Welcome to another Author-Interview Monday! I am beyond pleased to be sharing this author-interview with Connilyn Cossette for May! I adore her books. <3 When she replied to my inquiry about an interview, I was overjoyed to say the least. :) Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!
Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :) Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:
Hi Raechel, Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog! My name is Connilyn Cossette (and yes that is my real name, not a nom du plume). I am the author of the Out from Egypt and Cities of Refuge Series with Bethany House Publishers which are Biblical Fiction (although I like to call it “outsider Biblical fiction” because my main characters are fictional, not people from the Bible). I have recently moved from Texas to North Carolina with my hubby of twenty years and my two kids, 11&13, whom I homeschool. So being a writer and a homeschool teacher on top of just doing my day to day stuff, my life is a little crazy, but its a good crazy!
Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?
Probably Shira from Shadow of the Storm. My kiddos came to me by adoption as well, so my struggles mirror Shira’s in many ways. I also tend to be a glass-half full person, and sometime my rose-colored glasses end up shattered, but it does help me to look for the best in people. And, like Shira, music is also my worship language.
Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?
I use Hebraic versions of the Bible as a starting point and I have a couple of websites with Hebrew names I reference frequently. I also base names on Hebrew word meanings and shhhh, sometimes I make them up ;)
I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?
I sometimes like to write with my eyes closed. It allows me to be fully inside the scene to experience and build the sensory details. My son saw me doing it the other day and freaked out how accurately I can type with my eyes closed! Although at times it makes for some interesting spelling or words that I cannot decipher at all later.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me unless I come to a wall and can’t find my way past it. But thinking about stories, talking about stories with my writing pals, crafting stories, and polishing stories through editing are all pretty much my favorite things in the world.
How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?
Faith is absolutely central to what I do. My heart is to draw people to the Word by sparking interest in the cultural and historical context through story form. I am not out to re-write the Bible, but only to spur imagination about what it might have been like for people whose lives connected in some way with all those Bible characters (who were real people!) that we know so well.
What does your family think of your writing?
My kids are very inspired by what I do. They both are book-a-holics and love to write. My son especially has taken to writing his own stories, sometimes for hours at a time. My hubby of course is very proud of me, but being a non-reader (GASP!) he’s still a little mystified by the idea that I want to spend hour upon hour making up stories about imaginary people. They’ve all learned to be very tolerant of my tendency to stare at walls or out windows randomly, or to talk to myself, or to wave my arms around or make strange faces as I silently act out scenes. Hopefully that will stave off any plans to take me to the funny farm later in life ;)
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To read more in different genres, to write what you would want to read instead of trying to copy anyone else’s style. To be okay with the weirdness of your brain and the fact that a lot of “normals” may just not get your particular brand of quirkiness. To not waste time or energy on second-guessing yourself but instead be brave and bold about who you are and the passions that God hard-wired into you.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I am about halfway done with the third book in the Cities of Refuge Series (and yes, that means I am SUPER behind) but otherwise I only have one half-finished novella sitting on my laptop that hopefully someday I will get around to working on, since it ties in with my Out from Egypt Series.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Nicole Deese and Tammy L. Gray are my bestie writing gals, we Google Chat every week now that I have moved across the country. They constantly challenge and inspire me to be a better writer. I don’t think I would have near the drive, the writing speed, or staying power to do what I do without them. We have developed a deep trust between us that allows us to be completely honest when something just doesn’t work and a willingness to take criticism without offense because we know that we all want each other’s work to be the best it can be.
And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “A Light on the Hill”?
I can’t think of a specific book off the top of my head, but I always recommend any Biblical Fiction by Roseanna White, Mesu Andrews, Francine Rivers, Stephanie Landsem, or Tessa Afshar. These ladies write God-honoring stories that point readers back to the Word.
Thank you so very much, Mrs. Cossette!
Connilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of over twenty years and a son and daughter who fill her days with joy, laughter, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com
That was delightful! I can’t express just how much I love reading author’s answers to these questions, and getting to know them more. It feels like such a special experience and honor!
Writing with her eyes closed – love that, because I do that too. ^.^ It works well!
Also, her advice to her younger writers self – beautiful. I think the answers to those questions are the ones I soak up the most <3
Check back next Monday for the Character Introduction post featuring one of Mrs.Cossette’s characters! <3