The Falls

The Falls

by Colleen McMillan

GENRE:   Supernatural/Thriller

Every small town has secrets...

...most won't get you killed. Maddie Decker escaped Sterling Falls just after high school and never looked back. She was sure nothing could convince her to return. Until an urgent message from her high school best friend arrives begging
Maddie to come back before he dies changes everything.

Maddie can't refuse.

Once there, tattered relationships and long forgotten memories are pushed aside when a mysterious presence appears, Maddie uses her professional training to help discover who is killing the residents of Sterling Falls, even if no one wants her there.

Can Maddie survive the homecoming she never wanted?


Something crunched in the brush to her left and she stopped again. The sun disappeared behind a cloud, throwing shade onto the road.

The small hairs on her neck stood up as she called, “Hello?” She waited, but no one answered. She expected to see a bright orange vest appear, a hunter with an apologetic face. She wouldn't even report him for hunting out of season.


There was more movement in the bushes, and Cathy backed away. “This isn't funny! I've got a weapon!” She pulled her small trail knife from her pocket and opened it, the blade only a few inches long, but it was something. “Come out!”

Cathy didn't see what came hurtling out at her, just noted a black blur and felt a sharp, searing pain in her arm before she blacked out.

Half an hour later, a single car passed her abandoned backpack beside the road, but the driver and his passenger didn't notice. They had places to go, and the forest made them nervous.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Minnesota, my writing focuses on the Midwestern United States. I've been a writer since I could pick up a crayon, pencil, or pen; there are more than a few stories about my macabre grade school writing interests, to which I just shrug. You can't blame a second grader for wanting to set a scary scene!

I attended the University of WI, River Falls for my undergraduate degree and completed my Master's degree in creative writing at the University of Kent, Canterbury, in the UK. For my dissertation research and inspiration, I lived in Canterbury, Paris, and Edinburgh. Paris is my second home and favorite city, so don't be surprised if it turns up in my work.

My two most influential authors are Stephen King and Flannery O'Connor, and my dream is to establish a Midwest Gothic tradition.

I currently live in Minnesota with my jerk of a cat, Duncan. I love living in the most beautiful state in the country, but I always feel Europe's pull...

Q&A With the Author

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?

    I first realized I wanted to be a writer in the second grade, when my teacher thought my writing was too gory and mature. That's just the stuff I write! I always called myself a writer, though I don't know if I really “believed” it until I graduated with my undergrad degree in creative writing. That was the first time where a group of my writing peers told me how much they enjoyed my work. 

What advice do you have for a new writer?

    No matter what, keep writing. Write something every day. It doesn't have to be long. It can be a Facebook post or a grocery list, just write something. The active feeling of getting words down on a screen or paper is exhilarating. The only failed writers are the ones who stop writing.

What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?

    Characters ideas are the easiest part. I get ideas for characters all the time, then I need to make a world for them to inhabit, a story for them to go through. I love thinking of characters based off great names. When I think of a name I like, I write it down, knowing that a story will eventually come to match it.

    I love outling, so I have no trouble writing pages of set-up. Some writers can't do this, but I need to. I like having a framework, a stable structure in place. 

What is your favorite part of this story?

    I love the dynamic between my lead three characters. Their relationships are complex and strained, for many different reasons, and I love writing about character conflict. I'm very proud of some of the dialogue between Billy and Maddie, and I can't wait to write more for them.

    I'm also very happy with the prologue section. One of my favorite lines I've ever written is in that prologue.

Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why? 

    Billy and Gus were the most fun to write. Neither of them worry about how they're perceived, so they can get away with saying some funny stuff. They are both straight-forward, sometimes sarcastic, world-weary. It's hard to say which was the most fun to write “about,” because so many terrible things happen in the story. Ha, I'm a mean writer though, so I have zero qualms about taking characters out if the story needs it. 

Nate is up there too. I'm excited to see where his character will take me.

Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why? 

    Fletcher's job was the most difficult to write about, so his character was the hardest to write. I did research into profiling, psychology, police procedure and relationships with outside contractors. I made a lot of details up, because it's fiction, but I wanted to have a level of believability. 

Big Tom was the next toughest. He's a massive jerk, a villain you can meet in real life, so it was difficult to get into that mindset.


Colleen McMillan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for hosting! I'm really excited to hear what people think about The Falls.

  2. The stark cover fits the genre well. An interesting Q & A.

  3. I enjoyed the Q&A and the excerpt, The Falls sounds like a spine chilling and adrenaline pumping read that I can really sink my teeth into! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a wonderful holiday season!

  4. I’m originally from the Midwest so the setting is of interest to me. I, also, love reading suspense/thriller books!


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