Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pub Life: Interview with Debut YA Author Colette Ballard

This week's Pub Life post is a very special topic- an interview with the fabulous Colette Ballard.  Colette's fantastic YA debut, RUNNING ON EMPTY, was released in e-book by Tulip on November 25, 2013 and will release in print on May 6, 2014.  

How long have you been writing? I think I’ve always dabbled, especially as a teenager, but I didn’t really start researching how to do it until about fifteen years ago. I became interested in picture books then chapter books, and eventually worked up the nerve to give my true repressed passion (novels) a try. :)

If you had one piece of advice to give a writer working towards publication, what would it be? My teenage daughter runs cross country and track and she’s not the fastest by far but she tries really hard and sticks with it, therefore she does pretty well. One of her favorite quotes is “I’m a runner and runners run."  So for me, I’d say, “I’m a writer and writers write.In other words, don’t give up. People can be blessed with talent and speed all day long, but in the end, it takes perseverance to succeed.
       Pantser or plotter? Pantser all the way. I really, really, really wanted to be a plotter but the one time I tried it, I spent about three months with all these ideas and outline and the whole process made me crazy. When I finally allowed myself to actually start writing the story, a new character who was supposed to just be some random guy, popped up on page one. ONE! And I fell in love with him and so did my critique group, so all that plotting for nothing… Great excuse to never force myself to try to be something I’m not again. :)
     What books have inspired you? My all-time favorite is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I love the depth and ‘realness’ of the characters. I love a great story, but the character ‘voices’ win me over every time. Love John Green’s, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska. Also, Trish Doller’s, Something Like Normal. Katie McGarry is fantastic at capturing ‘voices’--Pushing the Limits etc. etc. Oh, and I just finished Stephen Chbosky’s, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Talk about ‘voice’…

     What made you decide to write YA? It was never really a ‘decision’, it just happened to be the ages of the characters in my head, so I went with it.
     What’s your favorite thing about RUNNING ON EMPTY? I love that my characters could be anybody. They’re from a small rural town and they’ve each had their fair share of heartache—some more than others. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but together they make a great team.

     RUNNING ON EMPTY Summary:

What does it feel like when you die— in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?
You’re the killer.
River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape. The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky return to Texas. Her return means more than facing her ugly past, she must also face the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.
RUNNING ON EMPTY is available at Amazon.

Learn more about Colette: Colette grew up on a dairy farm in rural Kentucky. She survived the high school experience back in the day when Aqua Net was bought in bulk and mullets were cool. After high school she went through a stage she calls ‘the wander years’, collecting a variety of job skills—some useful, some not so much. She even moved a few times in her quest for the meaning of life, eventually landing in the one red-light town she started in where she continues to live today with her husband and three children.  Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Chanel Cleeton writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers.  Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 1, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.  You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook or on her own website


  1. I'm a writer, and writers write. I love that. Nice interview and your book looks amazing!

  2. Yeah, i kinda stole it, but i like it too. Easy to remember and it just makes sense. Thanks, Robin! :)