Q&A With Colleen Coble

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Q&A With Colleen Coble 

Another author whom I’m happy to be doing this Q&A with this week is with Christian author of romantic suspense & USA Today Bestselling Author Colleen Coble! Some of Colleen’s many novels are Break Of Day, Dark Of Night, Edge Of Dusk & her recent release Fragile Designs. 

Q: Colleen, would you like to give a brief description of Fragile Designs & where the idea for the story came from?

A: I’ve been obsessed with Faberge eggs for years—decades really. And I’ve thought about how to write a story around them but got stymied until two years ago when visiting Beaufort SC. We stopped along Bay Street, and I was smitten with the lovely old homes, the live oaks draped with moss, and the waterfront. I could see Carly’s discovery of that egg in the attic so clearly and knew I had finally found my story. 

Here’s a little about it: There’s only one thing more dangerous than family secrets.

Since her police-officer husband Eric’s mysterious murder, Carly Harris has been struggling to support herself and their infant son. Her career as an antique dealer isn’t sustainable, nor is her dream of becoming a novelist. So when her grandmother proposes she and her two sisters restore the family’s large Beaufort home and turn it into a bed-and-breakfast, she immediately gets to work clearing out the house. In the process, she uncovers a family secret that Eric kept hidden. And an heirloom that the wrong person wouldn’t hesitate to kill for.

Homicide detective Lucas Bennett isn’t his neighbor’s biggest fan, not since she broke his brother’s heart years ago. But when Carly turns to Lucas for help, believing she’d found a lost Fabergé egg that would be worth millions and that could put her family’s lives in danger, he can’t help but get involved. Soon, they’re entangled in a mystery with threads that lead all the way to the Russian mafia. Lucas has gotten in deep, and while he trusts his ability to keep Carly and her family safe, he begins to realize he’s vulnerable to an unexpected kind of danger. And he’s helpless to stop the freefall. As they continue working closely together, Carly and Lucas realize they may have found something more precious than gold. Yet it’s only a matter of time before Carly—or, worse, someone she loves—gets hurt.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing romantic suspense?

A: I love all of it! The romance, figuring out my fun setting, and the danger. I especially love the sense of justice. It feels like there’s no justice in the world anymore, but I can make sure it prevails in my novels!

Q: Do you feel as though God called you to be an author, like he called me to be a blogger? I had to ask this question because I read that you are a Christian. I’m a Christian too, a Catholic to be more precise. 

A: I KNOW he did. I’d always wanted to write but couldn’t figure out a story. I remember closing a novel back in the 80s and thinking if only I could write great stories without that sense of hopelessness I see in so many novels. Not preachy stories but ones coming from a Christian worldview that God exists and cares for us. No bad language, no graphic sex—just compelling stories the way we used to. But no story idea came to me. Then the oldest of my three younger brothers, Randy, was killed in a freak lightning accident. The grief of that tragedy is what finally propelled me into writing.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book typically, & would it be fair to say that the people and worlds within your novels are loosely taken from real worlds and people you know?  

A: I usually write a book every 6 months but the actual writing takes about 3 months. Research and travel take up time too. No, I really don’t base my characters on people I know or have met. They just spring to life in my head. 😊

Q: What lessons do you hope readers learn after reading your books?

A: I want my books to give readers hope and joy as they escape a bit from life’s hard knocks. Reading novels helps us all develop empathy—something there is never too much of!

Q: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write romantic suspense?

A: Read, read, read. You learn to write by absorbing how the story comes together. Read books on writing. I also love a program called Knockout Novel. It’s an online program developed by veteran novelist, James Scott Bell, and is very inexpensive. I find it hugely helpful and start every novel on the program to help me learn my characters.

Q: How does it feel knowing that your novels are on the USA Today Bestsellers List?

A: It was an exciting day when that first novel hit the list—a dream come true! I love hearing from readers.

Q: If it’s not too early to say, are you currently writing your next book & if so can you reveal any news about it?

A: I have started co-writing with author Rick Acker. He’s a Deputy Supervising Attorney General in the California Department of Justice and has written ten novels on his own. He’s a plotter and I’m a pantser but it works out so well! Our first novel together is What We Hide and will be out in July. It’s the first in the Tupelo Grove series set in the Gulf Shores, AL area and is a legal suspense. 

Q: If you were to write anything outside of romantic suspense or anything romantic related, which genres would you explore?

A: I love apocalyptic novels and I will write one someday! 😊 

Q: As an author have you ever doubted your writing abilities, if so, how do you deal with it? I’m sure many aspiring authors would value your advice! 

A: Every author deals with it with every single book. I don’t know any writer who thinks they are the next Stephen King. In the middle of every book I think it’s drivel. What helps is having a trusted critique partner who drags you up out of the muck of your own doubts. Denise Hunter and I have been critique partners for 25 years and I don’t know what I’d do without her!

Q: What is your advice for new authors on how to deal with negative reviews, trolls & family and friends who may or may not support their dreams? 

A: Tread carefully with reviews. Remember they are ONE person’s opinion. And fix your sights on your goal and don’t let naysayers steal your dream. Writing is hard work, and honestly, oftentimes the negative comments stem from sheer jealousy. Many people say they’d like to write, but how many actually sit butt in a chair and do the work? Not very many. YOU are the one actually doing it so don’t be discouraged. Know what you want and why you want it and keep going after that dream.

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? Whether they do or not, who would be your dream cast? Hollywood could use more original ideas again instead of remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels & spin offs. More book ideas would be great! 

A: I’ve gotten close a few times but there are no movies out there yet. I don’t really have a dream cast—it would depend on the book. And honestly, I am mostly a reader not a movie watcher. I enjoy a good suspense movie but I wouldn’t know how to cast it. 😊