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Interview With Colleen Coble

Hi, Colleen, thanks for taking the time to chat with us about your latest book!
I’m excited to be here!

The Lightkeeper’s Daughter is a historical novel, set in the 1900’s. Can you tell us a bit about the story and where the idea came from?
I cut my writing teeth on historical novels. My first four were prairie romance, and researching them is where I learned to weave in atmosphere and setting. I’d been thinking about doing a historical romantic mystery, and when my editor suggested the possibility, I jumped on it. I’m crazy about lighthouses and also about the turn of the 20th century. I got to wondering what might happen if a lightkeeper’s daughter discovered she was a foundling who washed up on shore. And what if her lightkeeper father was paid to care for her?

Sounds fascinating! This book is the first in The Mercy Falls series, what’s coming up next?
The Lightkeeper’s Bride is being edited as we speak. It’s about Katie, Addie’s best friend in The Lightkeeper’s Daughter.

We’ll look forward to that! How does writing a historical differ from your contemporary novels, and which do you prefer?
Strangely enough, my readers say The Lightkeeper’s Daughter is still very much like my other books. Same blend of mystery and romance. I like doing both. Historicals take more research into the era but I enjoy that so much! I have to say it was so much fun writing a historical romantic mystery that I’m not sure I’ll ever give it up.

You’ve written so many books over the years, but you’re also a wife, mother and a grandmother! What has been your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
ACFW also takes a lot of time, but it’s my passion to raise up the next generation of writers. And I want to be the best grammy on the face of the earth! :-) I’m very focused on what needs to be done every day.

When you started your writing career did you always intend to write for the Christian market?
Yes, right from the beginning. I remember finishing a book in the’ 80s. It had no hope at the end. I told the Lord I would love to write from a worldview that He IS and that He cares about us. Not preachy books, but ones that reflect the way I look at the world.

How does your faith and spiritual life affect your storytelling?
So often something I’m dealing with personally makes its way onto the pages of the novel I’m working on. I also have a real heart for forgiveness and that topic usually ends up in my novels.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career thus far?
I’m a huge library fan. My novel Anathema won a Best Books of Indiana award in fiction this year. I was thrilled when I got to put it in the state library collection!

What has been the most difficult part of your journey?
It’s hard to have everything rest on your shoulders. There is never a real vacation. Every single time I’ve been on vacation there has been something I’ve needed to do: edits, back cover copy approval, promotional stuff. Last year when my father-in-law was dying there was still a deadline that had to be met. But the blessings outweigh the negatives!

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
My characters prod me on. LOL They bug me until I get it down on paper. The ideas come from everywhere: a TV documentary, a newspaper or magazine article.

Do you have a favorite book out of all the ones you’ve written – the ‘book of your heart’ ?
I have a favorite character, will that work? Bree from the Rock Harbor series has a little bit of me in her and it’s almost like I’m writing my own story.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
The way I weave setting and atmosphere into the fabric of the plot and characters.

Finish this question… ‘If I knew then what I know now…,’ I would have put away that first novel and moved on to write the next and the next. It wouldn’t have taken me 7 years to be published if I had done that.

Any parting words?
Never give up! Keep on working and perfecting your craft.

Thanks for sharing with us, Colleen!
Thanks for having me!

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