I'm happy to welcome one of my favorite Romantic Suspense authors to the Chatelaines: Colleen Thompson, fellow Leisure author, whose new novel Beneath Bone Lake hit the shelves this Tuesday!!
We'll be doing a giveaway--comment on the interview or Colleen's books and enter a drawing for her RITA nominated book, Triple Exposure.
JA - Colleen, congrats on the release of Beneath Bone Lake! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
CT – Beneath Bone Lake is the story of Ruby Monroe, a young widow who’s been driving buses in Iraq for a contractor, only to return home one year later and find her four-year-old daughter and sister missing, her house in flames, and no one to turn to except the last man she should trust. Her sexy neighbor, Sam McCoy, has problems of his own. Determined to adhere to the terms of his parole and avoid a long sentence in the federal pen, he has no intention of getting involved. But Ruby — and a sadistic assassin — have other ideas.
JA - I've started the book and already like it. Ruby has an interesting background, and I'm enjoying getting to know her.
One thing I love about all your books is your settings. You set each book in a different part of Texas — the state is huge and you’ve mined its diversity well. What is it about Texas that lends itself to great romantic suspense settings?
CT — Thank you so much. I came to Texas in my mid-twenties and married a man who loves the state and still enjoys showing me all its various surprises. When I started writing romantic suspense, I wanted to share some of the joy of that discovery, from the West Texas deserts and mountains to the Hill Country to the iconic prairie grasslands to Houston’s bustle, and so on. Since Texas looms large in so many imaginations, it’s been a great canvas for painting larger-than-life stories.
JA - Tell us about the setting of Beneath Bone Lake and how it contributes to the story.
CT — Beneath Bone Lake was inspired by the wondrous Caddo Lake, which straddles the East Texas/Louisiana border. Numerous movies have been filmed in the area and its surrounding bayous. It feels like a primeval world, with huge, Spanish-moss-strewn cypress trees, and countless secret channels. The eerie cries of birds echo beneath the canopy, and every so often, you’ll hear the deep grunt of a huge gator warning off a rival. How could I not set a romantic suspense novel in such a magical place?
Besides that, it was important for the heroine to feel physically isolated and bereft of traditional choices. Otherwise, she surely would have stayed away from one of the infamous McCoy brothers.
JA - The area looks very cool. There was a spread in the New York Times about Caddo Lake in the Fri., May 22, 2009 edition. Pictures of the lake with the big cypresses, plus a little map to show where it is. Neat.
Another congrats is in order: Your last book, Triple Exposure is a RITA nominee, yay! Triple Exposure is set in southwest Texas and features odd lights that appear in the sky. Did you base that on a real phenomenon?
CT – The Marfa Lights have captured imaginations in West Texas (and well beyond) for hundreds of years. There have been numerous attempts to explain them, everything from the ghostly campfires of lost chieftains to alien visitations to refracted headlights from distant highways to (my fave) phosphorescent jackrabbits! I’d be happier if science never found the answer. I was fortunate enough to see the lights on a high desert plain outside of tiny Marfa, Texas, one evening, and I can tell you that nothing I’d read had prepared me for the “little stars” rising from the desert surface, growing, separating into two or three glowing globs, and then coming back together. Fabulous highlight to a very cool research trip.
You can read more about the Marfa Lights at
And I’m psyched about the RITA nod, too. Thanks!
JA - In Triple Exposure, your heroine is a glider pilot. Tell us about the fun research you did for that.
CT – I could think of no better way to capture the essence of flying a glider than to get up in the air myself. My first flight took place in the Houston area, and I spent a couple of wonderful days chatting with the pilots there and furiously scribbling notes. When I went to Marfa, I took another flight there and talked extensively with Burt Compton, the owner of Marfa Gliders. It was a fabulous experience, and he snapped a picture of me in the cockpit as we flew, which ended up becoming my author photo for the book.
I loved soaring. It’s an incredible feeling when your engineless glider (or sailplane, as they’re often called) catches a thermal and achieves lift. I’d enjoy doing more of it if I get the opportunity.
JA - It sounds cool. I've never done gliding; I'm a slave to motion sickness, and I wonder if I'd hold up. But there's always Bonine.
Back to Beneath Bone Lake: Is it connected to any other book?
CT – Beneath Bone Lake definitely stands alone (as all my books do), but in this case, a secondary character will get her own novel, Touch of Evil, which will be released in March 2010. The Bone Lake area is also briefly mentioned in Triple Exposure, but you don’t need to have read that story to get into this one.
JA - What I love best about your books is your realism—you put real people into extraordinary circumstances. When I read the books, I can believe that these things could happen to me or someone I knew. Why did you choose this approach to writing romantic suspense?
CT — I was a romantic suspense reader long before I started writing in the genre, and I became dissatisfied with all the Special Ops and highly-trained super secret agent stories. I wanted to read about women more like the people I know — women who, despite the ordinary stresses of imperfect family relationships, finances, and work, can still behave heroically when circumstances force them to dig deep and find their strength. I wanted to read about regular people put into impossible situations and watch them find the heroes and heroines inside.
JA - Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
CT — I’m on the web at www.colleen-thompson.com, or you can visit my writers’ blog, Boxing the Octopus, as www.boxingoctopus.blogspot.com.
JA--I recommend popping over to Boxing the Octopus often. Colleen and Joni do a great blog.
Colleen: Thank you for stopping by!
CT — Thanks so much for inviting me. I enjoy your blog and pop over whenever I can!
For a sneak preview of Beneath Bone Lake click the video below. Don't forget to leave your comment to enter the drawing for a free copy of Triple Exposure!