Colleen Oakes was born in Denver, Colorado to two amazing parents and grew up buried in a pile of books and big dreams. Interesting fact: she once punched her sister in the face when she dared to upset the said pile of books. Burdened with both an overactive imagination and an innate sense of glorious purpose, Colleen quickly grew into a writer, something her teachers were encouraging as early as 4th grade.
After graduating from Denver Lutheran High School, Colleen attended Concordia College in Bronxville, NY, where she received her B.A in English Literature and Creative Writing and graduated Magna Cum Laude, much to the delight of her surprised family. Other degrees that should have been awarded but were not recognized by the college and/or society were: most Broadway shows attended by an undergrad, most ice cream consumed after 1am, most maxed out Sears credit card and most emotional angst experienced while directing and writing a small campus play. She studied writing and literature under the much-lauded Dr. Mandana Nakhai, who helped sculpt Colleen's writing into something truly special.
After college and meeting her husband at a small Lutheran camp in rural Nebraska, Colleen got married and worked as a wedding florist for almost five years before finally acknowledging that while designing bridal bouquets was lovely, that her true calling had always been to be an author. At the peak of her success as a florist, Colleen sold the business and began writing full-time.
Her first novel was Elly in Bloom, a romantic comedy about a curvy wedding florist forced to design her ex-husband's wedding to his mistress. A sequel, Elly in Love soon followed, a book that focused on Elly's relationships and future career. The Elly series were picked up by Crystal Patriarche at Sparkpress, a woman focused hybrid publisher.
At that time, inspired by both her own rage and an Alice in Wonderland poster, Colleen wrote the Queen of Hearts series, an origin story about the infamous villain from Alice in Wonderland and settled comfortably into the world of YA fantasy and fairytale retellings. The first two books in the Queen of Hearts series were published by Sparkpress before being picked up by Harper Collins, who repackaged, re-edited and republished them in 2016, starting with Queen of Hearts, then Blood of Wonderland and finally the long awaited finale, War of the Cards, released in November 2017. The Queen of Hearts series has been praised by Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has been translated into more than seven languages, and is currently optioned by Universal Studios.
Overlapping with the Queen of Hearts series, her second YA fantasy trilogy, the Wendy Darling Series - a uniquely feminist take on Peter Pan - was published by Sparkpress starting in October 2015 with Wendy Darling: Stars. Two more books in the series released soon after: Wendy Darling Seas and the finale, Wendy Darling Shadow, in April 2017.
Her next book, The Black Coats, was released by Harper Collins on February 12th, 2019, and tells the story of a grieving teen that is recruited by a vigilante matriarchal society in Texas, who take revenge on men who hurt women. She currently at work on her third YA fairy-tale series, a fantasy collaboration about sisters and a YA thriller about isolation and wild places. She is represented by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown agency in NYC.
Colleen lives in North Denver with her Harry Potter-esque husband, beautiful son, and lazy shihtzu. She surrounds herself with the most lovely family and friends imaginable. When not reading, writing or plotting new books, Colleen can be found swimming, traveling or immersing herself in nerdy pop-culture. You can find her on Facebook under Author Colleen Oakes or follow her on Twitter (@ColleenBlooms), Instagram (@colleenoakes) or Pinterest (@colleenoakes).