An Interview with Leo Coulson

THANK YOU CINDY for having me as a guest at your blog today!

  1. LC_TheRoaringRedwoods-3Tell us about yourself.
    1. I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains with Redwood trees in my front yard. I’m originally from the central valley of California, but have lived all over the state as well as in Texas and Costa Rica. I call myself a spectrum parent with kids from one end to the other. My oldest graduates college next month and my youngest starts kindergarten in the fall.
  1. Tell us about your current series/WIP.
    1. Love, honor and money…and the laws we break to keep all three. Joe Santone might bear the name of a saint, but he is nothing of the sort in his work for Boss Joe Torrio in 1920s Chicago. An assassination attempt has him re-evaluating his career choice and heading to California for a job he can tell his mother about. Helen Decker has escaped her violent home for a privileged education in New York City, but now devotion draws her back. Prohibition didn’t save her father, but maybe she can. Shaw McLendon hates the sea, but it takes a near drowning to convince him to leave Scotland and make a life in lumber instead of fish. And Mei Xing Chen can no longer hear the voices of her ancestors as she feels the pull of the ancient trees and rushing San Lorenzo River whispering her future is in America, even as her family prepares to return to China. They all flock to where illegal booze flows freely and the parties are legendary— to the World Famous RiverWood Lodge and Casino— where the Pacific Ocean meets the Redwoods, gangsters meet immigrants, loggers meet movie stars—and the lines between right and wrong are obscured by the trees. The Roaring Redwoods debuted as an e-serial with episodes published semi-monthly. In March the first collection (episodes 1-5) was published and collection two (episodes 6-10) just came out this month. I hope my words evoke the smell of the trees in summer, the rhythm of 1920s jazz, and the taste of a perfect martini.
  1. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
    1. I’ve had ideas come from everywhere. A news story, my own life, a dream. Sometimes a combination of all three.
  1. How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
    1. Pretty likely. I like what Anne Lamott said, “If people didn’t want you to write about them, they should have behaved better.” I do write about people who do behave well too. I change a lot of details though so it’s just between me and the keyboard who is who.
  1. Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
    1. Joe Santone is trying to reform. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, regardless of what the law says.
  1. Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
    1. Helen Decker is smart, hardworking and independent. Her weakness is her belief that what others think of you/say about you is important.
  1. Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?
    1. You can do it. If you have a story to write, write it. Do not worry about the rules or publishing or if it’s any good or anything until you follow your heart and write the words. Write the words and then figure out the rest later.
  1. What’s next for you?
    1. I have a contemporary novel coming out next month. With a Lemon Twist will be published under my own name. It’s the first in a planned four book series. Leo Colson (my historical fiction pen name) will have a new book out at the end of this year.
  1. Where can readers find you?
    1. My website is com. My blog is Prayers and Cocktails and I have lots of info for both my historical and contemporary fiction there. I’m on Facebook too. My newsletter is only 4 times of year, but full of fun stuff (you can sign up at my website and see below about this month’s prize). I’m @ocharise on Twitter but not especially active there.
  1. Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
    1. Kindle, Kobo, iBooks. The digital versions are in episodes and collections. Print is only available for the Collections.
  1. IMG_2370Do you have any upcoming FREE promotions you would like to tell us about?
    1. Yes! Episode 1 of The Roaring Redwoods is free (so is Episode 6!) so you can try it before deciding on the rest or purchasing it in the collection length versions. For the month of April—I am giving away a prize package including Collection One of The Roaring Redwoods AND a gorgeous 1920’s inspired necklace. Leave a comment here or sign up for my newsletter at com (or BOTH for two chances!). The winner will be announced May 1, 2015.


If he wasn’t stone cold sober, he’d doubt his senses.

She jerked at his words and stopped brushing debris from her skirt. “Hello.”

“Hello. Pardon me, but did you just come out of that tree?” Joe shifted his arm, reminding him of his gun holstered there. If women were climbing out from under trees around here, he was glad to be armed.

She was dressed well, not fancy, but well. She must be a tourist like himself. Odd she was alone given the locale and her beauty. She seemed to possess all the colors of the forest as she stood against the backdrop of it. Her light gray suit picking up the stripes of shade and shadows cast by the sun through the canopy, her green eyes the deep rich green of seedlings, her hair brown with ribbons of red and nearly black like the intricate patterns of the bark. Even a few strands of gold glittered in its mass of curls like the sun dappling through the branches.

She gestured briefly behind her. “There’s a hollow spot.”

Joe shook his head slightly. She answered as though it made perfect sense that she would be inside of a tree in the middle of nowhere. She smiled tightly. Her words were cold. She walked by him stiffly. As she did, he saw dirt smudges on her face, green needles in her wavy hair. “Forgive me, I’m Joseph Santone.”

“Helen Decker.” She stopped and extended her bare hand. Joseph took it briefly, aware it was bare and glad she didn’t seem to mind. Her fingertips were stained red from the bark.

“Helen of the Trees.” He released her hand. Her mouth pulled as though it wanted to smile but just couldn’t manage it. Joe noticed the dirt smudges on her face were tear streaks.  (This is a scene from Episode 2: Shade)

Leo CoulsonBio:   Leo Colson is the pen name of Charise Olson writing in tribute to her paternal Grandfather, Leo. Grandpa was not a professional writer, but someone moved by words and an avid reader. He tinkered with writing as much as he did woodworking. Charise now writes at the desk he built, though she did paint over the original and very distinctive burnt orange color. Grandpa Leo passed from this life in 1991. Charise lives with her family in the Santa Cruz Mountains where her garden is tormented by deer and she is inspired by the Pacific Ocean and Coastal Redwoods.



Twitter: @ocharise




5 thoughts on “An Interview with Leo Coulson

  1. The Roaring 20’s sounded like a time of big change, yet everyone didn’t see the even bigger change (war) coming. I like the idea of a story that brings about so many different types of people.

    All the best!

    • Thanks, Melissa! The politics around how WWII (or even WWI) started are staggering. The denial and ignorance is hard to believe. Thanks for commenting.

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