The Best in Romantic Suspense...

Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Rusted Spur, Texas, is full of secrets…until reporter Jessie Layton arrives looking for her missing twin. Even after the search turns deadly, she vows to let nothing stop her–including her own unwise attraction to a drop-dead gorgeous rancher who only wants to protect his family from the truth that Jessie’s presence threatens to expose.

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From the historical novels that began her writing journey (written as Gwyneth Atlee and Colleen Easton) to the riveting romantic suspense that has become her trademark, Colleen writes stories that show us that sometimes, love can kill.

In 2004, Colleen's first  romantic thriller, Fatal Error, launched Dorchester Publishing’s new line of fast-paced, steamy romantic suspense.  The book was nominated for the RITA Award for Best Romantic Suspense and won the Texas Gold for Best Mainstream Fiction.  Other honors received by her books include a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, a Readers’ Choice Awards, nominations from the Reviewers International Organization, Top Pick, KISS awards, and a reviewers’ choice award nomination from Romantic Times Book Club Magazine, and a Perfect Ten from Romance Reviews Today.

Now residing in the Houston area with her husband and son, Colleen works with children in addition to her writing and speaking. When she’s not on deadline, she can often be found hiking with her family, playing with her pets, fiddling with her computer, or with her nose stuck in a good book.

ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
COLLEEN: I was once privileged to meet one of the U.S. veterans who helped in the liberation of one of the horrendous Nazi death camps near the end of World War II. Though it was painful for him to talk about what he'd seen, he came and spoke to my classroom of students with a humility and compassion I'll never forget. He believed that bearing witness was the most important thing he could do, and the children were deeply moved to hear it.

ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
COLLEEN: I'm a big fan of The (animated) Pink Panther and Bugs Bunny, both of whom embody the concept of cool.

ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
COLLEEN: Zach Rayford suffered horrific abuse as a boy in a family torn apart by his father's violence and his mother's refusal to deal with it. Yet after his father's death, he eventually comes home to help his failing mother and picks up the reins of an unwelcome legacy. He's a really stand-up guy for finding the wherewithal to forgive and do the right thing.

ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
COLLEEN: I read in bed, sprawled on the sofa, or out on my back deck as often as I'm able. It's my favorite stress reliever after a busy day of writing!

ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
COLLEEN: I'm in love with the sounds of nature: the wind rustling the leaves, the rain plinking off a tin roof, and the surf murmuring secrets to the shore. When I'm stressed, I play recorded nature tracks by my bedside to help me fall asleep.

ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
COLLEEN: Action adventure for sure. When it comes to books, I love a good thrill ride!

ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
COLLEEN: I recall being about twelve and writing a short story called "The White Flame" about a wild mustang round-up, from the point of view of a horse. It was terribly sad and beautiful (though I'm sure I'd cringe to see it now) and I got up my nerve to show it to a very nice older English professor who lived across the street. He encouraged me and gave me some pointers--and I was totally hooked.

ANGI: What is your biggest vice?
COLLEEN: Wasting way too much time playing games on Facebook.

ANGI: How is it working with hot guys and sexy women all day?
COLLEEN: Oh, it's just *awful* being forced to write about big-hearted, noble, cowboys, rancher, firefighters, ER docs, and lawmen and the smart, savvy women who tame them. And looking for character model photos (especially of the male persuasion) on the Internet--it's absolutely *brutal* work!

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: What's your favorite thing about living in Texas?
COLLEEN'S GOTTA ANSWER: I often write books set in Texas because I'm in love with its varied landscapes and people. Readers often don't realize that the state has mountains, beaches, plains, and deserts and contains everything from the tiniest of towns, where residents have to have potable water trucked in to the most cosmopolitan of cities. My husband, whom I've lovingly nicknamed "The Texas Almanac" and I have spent a lot of have hours exploring our adopted state.

Contact    Website  Facebook   Twitter @coll_thompson   
Goodreads   Boxing the Octopus   Previous GLIAS interviews

UP NEXT for COLLEEN: LONE STAR SURVIVOR, another Harlequin Romantic Suspense, will be out in December 2014. I haven't seen the cover yet, but I'm editing the story now, and it's one of my most emotional reads ever.


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READ a little,
BUY the book

COLLEEN is giving away a copy of LONE STAR REDEMPTION or THE BEST VICTIM (North American readers only, please.)

Note: COMMENTERS are encouraged to leave a contact email address to speed the prize notification process. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

ANGI'S back next Wednesday with KIMBERLY KINCAID
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COLLEEN WANTS TO KNOW: What are your favorite settings for contemporary stories? Do you love small towns, big cities, exotic locales, or vacation venues that let you feel as if you're on a beach/ski vacation?


  1. Good morning, Colleen. My fallback answer: whatever's best for the story. The setting should become an important character in the book, making it impossible for it to take place anywhere else.

  2. I like reading about places that I have been to. It brings back good memories!

  3. I like all kinds of seeting. A big variety. Colleen., you write for Harlequin Intrigue and Harlequin Romantic Suspense. What are the main differences in your stories between these two line.

  4. I enjoy reading about places I've been as well, May! Thanks for your comment!

  5. Tammy, Great question! The Intrigues tend to be a bit shorter/tighter and more focuses on action/adventure/crime solving/intrigue. The heroes are tough and confident alphas who are most often military, law enforcement, cowboys, or some combination thereof. Harlequin Romantic Suspense focuses somewhat more on the developing romance. There's a broader range of heroes, more room for secondary characters, and often more emphasis on families. I'd say HRS is more character driven, maybe because they're a little longer.

  6. Oh my....it has to be what fits the story. If it's the right location the story will just flow and I can "see" it.

  7. Received a FB message from Shirley Hulbert, who tried repeatedly to comment and couldn't get through. Could you please include her name in the drawing? Thanks!

  8. don't really care about settings

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  9. I like small towns over big cities. Vacation spots are good too - but I would prefer the beach setting over a ski vacation setting.

    cherilvernon at yahoo dot com

  10. Thanks so much to everyone who commented. I love beachy books, too, Cheril. I'm working on one of those right now and it makes me want to dip my toes in the surf!