Friday, January 11, 2013

Author Colby Marshall On Tour With Chain of Command

It’s always exciting meeting new authors and discovering new books. Being able to share both with you is an added bonus. That’s why I’m delighted to welcome 'new-to-me' author
Colby Marshall to Thoughts today as she tours blogdom with her latest release, CHAIN OF COMMAND.

     A reporter discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency.

R.L. Stine, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rain, The Haunting Hour, and the Goosebumps series; had this to say about CHAIN OF COMMOND: "The first chapter will shock you--and the shocks keep right on coming. Colby Marshall has written a book that deserves to be called THRILLER."

Colby, who also just happens to be a Georgia author Smile, graciously answered some questions about her writing.

Mason - Why write this book? What made this story so compelling to you that you had to tell it?
Colby - What a question. Insanity, maybe? No, I joke. CHAIN OF COMMOND was an idea that came to me years ago during a conversation with friends about how, if I was a man, I’m not sure how I would feel about running for the presidency with a woman since either way, trouble would be imminent. If the woman was the president, I’d worry some group would be so angry they’d bump her off, and I’d be forced to be president (and in a horrible way). Worse would be having a woman as my vice president, because some crazy who wanted to make the first woman president would surely kill me. At the time, the third person in line for the presidency—the Speaker of the House—was a woman. As soon as that little fact entered my brain, the story began to click into place. Our country has never had a female president, though with every election, more and more female names seem to crop up. I’d already started to think, “I wonder when it will happen,” and the recent political climates planted seeds of how it could happen in a fictional world. 

Mason - How did you go about doing research for this book? Was it something you enjoyed doing or just necessary? 

Colby - Call me a nerd, but I’m a sucker for research. I love it.
During research for CHAIN OF COMMOND, I interviewed many active and former members of the U.S. military, including those in Special Ops. I was often amazed at how wrong my preconceptions Front_Cover_Scan_Land_and_Stineabout certain things were, but then again, that’s what research is for. I was also taken aback by some answers I got. For example, one question I asked a former Delta Force member was, “What is your biggest fear when on a real world op?” His answer? “Dead batteries in my night vision goggles.” 

I also use Google like it’s going out of style, and I’m sure said searches in research for a book like this have landed me on all sorts of fun government watch lists. Luckily, when the FBI came looking for me, they were huge Monty Python fans with a penchant for musical theatre, so all I had to do was break out the cast recording of Spamalot and we were in the clear.

Mason - With the book’s release, as you look back what was the biggest surprise that came out of writing this story? 
Colby - How much it changed since the first draft. When I first wrote this story, a MAJOR character wasn’t even part of it. Now, I can’t imagine how it ever worked without him. When I rewrote it and included this new character, he seemed so vital to the plot that it was ludicrous to imagine it had ever come together without him, and yet, it had! 

Mason - What is an average writing day like for you? Do you write longhand and/or on the computer, have a favorite place to write, a favorite time to write, listen to music, etc.?

Colby - I could never write longhand - I have carpal tunnel flares, and while typing isn’t the best for those, writing longhand is infinitely worse. A true night owl, I write my best in the hours after 6 p.m. into the wee hours of the morning, most often in my “writing chair”: a green leather recliner I inherited from my grandfather when he passed away. I have to have my space heater on me at all times (my husband jokes that I’m a lizard and that I must “bask.”) I rarely listen to music, but I nearly always have a movie going in the background, preferably one in which Denzel Washington or Mark Wahlberg walk away from something that just exploded like it ain’t no thang. 
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

Colby - Right now, I’m working on the second novel in my Dr. Jenna Ramey series while the first, COLORBLIND, is being read by agents. COLORBLIND is a psychological thriller about forensic psychiatrist Jenna Ramey, who possesses a rare condition that causes her to associate gut feelings with colors — a condition that famously helped put her mother behind bars years ago. Now, she must use the same tactic to stop a killer with an intricate knowledge of her past before she becomes the next victim.
I also hope the next book in the McKenzie McClendon series — The Trade — will soon be available. You can read more about those books on my website.

Colby, thanks so much for visiting and giving us a look at how CHAIN OF COMMOND came about. The plot for your second novel sounds intriguing too. Can’t wait to find out more. 

Now let me give you a bit of background on Colby. Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby is a contributing columnist for a local magazine and a proud member of International Thriller Writers. She's active in local theatres as an actress and choreographer. She lives in Georgia with her family where she is hard at work on her newest thriller.

For more on Colby and her writing, visit her website at, follow her on Twitter and ‘Like’ her on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Jon Land (bestselling author of Pandora's Temple) had this to say about CHAIN OF COMMAND: "Carved from the tradition of top-flight political thrillers, Chain of Command is a sizzling potboiler of a tale that threatens to rewrite the rules of the entire genre.  Not since Seven Days in May, Six Days of the Condor, and the marvelous work of Alan Drury has an author so wondrously captured the government in ultimate crisis.  Colby Marshall's sterling debut may transpire over more than six or seven days, but like me you'll probably finish it in a single night, racing the dawn to flip the last page.  A classic concept updated to fit our politics wary world."

CHAIN OF COMMAND is currently available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and also on Kobo, iBooks, Sony and others.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. What are your thoughts on a female president (from a mystery plot viewpoint)?


  1. Oh, I loved your thoughts on talking with former military. They can be very prosaic and things we'd think of worrying about don't really cross their minds. Great at compartmentalizing emotions and focusing on the job.

    Oh, I love a good kick-ass movie with things blowing up, car chases, lots of danger, and shootouts!

    Congratulations on the new book, Colby!

  2. Colby, thanks again for visiting with us today. I liked how the character surprised you and became a major part of the story. Wishing you much success.

  3. Sia, thanks for stopping by and for introducing me to Colby.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Colby.

    Colby - What an interesting context for a novel! It's a suspenseful premise. And enjoying the research doesn't make you a nerd; it makes you a good writer. I wish you much success.

  5. Sia, thank so much! Yep, I'm a sucker for Denzel and Mark Wahlberg for sure!

    Thank you for having me, Mason! Yes, that one character still shocks me to no end. My best friend who read the first draft of the novel is currently reading the actual book and said, "Who is this? Where'd this guy come from?" Ha!

    Margot- Thanks so much! Even if it does make me a nerd, I'm okay with it. I'd wear the badge with pride. But, I'm glad it makes me a writer! :-)

  6. Love the way this plot came to you! We've already had a female prime minister, so I don't think it would be a big deal for the US to have a female president - as long as she's the best person for the job :)

    Sounds like a great story! And the Jenna series sounds great too - good luck with them. Off to check them out...

  7. Great interview. Glad to know more about you, Colby. Your book sounds awesome.

    Happy Weekend!

  8. Thanks, Jemi! Jenna is certainly one of my favorites! I hope you enjoy Chain of Command.

    Thank you, Carol! Hope you had a lovely weekend as well!

  9. I agree, it would make a great movie! I hope you have a lot of success with your book.

  10. I really liked this interview. This is a really great post with great answers.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.