Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
Find out more about Colleen at http://www.colleencoble.com/.
Welcome, Colleen. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I went to church as a little girl with my grandmother. My Sunday School teacher was the sweetest lady named
Pearl. She was married but she and her
husband had never had children. I loved for her to read The Little Lost Lamb
to me, and my grandmother sometimes took me to Pearl’s house where I would beg
to hear the story.
When I got married, church fell by the wayside as I threw myself into my husband, children, and home. Then one dark night (it was my birthday) we were driving home from a birthday party at my in-laws. While we’d been celebrating, freezing rain had begun to fall and the roads were slick. I was dozing with my 3-year-old daughter on my lap (in the years before car seats.) I heard my husband yell, “Look out!” I opened my eyes and saw another car sliding toward us sideways in our lane. In that moment, I knew I was going to die and that I wasn’t ready to meet God.
I don’t remember much about the impact until I became aware of the freezing rain hitting me through the broken T-top. The horn was blaring just like in a nightmarish movie. But we were all alive. The first people who stopped where Christians. One of them rode with our daughter to the hospital. Their church brought in food for us when we got out of the hospital. It was a tender time of believers showing us Jesus in the flesh. Six months later I became a Christian, and three months later my husband did also.
Jesus has changed my life in so many ways. When the trials come (and there have been many!) he has walked the path with me. I’m so thankful for the daily joy walking with Christ brings me.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
The first three are easy: Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter. We’ve been great friends a long time, and we know the elements that need to go into one another’s books. Robin Caroll is another good friend who has brainstormed a lot with me. Our styles are very similar. And I’ve recently become friends with a terrific brainstormer, Michelle Lim. She’s not published yet, but she will be any time.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
Not really. I speak to libraries and reader groups but my real ministry is writing.
I love speaking at libraries and reader groups. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Oh I still blush at this one! I was in the rest room at church. I’d just come out of a stall and went to wash my hands. I heard a couple of teenage girls giggling but thought nothing of it. I went on out into the sanctuary, and a few seconds later, a good friend came flying up to me. She yanked down my skirt. The hem of it had gotten caught in my pantyhose! Those girls. L They let me go out of the bathroom that way. Horrible, embarrassing moment!
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I’d tell them it takes a lot of hard work. It takes a long time to learn to write, to learn craft, to learn how to write your favorite genre. You have to develop a thick skin to take rejections. It took me seven years to get published. I literally have enough rejection slips to paper a wall in my office. But I learned perseverance and a lot about writing. You never arrive as a writer though. That’s what makes writing so much fun—you learn with every new project.
It took me eight years to get my first book published. Tell us about the featured book.
Safe in His Arms is a book that touches most of us women where we live—our self-confidence. We look at ourselves and wish we were thinner, prettier, had curly hair, had straight hair, had a different color eyes, etc. The list goes on and on. Margaret is too tall, has hair too red, is too tomboyish to ever believe a man will see her heart and her good qualities. When her father hires a new ranch foreman, the sparks begin to fly and so does the danger. It was great fun to write! I took the bones of an old Heartsong, Red River Bride, and more than doubled the word count. I added a suspense thread and a new spiritual theme. It’s very different from the original, but that little book provided the inspiration.
I’ve read the book and loved it, but please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
The town of
Larson, Texas, was busy on this
warm February day. Cowboys in their dusty boots eyed the women attired in their
best dresses strolling the boardwalks. Margaret O’Brien strode down the
boardwalk in front of the feed store toward the mercantile. Things seemed to
change daily with new stores sprouting like winter wheat. It seemed daily more
cowmen arrived to Larson, drawn by the lush grazing land and the water in the
Pa should be around here somewhere. She nodded to the ladies clustered in front of the general store, the familiar discomfort washing over her. Why couldn’t she look like them? No matter how hard Margaret tried, she remained what she was: too tall and more at home with her hands gripping horse reins than a teacup. She ducked into the store and inhaled the aroma of cinnamon, bootstrap, sweat, and pickles. She busied herself with collecting material for their housekeeper, who had a bee in her bonnet about making curtains.
A cluster of women were talking in hushed whispers about the latest Zulu atrocity in
Africa. These early
months of 1879 had been full of the bloody battles. Hearing such things always
made Margaret wince, remembering her brother’s death at the hands of the Sioux.
At least a national monument had been established earlier this year in memory
of those who fell during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
The women fell silent when Margaret paused. “Good morning,” she said in as confident a voice as she could muster. “Anyone know what kind of material to buy for curtains? I thought this was pretty.”
When she held up a lilac-flowered material, one of the women tittered, a tiny blonde Margaret had never seen before. Her face burned, and she put the bolt of fabric back.
“How about this one?” a woman said behind her.
Margaret’s heart leaped at the sound of her friend’s voice, and she whirled with a smile. “Lucy, I didn’t know you were in town today. Should you be riding in a wagon in your condition?”
How can readers find you on the Internet?Colleencoble.com
Thank you, Colleen, for sharing this book with us.
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Safe in His Arms (Under Texas Stars) - paperback
Safe in His Arms (Under Texas Stars) - Kindle
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