Straight Talk with Coleen Kwan

Coleen Kwan is giving us some Straight Talk

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?

I think a lot about the opening chapter. I try to visualize it like the start of a movie. I want to see, hear, feel, and taste everything that’s going on, even though much of the detail won’t be in the book. If I can get that first scene right, then it helps so much with the flow of the story. Often, however, it feels off, and I’ll have to re-write and re-write until it works. Getting the first chapter right is so important; if it’s meandering or confusing readers might be tempted to put the book down and never finish it!

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

I break out the chocolate and indulge myself! I usually take a few days off to catch up on boring things like filing and vacuuming, but soon I’m itching to get started on the next story.

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?

This is a difficult question because often fictional characters who are fascinating in books would be unnerving in the flesh! If I could work up the necessary courage I’d choose Francis Crawford of the Lymond Chronicles. I don’t know where we’d go, maybe go for a cruise on a yacht around Sydney Harbour at sunset?

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

A bit of both to start off with, but after that I concentrate a lot on character. I’ve found that if I don’t know enough about my characters then often the plot will feel weak or one dimensional. Whenever I come across a stumbling block in my plot I go back to my characters to delve a little deeper. In my experience readers don’t read a romance book for its plot (we know there’ll be a HEA at the end) but for its characters.

What was the inspiration for your book?

For “Real Men Don’t Break Hearts” I liked the idea of writing about a reformed bad boy and a good girl who wants to break out of her rut. I gave them a shared history of animosity to add to the spice when they suddenly find themselves attracted to one another!

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?

Very difficult! Good titles are like good song lyrics — catchy, melodious, and memorable — and I’m no song writer. Fortunately my talented editor at the time came up with “Real Men Don’t Break Hearts”.

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?

Um, this is a hard one because everyone has their favorite actors. I think Emily Blunt would be perfect to play Ally, my heroine. She has that special ability to look both plain and beautiful at the same time, and she has a wonderful smile.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Finish your book. Then start on the next, and the next. I wrote many awful books before I sold. Also, join a writers’ organization or group. It’s a great way to meet other writers and learn from them.

Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time? 

I’ve always been a bookworm, so I love nothing better than to lose myself in a good book. To unwind I also like doing Sudoku puzzles.

What’s in the works for you?

I’ve recently completed book two in the Real Men series, which is Tyler’s story. (Tyler is the best friend of Ally, my heroine in “Real Men Don’t Break Hearts”.) Tyler was a fun character to write. She’s strong and sassy but also vulnerable, so she’s a real contradiction.

I also have a couple of Entangled Indulgence books coming out in 2013, which will be very exciting.


About Real Men Don’t Break Hearts:

Ally Griffin is horrified to learn her new landlord is none other than the infuriating playboy Nate Hardy—the man whose wiles she just knows got her jilted at the altar six years ago. Add to it that her ex-fiancé Seth is showing up in her hometown of Burronga, Australia, to marry his beautiful new bride…for real this time. But the kicker? Everybody’s treating Ally as though she’s still heartbroken. She’s just fine, thank you very much, but could The Jilter have the decency not to hire her sister as his florist?

Nate Hardy is tired of his high-flying city career and bachelor lifestyle and is looking for something more real. The last thing he needs is to find himself undeniably attracted to Ally, the woman with whom he never saw eye-to-eye. But is he even capable of what Ally wants and deserves?

As Ally tries to pull her life out of the rut it’s fallen in, she doesn’t count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with the resident bad boy is practically irresistible, but only if she can guard her heart…


Title: Real Men Don’t Break Hearts (Real Men, #1)
Author: Coleen Kwan
Genre: Category – Contemporary Romance
Length: 237 pages
Release Date: December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-62266-812-0
Imprint: Bliss

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