Debut Author Colette Ballard

Happy Winter Weekend!

Collette pic I’m THRILLED to introduce to you my friend and debut author Colette Ballard! Her first novel RUNNING ON EMPTY was just released and I couldn’t think of any place better than the Bandit Lair to spread the word.

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.

 So, Colette. Tell the BB’s about yourself.

  I live in a small one red-light town in Kentucky with my husband and three children. We have one horse, one dog, and an assortment of wild critters in the woods behind our house.

 When did you first get interested in writing?

 I think I’ve always dabbled, but I didn’t think of it as a real career choice until about fifteen   years ago. At first, I was interested in picture books and spent several years researching,  writing, and working the nerve up to enter contests. About five and a half years ago, after some PB and chapter book contest success, I decided to give my secret passion (novel writing) a try. I finaled in the first contest I entered and that spurred me to give myself permission to write the rest of the novel. Many years and rejections later, I finally got a yes!

We all love a call story (and yes…last calls before the Lair hot cocoa bar closes) Tell us about yours.

After completing another novel that had just gone out on submission, my agent emailed me with news that an editor who’d read RUNNING ON EMPTY a year earlier as an assistant editor was interested in acquiring it for the launch of her new line, Tulip Romance. I didn’t think much of it because the same publisher  had previously sent us a ‘revise and resubmit’ and I assumed they still wouldn’t be interested once they realized it was the same book. I was wrong.

Two days later my agent called to tell me that my dream was coming true. Talk about shock; ROE wasn’t even out on submission and the assistant editor remembered it for an entire year!

Even though waiting for a ‘yes’ on this book seemed like a miserable eternity, in hindsight it was a blessing. It gave me two more years of writing experience, distance from the book, and I ended up with a fantastic editor who not only shared my vision but pushed me to make serious improvements in the story. I believe it was truly meant to be.

What drew you to YA? Colette

It just happened that the characters of the story in my head were teenagers so I went with it.

Now let’s see what makes Colette tick: Pop Quiz!

Ice Cream flavor: Cookies and Cream

Author: S.E. Hinton! John Green would be second.

Cat or dog? 😀 I know Joan would like this answer to be cat, but it’s dog.



“River, wait.” He caught my arm. “That guy you were hugging,” taking a long draw off his cigarette, he leaned against his car, tilted his head back, and exhaled, “that the one you spent the night with last night?”

The combination of the way he grabbed me and the calm tone of his voice sent chills curling up the back of my neck. I couldn’t bring myself to look into his eyes, so I concentrated on straightening the strap of my dress. “Logan, you know it wasn’t like that.”

He squeezed my arm a little tighter. “But he’s the one, right?”

He didn’t care about the part where Justice stayed up all night trying to save my horse. I pulled my arm free. “Yeah, that was Justice.”

His eyes dropped, and he shook his head slowly. “I could kind of tell by the way you two held on to each other.”

My stomach churned with guilt, but my head argued that I’d done nothing wrong. I rubbed my arm where his fingers had squeezed and when he noticed, his face fell and he pulled me into his chest. “Just as long as he knows you’re mine.”

Warmth spread throughout my body, and it annoyed the hell out of me. For the most part, I didn’t care for his property reference, but in a deranged corner of my mind, I liked it. It meant he wanted me—Logan Westfield wanted me. There was no doubt he was insecure, but he truly cared about me and would never purposely try to hurt me. I managed to convince myself that this time he had a right to be jealous—after all, I had been in Justice’s arms.

He opened the car door for me and gave me short, soft kisses as he spoke, “I promise…we won’t stay long. Come with me?”

I got in, but I couldn’t convince myself he was asking.

Hmmm…sounds like a complicated relationship!

Anyone else have a ‘meant to be’ moment that has moved you one step closer to achieving your goal of publishing? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Big thank you to Joan and everyone at the Romance Bandits for having me today!

One lucky poster will receive a Kindle download of RUNNING ON EMPTY



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  • Helen says:

    Is he staying with me ?

    have Fun

  • Amy Conley says:

    Only in my dreams.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Colette
    Congrats on the release I do love the sound of this one it sounds exciting one that will have you turning the pages 🙂

    I am not a writer but an avid reader I just wish I had more time to read.

    Looks like the Rooster is enjoying the hot weather over here 🙂 and probably the Tim Tams as well

    Have Fun

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations Colette on achieving your dreams. It looks like a real page turner.

  • Barb says:

    Hi Colette
    Congratulations … Sounds like a good book… I like Helen am an avid reader so keep the books coming

  • Caren Crane says:

    Colette, I’ll confess that I am intrigued by your one-stoplight town. I grew up in the ‘burbs of Nashville and then lived in the ‘burbs of Houston, Charlotte and now Raleigh. I am in love with small towns! Are the racoons and ‘possums even worse there? How about the coyotes and deer? Somehow, we have all of those within spitting distance of the city! 🙂

    I fondly recall the first time a story grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it. I long for those days to return! LOL

  • Joan Kayse says:

    Hey Colette and welcome everyone. I ended up not going into work because of a migraine so will be able to touch base now and then…may type with my eyes closed because of photophobia but still. Colette’s book IS a page turner

    • Colette Ballard says:

      Oh Joan, hope you feel better. I’ve only had a few awful sinus headaches but never a migraine. i hear they’re treacherous. Take care of yourself. 🙂

  • Colette Ballard says:

    Yes Caren, we have lots of those creatures trolling around our backyard.
    Love when i get ideas that won’t let go! 🙂

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, Collette, welcome to the Lair, and congratulations on your debut book. RUNNING ON EMPTY sounds unique; I can’t wait to read it.

    I don’t know if winning the Golden Heart in 2006 was a meant-to-be moment, but it certainly made me more confident about my writing. Plus, it brought me together with the wonderful ladies in the Lair!

    • Colette Ballard says:

      Thank you, Jo, It’s pretty surreal being the interviewee instead of the interviewer for a change. 🙂
      I’d say winning the heart definitely qualifies as a ‘meant to be moment’. That is a HUGE accomplishment-congrats!

  • Cassondra says:

    Welcome Colette!

    Thanks for joining us in the lair for your debut. I know you’re super excited about the release!

    I love the premise for this story. Very unusual. And it seems to me that some of the freshest stories are in YA these days. I’ve always been a little scared of YA because I don’t have kids, and so am not up on what’s happening now in the world of kids.

    I also live in Kentucky. We got no snow and hardly any ice, but one county away all around us, it’s apparently pretty bad. Hope you’re safe and warm!

  • Colette Ballard says:

    Thanks Cassandra. Yes, super excited about my new release–can’t believe it’s finally happened! I love YA and it just happened to be the ages of ‘voices’ in my head. In fact, the ‘voices’ was the easiest part of it for me. I never tried to force them to be any other age and i’d say ‘listening’ is the most important part for me.
    Probably also says something about my maturity level. 🙂
    It was pretty nasty out last night but we made it out–it was my very first signing! 🙂

    • Joan Kayse says:

      Hope it went well Colette! Darn, winter weather!

      And yeah Kate….I’m with you on Australia….

      • Colette Ballard says:

        It was really great for a first signing! I got nervous a couple of times and i think i would’ve been reallllyyy nervous with a lot of people. 🙂

  • Welcome to the Lair, Colette! And congratulations on your debut! I love the premise of your book and your voice. And the cover is very cool, too. I’m sold! Gonna go download it ASAP. 🙂

    Since everyone’s giving a weather report today, I’ll add mine. It’s raining! That song about it never raining in Southern California is just a big fat lie. 😉 It’s pretty darn cold here, too, but nothing compared to all of you living in snow country. Brrrr!! All things considered, I’d rather be in Australia today.

  • Colette Ballard says:

    Awww, thanks Kate!
    It was so funny bc one of the ladies with us last night (Aimee Carter) lives in Michigan. She did not get the pandemonium at all! 🙂
    Me: *After I scraped the snow off of my van this morning* “Wow, there’s a lot of snow on my windshield.”
    Aimee: *crazy look* “Huh?”

  • Hey Colette! Welcome to the Lair and congratulations on your debut novel!!

    I don’t have “meant to be” moments in regards to publishing, but I have lots and lots of “What the hell?” moments, where I just throw caution to the wind and enter stuff in contests, or to editors, or write erotica or join the Bandits when we formed, or just said, why not self publish? Mostly all good results!

    • Joan Kayse says:

      Wiiinnnnnnd…ahhhh…THAT was what blew me to the Bandits!

      Katie, what about teaming with your critique group? I’ve heard lots about them

    • Colette Ballard says:

      Thank you, Suzanne.
      Oh believe me, i have had LOTS of ‘what the hell’ moments! I’m a huge fan of them–they’re a necessary part of this very tough journey! 🙂

  • bn100 says:

    Welcome! Can’t think of any