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Interview With Colleen Coble

Meet Colleen Coble
Interview by Sandra Moore

1) Tell us a little about yourself -- age, married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

I gasp every time I think about my age. The old body is 52 but I'm still 19 in my head. My pastor says it's because our soul is eternal so it never ages! I've been married to my darling husband for nearly 32 years, and we have 2 great kids. I'm still looking for spouses for them. If anyone wants to apply, check them out here: I have 12 novels and 9 novellas on the shelves with another 4 novels finished with upcoming releases in the next year.

2) How did you become interested in writing?

I first wrote a short story in the second grade about a horse with twin colts and I was hooked on writing. But David came along and swept me off my feet and I started raising our family first. When I was 38, one of my younger brothers was killed by lightning and I realized if I was ever going to pursue my dream of writing, I should get on it. Each day is a gift from God, and I didn't want to waste any of them.

3) You've got a new book due out this month. Hmm . . . it is this month, isn't it? Tell our readers a little bit about it.

I sure do! Into the Deep wraps up (for now) the story of Bree Nicholls and her wonder dog Samson. It's a mystery/suspense with some other issues like Alzheimers and the return of a sister Bree never knew she had thrown into the mix as well as the wrap up of the romance thread that's been dangling all through the Rock Harbor series. I think it's my favorite book so far.

4) What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

Facing rejections is the hardest part of writing for me--I have a need to be liked! I received enough rejections to paper a wall in my office! But something inside wouldn't let me quit. I'd told God I would do it if he would open the doors, but for a while it didn't seem the doors would even crack open. I received just enough positive feedback to keep going. I searched the Scriptures for encouragement and kept on going until "the call" finally came.

5) What has been the highest moment of your writing/publishing career?

The day I knew WestBow was buying my Rock Harbor series. I screamed and cried and thanked God.

6) Where would you like to be as an author in ten years?

That is a hard question! I'm where I want to be right now as far as writing what I love with editors I adore working with. I'd like my reader base to be bigger of course, to have people who are seaching for Christ to pick up my books and be drawn into the world I've created and to the breath of God on their faces there.

7) Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story ideas come from?

My family is a great motivator. They believe in me so completely and encourage me at every step. The ideas come from everywhere though: a newspaper article, a snippet of news, an overheard conversation. That's what makes the writing life so exciting!

8) Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

I'm a little of both. I plot the first ten chapters or so and write them and often change things as I go along. I used to try to plot the whole thing out when I started writing suspense, but it just didn't work. There were too many things that changed in the writing. I'll often plot in blocks of a few chapters then write them and tweak things around and plot a little more. It works for me.

9) Have any tips about writing suspense?

The first thing is to read, read, read in the genre you're writing. Then remember that the beginning and end of each chapter has to be exciting and suspenseful. Also there should be a "ticking bomb" element in the story that propels the reader along. And pacing is important. Short paragraphs and tight dialogue help pacing.

10) What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about your writing?

At the RWA Rita Award my editor at WestBow, Ami McConnell, looked into my eyes and said, "you know you're a great writer, don't you?" I was dumbfounded and mumbled "no." "Well, you are," she said. "And you just keep getting better and better. I love your writing." I wanted to cry but held it together.

11) Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

I love Bree Nicholls--her spirit and determination. She was born after reading an article about search and rescue.

12) How do you deal with publisher rejections?

One thing that's important to remember is that rejection is never going to go away in this business. Even after you're published, you still deal with it. You have to separate yourself a bit from the work and realize the criticism is not of YOU but of where you are right now in your craft and that there is always more to learn. My editors want only the best for the story when I get a revision letter. Some authors hate revision letters because they feel the rejection in them of the way the story is. But I've learned to embrace the revision process and now I LOVE it.

13) If you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be?

Read and go to conferences. I know that's two things but they're both vitally important. I would not be where I am without both those things. I read, on average, 4-5 books a week even now. You must always be honing your craft and getting better. And conferences are INVALUABLE for making contacts and learning.


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