t have to be trapped by our past mistakes. Or by the things that happened to us when we were kids. We can CHOOSE to let go of them, to go on and let our lives make a difference. When we hold onto anger and bitterness, the only one we hurt is ourselves. I also wanted to show that any relationship is all about compromises. When you love someone, you both have to bend.

Being in the Alaskan wilderness with a prothesis is VERY brave..for anyone! What made you include a heroine with that kind of challenge?

My brother in law lost a foot and he’s just continued on with life. And I have a friend who lost a leg to a mower accident when she was young. She is AMAZING, with a great attitude. Then Paul McCartney married a gal who’d lost a leg, and I was just intrigued with how when we hear about things like this in the news, we never get to see the other side, the victorious outcome that can happen. I knew I wanted to write about it.

How does anyone chose to write Christian romances in this day and age?
What is the draw...not just for the reader but the author? I mean, the buzz is all for romantica, thriller and mystery. Romance with a religious belief woven in the love process seems to have a potential for being pigeonholed -to be sold not by the mainstream or considered such, but via religous book stores giving them a limited audience and limited exposure.

Talk to Barnes and Noble, and you’ll discover there are two hot spots in fiction—Christian and erotica! LOL
Talk about two extremes. But Christian fiction is red hot right now. I think it’s because some readers are tired of the explicit sex and the bad language. It’s possible to tell a great story without those things. The classics never had explicit sex and language. They didn’t need to—they told a great story. Barnes and Noble stores I’ve been in all tell me their Christian section is their biggest seller in the store.

The great thing about what I write is that I’m allowed to explore all facets of a person’s life—including the spiritual. We all have that element in our being.

How long have you been writing? Do you tour? Autograph books or send out fan stuff to those who ask?

My first book was bought in 1997. I autograph books and send out bookmarks, signed bookplates, etc to anyone who asks and to people who sign up for my newsletter. I love meeting readers.

What awards have you received and what do they mean to you? Are they confirmation/vindication of your decision to write or are they just boons from doing something that you naturally love to do? And would do regardless of recognition?

2004 & 2005 ACFW Mentor of the Year, Rita finalist, 2 time Holt Medallion Finalist, Booksellers Best Finalist, Daphne du Maurier finalist, Foreward Magazine Book of the Year finalist, ACFW Book of the Year finalist, Beacon finalist, More than Magic winner.

The awards are a great affirmation, but I love writing in this genre and I’d continue to do it no matter what!

If readers were discovering you for the first time (hint-hint) what book of yours would you recommend?
And Why?

Well, I have to admit I’ve partial to Alaska Twilight. I loved being able to show Haley’s spirit and courage in the face of adversity that could have crushed her but she chose not to let it.

Am I getting on a roll here or what? LOL

Girl, you are on a GREAT roll! Super questions. You made me have to think. LOL

Thanks again for doing this!

What do you write?

Wow! A question for me? *grin*

*sigh* what do I dream of writing is more the question. At this time, I'm attempting a romance, what else? LOL, that has suspenseful paranormal elements. I love the freedom of fantasy. I was a Star Trek goof when I was growing up, along with Space 1999 and the original Wild Wild West series. Those are the elements that have always intrigued me, so I would LOVE to write my own. Tried it when I was in school, but reading them now..I just blush with mortification.
Not that you needed to read all of that...but hey..since I don 't have anything beyond the prologue and first chapter, looks I have a WAYS to go....

Aren't dreams grand?

I didn’t start writing until I was nearly forty, Michele. And my friend Diann Hunt didn’t start until she was 43. So don’t think because you haven’t done anything yet, that you won’t. I was like you—a voracious reader who always thought she’d like to write. I was raising my kids and living my life until my brother died and I realized I needed to get on it.

Paranormal is hot right now! I was a huge Star Trek fan. Looooved Mr. Spock. LOL

Thank you SO much, Colleen, for taking the time to answer all of my questions. It was fun and you've garnered yourself a new fan. *wink* Best wishes for your continued and future success!

For any and all of my blog buddies who are interested in questions from an author's perspective, I've included links to other stops on Colleen's Blog Tour.

And remember, Robin Miller, the inspiration behind the tour, will host Colleen this Wednesday on her own blog. Don't forget to stop by there and Say HI !!!

Happy Reading and Blogging everyone!!!


Robin Caroll said...

GREAT interview, Michele! Thanks for hosting Colleen. If any of you haven't read Colleen's books, RUN to get one! They are AWESOME!

Brandy said...

Hey Michele, great interview! I Have a new book and author to look up at the library!

Trista Bane said...

Awesome interview, Michele! A blog tour? That is a great idea.

Shesawriter said...

Great interview Michelle. I'm gonna check that book out.

Annalee Blysse said...

Nice interview. :)

Michele said...

Thanks Everyone for reading and commenting on the interview. Not bad for a first time, eh?
I will admit to being nervous ...wanted to do justice to an awesome book and author.

I really enjoyed "getting to know" Colleen and had a lot of fun with the interveiw process.
I appreciate you guys: Robin, Brandy, Trista,Tanya and Annalee,
For stopping by and saying "Hi!"

Colleen Coble said...

Your first hosting experience? Wow, I'm honored. You asked some great questions!