Here's a new author to this blog. Welcome, Connie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I never write myself into the characters deliberately. But I do ask myself, “If I were this person, how would I react to this situation?” That’s really how the heroine in my new book, Angel Falls, was born. I asked myself what kind of person I would be if I’d grown up alone on the streets in
Southern Brazil. If I’d been
abused, how would I view men? Regina,
my fiercely protective, knife-wielding orphanage director came to life as a
result those questions.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m not sure I’d call it quirky, per se, but I became a USCG-licensed boat captain almost seven years ago. It’s not generally a female occupation, but one I love. When I’m not writing, I get to take 5th graders out on a boat for the
which is part of our local school system. It’s such fun! Silver
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I fell in love with books when Mom started taking us to the Bookmobile and the public library. I escaped into books and solved cases with Nancy Drew—and the Hardy Boys—and hung out with the Little Women. I desperately wanted to be Harriet the Spy, but my family didn’t appreciate my spying. I fell in love with stories and that’s when I fell in love with the idea of writing my own. In third grade, I penned the immortal Susie’s Babies about my hamster. Hopefully my skill level has improved along with my increasing love of writing and telling stories.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Romantic suspense has always been my favorite genre to read, so it’s not surprising that it’s what I write. But I read all kinds of stories. I love cozy mysteries as well as nail-biting suspense. I enjoy quirky small town stories as much as international thrillers. Regardless of genre, there is nothing I love more than sliding into a story and taking a trip to a place—either physical or emotional—that I’ve never been.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Lately, I’ve been more intentional about unplugging from the internet. I can be offline for a few days, and lo and behold, the world won’t end. It’s a good reminder for me. I also need my outdoors and people fixes, so I head out on the water whenever I can, either at my day job or on our family’s little boat.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Hmm. I’d say, very carefully. If the character’s name doesn’t fit, I can’t see them clearly in my head. Until I get that part right, the whole story doesn’t feel right. I’ve had to stop and brainstorm for a few days, consulting name books, especially ethnic names, to make sure it rings true. I like names that have cool nickname possibilities, too.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’d have to say my children, though I obviously can’t take all the credit there. But being a mom has been one of the greatest joys of my life. My son and daughter are such fabulous people. I’m so blessed to have them in my life. I enjoy them and enjoy spending time with them.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think I would be a bird. There is something so tempting about soaring above the world and seeing everything from that perspective. Flying really appeals to me.
What is your favorite food?
Anything Italian. I got to visit
Italy a few years ago and fell in
love with Italian cooking. If there’s fresh basil in it, I want a bite.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I finally realized that I’m neither a total plotter nor a total pantster. I’m a little of both. If I plot the entire story, scene by scene, I feel like I’ve already told the story in the outline, so why write it? I lose interest. But if I don’t have a general guideline, I wander around lost in the woods and spend way too much time rewriting. So I finally learned to plot in little sections as I go. It’s still a messy process.
Tell us about the featured book.
, two pasts collide in a
deadly race to save an orphaned baby. Angel Falls
Regina da Silva and Brooks Anderson have both been broken by their violent pasts. But while
is determined to keep her orphanage children safe, Brooks, a former Army
Ranger, never wants to protect anyone again. When circumstances force them
together in Brazil,
they find themselves pursued by a killer as they protect an orphaned baby. As
the danger heightens around them, so does the attraction between Regina and Brooks. Will
their pasts stop them from realizing their true feelings for each other when
their pursuer strives to keep them apart forever?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Regina da Silva tied the laces on her cracked leather boots and yanked the hand-knitted wool stockings Olga made her last Christmas up past her knees. Outside, an icy wind fought to get in through the wooden shutters guarding House of Angels’ orphanage. She straightened the layers of skirts swirling around her ankles, knowing she’d give away all but one before the night ended.
She didn’t want to go out tonight, and that made her feel small and selfish. And guilty. So she hefted the wicker basket filled with meat pastries and opened the door—before she changed her mind. On nights like tonight, she didn’t know which she hated most—the cold, or the memories.
“You are still going out tonight,
Irene demanded quietly from behind her, voice heavy with accusation. And
“Just this one night,
stay home. We’ll talk. Laugh, maybe even shed a few tears. Minha amiga,
even Jesus took time off for his friends.”
A gust of wind snatched the door from her grasp and slammed it against the wall, the crash a call to arms. “If I don’t go, who will?”
Regina asked. She didn’t
add, “since you aren’t anymore,” but it echoed in the room nonetheless. Regina tried to keep the
hurt out of her voice. She still couldn’t believe Irene and little Eduardo were
moving to the United States
in the morning and leaving her behind. She was thrilled for Irene. She was
furious, too, and mad at herself for feeling that way. But she couldn’t find
words for any of it. So she simply pointed to the basket and said, “Olga has
the meat pastries ready and Jorge packed extra blankets.” Regina pulled on a pair of handmade mittens,
carefully pulling together the hole in one thumb.
Irene sent her a piercing sad-eyed look. “You can’t save them all, you know.”
At the familiar argument,
Regina met her gaze, eyes hot, and repeated
what she always said in response. “Maybe not. But I can save some.”
I’m intrigued already. How can readers find you on the Internet?I’d love to connect with readers online. I try to offer encouragement to busy women on my blog: www.BusyWomenBigDreams.com. I’m also on Facebook and Linked-In, and on Twitter as @CaptConnieMann. I hope you’ll come visit me!
Thank you, Connie, for sharing your interesting life and book with us today.
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Angel Falls - paperback
Angel Falls - Kindle
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