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Finding My Voice—COLLEEN COBLE

Friday, February 23, 2007

In doing the research for this topic, I’ve been curious how successful published authors have discovered and developed their unique voices. So I have contacted several authors whose writing and voices I greatly respect and admire and asked them to share their thoughts and advice with us, and I will be featuring their feedback throughout the next week or so.

Author Colleen Coble’s thirty novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best awards. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending. Her latest release is Midnight Sea.

WPWT: How did you find your unique writing voice? Did you struggle to find it or did it come easily to you?

Colleen Coble: I didn’t really find my voice until I started writing my passion. In the early years, only prairie romance had an audience, and while I enjoyed writing it, it wasn’t where my heart was and I had to tailor my voice to suite the genre. But as CBA expanded, I decided to try my hand at what I loved to read–romantic suspense. It was HARD but I worked at it. When I wrote my first chapter, my critique buddy, Kristin Billerbeck, told me I’d found my voice.

WPWT: How would you describe your unique writing voice? What is it that you do to make sure your writing “sounds like” you?

Colleen Coble: My voice has a lot to do with mood and atmosphere. And I quit “dumbing it down” a few books back. I’ve got a large vocabulary and sometimes I would pull back because I’d think most people might not know what a word meant. I turned off that mental editor and let the words bubble out as they wanted. My voice brings in a deep sense of the setting, using the five senses. I want my readers to be immersed in my world.

WPWT: What advice would you give to beginning/intermediate writers to help them find and develop their unique writing voice?

Colleen Coble: Turn off the internal editor. Don’t think “this won’t fly in CBA.” Let the words come out without critiquing them first and see what you’ve got. you might also try a few things. My friend Diann Hunt was writing prairie romance at first and decided to try a humorous book in first person present tense. It was totally her voice and very clear the minute I read it. The same thing happened with Kristin Billerbeck. You don’t know what your voice is early on sometimes until you try something that really moves you.

To find out more about Colleen Coble, please visit her website and the Girls Write Out blog.

  1. CHickey permalink
    Friday, February 23, 2007 9:57 am

    My critique partner just told me I’ve found my voice and the story just finaled in RWA’s Great Expectations contest.


  2. Georgiana D permalink
    Friday, February 23, 2007 10:39 am

    Great interview! Thanks Colleen!


  3. Erica Vetsch permalink
    Friday, February 23, 2007 7:18 pm

    What a cool interview. And congratulations to Chickey on finaling in the GE contest!


  4. Carol Collett permalink
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 11:24 am

    Fun interview. Thanks Colleen and Kaye.


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