Happy Tuesday! Continuing through Saturday (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2019 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m covering the historical & historical romance categories, including Connilyn Cossette and her Carol Award nominated book A Light on the Hill! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
FYI – There will be several posts per day, and a week-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!
Connilyn Cossette is the ECPA & CBA Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. When she’s not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible. She delights in discovering new gems of grace there that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com
A LIGHT ON THE HILL
SERIES: Cities of Refuge #1
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2018
Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.
Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.
Hi, dear Conni! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: Why do you write fiction? And, why specifically Christian fiction?
Connilyn: I write fiction because it’s what I love to read! I’ve always been a super voracious reader, it was pretty much the only thing I ever got in trouble for in school (usually for having a book open under my desk during math class) and fiction, especially historical fiction was usually my drug of choice. When I dreamed of becoming a writer and having my own books on library shelves one day, it was always as a writer of books that invited readers to experience what life might have been like for someone in another place and time than their own because that’s the kind of stories that sparked my own imagination. I write Christian fiction, and specifically Biblical Fiction, because I have a passion for illuminating the ancient world of the Bible in a fresh way and hope to inspire readers to dig into the Word without some of the Western cultural filters that distance us from the living and breathing people who walked out the stories that we have a tendency to sometimes dismiss as old and dusty tales.
Carrie: Oh you read during math class, too? I knew I liked you ♥ And I love your heart (and talent) for bringing the Biblical era to life in fresh ways!!
Q: Other than the Bible, what are a couple of your most cherished books and why?
Connilyn: Jane Eyre is my favorite classic book, and one that I find new depth and nuance within every time I crack it open and inhale its nuances. I also would have to cheat a little and say the entire Chronicles of Narnia. I have an old set that was given to my parents as a wedding gift in 1971 and although it’s crumbling a bit around the edges and there are more than a few pieces of tape holding together the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, there is so much beauty and inspiration within those cherished pages. I have precious memories of reading those exact books as a kid and have adored reading them aloud to my own children.
Carrie: Oh! Oh how i love that mental image of a well-loved book. So sweet.
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Connilyn: I would have to say that while I was writing A Light on the Hill, I spent a lot of time searching out which plants indigenous to Israel could kill someone the quickest and most painfully. Reading through lists of horrific effects of certain poisons on the body and Googling things like “how fast does it take someone to die after ingesting ____” made me just a tad bit nervous that I might get a visit from the FBI.
Carrie: hahaha! And “I write Biblical fiction” may not go over as well as “I write suspense” in that case 😉
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Connilyn: They would say that I am such a procrastinator that I tend to leave them hanging, sometimes in the middle of a super tense scene, sometimes for days on end while I dither around about what should happen next. And then I do horrific things like kill people they love, rip apart their families, force them into arranged marriages, and start wars. But hopefully they will also point out that even with all the mean things I do and how many plot twists I throw their way, I always leave them with a happy ending and lots of hope.
Carrie: well… if your characters won’t admit that, your readers certainly will!
Q: Which of your main characters (either in A Light on the Hill or over all you’ve written) is most like you?
Connilyn: I think there are definitely parts of me within Moriyah. Like many people I have a tendency to hide behind my own “veils” out of fear of rejection or because I have skewed perceptions of myself. And just as he did in Moriyah’s journey, the Lord has been working on me to throw off the lies I tell myself or the memories of unkind things said to me by others in order to embrace who I am at my very core and who the Creator is making me into. It’s always interesting to me how certain struggles within myself tend to get brought to light as I am writing stories about fictional people and A Light on the Hill was no exception. However, unlike Moriyah I really do not like cooking, I am not patient enough and am usually distracted so I burn things, a lot and I also am a tad bit rebellious so I have an aversion to measuring carefully. Moriyah would not be impressed with my skills in the kitchen.
Carrie: oh those memories of unkind words from others do tend to linger long, don’t they? Thankful that He keeps pursuing us with His truth to counteract the lies.
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from A Light on the Hill & why do you love it?
“How could I do anything but trust an Almighty God who somehow seemed to care for even a branded, convicted manslayer like me?”
Connilyn: This quote really sums up the theme of A Light of the Hill for me. As I delved into the purposes for the Cities of Refuge and the parallels between these sanctuaries and the salvation offered by our perfect High Priest at the cross, I was reminded that there is little difference between myself and a manslayer like Moriyah. I, like every other sinner, am desperately in need of protection from the Enemy who seeks to destroy me, I have time and again broken the terms of the Covenant and am therefore deserving of condemnation, and I have been given undeserved and abundant mercy because I turned my eyes to the Light of the World, ran to the refuge his grace provides, and pleaded for his forgiveness. And what an awe-inspiring thought, that the Creator of the Universe not only loves me in spite of my brokenness and shame, but laid down his own life so that I could be free!
Carrie: Amen! so beautifully said.
I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2019 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most from Connilyn Cossette’s Q&A or the historical romance Carol Award finalist A Light on the Hill?