About a month ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Colleen Connally's debut novel, Seductive Secrets. At the time I had been searching for a good historical romance and had the good fortune of discovering it on smashwords, though it is now also available on Amazon. I haven't read a historical romance nearly as good as Connally's Seductive Secrets since, and am super excited to be able to share my interview with her; happy reading!
LL: Lace and Lavender (Me)
CC: Colleen Connally
LL: Tell us a bit about yourself.
CC: I'm a Southern girl now living above the Mason/Dixon line—along way from home. If anyone had ever told me I would end up living in Boston when I was young, I would have thought they had lost their mind. When I say I grew up in the South, I mean the deep, rural South...on a farm. I grew up surrounded by lots of animals and fields and fields of cotton and soybeans. I loved every minute of it. I never thought about leaving my home. Then I fell inlove with a Yankee. That was twenty-seven years ago. But as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the country, but not the country out of the girl!
LL: Why did you decide to become a writer?
CC: As with most things in life, a dream. Writing has always been a dream of mine. I’ve always been an avid reader. I love getting caught up in another world if only for a few brief hours. Although I don't think there was a precise moment when I decided to become a writer, I believe it was always in me. Although when I went to college I majored in a different field, my heart lay with English literature. The writers in these courses inspired me probably from the time of Romantism. I would read for hours authors' works such as Jane Austin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, andEmily Dickerson.
LL: How long did it take you to write Seductive Secrets?
CC: From the time I began to the last edit...probably a year.The way I write it doesn't necessarily mean it took a full year, but I would go to a certain point and let it sit for a time. Then I would go back to the manuscript.
LL: What was your main inspiration to write Seductive Secrets?
CC: My love for history draws me to write historical stories andI can’t help but write romance. I believe in the power of love. Seductive Secrets is the first book in a series that will deal with just how powerful love can be in life. I believe Seductive Secrets holds several strong connections with the power of love—Julian and Alyce, Julian and Roland, Alyce and her best friend Charles. I mention Charles here because one of the underlying inspirations inwriting Seductive Secrets was the character of Charles. I had a conversation with someone one dear to me who is gay. During this particular conversation, they mentioned that growing up gay they didn't have any positive role models to look up to especially in books. Things are changing, but it got me thinking. I can write a positive gay character. Once I decided on the course of action, Charles was created along with it, the challenge of having a major secondary character gay in a regency romance. But I love this character and believe Charles added another dimension to the story.
LL: If you could sum Alyce into five words, what would they be?
CC: Compassionate, loyal, innocent, feminine, mysterious.
LL: Are you planning to write more romance/historical fictionnovels in the future; if so can you give us an idea of what they might beabout?
CC: I have a few things coming up. I'm in the midst of completing my second novel under Colleen Connally. Broken Legacy hopefully will becompleted at least by December. I have a couple of series set during the American Revolution under my name Jerri Hines. Ruse of Love which will be released August 7th. It is the second book in the Winds of Betrayal Series.Then in September, Another Night Falls will be released in the Tides of Charleston Series. Excited about both of these upcoming releases! If you like fantasy, I have an epic fantasy series, Whispers of a Legend under my pen name Carrie James Haynes, you might enjoy as well. ]
LL: What is your all-time favourite book and why?
CC: Hard question. I love so many books and authors. I love all the classics from Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights. Two of my favorite romance books include Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodwiss and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I'm a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and the Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes. I hold a certain writer's envy pertaining to two particular writers I admire, Suzanne Collins and J. K. Rowlings. I love their originality and their seamless flow of words. But if you hold me to my all-time favorite book has to be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I believe it’s my Southern roots that adds a draw to the story. I've read the book many, many times and each time it touches me.
LL: What is your advice to new authors and aspiring writers?
CC: Very simple...just write. Don't stop.
LL: What do you do in your spare-time when you’re not writing?
CC: I would love to say travel the world. I love to travel, but that doesn't happen as often as I would like. Instead, I read and let the books take me to places I've never been. My children are older. My youngest is going to college in the fall. So a new chapter in my life will begin. I will have to adjust to empty nest syndrome, but I'm sure my husband and I will manage. We love to garden, play with our doggies and watch sporting events.
LL: Is there anything else you would like to say to your fansand readers?
CC: I so appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read oneof my books. I hope my books can supply a few hours of escape from the worldoutside. Enjoy and thank you.
To read my review of Seductive Secrets click here.