Thursday, June 4, 2009

Colleen Thompson--Interview and Giveaway

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?

CTBeneath 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.

CTBeneath 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?

CTBeneath 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, or you can visit my writers’ blog, Boxing the Octopus, as

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!


Debby June 4, 2009 at 6:50 AM  

BENEATH BONE LAKE looks intriguing. Great trailer!

Colleen Thompson June 4, 2009 at 7:01 AM  

Thanks so much, Debby. And thanks for inviting me and asking such great questions, Jenn!

Christie Craig June 4, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

Hi Colleen,

I can't wait to get this book! You scare me, but it's always a good scare.

Great post.


Meljprincess June 4, 2009 at 7:56 AM  

Hi Colleen,
I enjoy your books immensely! And you know where Lubbock is. *g*
Congrats on your RITA nom!!!!!!!!! Hope you win. :-)
When I lived in West Texas I never heard of the Marfa lights so I'm going to follow your link and check it out. Looking forward to reading BENEATH BONE LAKE!!
I'll pass on the gliding. lol!

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Bucky June 4, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

Great book for a mystery/suspense readers group. Can't wait to show it to mine!

Minna June 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

Looks like an interesting book!

Tessy June 4, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

Congrats, Colleen! Can't wait to read this one!

Anonymous June 4, 2009 at 8:27 AM  

Interesting idea for a book and I have added it to my TBR list for summer.
I grew up not far from Caddo Lake on the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado. Interesting that there are two lakes with the same name.
JWIsley AT

Virginia June 4, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

Congrat Colleen on your new release! I have been hearing a lot about this book and I love a good edge of your seat romance suspense! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Colleen Thompson June 4, 2009 at 9:17 AM  

Thanks so much, ladies. It's so good hearing your comments.

I didn't know there was a Caddo Lake in Colorado. That's really interesting.

And thanks so much, Mel, for the RITA congrats, too! Hope you enjoy BBL!

Barbara Monajem June 4, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

Sounds like an exciting story. I've been to the Caddo Lake area and it's a perfect setting for a suspense novel. Some of my own stories are set in south Louisiana, because I like it so much there.

As for the Marfa Lights... they sound totally cool!

Bonnie Vanak June 4, 2009 at 9:31 AM  

Wow, Beneath Bone Lake sounds spooky and fascinating. Can't wait to read it!

Congratulations on the RITA nomination again, Colleen. Hope you win!

squiresj June 4, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

Congratulations on your new book. It sounds interesting. I have never read a book by you I haven't enjoyed. Count me in to win.
I lived in Bay City, Texas for 1 year with my husband when he was a welder.

Terri June 4, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

Hi Colleen, Hi Jennifer
Wonderful interview ladies.

Colleen I can't believe you flew a glider, that is so cool and talk about getting into your research! ;-)

I'm really looking foward to reading Bone Lake especially since it's set in Tx, I can feel like I'm home again. ;-)

Congratulations on the new release!


squiresj June 4, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

I am sorry I forgot to include my email and I know how hard it is to find it on blogs.
squiresj - jrs362 (at) hotmail (dot) com

lrwirum June 4, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

This sounds like it is going to be a very good book to read. Congrats on its release.


Ruth June 4, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

Reading Beneath Bone Lake now, wonderful- Colleen definitely keeps you turning the pages.

Colleen Thompson June 4, 2009 at 10:28 AM  

Thank you so much, Ruth. Glad to hear you're enjoying BBL!

Thanks to you, too, Barbara, Squiressj, Bonnie, Terri, and lrwirum. So nice hearing from you.

And I hope those of you checking out the Marfa lights find it as intriguing as I did. Had a lot of fun working them into the plot of Triple Exposure. :)

Martha Lawson June 4, 2009 at 11:13 AM  

Hi Colleen! Congratulations on the nomination! I love your books. I'd love to win this one.


catslady June 4, 2009 at 12:02 PM  

It all sounds very intriguing - love the title - I think that alone would make me pick up the book!

Gerri Russell June 4, 2009 at 1:38 PM  


Thanks for sharing your insights! Can't wait to read BENEATH BONE LAKE . . . with the lights on! I spook easily. :-)

Liane Spicer June 4, 2009 at 2:32 PM  

Congrats on the release, Colleen! Sounds like a terrific read! I'm a great believer in the power of setting in a story. This one sounds wonderfully creepy.

Colleen Thompson June 4, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

Thanks so much for stopping by with the kind words, ladies. I scare easily, too, Gerri, which is a bit odd considering what I write. ;)

jrobe10689 June 4, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

Flying in a glider?!? You are much braver than me. I am not all that fond of flight to begin with. LOL

Chris R

Colleen Thompson June 4, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

I'm not normally that fond of flying, esp. in small planes. So I was pretty surprised to enjoy being towed up in the air like a kite, with only the wind sounds around us. The feeling of catching a thermal and being buoyed higher is amazing, and we saw huge buzzards tumbling on the same column of warm air. It was amazing. I've gone twice and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Loretta June 4, 2009 at 8:25 PM  

Colleen, I enjoyed reading about all of your work, but I especially loved the blurb about Caddo Lake:) I am always drawn to things Louisiana related, and found your comments to be so on target with the feel of the area.
Excellent interview!

Loretta Wheeler

Patti O June 4, 2009 at 10:21 PM  

Colleen: Great eeerie music to get the imagination rolling for Beneath Bone Lake. I especially love the part where your character turns to the only man she hopes she can trust - what a cool way to set intrigue into his background. I can't wait to buy the book and curl up on a stormy night to read it ... by flashlight...

Patti O

Mia Jalali June 4, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

Congrats on your RITA nomination and the new book! It sounds intriguing and fresh. Just my kind of a story. Thanks for taking time out and answering all those questions. It makes me feel closure to the book, if I know more about the author.

Colleen Thompson June 5, 2009 at 7:01 AM  

Thanks for stopping by, Mia, Patti O, and Loretta! I appreciated the comments and hope you'll enjoy BBL!

Anonymous June 5, 2009 at 7:29 AM  

Yea, Colleen!! The cover of Beneath Bone Lake is a thing of beauty. It shimmers and must be held in your hands, tilted this way and that.... Ahhhhhh.

Love the way you bring ordinary and surprising elements together.


JeanP June 5, 2009 at 8:08 AM  

What a great trailer for Beneath Bone Lake.
I have not read any of your books before, but I am definitely going looking for them this weekend. They sound so intriguing

Colleen Thompson June 5, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

Thanks so much, Diane and JeanP. Glad you stopped by to say howdy!

Off to draw for a winner! Watch the comments to see who.

Colleen Thompson June 5, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

Squiresj, You're the winner of the drawing! Congratulations!

I'll be e-mailing you with details.

Thanks to everyone who commented!

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner June 5, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi to Colleen! And THANK YOU Colleen for playing on our blog.

NEXT WEEK: I'll be interviewing the fabulous VIRGINA KANTRA, so please stop back!

jennymilch June 5, 2009 at 1:32 PM  

my copy hasn't arrived yet, and i am chomping...keep checking the porch!

Colleen Thompson June 5, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

Thanks for ordering, Jenny! Hope you get yours soon!

linett June 6, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

great video and looks like a great book, thanks for the chance

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

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