Girls Write Out
Monday, July 07, 2008

SUSPENSE, ROMANCE--OR SOMETHING ELSE?
The life of an author is so glamorous. No really, it is. Like this weekend. I spent three days painting handrails and spindles on our old Victorian. I wore a pair of capris that are so worn, you can practically see through them. Not a stitch of makeup and a T-shirt that was big enough that Dave and I could both fit in it. At one point on Saturday, Dave and I were out attaching the handrails back to the porch and a neighbor came out to watch. Dave said it was because she wanted to see if it really was the author out there doing physical work. LOL I think she just heard the pounding and wondered what on earth we were doing, but I live in a small town and most folks know me. So he might be right. LOL If so. she found out authors are just like any other person. We just make our living dreaming in our heads and pecking on a computer. Which is why it's an exciting time when authors get together because we're around other weird people.

I'm packing right now for two days in Nashville before going to Orlando for an author's retreat. The two days in Nashville will be spent with my publishing team and agent. We're brainstorming new ideas (a first for them but I asked and Ami was delighted) and talking about brand strategy. So if you read my books, I'd LOVE some advice. What makes you pick up my books? The suspense? The romance? The dog? LOL What's your favorite book and why? What do you see as the Colleen Coble brand? Be gentle. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:15 AM  
  Comments (26)
 
 
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26 Comments:
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

WITHOUT A TRACE was the first book I read. I picked it up because the title sounded intriguing. It would be a tie as to which is my favorite because I really liked ALL the books in the Rock Harbor series. I liked FIRE DANCER, too, though, because it was set in the west. It was easy for me to picture the settings.

What I enjoy about your books is the suspense which keeps me turning the pages. Now that I "know" you on line, I'd pick up your books just because they're YOUR books: I like and respect you greatly as a person and am interested in the latest thing you've created.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Oh you're so sweet, Pam, thank you! so the suspense is why you read? Does the romance add to it or don't you care about that?

I'm trying to find the balance. :)

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger Kay Day said...

I came to your blog from Angie Hunt's blog and had never read any of your books at that point.


I read your book about the blind girl. I will read more because I like the mystery part. Trying to figure out who done it. Romance I can take or leave. I find romances too predictable, so I don't usually choose a book for that - it needs to offer a whole lot of something else.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

The romance adds interest. Keep it in. :)

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Sorry I didn't comment on your two latest books: I haven't read them yet. Maybe THEY would be my favorites.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

YEAH! This sounds exciting for you!! I'm so glad! (Jaime's overuse of exclamation points again)

I think what I like about your suspense is that it's POSSIBLE. What I mean by that is, I can put myself in the character's shoes and believe it could happen. You're not writing about bigger than life characters who work in the FBI or have genius level abilities. You take real people, like in Anathema, who have real struggles, get themselves into wierd binds or situations, and a suspense grows from that.

I have a hard time getting into suspense where it "wouldn't happen to me". Not that I want to be stalked or murdered, but you know what I mean! :) So definitely keep the suspense on a personal level, I really like that.

The romance is a great part too. I don't think I'd increase the romance, becuase then the suspense almost becomes the sub plot. But I certainly wouldn't eliminate it.

I think one of your "brands" is that you pick creative locations that we relate to. As you once mentioned to me, people won't relate to Munich, but they will relate to Montana. Again, it's realistic.

Keep the edgy, it could-happen-to-me feel, and I think you've got a winning brand. I love being creeped out when I go to bed because I think your villan is after me!

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Funny you should mention that, Jaime. That's what my agent says too, the normal people finding themselves in an impossible situation.

Thanks for the input, Kay and Pam! So you basically like the blend the way it's been.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger Inspire said...

I donno, Colleen. Your life sounds pretty glamous to me. I mean, I wouldn't mind a trip to some place like Nashville to meet with my agent and publisher, and a trip to another for a writers retreat, and the opportunity to be multi-published. What you are living is a writers dream, big tee shirt, paint-smudged face and all.

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

LOL Inspire! I'm thankful every day for the blessing, believe me! But it's not glamorous. Fun but not glamorous. LOL At the writer's retreat we'll all be in jeans and flip flops. Some will come shuffling in with their hair standing on end and a cup of coffee in their hand. LOL

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger photoqueen said...

Hello! I haven't read any of your books yet, so I read these comments with my eyes half-closed! (You know, just in case there were spoilers - if you see something through half-closed eyes, it doesn't count!)

I'm going to the library today, though, to pick up 4 of your books. (I have the most recent 2 on reserve.) So I'll have to let you know what I like best after I read them!!

(I came to this blog after reading your comments on Michael Hyatt's blog - I was so excited to learn about more great Christian authors who I haven't read yet!!)

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Isn't Mike's blog awesome, photoqueen?

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger photoqueen said...

Oh my goodness, I love it! I want to make a career change from PR to editing, and I found his blog when I was researching the big Christian publishers. Actually, I started my research with Thomas Nelson and since finding his site, I haven't gone any further. He has a great mix of personal, professional and publishing - and it's made me very interested in working for his company! (And led me to some other outstanding blogs and people to boot!)

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

Suspense, for me. I loooooved Abomination because I was so confused. I felt like I was the one with amnesia! But it all came together beautifully at the end. Sure, the romance is wonderful and kept my mind from getting too caught up in the suspense (if it's too much I get really down), but I can get romance anywhere. Top notch suspense is something that causes me to keep one eye open while I'm sleeping...and I like it.

 
At 5:26 PM, Blogger WK said...

WITHOUT A TRACE was my first book. I got it as a review book. Had never heard of you before that. I was hooked after that first book. I liked the Rock Harbor series because of Bree and Samson. They pull you into the story and Bree's pain was evident. That's probably what I expect most from your books. Characters, especially one will pull at my heart and keep me wanting to know more about them, and what will happen to them, with them, because of them, around them......With your other books while each offer me something new and different, ie FIRE DANCER (which I'm still waiting on more of and my mom is constantly asking "did you ask Colleen when the next book is coming?") I got a new job field that is often over looked. It's a unique setting for a story.

With ANATHEMA you took some painful situations, a murder, abuse, leaving all you know, falling from your faith, loss of a child, trusting a man again after being abused....all while giving readers a character, Hannah that is "human". It's the characters that draw me to your stories I guess. I know they won't be "perfect" as is too often the case with some authors, especially when reading CF, they try to make them too good to be true and in the end make me hate them. I am not perfect and never will be. So your characters allow me to grow by watching them grow. They fail but still find grace and faith. That gives me hope. Plus the message of faith is not something that is sooooo overpowering I can't give your books to non-christian friends and say "just try it". They get the message without feeling like me or you have bashed them over the head with it. There is always a touch of romance, mystery(great mysteries I should add), always a twist that is often unexpected, characters I know I'll adore, even the bad guys often leave you understanding why they are the way they are(that is hard to do, to make a character you hate but understand or can forgive....that is the touch of someone great).......and the settings. Well I guess I'm rambling now. But I pick up your books because I know I'll always be given something special. The stories will ALWAYS touch me on some level.

They are Colleen Coble books. It's hard to describe I guess. But they are like a friend telling me a story that will help me through a situation in my life, that is different, of course, but the message I need to hear is the same they need to learn. That is your trade mark. Stories that give us a message of faith while entertaining us a the same time.

I hope I've helped you some. Have fun in Nashville and Orlando!

hugs,
WendyK

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger Krista Phillips said...

First, welcome to Nashville!!!! Our city is/will be blessed by your presence! *grin*

I'm not good to answer this. I sheepishly say that I haven't finished the one I started (it was a library book and I had to return it before I could finish it... missing tongues, AHhh! But I was drawn in and do WANT to finish it!)

So the reason I haven’t read one through?? Mostly it is because your genre seems to be suspense, and I am a big wuss. I get horrible nightmares when I watch scary movies, so usually stay away from books that could be scary too. Dumb, I know.

So for me, the romance will definitely add something! I think maybe now that I know that there will be romance (there is romance right??) I am much more apt to read it.

So, from you the author, which book of yours would you LIKE me to start with as a reader? Is there one that isn't quite as *scary* as the others that has the romance thread? Cause I gotta admit, I'm a sucker for a good romance :-)

As for brand, its funny, we've been talking some about a products brand at work lately (of course this isn't in relation to books, but brand names of company's we acquire). I think as you can tell from above, the brand that I have in my head for Colleen Coble is suspense (aka scary stuff). And it sounds like that's your target audience, right? If so, then that is a great thing.

I guess you did ask *if* you read your books, so I should shut up now, but I promise, I will be among the many, the proud, Colleen Coble readers VERY soon.

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I'm laughing, Krista. Try Without a Trace. It's more mystery than suspense.

Wendy and Kayla, it sounds like you like the character arcs too. This is great feedback, friends!

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I read "Without a Trace" years ago.

At some point I found the GWO blog, I think through either Kristin or Diann (chick lit/humor is my favorite genre) and just fell in love with the 4 of you girls!

Then I started reading your other books and also Denise's books.

Truthfully, the suspense, I have to be in the right mood for because MAN it gives me CRAZY dreams! :)

I did really enjoy Anathema. I loved the characters and the suspense didn't scare me nearly as much as Abomination did! (that was a good thing!)

 
At 1:55 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

I think you should always write what inspires you at the moment, and you have passion on. That's always the best part of an author to me.

It will naturally have your elements because that's your voice. Like with me going in the women's fiction realm, it will always have humor because my world is a comedy. : )

 
At 9:51 AM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

I love the suspense, and like the romance. Suspense doesn't necessarily have a formula where romance does. And it is very unusual for me to pick up a book that is solely romance -- unless it's Denise's and maybe Julie Lessman. There has to be something more or I'm bored. I mean, we all know how it will end LOL.

I loved the relationship end of the Rock Harbor series. Complex interpersonal dynamics spread across books. But I also loved the stand alone nature of Anathema. I enjoyed the Aloha Reef series, but it won't be one I read over and over. Not sure why, though. Hmmm. Maybe I need to figure that out.

I love the deep layering. Your plots and characters are complex. That's what keeps me coming back over and over.

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Hmm, I've read several of yours, too many to count, and began way back with Heartsong in your early books. :) I'm a proud member of Brandilyn Collins' BHCC, so I don't usually pick up suspense unless I know I can trust the author not to scare the bejeebies out of me.

Your books don't, and I love the romantic threads that are weaved throughout as well. I won't pick up a book if there isn't a hint of romance somewhere. I mean, don't we all want the 'happy ending'?

Been thinking of a tagline idea, and I'm not so great at these, but perhaps something will spark another idea.

* Real life. Real Situations. Real Suspense. Real Romance.

* Suspense You Can Relate To.

* All the Ingredients of Suspense with a Dash of Romance.

* Suspense Even Deborah Raney Will Read! (just kidding!)

Ok, I'm done. My brain hurts now. I think I'll get back to my book deadline, due on the 15th. Good luck with the brainstorming session!

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger Chelf said...

The first and only book I have read (yet, I am in progress on more...) is Abomination. Like others here, I love Bree, and of course, her awesome tracking dog!

I like the descriptions you give. It paints the picture in my head, like I am standing on the lake shore at Rock Harbor. Awesome.

I like that you make the book stand on its own, and yet tie it to a series. That is a fine line that most series writers never quite achieve. Bree has obviously learned some tough lessons, and she is gentle in sharing them. But you don't go into too much detail, so I still wonder what she went through to have that spirit. Drags me around and forces my curiosity to pick up more books. You sneaky weird writer, you. :-)

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I agree with most of what the others have said. I like the suspense with the romance intertwined. I like that it is realistic yet I can escape my own world for a while.

What I really like is how your mind thinks. Some of the things you come up with I never would even think of. So it takes me out of my little world and into the head of someone else who's a bit twisted! :)

I also like how your books can stand alone but are better when you've read the series. It helps you understand the characters. You come to think of them as friends. You are anxious for their next adventure! Some romance books you get to the end after they finally get together and you think "now what?" "Where do they go from here?" That is one criteria that I use to judge how well I like the book. If it leaves me wanting more then it was great. If I can end it and not wonder about the characters any more then it was just ok.

I would love to be in on your brainstorming session. I bet those are really interesting. All those minds tossing ideas. OOO that would be fun!

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger Karla Akins said...

For me it's the suspense. I hardly ever pick up a book for the romance unless someone I know wrote it or it's a really, really good writer who has another story along with the romance. A book has to appeal to my intellect for me to read it. I'm a busy person. I don't have time for drivel.

I especially like the character Bree and her dog. :-)

Face it, I like you, Colleen! I really, really like you!

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

You all had super suggestions for me! Thanks so much! I'm meeting with the team today. yay!

 
At 9:10 PM, Blogger Tanja said...

I just put down the first book of yours that I've read. Abomination. Loved it. I've read your comments on this blog for so long that your books have been on my list of "Must Reads" but when the hardback went on sale at Lifeway right before we left for our beach vacation, I was certain God wanted me to buy it right then. :-) I laughed a little when your lead character read a book by Denise Hunter (I'm getting ready to read her latest next). I thought that was neat. I loved the whole story and that I kept guessing. And now I'll be working my way backwards to read all your other books. That's the best part about finding a new author... playing catch up with great books.

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger Sharon A. Lavy said...

I enjoyed reading this book. What I get out of books is the relationships with other family members.

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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