Colleen L. Donnelly

Out of Splinters and Ashes

Release date: July 11, 2018 – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Editor: Nan Swanson – Cover Artist: Diana Carlile


Cate is a runner. She prefers to help her fiancé run his New York senate race, but she finds herself running instead to fix what’s broken between her grandparents before he finds out—her grandmother has moved out of the family home, and her grandfather is accused of a pre-WWII relationship with a woman in Germany.

Dietrich is a German journalist with a spotless reputation. He prefers facts, but he finds himself lost in a world of fiction instead to prove his novelist grandmother couldn’t possibly have been the lover of a US runner in Berlin’s 1936 Olympics—especially when that runner’s granddaughter is Cate, a stubborn obstacle he should but can’t ignore.

Cate runs hard to cover up what Dietrich uncovers, until he shows her how it could have been—and how it could be again—that one can indeed love an enemy.


Hello and welcome Colleen! Let’s start with what’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

The Monk. It was written in 1796, so how many people are familiar with it? But author Mathew Lewis, at a very young age, opened the door to a more Gothic sort of romance and drama. In this book, he wrote the ultimate of conflicts between good and evil but contained it within the soul of one individual – the Monk. Moral dilemmas make for excellent reading, and this book is one of the best as it reveals the war inside a man who desired perfection on the outside while a ravaging beast ruled within. 


That sounds really different and cool! Great recommendation. Do you read your own book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read them more in the beginning, and with utter terror, I’d failed to tell a story well. As reviews began to mount I did more of a broad spectrum survey of the reaction to a book, accepting that not everyone will be happy. But when I received a review from someone who hadn’t even read my book, I had to ask myself who and what are reviews for. They are for the reader first of all, and the reader doesn’t want to know if a perfect stranger did or didn’t like the book, they want to know why. Why did the story and characters work…or why not. Give good reasons. And if this author took you places you’ve never been, say so, because the review is also for them and their work. And every author desires to please.


Great advice! What is your favorite childhood book?

“Little Hippo.” For some reason, this story – so simple with artwork that didn’t jump off the page and shout at you – stayed with me. Pencil-figure Little Hippo struggled the whole book for privacy and autonomy, despising the fact he was the herd’s pet and smothered by Big Charles. How did these simple drawings with a splash of blue in a basic hide-and-seek story captivate me? They didn’t until the last line. Little Hippo discovered if he wanted to escape the overly doting herd he had to climb up high on a rock, because – hippos never look up. I can’t count the number of times in my life that line has come back to me and I have said out loud, “Hippos never look up.” Hide in plain sight, be blind to the obvious, smack yourself in the head for walking past your lost keys a dozen times. Hippos…we…never look up.


Speed Dating…

(answer in one or two words)

City or country?


What color best describes your personality?

Earth tones

What are you most passionate about?


What do you consider your best attribute?

Good listener

What’s your favorite beverage?


What song best sums you up?

Country Roads

What does your desk look like right now? Clean or messy?

Cluttered, so messy

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Night owl

What book are you reading at the moment?

Oops! Caught me in between books

What would you take with you to a desert island?

(three items)

Laptop, pug, coffee

If you could invite anyone, dead or alive, to dinner, who would it be?

Henrik Ibsen

What would be your ideal holiday destination?


What time in history would you have liked to be born in?

Late 1800s

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

I’m blonde, but would choose Sandra Bullock

DIY or call an expert?


What is your favorite fruit?


What is your favorite thing to learn about in your free time?

Crafting a story

What is your favorite time of day?


Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Better pantser

Music or silence?



Thanks, Colleen, great answers all!

And now here’s a taste of:

Out of Splinters and Ashes

Grandma was impossible to stop. She charged around me, into the room, flipping on a light as she did.

“You can go now,” she barked at the soldier still holding the door. “This won’t take long.”

He nodded at Grandpa, then shut us in, us and the mirror.

I saw Amabile’s story all over again as Grandpa spotted the mirror, the deep-down flicker I’d noticed before, but brighter now. Grandma and I disappeared as time took him backward, his face transforming from old and haggard to young and alive—then to terrified, and lastly to nothing, except guilt. Grandma didn’t raise the mirror as I expected her to, and shake it in his face. She let it hang in front of her, between them, the charred frame and lone lily all he could see.

I stared at the trembling finger that stretched and touched the blackened wood, scars this man probably deserved exposed at the cuff of his sleeve.

“I believe this is yours.” Grandma’s voice was low. I’d never seen them this close together before, never seen them face each other. But I’d seen the mirror between them forever without knowing it was there.


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Colleen L Donnelly, writer of historical fiction with a heart, is an Amazon #1 Bestseller, recipient of two Crowned Heart Rone Awards, a current Rone Finalist, and winner of Rom Com Reader’s Crown. Though stories began in her at a young age, it was after growing up, after college, after marriage and raising children, and after a long career in science…that they made it to the page. A Midwest person by birth and now choice, she has enjoyed living and traveling to other places, meeting people and hearing their stories before she wrote hers. An avid reader and outdoors person, she is living proof that it ain’t over until it’s over, and better late than never is still fantastic!

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