Britta Coleman

Britta Coleman
"Potter Springs"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
April 11, 2006

Q.    Who is Britta Coleman?

A.   Gosh, what a question. It could take a long time to answer, or I could give you the official bio:

Britta Coleman is an award-winning author, journalist and inspirational speaker. Her hardcover debut novel from Time Warner Books, POTTER SPRINGS, has garnered national media attention, critical acclaim, and endorsements from bestselling authors. Britta's "Practically Parenting" column is published as a regular newspaper feature, and her writing has appeared in FYI Television Features, Heroes for Humanity, Authorlink, the Amarillo Globe-News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She was recently given the Barnes & Noble Lone Star Scribe award for excellence in writing.

Q.    What inspired you to write the novel Potter Springs?

A.   My ideas always start with a situation, or a character, and then evolve. For POTTER SPRINGS, I was in the bathtub when my kids interrupted me by wiggling their fingers under the door, giggling "Mommy, mommy!" I had a momentary fantasy of running away to Mexico and taking a vacation from my life. Then I imagined what would happen if someone actually did step away from their real life and responsibilities, without warning, and how it would affect those left behind. To increase the stakes, the character became a preacher's wife with secrets, from a small West Texas town where everyone knows everyone.

Q.    How did you come about the title?

A.   Through many hours of painful brainstorming with my agent, editor and friends after the working title was rejected. And rightly so - it stank. Title changes are more the norm than the exception when it comes to publishing. When we hit on the right one - Potter Springs, it was like, well, duh. Of *course* this should be the title!

Q.    How did you come about Amanda and Mark's character?

A.   Interesting question. I think characterization is less of an author "coming up" with the characters, and more the characters entering the story and taking charge.

I did know from the start that Mark had to be an uptight, type A guy with a strong career drive and a sense of perfectionism. He has a tender side as well, but his story is about brokenness, and being real in a sometimes idealistic profession.

Amanda's my free-thinker, emotional type, a bit more willing to break the rules. Her character arc dealt with the sometimes unwelcome situations life tosses at you, and growing into faith and grace.

Q.    How long have you been writing?

A.   Fiction, about five years. I've been a reader forever, though, and I like to think that counts.

Q.    Have you thought about promoting Potter Springs to Couples Retreats?

A.   Not yet. Do you know some great couples retreats? Seriously, that's been one of the most exciting parts of how people have received the book. I've talked to several readers who came away with a new understanding about the differences between men and women, how we deal with grief and communication, and the need to be fully understood.

Q.    How did you come about the idea to have Amanda go to Palacio del Grande, Mexico?

A.   I think everyone has a secret "if I ran away I'd go *here*" place, and I personally happen to love Mexico. The beach, the water and the sun are also huge appeals to Amanda, my earthy outdoor character. Plus it's an exotic locale within driving distance of Texas, the main setting of the book.

Q.    What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

A.   When I'm at home, I like quiet. No TV. or music in the background, and I keep my office door shut. I do like to light a candle and I just bought a little rock fountain that makes watery noises. But quiet watery noises. I can do the writing-in-a-café thing if I get a table that's far enough away from other coffee drinkers. If I can hear conversations, the writer in me starts catching onto dialogue and I think about who they are and where they've been, and then I'm onto a whole different story...

Q.    What message would you like your readers to receive from reading Potter Springs?

A.   With Potter Springs, I'd like for readers to come away with a sense of second chances and redemption, even through what seems like hopeless circumstances. The book also has a strong message about authenticity - that sometimes the most effective, inspiring people are those who've gone through the tough experiences and come out stronger.

Thanks so much for the interview, and I hope you all enjoy the trip to Potter Springs!

Britta Coleman
POTTER SPRINGS/Warner/Lone Star Scribe Award Winner