Saturday, December 01, 2007

The 12 Authors of Christmas. Meet Colleen Coble

Author, friend and mentor, Colleen Coble, leads off "The 12 Authors of Christmas Tour."

I'm very pleased to have her stop by

Hey, Colleen, tell us about your first Christmas memory?

CC: I wish I could remember how old I was, but I remember my brother Randy getting a cowboy outfit. With boots. I don't remember my outfit as well.

I coveted those cowboy boots! I mostly remember laughter and food. And my mom's fabulous candy confections she made every year.

Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.

My dad was a guard at Fisher Body and he worked swing shift. Most years opening gifts on Christmas Eve worked out best. We kids would be spastic waiting for evening. I always missed those Christmas Eve nights when we opened gifts with our own kids on Christmas morning - Dave's tradition. But recently it's been more convenient to go to Christmas Eve with our family and I'm loving it.

Another tradition for years has been making candy in the weeks before Christmas with my mom. I've been so busy writing, I haven't had time to do it, but when I turn this book in on Dec 15, I'm making candy with her!

When do you put up your tree? At my house, it goes up right after Thanksgiving. My husband works assembly and outside lights. I do the rest. Describe the decorating at your house.

Right after Thanksgiving! And we usually had a live tree. But sadly, since the writing life began, the tree is sometimes left until the week before Christmas. Wouldn't you think the deadlines could be better managed?

(rh: No, I've learned deadlines seem to manage us, at times!)

What is your favorite Christmas song or album? I grew up with a Johnny Mathis Christmas CD and it's still one of my favorites. My other is a copy of Mel Torme singing his "Christmas Song."

I loved Tennesse Ernie Ford! Still love that deep gravelly voice of his. My favorite song is "O Holy Night." It perfectly embodies the feeling of Christmas for me. But I don't start listening to Christmas music until two weeks out. Otherwise it loses its special savor to me. Weird, I know.

On the other hand, my buddy Diann Hunt will often start in September! Strange girl but I love her.

(rh: I've brought out the Christmas CDs in September before, but I tend to agree with you, C. If I listen too much, too long, I'm weary of the music by Christmas and I don't want to be!)

Christmas morning, my parents didn't want us in the living room until the tree was plugged in. So, we'd wake up early, five a.m. or so, and bang on the floor to stir my parents awake. Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.

Christmas Eve was our Christmas and we'd be dying waiting for my dad to say it was time. The tree would have to be plugged in, music would be playing. Utter pandemonium would break out when my dad started handing out the presents. And in five minutes it would all be over with paper littered everywhere. LOL

With my kids, the sad story is that now I'm usually the first up. And I go wake them up because I can't stand it a minute longer!

Seems to me snow and Christmas go together, but I’ve been a Florida girl for 33 years! Tell us about your Christmas setting?

Snow of course! And if we don't have snow for Christmas it's a sad year. We kids would often go out sledding. Or make a snowman. Or a snow angel. My mother would have hot chocolate for us. And cocoa fudge. Yum! Can you tell I love candy? LOL

It's Christmas Eve, describe your day and evening.

We generally have Christmas with my parents and siblings earlier in the day, say around one. We'll eat and leave out the candy for nibbling on later. We'll open gifts - mostly for the little ones though we adults often draw names and bring a girl or boy gift. Then we open each one and the next person can take that gift away or go to the unopened pile. We've had some battles!

At six we go to the Christmas Eve service at church. It's such a special time, and we look forward to it every year! After the service, we've come home the last few years and opened gifts with our children and two new grandsons. Year before last, our son popped the question to our darling daughter in law. This year, our daughter is engaged and we'll have her new fiance around the tree. It's such fun when the family keeps growing!

(rh: Sounds wonderful!)

Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?

On line! I've shopped online for about four years now. It's sooo much easier!

Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?

It's a special time to come away and remember all the good things God has brought into my life. To ponder all He's done for me and to rejoice with the family He's given me. It's more than gifts and food - or even chocolate - it's taking time from our hectic schedule to dwell on the Christ child, but even more on the Savior.

It's Christmas day. . . what's for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?

Turkey! Cranberry salad with lots of pecans. Sweet potato casserole. We generally go to my in-laws for dinner on Christmas day and my mother-in-law makes an awesome pumpkin pie - from a real pumpkin. I often make cocoa fudge for the kids when we get home.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.

It's a pretty new one actually. Christmas 2005. Our son had hidden an engagement ring in the pocket of a leather jacket he'd bought his sweetheart, Donna. He'd tied a string to it. She put it on and was modeling the coat when he told her to put her hand in the pocket. She found the string and started pulling it out with fear on her face. She had no idea what he was up to. She got to the end of the string and found the ring. She looked at the ring then up at Davy. Then she looked at the ring again and back to Dave.

Finally she shrieked and launched herself into Davy's arms. He was laughing so hard he could barely stand. He said, "I take it that’s a yes?" She screamed, "Yes, yes!" It was a great time!

(rh: You'll have to work that into a book, C!)

What are you plans for this season?

Welcoming our soon to be son-in-law into the family! Mark proposed the night of the Book of the Year awards at the ACFW conference. Even though I won Suspense Book of the Year, the highlight of the night was the news about the upcoming wedding - in Hawaii!

Any final thoughts on Christmas?

I treasure every year with my family. A moment, a phone call, can change everything. Like the year we lost my brother and the year my grandma died. And the year we lost Gramps. I want to cling to every minute God gives us together and make memories.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reflect on all His blessings, Rachel!

(rh: Thank you, Colleen, for all you do. Many of you may not know, but Colleen is a wonderful cheerleader and supporter of new and established writers. Some of us have benefited greatly from this gift from God she uses. Merry Christmas, Friend.)

The official word on Colleen Coble:

Best-selling author Colleen Coble is living a life that seemed only a dream until she was nearly forty. With thirty-two books now under her belt now (including two Women of Faith titles), she writes romantic mysteries to make sure justice prevails, at least in her imaginary world.

Colleen has won the ACFW Mentor of the Year award twice, and her books have won or finaled in numerous contests including RWA's Rita award, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, Booksellers Best, the Daphne du Maurier, and the National Readers' Choice Award. Colleen and her husband reside in Indiana, where Colleen tries to ignore the work that still needs done on the Victorian home they're forever restoring.

Visit her website at


Kathryn Mackel said...

Is it me, or did Colleen mention candy in every answer? Sweet gal that she is...

Colleen Coble said...

Oh you caught that, Kathy? LOL You should be a detective!

Ausjenny said...

This is so cool learning about others Christmas's. For me i would love a white christmas but i think i would have to move to get it as its in summer for us.
Thanks for the insite. and all the candy talk is making me want to try some of the American christmas candies and fudges. (not that i know who to make fudge)
Thanks Colleen.

Rachel Hauck said...

Lots of candy? I didn't notice. Er, wait, let me take another bit of this piece of chocolate. ;)

Aus Jenny, I live in Florida and have a sunny sometimes warm Christmas. ;) Never snow.

This year is really warm still.

Ausjenny said...

Rachel, i forget some of the warmer areas of america. its like in australia a vast country. Im hoping for a christmas around 80 not 100 and that would be wonderful.

i see i really cant spell. (i still dont know how to make fudge.)
thanks for the 12 authors of christmas.

Leanna said...

Great idea, Rachel! Loved reading about Colleen's Christmas. Merry Christmas all!