Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Cyrus Webb Presents.. A Conversation with Colette R. Harrell, author of LATER


Colette, it has been great talking with you about the book LATER. What has it been like for you to see the way that readers are enjoying the story?

It's been validating. We write because we love to tell a story. But when others love what you've crafted, and the excitement spills through their voice? That's manna from Heaven.

For our readers that are just discovering you, let's go back a bit. When did you first realize that writing was something you wanted to do?

I was sixteen years old and had come down with chicken pox. Bored and confined to my house, my best friend and I crafted an episodic storyline written by hand and left in my mailbox each day. Where one left off, the other took over. It ignited this avid reader to the knowledge that I could also write.

There are a lot of threads in LATER that I think readers of different interests will appreciate. Was that your hope when writing the book?

No, but I’m so grateful it ended up that way. I do love to craft a story that will peel back layers like an onion. And, like that onion, I want you to cry with laughter and tears for our protagonists in the novel. If a particular layer reaches a reader in a special way that’s the serendipity moment we connect.  

How did the story initially come to you?

I'm going to sound accident-prone, but I fell and broke my ankle in three places. My daughter and her boyfriend came to assist my husband in my care, and she encouraged me to use the time to write a new story. We then played around with story ideas. Later intrigued me, and when I started massaging the fantasy of shifting from historical to current periods, the story had me hooked.

One of the thing messages for me was that delay doesn't mean denied. How has that message resonated with you in your life?

I'm older, and I am more of who I want to become than ever before. My vision is sure and who I will tolerate in and out of my life is finally no longer an ache but a blessing. I don't have time for minor things to matter significantly, and I can live my life like it's golden, even when I've made mistakes. I hope the message is clear that everything is not always a now experience but growth can be even more gratifying when it is achieved later. Thank you for asking this question.

Your book shows that the idea of a 'happy ending' is relative. Was that something you considered as well as the story unfolded?

Oh no, Cyrus. I write happy endings. I am in love with closing the book with a sigh of satisfaction. I can cut on the news or answer the phone for the world's woes. In my world-building, I get to choose happiness for my protagonists, and I also get to slay the dragons. (laughs)

Colette, what do you normally tell aspiring writers to encourage them in sharing their own stories?

To learn your craft. To do the hard stuff, like editing, then editing again, and finally... editing. My favorite writers love their readers, and they want to give them their best. I love my readers too, and when I write, my stories are created to inspire, entertain, motivate and challenge them to new heights. I tell aspiring writers to have a passion for the story and excellence.

What should we be on the lookout for next from you?

I have multiple projects in the works. I have a thriller, a romantic comedy, and a heartwarming series coming. I am currently in a screenwriting master class where I am turning my books into screenplays. I am starting with Later. Then a short romantic comedy I have pinned, titled Mama’s Blues. I write vivid, illustrative novels that should transfer well to the big screen. I am a developmental editor and a book coach. I have several editing projects I am completing for other authors, and I do speaking engagements.

Thanks again for the time, Colette. Continued success to you. How can our readers stay connected with you?

Please reach out to me on Colette R Harrell fans on Facebook. Or, my website. Whatever you do, please leave a review!

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