Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.
Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.
Jen: Coleen, welcome to Romancing the Book. Will you please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from?
Coleen: My new release from Entangled Bliss is titled Real Men Don’t Break Hearts. Here’s the blurb:
At nineteen, Ally Griffin was jilted at the altar, but six years later she’s moved on with her life. Until she learns her ex is getting married right here in her hometown. She’s over him, but she’ll never stop despising his cousin Nate, whom she blames for the breakup. So she’s none too pleased when Nate moves back and buys the building housing her gift store.
Tired of his high-flying career and bachelor lifestyle, Nate Hardy wants a fresh start in his hometown. The last thing he needs is to find himself attracted to Ally. In the past they’ve never seen eye-to-eye, but this time things are different. Trouble is, he’s not looking for a long-term relationship.
Ally wants to shake up her life, but she doesn’t count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with him is irresistible, but can she guard her heart from him?
I’d always liked the idea of writing a romance between a reformed bad boy and a good girl wanting to break out of her rut. Nate and Ally have always been hostile toward each other, and this only adds to the spice when sudden attraction blooms between them.
Jen: What age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Coleen: I’ve always been an avid reader and writing was just a natural extension of that, but I never thought I’d be a published author one day. I enjoyed writing bits and pieces but always found it difficult to complete a story. A few years back I took a break from my job in IT and rediscovered my love of writing. This time I actually completed my stories, even though they were terrible and unfit for anyone’s eyes except mine. I submitted countless manuscripts to various publishers, all without any luck.
When I eventually sold, I didn’t get a call, but an email from the managing editor. The first line began “I’m sorry I’m unable…” As soon as I read those opening words my heart dropped as it sounded like all the other rejections I’d already received. But then I read on “I’m sorry I’m unable to make this offer via phone”, and my heart started pounding because I realized I’d sold my book!
The first sale is always memorable but it’s exciting every time an editor makes an offer for one of my books.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Coleen: For me the most challenging aspect is having the self-discipline to write on a regular basis. Some days the words just flow, but other days they don’t, and it’s on those difficult days that I have to be strong and self-motivated.
I’m not sure if there’s anything easy about writing! Perhaps it’s the chocolate I allow myself when I’ve finished a book?
The most rewarding aspect is working with editors. Although I might initially object to their comments, it’s amazing how much I’ve learnt by working with different editors. It’s always illuminating to hear their views on my work.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Coleen: I guess that would be Enid Blyton! As a child I devoured all her books and it’s thanks to her that I loved reading so much. So much of writing is instinctive and comes from reading others’ work, so I owe a big debt to her and all the other authors I loved in my developing years.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Coleen: With great difficulty! I’m always on the look-out for good character names. I try not to use the names of people I know just in case they might think I’ve based the character on them. I use baby name websites a lot, and my teenage children go to a performing arts school, which tends to yield quite a lot of unusual names (like Peyton and Liberty, for example).
Jen: What’s next for you?
Coleen: I’ve recently completed the second book in the Real Men series. This book is about Ally’s friend, Tyler, and her rocky road to happiness. I also have a couple of Entangled Indulgence books in the pipeline.