Bestselling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over four million books in print and her books have been on the USA Today bestseller list, the ECPA, CBA, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon bestseller lists.
She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at colleencoble.com, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
In this post, Colleen discusses the risk of doing what others expect vs. what you want in her new romantic suspense novel, A Stranger’s Game, how this novel differs from her others, and more!
Name: Colleen Coble
Literary agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Associates
Book title: A Stranger’s Game
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release date: January 4, 2022
Genre/category: Romantic Suspense
Previous titles: Colleen Coble is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean's Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.
Elevator pitch for the book: When hotel heiress Torie Bergstrom learns that her childhood friend has drowned, she knows it is more than a tragic accident: Lisbeth was terrified of water and wouldn’t have gone swimming by choice. Desperate to find answers, Torie goes to the hotel under an alias, but as she digs, she realizes someone will risk anything—even more murder—to keep their secrets buried.
What prompted you to write this book?
After visiting Jekyll Island, I was hooked on its history and wanted to explore some of the intriguing facts surrounding its early use including the clandestine creation of the Federal Reserve. I was intrigued by the idea of a hotel heiress who was only going through the motions of what her family expected instead of pursuing her own dreams.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?
It took about a year for me to conceive of the idea and to write it, then another year to publication. My novels always change as I write them. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer and often don’t fully know the suspense plot.
I’ve tried plotting, but it saps the fun out of writing for me. If I know how it’s going to end, why write it? In A Stranger’s Game, the motive behind the games changed to something more personal. I tend to be drawn to writing about how past secrets emerge to drag my characters into danger.
Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?
My team at Thomas Nelson is superb, and they were so enamored with this title that they went for a different look with the cover. It turned out to be a spectacular cover!
Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?
This was my first novel set in a real town. I generally pick an area and plop a town in where I want it so I can create it completely in my imagination. But Jekyll Island is such a unique place with a truly unusual history, and I wanted to use it in the novel.
I had to carefully research existing businesses, beaches, and roads. A resident read the novel for accuracy as well. I took a few literary licenses with the setting that I mention in my Dear Reader letter, but I tried to be as accurate as possible.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
Dreams belong to each of us. We can’t be truly happy with pursing someone else’s idea of what our goals should be. I hope readers evaluate their lives and make any adjustments to follow their dreams.
If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?
The best thing about being a writer is that you never arrive. There’s always something new to learn and try. Never stop learning. Read widely in your genre. Read how-to books (Writer’s Digest is the best place to start!) Attend a good writers conference every year. Hone your skills with every single book.