I’ve been diving into a lot of non-fiction recently, with the terrible side effect of not having as much time for fiction. It’d been a while since my last Christian fiction novel when I picked up Two Reasons to Run (and then One Little Lie…I did it in reverse), and it was exactly what I needed at time. I wanted to talk to Colleen about the series, and ask her about the writing life—I figured being CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers, she might have some valuable insights.
The Interview | Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: there’s a lot of relational drama in this book, and most of it stems from untangling and weaving all of the mess of book one in the background to that. So when you’re writing a novel like this, how do you make sure that everything does seem believable?
Colleen Coble: That’s always a challenge in fiction because there’re some things that are so fantastical that happened in real life, but if you put them in fiction people wouldn’t believe you. So it has to be set up properly to where you’re always thinking about how your reader suspends disbelief. They have to suspend disbelief to enter into the story…When you’re in the character’s head, that helps a lot because you can get their perspective about how things play out. I really liked what you were talking about on what fiction does for us. And one of the things that it does also is gives us empathy. I’ve never been in a cult. I’m a Christian, I go to a really good church, but I’ve never been in a cult. It’s interesting for the writer to enter into something like that, something different, to explore identity, but it also helps the reader get to where they understand what people go through and gives us a different perspective on battles that people face that we’ve never faced. It gives us a little more sympathy and empathy for what other people go through.
Josh Olds: I think that’s what great fiction is intended to do, it helps us explore these ideas in the safe zone of fiction so that we can take them out into our lives…one of the themes that I really got from this book was working through forgiveness and working through guilt.
Colleen Coble: Yeah, and it’s sort of funny because I’ll start out with a whole different idea as far as what I think the book is about. But always—always—the theme of forgiveness pops up in my books. And I think it’s because it’s something that I believe changes people: when they can truly understand forgiving yourself and forgiving other people. Forgiving ourselves can be something really tough to do, so that particular aspect of forgiveness really worked its way into this series because of Jane’s past. She really feels like she has to forgive herself. She swallowed all of the cult teachings herself even though she was taken in there as a child, and that was the way she was trained up, but she still had to forgive herself and work through…The theme of forgiveness often comes up in my books, but this one is more forgiving yourself for the past and in ways that you failed. And we all have those. We all have those things in our lives that we wish we’d done differently. And we wish we could go back and change and some It can stop us up from growing because we’re still stuck there.
The Book | Two Reasons to Run (Pelican Harbor #2)
A lie changed her world.
Police Chief Jane Hardy is still reeling from the scandal that rocked her small-town department just as she took over for her retired father—the man who wrecked her life with one little lie. Now she’s finally been reunited with her presumed-dead fifteen-year-old son, Will, and his father, documentarian Reid Bechtol.
A crisis looms.
When a murder aboard the oil platform Zeus exposes an environmental terrorist’s plot to flood Mobile Bay with crude oil, Jane and Reid must put their feelings for each other behind them and work together to prevent the rig from being sabotaged.
A killer targets her son.
Then the terrorist puts her son Will’s life on the line. Protecting him could be the common ground they need . . . but then ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Jane and Reid for good.
She’s got plenty of reasons to run. But what if she stays?
The Author | Colleen Coble
Best-selling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com.