This week we have the amazing Connilyn Cossette. Connilyn is a Christy Award Nominated and CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
Although we now live in NorthCarolina, I am originally from Washington State (the dry side, although I’velived on the wet side too). I’ve been married for 21 years and am the mother ofa 14 year old son and a 11 year old daughter whom I’m homeschool. I was raisedin the Church under the influence of two godly and wise women, my mom and mygrandma, both of whom have had a lot of influence on my career as a Biblicalfiction author. I was a voracious bookworm from the beginning and fell in lovewith words and language at a very young age. I did not start writing seriouslyuntil I was in my mid thirties however, due to a lack of confidence but Godtook me by the hand and led me into this beautiful career, in spite of myself-doubt, and now I cannot imagine doing anything else!
What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?
I’ve always been drawn tohistorical fiction of all kinds and will pretty much read any historicalstories that I can get my hands on. It has always served to make the past comealive for me. I have so many authors that I admire but I would have to say forhistorical I adore Liz Curtis Higgs and her Scottish series above most others.
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
I was an early reader, in fact, my mother told me the other day that she regretted not reading more to me when I was young because I was reading on my own at about three and she couldn’t keep up with me! Reading was always my favorite activity and pretty much the only thing I ever got in trouble for in school was sneak-reading books under my deskduring class (especially…ahem..math). I was also consistently drawn
Tell us about this book.
Shelter of the Most High is the second in the Cities of Refuge Series and builds on the story of Eitan, whom readers first met in A Light on the Hill as a young boy. It is also the story of Sofea, a young woman who lives on the ancient island of Sicily and is taken forcibly from her home by Bronze Age pirates. When the two meet in Kedesh, the City of Refuge, they will be forced to face a number of trials, from language barriers, to cultural and religious differences, to betrayal and entanglement in a murder plot. I fell in love with Eitan and Sofea and had so much fun bringing the two together and hope readers enjoy the journey too!
What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
Gosh, it’s been so long since Iwrote it…but I would say that Eitandeals with the problem of self-recrimination and not embracing the grace thathe was given many years before and I find myself doing the same and allowingthe Enemy to keep bringing up old sins. Sometimes I forget that I’ve alreadybeen forgiven and my sins are separated from me as far as the East is from theWest. Eitan’s journey is a greatreminder to live the life of freedom that we were gifted by Jesus at the Cross.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
Yes, I do use an outline. I haveone that I’ve adapted for my own purposes. It’s nothing too detailed, justmostly general plot points and vague chapter descriptions and then I fleshthings out as I write. I’m kind of a hybrid pantser/plotter since I like alittle structure but give myself enough leeway to explore rabbit trails alongthe way.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I mostly write at my desk in my office but on days when I take my kids to their enrichment homeschool classes, I work at the local library next to these huge floor to ceiling windows that look out over a gorgeous wooded nature area. Now that the leaves are all beautiful colors the view is especially enjoyable. Usually, the squirrels give me a great show while I work and last month there was a proliferation of butterflies dancing out there too. I put on my headphones with brown noise to block everything out and am always very productive on my library days.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded?
There were a couple of plot twists that I did not plan for that kind of showed up as I explored the characters and their journeys but I can’t give any examples because they are major spoilers!
What advice would you give a new author?
Find a tribe. I prayed that the Lord would provide me with some great writing pals and He provided me with some of the best, most encouraging friends I’ve ever had in my life. Look for people that are honest but tactful about sharing their critiques, people that build you up but keep you grounded, and people that are invested in making sure you put out your best work even if that requires a tough conversation. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and of course, many of us are introverts, but connecting with other writers that “get you” will make what could be a
What project are you working on now?
Iam writing two books concurrently. I am working on the 4th book of the Citiesof Refuge Series which will release in 2020 and also on a shorter novel forGuideposts Fiction that will tell my own imagined version of the women whotouched the hem of Jesus’s garment. It’s been a challenge to write two books atonce but they are both coming along nicely. My biggest problem is that theCities of Refuge is in first person and the Guideposts is in third and I keepslipping into first person halfway through my scenes almost every single day! Inow have a note in big, bold red letters on every chapter to help remind me,but it’s still a constant struggle!
Where can we find your books?
My books are available wherever literature is sold, both in brick-and-mortar stores (don’t forget to shop independent bookstores!) and all online outlets. You can head over to www.connilyncossette.com or bakerpublishing.com for purchase links and for more information on all my novels.