Trainplotting, or How I Returned to Work and Kept Writing by Colette Auclair

Colette Auclair, author of 2012 Golden Heart finalist Thrown, was kind enough to stop by and chat with us about how fate works in unexpected ways (and how sometimes that makes you a train writer!).

Check out Jumped–the steamy follow-up to her “page-turning debut” (Library Journal). Now on-sale! 

About a year ago, I got laid off. But it was okay, because I had a novel to finish—JUMPED, which came out on Monday and BRANDED after that (coming in December), and between the severance package and savings, I’d get by. I pretended I was either making a fine living writing, or was an heiress. It worked for a while. I am good at delusional thinking.

When my debut novel THROWN was published in December 2013, I had a plan. My book was going to teeter at the tippy-top of all bestseller lists. With its lovely gray jumping-horse cover, it would wow reviewers and break records. I would be an overnight sensation. I would know this because Oprah was going to call.

Strangely, my plan fell through. By May I admitted I had to rejoin the “regular” work world.  (Sad trombone wah-wah here.)

So I got a job as a copywriter and wondered how I was going to still write novels, ride my horse, play with the dog, exercise (at least occasionally), see friends, spend quality time with my husband and open the mail. (Please note “dusting” is absent.)

As the lyric to “When You Wish Upon a Star” says, “Fate steps in and pulls you through.” I discovered I’m a train writer. I have a forty-minute commute to work in Denver, then plop down with a nonfat latte at the charming coffee place near my building and write some more. Repeat at 5:00. My desire for a paycheck has imposed a structure that’s better than a whip-wielding Nora Roberts glaring at me while I sweat over my laptop. Not that she’s ever done that. But if she did…

The cliché, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” seems to hold up. I’m a copywriter and a novelist. Tastes great/Less filling. Like legions of other authors who must write in their spare time, I hope this day job is the last one I’ll ever have, because soon I’ll simply be a novelist. Who writes on trains, apparently.



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Colette Auclair

Will Beth play it safe in her new life in Aspen Valley? Or open her heart to a leap of faith with her ex-husband?



Colette Auclair

In this lighthearted and sexy romance, a professional show jumper finds herself falling for a movie star when she teaches his kids to ride. Will her Olympic dreams leave room for love?



6 comments so far

  1. TamraBaumann

    Hi Colette!

    I too slave away at a job by day and write by night. But just to buck the system, I plot as I drive to my destinations around the city each day. Sometimes I’m amazed when I end up where I’m supposed to be without remembering the drive to get there. (Yes, be glad you are safely tucked away on a train and not driving on my city’s streets!)

    Congrats on your latest release. I JUMPED to order it the day it was available and look forward to reading it!! ;0)

    • coletteauclair

      As a public service, I will warn the driving public in your town. PWD does not only stand for Portuguese Water Dog, but Plotting While Driving.
      The car is the perfect place to plot, isn’t it? I also work out dialogue as I drive, which is uneventful unless I have the windows open–then it’s simply more interesting for others at red lights.
      Thanks for stopping by, Tammy!

  2. Pamela Kopfler

    So that’s how you do it! Loved Thrown. Looking forward to Jumped.

  3. coletteauclair

    Thanks, Pamela! Yes, that’s how I do it, or at least how I’ve done it for about a month. I wasn’t sure I could concentrate, but I get on at the first stop, and so can always get a seat. So if my characters start riding trains, you’ll know why.
    I hope you enjoy JUMPED.

  4. Sheri Humphreys

    I’m now retired, but when working I got an hour for lunch. I packed a lunch every day, sat in my car, ate and wrote. I always took along the last couple paragraphs, which helped my focus. I wrote in longhand on a clipboard.

    I’m also a firm believer in “you can write anywhere.” Our brains are capable of tuning everything out and writing. We just have to practice. Professional athletes can tune out 20,000 screaming fans and make the shot/basket/pass, etc., performing at their peak. We can train ourselves to shut out distractions and write. Like you do on the train. I think the key is believing you can do it. Too many writers believe they can’t be productive while eating lunch/waiting to pick up the kids/sitting at the kids’ swim meet, etc.

    So glad you did it successfully, Colette. JUMPED and THROWN are great books. I’ve read and loved them both!

  5. Kennedysmyth

    I was wondering how you managed! I’m impressed:)
    I love writing in anonymous spaces, like airports, hotel rooms, and even airplanes. For some reason, I get more done when I’m traveling than when I’m at home.
    It might have something to do with the absence of dogs and dirty dishes.

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