Saturday, October 8, 2011

Interview with Colleen Houck

NYT Best Selling Author
Book Nerd Interview


Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am the oldest of seven kids. I’m an organizational freak and love to have a little place for everything. Science Fiction/computer nerds run in my family. I once flunked a typing class and American Sign Language Interpreter was my job up until a year ago when I sold my series.

Can you tell us how you became a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. English and Math were my favorite classes in high school. Writing didn’t become something serious for me until I first gave it a go in 2008 after reading about J.K. Rowling’s and Stephenie Meyer’s stories. They were just moms who got up one day and wrote a book and the idea spurred me to pick up a pen and paper.

What inspired you to write this particular book? Is there a story about the writing of this novel that begs to be told?

The Tiger’s Curse Series idea came when I was plotting and researching. I decided to write a book series before I knew what I was going to write about. I knew I wanted it to have fantasy elements, romance, and scary monsters. Beauty and the Beast was the theme I chose to work with and when I picked a white tiger for my beast, research led me to India.

I was fascinated by the Indian culture. How long did take for you to do the research?

Quite a long time actually and I still research every day. In the beginning I studied mythology books and jotted down names or concepts of anything that interested me. I didn’t limit myself to Indian mythology but found fascinating creatures and tidbits from all over the world and then categorized them into which things would make sense with which book. I’d write down Lady Silkworm, for example, but none of the details. Then when I was ready to write Tiger’s Voyage, I researched the story in depth and figured out where to put it in the book.

What is it that you’re exploring in this book?

In Tiger’s Voyage my heroes journey on the ocean. They meet the dragons of the five oceans who give them various tasks to complete before they can move on. Sometimes they were in terrible danger, other times they had to use their wits to best the dragon. In this book the love story takes some very dramatic twists and turns. Of all the books in my series this one was the most fun to write. Some very important questions get answered in this book and some new problems arise as well.

Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?

One of my favorite new characters in Tiger’s Voyage is Wes. He’s a Texas cowboy that adds a lot of humor and fun and manages to throw a bit of a monkey wrench into the love triangle. I like having both Ren and Kishan team up to thwart the outsider. I like Wes so well that I’ve already begun plotting out a book all for him.

Are there any tips you would give a book club to better navigate their discussion of your book?

My series is heavily layered with foreshadow. I think it’s fun to go back and find the clues in the first and second books that are revealed in the third. It would also be interesting to talk about the use of poetry and discuss how it adds to the books. I use lots of symbols through the series “lotus blossoms, yin/yang, and color” several of these are picked up again and again in each book. Discussing archetypes and the hero’s journey is also something I would recommend.

Do you have a favorite story to tell about being interviewed about your book?

I actually met with a Hollywood talk show interviewer to talk about how to interview properly. She taught me about soundbytes and how to sit, what to wear and how to answer questions. I think it was very helpful and I’ve used her notes several times.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

I suppose it would be more about my background prior to writing. I didn’t get published until after age forty so I’ve had a very interesting career that no one knows about and one that I think is fascinating by itself.

Has a review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work?

Yes and no. If there is a comment that I see often, I think about it and decide if its something I should let influence me. Sometimes it is but often it’s not. What I wrote two years ago is not the same as what I write today. Each author grows and stretches book by book and my hope is that the last book I write will be my best. At the end of the day I’m the only one really who needs to be satisfied with my work. If I tried to write to make others happy I would always fail because outsider opinions differ so widely.

Which authors have been most influential to your own writing?

Madeleine L’Engle has been a huge influence on me since I was a young child. Her books took me to a place I’d never dreamed of and to this day I can still quote the poem that ran through A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

Orson Scott Card has been one of my favorite writers as an adult. I admire his bizarre creativity and his ability to make you really connect to a character.

In a way every single book I read influences me. I’m of the opinion that no book is a waste. I can find something interesting or a cool idea or a fantastic phrase in any book I pick up.

If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?

I would still be interpreting. I’ve always been interested in working with Deaf children. I’m a foodie and would like to learn how to cook delicious things. I’m a decent housewife kind of cook but I’d love to learn gourmet cooking. I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades since I’ve worked in lots of varied jobs. I can do a little of everything.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?

I would have loved to have written Romeo and Juliet. I think it’s the best, most memorable love story ever told.

What book are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading my own books for research as I’m finishing up Tiger’s Destiny, but most recently I read Bree Despain’s The Lost Saint. I have a ginormous stack of unread YA books after cleaning out the YA section of the Salem Border’s that just closed. I meet so many YA authors now and when I’ve read their book there is an automatic connection. I get a feel of who they are and can talk to them about their books without embarrassing myself. Actually I love almost every kind of fiction but tend to favor picking up books with fantasy, sci-fi, or romantic themes.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Tweeting, blogging, touring, Facebooking, taking pictures to blog, tweet, and share on Facebook, updating my Goodreads page, answering email, listening in on conference calls, revising, editing, copyediting, writing bonus material, answering interview questions, snacking on unhealthy treats, and once in a while having a conversation with my husband.

Seriously, there is very little free time in my schedule and when there is I feel guilty if I’m not sharing my moment with the world. I do try to have breakfast a couple times a month with friends and I visit my parents every Sunday I can. Sunday’s are really the day I take off from the writing/social media world. I love watching movies and I try to catch a recorded television show at the end of the day. My favorite right now is Vampire Diaries.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?

I can’t really say anything about my favorite because it’s a big cliffhanger reveals in the book but my favorite dragon is the gold one. His human form is based off of Wallace Shawn who is The Sicilian in Princess Bride & the dinosaur on Toy Story. I adore him and he’d be perfect to play my golden dragon. He’s greedy and wily and dramatic.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

There is an exclusive version of the book only available through Barnes & Noble with a bonus chapter that shows what happened when Ren lost his memory. Most of the book is spent on a fabulous Mega-Yacht which is just so over the top fun that it makes me yearn for one of my own. There are very interesting secondary characters that will make you laugh, cry, fear, and loathe. And we discover that Fanindra can change into a sea snake and accompany them underwater.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

If you have a desire to write you should try. Writing can never be a bad thing. My maternal grandfather wrote cowboy westerns that were never published and he died when my mom was a little girl. In his books I can actually hear his voice and learn what kind of a man he was and see what he valued. That opportunity for me to know who he was is more priceless than ten million screaming fans or a huge book advance. Write because you love writing and good things will follow.


The third book in the gripping Tiger's Curse series!


With the head-to-head battle against the villainous Lokesh behind her, Kelsey confronts a new heartbreak: in the wake of his traumatic experience, her beloved Ren no longer remembers who she is. As the trio continues their quest by challenging five cunning and duplicitous dragons, Ren and Kishan once more vie for her affections--leaving Kelsey more confused than ever.


Fraught with danger, filled with magic, and packed with romance, TIger's Voyage brings Kelsey and her two tiger princes one step closer to breaking the curse.


This fast-paced novel includes a sneak peek at Tiger's Destiny (Book 4) and a smartphone Tag code on the back cover that links to the series website.



Colleen starts Tiger's Voyage from Lokesh's penthouse office. I thought it was brilliant to know what rage and disappointment our antagonist was feeling. After reading the prologue, I immediately knew what an incredible journey I am about to embark. 


Tiger’s Voyage continues just over a month after Ren’s rescue from Baiga camp. As Kelsey deals with Ren’s memory loss, Colleen works slowly and carefully through her emotions. Every page was an absolute pleasure to read. I can assure you, Colleen is at her best with this installment. This is a love triangle written well in the most remarkable way. 

I enjoyed being introduced to new characters. Captain Diondre Dixon tells an interesting story about a beautiful maiden named Jingwei. Wesley Alexander is a great addition to the love triangle. He truly did put a smile on my face and during my interview with Colleen, she had mentioned plotting a book all about Wes. Oh, I almost forgot about Randi. I desperately wanted to throw her off the yacht and when she is introduced on page 212, you will understand what I am talking about. 

Ren & Kishan, as you all know and agree, are the most beautiful, well written male characters. I did not think it was possible to love them even more. There are a few heartbreaking moments and you will learn to handle them like I did. 

Although I had forgotten to mention Mr. Kadam on my review of Tiger’s Curse, there are not enough words to describe this incredible man. I adore and love him. Without his research, I doubt the mission would be absolute. 

How was the journey you may ask? It was absolutely incredible! Put your suit on and prepare to explore the water. This is a story that is surely not to be missed and just wait until you meet the dragons--I would elaborate more but that just leads to spoilers. The story grabs you by the wrist and leads you to a front row seat of all the nonstop action, romance, and adventure. 



You can purchase all three books at Barnes & Noble.
Click links below:

Chat Live with Colleen Houck.
Click the banner and Join us.

Now for the giveaways.
I hope you enjoyed your visit. I couldn't be more happier to share this incredible series with all of you. Continue your support for Colleen Houck. You can visit her website HERE.

PRIZE:




2 Winners will receive one copy of Tiger's Voyage
(Exclusive Edition from B&N)
Each Book will include a signed bookplate from Colleen Houck
Signed Bookmarks by James Vallesteros
4 Ren Bookmarks
4 Ren Postcards

Winners:
Julieta Christy
Karol Gallegos 
And a Surprise Third Winner:
Shyia Magan

Please e-mail me: jeanbooknerd@gmail.com



57 comments:

  1. Absolutely love this series! Cannot wait to read Tiger's Voyage. Great review and amazing giveaway!

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  2. what an amazing interview colleen, cannot wait until tiger's voyage comes out i need to know what happens with all the characters. loved your review jean, thanks james for the bookmarks :)

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  3. Great Interview and awesome review! Loved it!

    I hope I win!

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  4. I just finished the first book, great series and FABULOUS giveaway!!! Good luck everyone. :)

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  5. I have always fantasized about visiting India and going for an adventure just like the one Kelsey had... This book is beautiful, magical and exotic, just like something I would imagine myself going through. The cover is gorgeous, and I'm dying for book 2. This book made me want to visit India even more. And the whole Indian costumes and food description is mouthwatering! I think this book is a must for all adventure seekers who love exotic places and tigers!

    I loved the part when Fanindra the snake came alive and became a bracelet on Kelsey's arm, it reminded me of the old golden Indian jewelery. I LOVE this book!

    I hated how Kelsey treated Ren. She should have had more faith in him. He is a great guy, I find him very charming and irresistible and HOT.

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  6. I love this series and it's thanks to you that I actually read it ;) I can't wait to read the next one^^
    nathielgold@gmail.com

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  7. Wow! Awesome review and great interview !

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  8. haven't started the seires yet but it's on my to-read list. will surely get this! great interview Jean!

    nylesor85 at yahoo dot com

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  9. WOW, loved it!! Learned some new stuff and so enjoyed reading!!!! What did i like about the series, how do you put that in words...EVERYTHING!!
    Colleen and Jean great work and the interview ROCKED!!:))

    Bella;)

    coastiecolellas@hotmail.com

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  10. Hi Everyone, I cant wait to read this series but, I have a kindle and it is not available yet but, i hear her publisher is working on it. I also have a blog http://renareviews.blogspot.com and I would love for you to join :) ~Michele

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  11. WOW! Another awesome giveaway! You are amazing, Jean! I just love the Tiger's Curse series. Colleen is wonderful and such an inspirational writer. I wanna be just like her when I grow up ;P.
    Good luck to everyone!

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  12. what a fantastic interview! I can't wait to read this series, it sounds so amazing!!

    good luck everyone!! :)

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  13. Thanks so much for the wonderful interview. I havent started the series yet. I have the first 2 but was holding out till near the time the 3rd came out. Im so excited to read it soon though. There has been nothing but positive reviews.

    natcleary(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. I will have to go to the library and see if I can get my hands on the series thats already released. I would love to read the series. It sounds really good.

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  15. Hi Everyone! Thanks for your support. I have revised the giveaways. I have added a signed BOOKPLATE. Yay

    Good Luck everyone

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  16. oooo thank you for the giveaway!!!!

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  17. Thanks for doing the giveaway. I'm sooo excited for Tigers Voyage!!

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  18. Fantastic event and giveaway! I'll be there tonight at 8PM EST! :) Thanks for providing us all with this opportunity to interact with our favorite author. Tiger's Voyage is the best of the series yet. I can't wait until everyone has the opportunity to read it.
    howdymomma@yahoo.com
    (Jenna DeTrapani)

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  19. i love the series so far love the fact that everything is so well researched

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  20. Great interview! I haven't read the first book yet but It sounds amazing series.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

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  21. Awesome interview. love the series, can't wait until Voyage comes out. I'll be sad when the series ends.

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  22. the_great_white_tigeress@hotmail.co.uk

    Heyy there, thanks for the tip for coming on here! I adore this series, I found it by accident before it was re-published and now own both Tiger's Curse and Quest. I've always loved big cats and I love paranormal romance (especially a love triangle) books so I got hooked to this series right away! Looking forwards to the rest of the series soo badly.
    P.s. I adore Kishan!

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  23. thank you for the giveaway! :)

    Terri M

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  24. I won't enter because my copy is already on it's way and I'll see Colleen Nov 8. James the bookmarks are great! Awesome interview Jean. Thanks for setting up the live chat too! You ROCK!!!

    Shelley (Bella)

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  25. Thanks for the giveaway, Jean.
    The interview was great.
    I got into the series thanks to BellaColella and I LOVE it!! Team Ren <3

    Got my fingers crossed =D

    Lisa, xoxo

    iluvkimi_220@hotmail.co.uk

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  26. Thank you so much for the giveaway! Great review and interview :-) Can't wait for the next book, it's an awesome series.
    -Dawn aka dawnmomoffour
    thedoyle6@rogers.com

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  27. Thanks so much for the giveaway! The interview and review rock :)

    Melissa
    mmmurraygirl@hotmail.com

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  28. Thank you for this fabulous giveaway! I love this series!

    [GO TEAM KISHAN!!] xD

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  29. I haven´t read Tiger Curse yet! Im waiting for my bookstore to bring Tiger Curse to my country! They are so slow! :( In the meantime, i would love to participate in the giveaway! YAY!

    ilepachequin(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  30. I am SO looking forward to book 3. This is just a fantastic series.

    strangecandyreviews at gmail dot com

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  31. please tell me it's a international giveaway, it's on my wish list so i would love to win it

    thanks you for this giveaway

    gfc name: isabelle frisch
    mail: isabelle(dot)frisch(at)gmail(dot)com

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  32. Thanks for the recommendation! I would love to read it.

    Gladys

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  33. What a great interview Colleen. Just started this series last night and already can see why everyone raves about this series. What incredible talent. Thanks for the giveaway

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  34. i really really want to read this series!!!

    terri_dion@hotmail.com

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  35. I LOVE this series. I was confused by the cover but after reading the interview I understand it now. Thank you for the opportunity

    www.facebook.com/Bookiesfan

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  36. Thanks for the interview and this great giveaway!

    tborka4@gmail.com

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  37. Fantastic Interview and review. Can't wait to get my hands on this book, this series is amazing!

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway.

    s_l_a_s_c69@hotmail.com

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  38. Hi Jean! I haven't read this series yet, but I heard great things about it! I can't wait to read this series though! (: Thank you for the give away and great interview!

    vampyreprincess109(at)gmail(dot)com

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  39. I haven't started the series. I have the first two books and have read the first seven chapters of the first book on line. I was so captivated by it that I just had to get the series. If I hadn't read the chapters on line, I don't think I would have purchased the books. There just hasn't been a lot of talk about this series, but it's fantastic what I've read so far and I so love the Indian culture aspects of it. Very different. I can't wait to have time to read the rest of the books!

    Heather
    hrose2931(at)gmail(dot)com

    BTW great interview! Very in depth and it seems like an actual conversation! I loved it!

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  40. Sadly, I've never read this series, but I sure have heard much about it. I'd love to read this book!

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  41. Fantastic interview! Love the Tigers ! xx

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  42. Love your interviews!! Thank you so much for another amazing giveaway!! The book looks and sounds amazing would love to read it!!

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  43. This is a wonderful interview! I have the first book in this series but haven't read it yet. It looks great though.

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  44. I stummbled across this series by accident when the first book Tiger`s Curse came out and I was so hooked! I absolutely love the detail in Colleen`s books, she is an amazing writter! Thanks for the wonderful journey you gave us.
    heltondexter@yahoo.com

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  45. Thanks for sharing the qwesome interview!!! Good luck to all!!!

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  46. I have liked this series from day one and have become quiet obsessive over it. I have recommended it to everyone I know. I love when I find blogs or other interviews like this about one of my favorite author. Thank for the interview and the contest. P_Sykette @ hotmail.com

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  47. I hope I win, because I am excited about reading the book!!! bynumjenny@yahoo.com

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  48. Good luck everyone. Though I must say I hope I win.

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  49. great giveaway and book review.
    Enjoyed reading about the writer's
    grandfather. It is the genes eh.
    WTG on excellent writing skills.
    dayleb at telus dot net

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  50. This is such a great series!! Loved the interview!!
    Meridyth
    meridyth7at gmail.com

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  51. I love the series; the series is one of my favorite! The way that Mrs. Houck writes the story just draws you in and you cannot get enough of it, there is also mystery mixed into adventure and you have to pay attention to catch foreshadowing.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!
    Ciersten
    My email address is cierstendeardorf@aol.com or at cierstenadeardorf@lewisu.edu (which I am on this one more)

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  53. I have been waiting for this book since I found her books almost 2 years ago! Finally. Thanks!!

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  54. Wow Great giveaway :)
    I cannot wait to read this series, I have heard so many great things :P
    Good luck everyone :)

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