Thursday, March 21, 2019

Candid Moments with CFRR author Connilyn Cossette

Hello, kitty! I'm loving this candid!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR? 

CC: This will be my first year at CFRR and I am so, so excited!

Beth: YAY! We're so excited to have you!
What part of CFRR are you most excited about? 

CC: I cannot imagine anything more fun than spending the weekend with a group of people who love books (and authors) as much as I do. I’m most looking forward to meeting some of the super cool readers I’ve gotten to know online but haven’t met yet in person, seeing some of my sweet author friends, and of course talking all things books. Also don’t tell my husband and kids but I’m really looking forward to spending two nights in a hotel room all by myself with no one else snoring or bickering 😉

Beth: I think ALL the mamas are looking forward to a little peace and quiet!

Are you a hugger? 

CC: As for hugs, I am not by nature a hug-instigator but I certainly welcome any embraces offered to me.

Beth: Thanks for humoring us, enthusiastic huggers! 😁

Just for fun...

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been to before? 

CC: Oh there are so many places I want to go, if I won the lottery I’d probably spend 90% of my time traveling the world; but if I had to choose right now I’d say Scotland and Ireland. I have been dying to visit both places for as long as I can remember since I have heritage there, both in my birth family and my adoptive one. 

And the exciting thing is I actually get to go soon! Our family is taking a cruise in Norway next year (so excited!) and we are taking a few extra days afterward to see Scotland and Ireland, so my lifelong dream is actually coming true! 

Beth: That's so exciting! How wonderful!
If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? 

CC: My introverted self would be some sort of big cat, like a cheetah or a cougar, that would curl up into a ball and snooze in the shade whenever I was tired of zoo visitors staring at me. 

Beth: Oh, that sounds lovely! I adore napping, lol!

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living? 

CC: Um, there are other occupations than writing books? 😉 But actually, if I wasn’t an author I would probably be a graphic designer or something. I’ve always loved playing around with Photoshop and although I’m far from an expert I do enjoy getting into the creative flow in that way. 

Beth: Tweaking around with graphics is pretty fun.

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? 

CC: Oh Scottish, for sure. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a cool brogue with all the rolled R’s and say things like bonny bairn and wee lasses and laddies? My grandma used to sing this song called “Cheer Up Ye Saints of God” in a rich Scottish accent like her own mother and my kids get a huge laugh out of my own exaggerated rendition. If you ask me really sweetly, I’ll sing it for you too.

Beth: Oh, YES PLEASE!!

About reading...

Here is our family Snuggle Chair,
but Dizzy thinks it’s all hers  
Describe your favorite reading spot.

CC: My favorite spot to read is this cool oversized chair in my living room, close to the fireplace, that is big enough to allow a contented reader to curl up and get comfy, or two people to read together. Therefore it is dubbed The Snuggle Chair and it gets fought over by humans and felines alike on a regular basis.

Beth: I want one. That chair looks so comfy (and Dizzy is adorable)!

How often do you pleasure-read? 

CC: Hello my name is Conni and I’m a book-a-holic. I read at least two or three books a week. I’m a really fast reader and can devour a normal size novel in a few hours, and for the most part once I start I can’t stop until The End, so I choose reading over any other type of relaxation. Now, should I be reading all the books when I’m supposed to be writing them instead…? Well, reading is also my favorite form of procrastination as well.

Beth: I knew I liked you 😊

Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important? 

CC: In my opinion, Christian Fiction is, in a way, following Jesus’s storytelling footsteps. His parables were the best way of helping everyday people understand deep spiritual truths. The ability to create stories that can help point readers to the Word and the true nature of God, in a way that is engaging and encourages a fresh perspective, makes me passionate for what I write. 

I also think Christian Fiction allows us to explore what it means to live out this life for Jesus, in our relationships, our workplaces, and within the Body, so it’s a valuable tool for gaining empathy and for examining our own hearts and motives as we engage with others. 

Beth: Yes and amen!

About writing...

How many books have you written? published? 

CC: I have five book-babies out there in the world, three in the Out from Egypt Series and two in the Cities of Refuge Series. 

Beth: I love them! You rock the biblical fiction, lady!

What is your next release? 

CC: Book 3 of the second series, Until the Mountains Fall, will release July 2nd and I cannot wait for readers to meet Rivkah and Malakhi. This book is a twist on the parable of the Prodigal Son and has lots of fun twists and turns! 

I’ve also recently finished a book on the woman who was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment which will release in December through Guideposts Fiction. It’s a shorter novel and is entitled The Healer’s Touch: Tikva’s Story. 

And yes, my two latest heroines are named Rivkah and Tikva and that gave me no small amount of angst as I was writing them concurrently! Thank goodness for awesome editors with eagle-eyes! 

Beth: Woo wee! Those names are enough to make your eyes cross!

What are you working on now? 

CC: I am now working on Book 4 of the Cities of Refuge which is a super fun book to write because there are female spies, revenge plots, ruthless bad guys, tie-ins to the Out from Egypt Series and, of course, romance! 

Beth: Sounds like it will be super fun to read, too!!!

Do you have any strange writing habits? 

CC: I like to write in the dark. It keeps my frazzled, overloaded brain focused on the words instead of whatever is in my house. And yes, I actually close my eyes sometimes when I write. It gives me the ability to “be” in the scene, like a movie, and I always discover new sensory details that way. It makes for some weird spelling sometimes, but it’s worth it!

Beth: Well, that's a fun tidbit!

What part of the publishing/writing process do you most struggle with? 

CC: I struggle most with procrastination. I’m a perfectionist and for my whole life was hesitant about doing anything unless I could do it really well. In fact, when I was tiny I didn’t talk much until I could speak in full sentences! 

So unless I feel really confident about where a scene is going, I find myself getting really distracted by other things, therefore I have to force myself to just get words out on the blank page, even if they aren’t my best words, in order to tap into the flow. Once I get rolling, it usually comes easily, but those blank pages are a killer. 

Beth: I can completely relate to that perfectionist complex!

Co-editor, Nelliebelle and me
working hard on the next book 
Which aspect is most natural for you?

CC: I actually really love editing. There is something about the process of taking scenes to a deeper level, both language-wise and character-wise that revs my engine. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than transforming a raw scene into something really special. 

Beth: You're a tweaker! That's a good thing, in my opinion. There is always room for improvement.

What are your must-have writing supplies? 

CC: I need four things: My laptop with Scrivener. My noise-canceling headphones blasting brown noise since I can’t listen to music when I write. My hardback steno notebook for making mind-maps and brainstorming. And solitude, because I have to be fully absorbed in the scene or I just can’t focus. 

Beth: I might need to try some of that brown noise!

About the author...

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. Her debut, Counted with the Stars, was a 2017 finalist in the Christy Awards, Christian Retailing Best Awards, and the Inspy Awards.

There’s 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 twenty-one years and a son and daughter who fill her days with joy, laughter, and inspiration.

Say "hi" to Connilyn and let's chat in the comments about some of the moments we've enjoyed with her here and in her stories!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post, Beth and Connilyn! I'm loving your series, Connilyn, and am excited to read the next book. I'm also excited to see you at CFRR. It's coming up fast! Woohoo!