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Interview with Colleen Hall

An introduction to Colleen Hall, in her own words:
For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to write. My mother tells me that I wrote my first story in third grade. During middle school, I wrote a mystery story in daily installments that my friends read on the bus on the way home from school. I wrote as a hobby all through high school, and after we married my husband bought me a typewriter so I could compose novels while the children were down for naps. As the children grew older and I went to work, my writing time got squeezed out with the demands of family, work, and horses. I put my writing aside and decided getting published wasn’t in God’s plan for me during that season of life.

When I had surgery about six years ago and was out of work for several weeks, the Lord reawakened my desire for writing and getting published. Since I had time on my hands and couldn’t do much, I pulled out a manuscript that I’d written when the children were young. I reworked it, prayed over it, and Googled “Christian publishers that take new writers.” Anaiah Press was one of the publishers that came up, and it matched my type of manuscript. So, I submitted my novel according to their guidelines, and my manuscript was accepted. Her Traitor’s Heart was born. In God’s perfect timing, my lifelong dream of being a real author was fulfilled. Now I’m balancing the demands of work, family, and writing with a lot of late nights and sacrificing other things that I’d like to do. My horses take a back seat to my writing, but to me, it’s worth it to create fictional worlds and characters whose life lessons, I hope, will encourage my readers.

Thank you for participating in our ACFW author interviews, Colleen, and sharing your life and writing process with us. They say God works in mysterious ways. It sounds like he used your surgery six years ago to give you the opportunity to dive into a writing career, bringing something good out of something not so good. Would you tell us more about that?
I’d be happy to share how God used my surgery to start my writing career. I was born with hip dysplasia, which meant that my hip joints weren’t shaped correctly and wore out sooner than they should have. After my first hip replacement surgery, I had to stay home from work for several weeks to recuperate. I needed something to do while I was recuperating, so I pulled out a manuscript that I’d written years earlier and started editing. When I finished editing, I Googled “Christian Publishers that take new writers.” Anaiah Press came up in my search. My manuscript fit the type of books they published, so I followed their submission guidelines and emailed my work to their acquisitions editor. And I prayed! Anaiah accepted my manuscript, and the Lord fulfilled my lifelong dream of being a published author.

You’ve said that you loved writing since childhood but had been away from it for some time before this point. I wonder if you studied the craft of writing any time along your journey to publication, or if it all just came naturally?
Many authors have taught me a lot about writing, since my love for writing evolved from my love of reading. When I went through the editing process for Her Traitor’s Heart, my debut book, I realized how little I knew about the craft. Editing my first book was a painful process and a steep learning curve, but I’ve learned a lot about writing since then. I’ve attended writers’ conferences and have watched writing webinars to improve my craft. These have been very helpful. I believe the Lord gave me a gift for storytelling and creating characters, but I’ve definitely studied a lot to hone my craft to make it the best it can be for God’s glory.

What is your writing style? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter, but my outlines are organic. My characters come alive and write the scenes. Often, they take my story in a direction I didn’t expect. Sometimes I have to change things about the plot because my characters just won’t do something that I’d planned, or they do something that I didn’t expect.

How does your personal life play into the picture and affect your storytelling? For example, your love of horses, the places you’ve lived, etc.
My personal life has influenced my storytelling in several ways. I borrowed some family history when I wrote Her Traitor’s Heart. In Her Traitor’s Heart, my hero is a Yankee officer who is stationed in Columbia, South Carolina, after the Civil War as part of the occupying Union army. He falls in love with a Southern lady, who happens to hate Yankees. I have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War and was stationed in Richmond after the war ended. He struck up a relationship with a Southern lady, so that provided the kernel for my first story. Also, I grew up in New England and married a South Carolina man, just like my hero, so the cultural differences faced by my hero and heroine were issues that I’ve had to deal with in my own marriage. And then the horses. . . I’ve owned horses for most of my life, so incorporating them into my stories seemed natural.

Reading the blurb for Wild Heart, it does sound like the main character, Garnet, has a bit of a wild heart. Certainly, she is strong, brave, and risk-taking. I like her already. Is there a real person you modelled her after?
Garnet is strictly from my imagination. For the fourth book in my series, I needed a heroine who would be willing to take huge risks in order overcome obstacles and achieve her goals. I fleshed out Garnet’s character, and she sprang to life. She became a flesh-and-blood person with a heart wild enough to forge her own way.

Wild Heart being book four in the Frontier Hearts series, what can you tell us about the first three books leading up to it? Should they be read in order, or do they work as stand-alones?
The characters in Her Traitor’s Heart provide the nucleus of the family that people the rest of the series. Wounded Heart, book two, takes the characters West and introduces Clint Logan’s orphaned niece as the heroine. Each book adds characters to the family. Books 4 and 5 focus on brothers of the next generation. Book 4 is set in the Titanic era, and Book 5 takes place just after World War I. The books work as stand-alones, but anyone who plans to read the whole series should read them in order.

What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
My desire for my readers is that Garnet’s struggles will show that believers can trust God through all of the hardships of our lives.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?
I normally do my best writing in the morning, so after my morning chores and devotions, I aim to be at my laptop by 10. Often, I don’t finish until late in the afternoon. Of course, when I’m on a real writing jag, I write late at night, too. Although I’d love to snack on chocolate, I try to eat trail mix instead. It never hurts if there’s chocolate in the trail mix!

What books are on your nightstand right now?
I had to smile at this question. Every author has a stack of books on his/her nightstand waiting to be read. My nightstand is no different. The books in my stack include The Glitter and the Gold, the autobiography of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan; Here to Stay, by Melissa Tagg; The Mistletoe Countess, by Pepper Basham; Newsletter Ninja 2 by Tammi Labrecque; and Come From Away, by Genevieve Graham.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers of the interview?
After finishing Warrior’s Heart, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I knew that my hero had to be as strong a person as Wild Wind from Warrior’s Heart. Wild Wind was a powerful, resolute man who "owned” whatever space he was in, so I knew that my next hero had to be as strong, or the story would fall flat. The best way for me to incorporate that type of energy into my plot would be to feature Wild Wind’s sons, who would inherit his characteristics. Cole Wild Wind is the hero in Wild Heart. He’s a counterpart for Garnet and a match for her domineering father. Garnet and Cole’s adventures take them from a Colorado uranium mine to the deck of the Titanic (although my editor made me name the ship something other than Titanic.). The last book in the series, Valiant Heart, features Wild Wind’s youngest son, Rafe, who is a WWI fighter pilot and a crack ace. These two powerful men round out my Frontier Hearts Saga series. (Valiant Heart will be released in either 2024 or 2025.)
Pearl Fredericksen lives on the beautiful west coast of Canada, where she enjoys photographing the scenery and writing about her favourite places. She also loves to read and post reviews to spread the word about good books. Her little dog, Bear, sits under her desk to keep her feet warm while she writes. He's very cute, and you can see him in quite a few photos at

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