Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interview with Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a prolific author and an absolute joy to be around! When I picture her, I always see her sunny smile. I had met her before but last week was the first time I've ever sat down with her and interviewed her. She was such fun! She is full of joy and laughter, and as we began the interview and discussed her latest book, I loved seeing her obvious delight at my response as a reader. Unfortunately, I can't share much of that in the interview without giving spoilers for the story, but I have plenty of other fun moments to share! (And I can't believe I forgot to take a picture!) First, a peek at her brand-new release!

Tidewater Inn
Colleen Coble
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1595547811$
July 2012/320 pages/$15.99

Welcome to Hope Beach

Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.

Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?


I am loving your new book, Tidewater Inn.  I was reading it on the flights and would have finished it if they hadn't mad us turn off our devices for the take-offs and landings!  I'm about 75% done and I haven't figured out who the villain is yet.   

(Colleen laughs deviously.)  You'll find out!   When you figure it out, you'll know where I've dropped the clues.  One of my real skills is red herrings.

I'm usually pretty good at picking those up.  But now you've got me really curious.  Now I don't know what to ask you anymore because I'm going to sit here and think about the book!  Talk amongst yourselves and I'll go read!

(Lots of laughter)   It was fun to have multiple points of view. Usually I have the hero and the heroine and once in a while I have the villain, in some of the older books.  I really went back to the style of the Rock Harbor books; I think there are four or five points of view in Tidewater Inn.  It was really fun to do that.

Well, it's a really good book.  It's one of those I want to inhale and slow down and savor at the same time.    This is another book located in Rock Harbor, which you've written about before, and you have another one coming out with Robin Caroll, right?

My readers are always wanting to know more about Rock Harbor, especially Bree.  She is the favorite character that I've ever written.  I was writing the new Hope Beach series and I thought, "Hmm, Bree just might be going on vacation."  It just really worked out well.

It's all coming back to me now!  Bree was the main character with the search and rescue dog in the other books.  So how does this play into the book you are writing with Robin Caroll?

Yes, there are five other books with Bree in them; in four of them, she is a main character.  Rock Harbor Search and Rescue is actually a middle grade series.  We didn't dumb it down; we wrote it the same way as we would have for adults but we didn't use any adult situations.  The point of view character is Emily, the little girl who  got lost in the woods in the first Rock Hrabor novel, Without a Trace with her brother Timmy.   She's 14 now so we've launched off into a new series with that.  It was really fun to go back with those kids and see what's happened.  The same characters  that were in Rock Harbor are in those books.

How hard is that to go back and pick up and maintain continuity and remember things?

It's not as hard for the Rock Harbor books simply because I first wrote three of those and then I wrote Abomination, which has Bree as a main character and she has a point of view but there's another romance in that one, and then Cry in the Night, so they've kinda been spread out.  And I get reader letters  every day about that series; even now they're asking, "When are you going to write another Rock Harbor book?"  It's good to be able to tell them, "There's one coming up!  And make sure you pick up Tidewater Inn because Bree's in there, too!"

At the beginning of Tidewater Inn, they have the regular page of author endorsements, but then they have a page of reader comments.  I really like that!

That was Ami's [Thomas Nelson editor Ami McConnell] idea;   I gathered some reader comments from previous books of mine and they decided which ones to use.  That was a good idea.

What else do you have coming down the pipe?

I just finished Rosemary Cottage, which is the sequel to Tidewater Inn, and I just turned it in, so I'm waiting for feedback on that.  The main character in that is a midwife.  I'm very interested in natural medicine so it was fun learning about that.  I talked to Ami a couple of days ago and she said she was in the middle of reading it and was really liking it.  It's nice when I'm able to pull in all of the same characters in the town but the story is very different.

The way I got the idea for Tidewater Inn, I was standing in the harbor at St. Croix and there was a harbor cam right there.  I called my parents and said, "Here's the url; get on the computer and we'll wave at you from the harbor cam."  Of course, with my twisted brain, such as it is, as I was waving "Hi Mother and Dad," I thought, "What if something happened to me right in front of them where they couldn't do anything about it thousands of miles away?"  That was the jumping-off place where that story came from.

Also, I'm very interested in historic preservation so it was fun to have Libby interested in that.  We have an old Victorian house that we've restored, and I know so much about that kind of stuff.

Tell me about the whole technology aspect when she hacked into the computer and accidentally erased the video. I would have had no idea that was possible!

I am a little bit of a computer geek myself but I did talk to a computer IT person that I know and he said it was pretty easy  and told me what I would do..  Now I didn't write it all down and put it in the book because I didn't want anybody to do it to me!

How many books will be in this series?

Three for sure, and then we'll see.  You never know.  The Lone Star series was supposed to be one book, and now there are four.  It just depends if readers say, "I love that series;  I want more!"  We try to do what readers like.

Is Lone Star series done?

I don't know!  I've done four. Lone Star Angel  was the last one; it came out in October. [Insertion:  Lone Star Angel is a finalist for ACFW's Carol Award. My review is here.]

You know I love books set in Texas!  Did you come down to Texas when you were writing those?

Oh yes!  And here's a little fun--well, it wasn't fun for me!--tidbit.  When we were down there researching those Lone Star books, unfortunately, we were there in September when the TARANTULAS  were migrating!  We were in the Big Bend area in West Texas and as we drove we kept seeing these black things on the side of the road and on the road.  I kept thinking, "Those can't be tarantulas!" and I kept diverting my eyes.  I was hoping they were rocks.  Then they were moving.  Dave stopped the car and said, "I think those are tarantulas; I'm going to check."  I was freaking out and telling him "Don't go out there!"  I was afraid they were going to get on the hood and then what if they got in the car?!  They were tarantulas and he took a picture.  I don't even like spiders enough to look at pictures.  It was terrifying.  There were hundreds of them, hundreds!  I'm not kidding!

I have never heard of that! [Note: I reviewed the first book in that series, Lonestar Secrets, here.]

Then I looked it up and found that there's some kind of migration thing that they do in September.  Why did I have to go there that week?!

What else is going on in your life?  I know you have a granddaughter you adore.

(Her face lights up at the mention of her granddaughter) Yes, we are crazy about our little granddaughter and spend a lot of time with her.

We want to go on a mission trip to Cambodia.  I've always wanted to do that and we've talked about taking our pastor and his wife with us.  I was researching that on the way here; I got a book about Cambodia.  Then I found out that they eat fried tarantulas!  NO!  I am not eating fried tarantulas! And the tarantulas are as big as dinner plates!  I couldn't look at pictures of them.  It's just horrible.  Fortunately, we'll be in the biggest city so we should be able to avoid it.

How did you pick Cambodia?

When Dave was in the Vietnam War he was in Thailand and we've always wanted to go back to that area.  We have a missionary in Cambodia from our church, so we thought it would be cool to go visit and see what we could do to help them out.

Anything else you want to share?

Secretly Smitten  comes out in  December.  We're getting ready to have what we call our "Smitten Summit."  All four of us, except for Diann*, who will be in the hospital, are going to Nashville to brainstorm and Katie's [Thomas Nelson publicist Katie Bond] going to come help me fix dinner one night!  She is a fabulous cook!

I think you need me to come live blog this experience!

It's going to be wonderful!  I'm hoping we can get Daisy to come over one night.  Daisy Hutton is our new publisher who took Allen Arnold's place.  I just adore her!  Allen had some big shoes to fill!  We loved him, and we still do!  I think Daisy is just who we need.  She's terrific.

Well, this has been really great.  Thank you so much!

*The Smitten Series is a written by Collen, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt.   Diann was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of ovarian cancer.  The four authors, along with Cheryl Hodde (author Hannah Alexander) blog at Girls Write Out.

Folks, don't miss this new book by Colleen! It's a great start to what promises to be a wonderful series!

Colleen Coble has penned another captivating tale in Tidewater Inn. The charm of the Outer Banks and an old seaside inn needing restoration would lend an idyllic touch to Hope Island -- until Libby witnesses her friend and business partner's kidnapping and uncovers a host of secrets in her newly discovered but hostile family. Plenty of twists and turns kept me guessing what the resolution would be as I rapidly consumed this book. An appearance by a much-loved character from Coble's Rock Harbor series will delight fans of those novels. Faith is an integral, yet not overbearing, thread of the novel, and it turns out that Hope is indeed an apt name for the island and this series. I'm already eagerly anticipating book two, Rosemary Cottage!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Colleen Coble said...

That interview was so much fun, Linda! Loved getting a chance to talk. Plus, you've been sending me amazing stuff about Austin which would never have happened except for our fun connection!

Julia said...

What a fun interview! Loved it Colleen and Linda!