An Interview with Colette Auclair

Please help me welcome Colette Auclair to my blog today. She’s given me a lovely interview that I think you’ll find interesting.

Thrown_Cover_2Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?

Sort of. For most of my life I’ve been a copywriter, and I joke that I’ve been getting paid to write fiction for years! (If any of my clients read this, I’m soo kidding.) Copywriting is great training for novel writing because you have to write quickly, use as few words as humanly possible, and you always have a deadline to meet. For ten years I was a copywriter at Warner Books (now Grand Central), so I definitely had an advantage when it came to writing query letters, since I used to write catalog copy for books all the time, and that’s pretty much what a query boils down to.

Do you have other talents? Or is there a talent you don’t have that you wish you did?

I am an excellent tap dancer. I wish I were better at accessorizing. I can only be trusted with the most basic accessorizing.

How did you get started writing?

I’ve written since I could read. I wrote a lot of stories about horses and animals when I was growing up. Clearly I haven’t outgrown the impulse yet. Thrown is my first “serious” piece of writing.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Contemporary, because Thrown began its life as an idea for a romantic comedy movie. When it made me write it as a novel (and yes, the story wouldn’t get out of my head until I wrote it down!), the genre choice was obvious. In addition, I don’t have the patience to research a historical or romantic suspense and have tremendous respect for those who do.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

Thrown is about Amanda, a jumper rider with Olympic ambitions who witnesses her friend’s death in a riding accident and is so traumatized, she must put her dream on hold. She goes to Aspen for a summer job teaching a widowed movie star’s two spoiled young daughters to ride and to recover emotionally. All she has to do is get through three months, then she’s back to serious training. But by Labor Day, she has to decide if she’s going to follow her heart and stay with the man she loves…or go for the gold medal.

Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Grady Brunswick is to die for. I know he’s fictional, I know I created him, but I’m so in love with him I can’t even stand it. One of his strengths is, when he realizes he loves Amanda, he is all in even though it’s scary. A weakness? He wants to be a good father but he sucks at it, and is so overprotective he’s practically paralyzed.

Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Amanda Vogel is more than a match for Grady. She’s exquisitely determined. She has her sights set on winning a gold medal and she’ll work hard for what she wants for as long as it takes. As for a weakness, she’s so (pardon the pun) thrown when she figures out she has feelings for Grady, she runs away from them. She has to allow herself to take an emotional risk the same way she takes a physical risk when riding horses over towering jumps.

Tell us about your current series/WIP.

Happy to! My work-in-progress is the second book in the three-book series that began with Thrown. Jumped is also set in Aspen, and also features a horse-mad heroine, Beth, who is Amanda’s best friend. Beth believes she’s going to have a fun, carefree month visiting Amanda…but then her ex-husband shows up.

Was your road to publication difficult or a walk in the park?

I started Thrown in the fall of 2009 and got a book contract in late 2012. In the meantime I rewrote Thrown a bazillion times, wrote another book that I haven’t done anything with, finaled in the 2012 Golden Heart contest, and learned a ton. I consider it a four-year walk in a sprawling national park, because my first novel got published. A lot of talented writers have more books under their collective belts and have been at it longer, so I consider myself to be extremely lucky.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Keep hydrated. Oh, and all the other stuff everyone says because it’s all true: write (don’t just talk about writing, don’t just read about writing, write), rewrite, read, and finish your book. Done is better than perfect, because you’ll never feel like you’re done.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be an Olympic rider (surprise, surprise) or a veterinarian. Then I took chemistry in college and that killed my vet career. I’m still holding out for the Olympics–in London in 2012, one of the dressage riders was 71. But I’m not holding my breath!

What’s next for you?

I’ll start writing the next book in the three-book series as soon as I send Jumped to my editor. To deliver the best possible story to my readers, I’ll probably have to drive up to Aspen again for research… Ah, the agony of being a novelist!

I live near Denver, Colorado with my witty husband and—not surprisingly—have a Thoroughbred mare and Portuguese Water Dog. Both are smart, sweet and gorgeous. I’m originally from Pittsburgh and am loyal to all of its pro sports teams. I studied theatre and advertising at Northwestern University and have been a copywriter for more than twenty years. If you ever meet me, beware—anything you do or say could end up in a book and I make no apologies.

Thrown is available at

11 thoughts on “An Interview with Colette Auclair

  1. Hi, Colette. Thrown sounds like a good story, and I love horses. Always wanted one until reality set in, and I learned how expensive they are. I’d say you have a very good reason to go to Aspen often. Many sales to you.

    • Thanks, Karalee! As you read, I was horse-crazy as a little girl and never got over it. My horse (a mare, my first horse ever) lives in Arvada and sometimes I write in her stall until she makes it impossible to continue by standing over me until she’s practically in my lap so I’ll scratch her belly. The expense–well, let’s not think about that. More reason to hope for many sales!
      I hope you have much success in 2014 and that the writing is going well.

    • Rose,
      Thank you for stopping by! Yes, horses are large, and I have been been afraid of them at times. But if you met my mare, you’d be charmed (or at least I think so,since she’s very gentle and “kisses” my nose. If you had carrots, you’d be her best friend). Reading about them is safer, and also cleaner.
      I admire you for taking pictures of them–it’s tough to get good shots because of their long noses.
      Needless to say, I hope you enjoy THROWN and the series.

  2. I loved riding when I was younger. It was only $5 for an hour. Today, the money is so much. Why do you think that women and girls love horses so much?

    It’s great to meet you and congrats on Thrown. I wish you much success!

    • Hi Melissa!
      Thanks for reading. Your comment about riding for $5 hit home. My sister gave me riding lessons for my tenth birthday and I think that’s what they cost. Now, yes, I am “horse poor” as my friends and I say. We really have no business owning horses, but it’s a disease and somehow it works out. I’m in Colorado, and people always ask if I ski, and I tell them that the horse takes up the money and time I’d need for skiing.
      As for girls/women and horses, for me it has something to do with this beautiful animal voluntarily doing what you want when it could easily refuse. I’m not talking about when people force horses using pain and fear, but rather when you have a trusting relationship with the horse so that he or she WANTS to do what you want. Then riding becomes a partnership and a dance. It’s amazing when they try so hard for you when you ask for something. And besides that, just being around them is peaceful. I love the sound of a horse grazing–it’s one of the most relaxing sounds in the world, I think.
      Happy reading, and thanks again.

  3. Very interesting! Being a copywriter has to be so helpful! You’re writing what you know and love; the art and craft of riding and weaving in a romance story. Keep your options open…the Olympics might be in your future!
    Good luck with your career.

    • Marianne,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and your comments. I agree, being a copywriter is helpful because I’m used to writing “on cue” as it were, and not waiting around for a muse to clock in. In other words, there is no time for writer’s block. And yes, you’re right, I write about a passion–horses–and I love bringing readers into this world.
      I hope you’re right about the Olympics! That would be awesome!
      Thank you again for your kind words.

  4. Great interview, Colette! I’m so looking forward to reading this. I enjoyed meeting you at the CRW tea 🙂 Wishing you much success!

    • Lisa,
      Thanks for your comment, and yes, it was fun talking with you at the tea. I hope you like THROWN; I had such a good time writing it, I hope my joi de vivre comes through to readers. Thank you very much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *