Today I am talking with Colleen Hall, author of the historical Christian romance, Wounded Heart.
Colleen, thank you for joining me today. I’ve read Wounded Heart, and the first book in your series, Her Traitor’s Heart. I enjoyed them very much. I’m excited to have this opportunity to introduce you and your books to my readers.
Let’s start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve loved writing for almost as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I wrote a mystery story in installments and gave each new installment to my friends to read on the bus while we were going home from school. Due to lack of time, I put my writing away while I was in college, but now that I’m back at it. If I had a choice between writing and eating, I’d choose writing.
What is Wounded Heart about?
Della Hughes longs for adventure and for freedom from the strictness and austerity of 1870s Boston society. When her uncle and guardian, General Clint Logan, uses his fortune to purchase property in Colorado and set up a horse ranch selling remounts to the western army, Della decides she must accompany him and his family to the West. Along the journey, Della encounters more adventure than she bargained for.
Rustlers, Indians, and rattlesnakes add danger to the trek. A persistent cavalry captain who believes Della would make him the perfect wife and a Cheyenne chieftain’s son who tells her she’s brought sunshine to his heart complicate her life. And the handsome army scout who ramrods their wagon train guards a secret from his past that makes him believe he’s not worthy of loving Della. She must meet the challenges of the West and convince the man of her heart that love is worth risking everything to gain.
Do you have a day job?
Yes, I work a fulltime day job, so that means a lot of late nights and busy Saturdays.
How do you find time in your day to write?
Fortunately, I don’t need a lot of sleep, because I’m usually the last person to get to bed due to my writing schedule.
Are you a night owl or morning person?
Definitely a night owl.
Do you reward yourself when a book is finished?
Yes, with something gooey and chocolate!
Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?
In the third book of my Frontier Hearts Saga, Warrior’s Heart (The rough draft has just been finished.), Wild Wind refused to love the lady I’d created for his love interest. She wouldn’t cooperate, either. She wouldn’t come to life, and Wild Wind continued refusing to love her. Instead, he loved another of the characters from the previous book and wouldn’t change his mind. This required me to make major changes to the plot.
Who was your favorite character to create?
I love all my characters, but I think Wild Wind is my favorite. He’s such a strong character, he took over the story.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
I’m some of both. I have a loose outline in my head, so I know the general direction of the story, but I’m loose enough so that the story is organic and develops as I go. The scenes don’t always play out as I thought they would, and sometimes the characters take the story in a direction I didn’t anticipate. I never try to make my characters do something they just won’t do.
Share your favorite excerpt from your book: (Wounded Heart)
Della lifted her arm and looked at the wound. Two puncture holes in the sleeve of her blouse marked the spot where the rattlesnake had struck. Crimson droplets stained the fabric. “Here.” Faintness washed over her, adding to the searing agony of the bite. She swayed.
Shane caught her about the shoulders and eased her down onto the buffalo grass, propping her against the rocks. He reached into his boot, pulled out his bowie knife, and slit her sleeve from shoulder to wrist, then bunched the fabric beneath her arm. With aching gentleness he wrapped his fingers about her bicep and examined the bite. Della risked another glance. Swelling and angry redness marred her skin at the wound site.
Shane lowered her arm. “Keep your arm down. It will slow the venom.” He cast her a reassuring look. “Don’t move. I’ll be right back.”
Della closed her eyes. His hurried footsteps faded as he crossed the grass to his mustang. Nausea roiled in her stomach. Her face and limbs felt numb, and her throat tightened, making breathing difficult. She struggled to draw air into her lungs.
Moments later, Hunter knelt at her side. Cracking open her eyes, she watched him arrange dried grass into a pile and extract the makings of a fire from his tinder box. With an economy of motion, he scratched a match against the sole of his boot, lit the fire, and poured water from his canteen into the tin pan he carried in his saddlebags. From a deerskin pouch, he shook a measure of dried herbs into the water and set the pan in the flames. Next, he shoved the blade of his bowie knife deep into the fire.
Della closed her eyes again, not wanting to know what he intended to do with the knife. She clamped her lips against the nausea churning in her belly. The pain in her arm and the numbness of her hands and feet terrified her.
Hunter roused her by a touch on her shoulder. “Darlin’, drink this.” Squatting by her side, he held his tin cup to her lips.
She opened her eyes and stared at his face hovering close above her. Now his features—and everything she looked at—seemed blurred. Her panic kicked up a notch when she couldn’t quite focus.
He held the mug for her while Della drank. The tea tasted bitter, but she drained the liquid to the dregs. When she’d swallowed the last drop, she leaned her head back against the rock and closed her eyes again.
Still crouching beside her, Hunter squeezed her shoulder in a tender caress. “Darlin’, look at me.”
Della lifted her lids and stared into his eyes, squinting to focus against the blurriness.
“Della, I’m goin’ to hurt you.”
“Hmm. . .?” She struggled to make sense of his words.
“I’m goin’ to take my knife and cut across the bite marks. You need to bleed. Some of the venom will come out with your blood. Then, I’ll pack the wounds with the poultice to draw out as much of the venom as possible.” He squeezed her shoulder again. “I won’t hurt you more than I have to, but I must work fast, and the blade will be hot.”
She nodded. His words made her heart thump against her ribs. Breathing as deeply as she could manage with the effects of the venom constricting her throat, she forced herself to calmness.
Hunter bent and placed a swift kiss on her lips, then twisted toward the fire. When he pivoted back to her, his bowie knife in one hand, a jolt of panic shot through her. With his other hand, he grasped her arm about the wound, making it impossible for her to move. The blade of the knife glowed red.
Their gazes met for a single instant before Shane placed the tip of the blade against her skin and pressed the edge into the muscle. The acrid scent of burning flesh filled her nostrils as the blade bit into her arm. Agony greater than anything she’d ever known sliced through her. Della turned her head away, gritting her teeth, determined not to scream. He made another slash across the second bite mark and then tossed down the knife.
Della’s head fell back against the rock, and she swallowed a whimper of pain.
What’s next for you as an author?
The next thing for me as an author is editing Warrior’s Heart and submitting it.
I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for joining me today, Colleen. Where can readers reach you online?