Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It’s not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist. Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls “Snarky Teenager”, but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly. Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for. With the help of her friends, staff and the occasional well-made sandwich, Elly bravely agrees to take on the event that threatens to merge her painful history with her bright new life, and finds herself blooming in a direction she never imagined. Elly’s voice, both charming and hilarious, will appeal to those readers who have been looking for a new voice in chick-lit, and will give women of all sizes the realistic heroine they’ve been waiting for.
Colleen Oakes was born in Denver, Colorado to her parents, Ronald and Tricia. She was soon joined by a little sister Cynthia, who she quickly decided was her arch nemesis.
When she was in 4th grade at her public elementary school, Colleen told her teacher, Ms. Brown, that she wanted to be a writer. Ms. Brown agreed and began giving her special writing projects. Out of this came the brilliant four page novel, “Why I hate Casey The Most”, complete with illustrations. It has yet to be published.
She attended Denver Lutheran High School for most of her high school career, where she had the good graces to befriend many wonderful teachers and students and the occasional homeless man. She graduated in 1998 (to Greenday’s “Time of Your Life” the anthem of everyone who graduated that year) and continued on to college at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY.
In Bronxville, she truly hit her stride, and excelled at art, academics, journalism and having more than two friends. (She had four.) Her junior year she wrote a play entitled “The Problem with Faith” and it was performed at the college over a long Spring weekend. In addition, she wrote frequently for the newspaper and the school’s literary journal. She graduated in 2002 with Honors and a membership in the schools Fellows program.
In 2001, Colleen met her husband Ryan, a handsome and intimidating Seminary student, while they both worked at Camp Luther, a Lutheran Camp outside of Schyuler, Nebraska. It is still amazing to her that she managed to hook this great guy while being covered in sweat and dead mosquitoes the majority of that summer. They married in the summer of 2003 at that same camp, while a monsoon raged outside. Colleen joined Ryan in St. Louis (the location inspiration for Elly in Bloom) for the remainder of his Seminary years. While he was in school, she worked at several florists and did everything from designing to delivery to closet organizing to driving an owner’s grandparents to Wisconsin. After he graduated with his masters, they moved to Colorado, where Ryan was called to a church in North Denver.
Colleen opened up a wedding florist out of her home, and they sailed along smoothly for a few years. One day, Colleen opened up a document on her computer that she had written long ago, so long ago that she can’t remember exactly when it was for this bio. It was the first chapter of Elly in Bloom, and she decided that it was time to finish the book and begin her career as a novelist, something she had dreamed about for a long time.
Elly in Bloom debuted in September 2012 via Amazon Publishing. Colleen and Ryan continue to live in North Denver and are awaiting their first child through adoption. They have two naughty dogs and are total pop culture nerds. She is currently at work on Elly in Love, the sequel to Elly in Bloom, and an epic fantasy novel.