With a new book, ‘A Light on the Hill’ soon to be released I jumped at the opportunity to have a moment with Connilyn Cossette and the ability to ask any question my little old heart desires. I’ve yet to read one of her books that I didn’t love (I’ve read them all) and I am waiting for the this release (February 6th for those with a calendar handy!) with great anticipation. I took a moment to talk books, of course, but there were a few burning questions I had to know.
I’ll keep it simple: Coffee or Tea? Sweet or Salty? Best writing snack ever?
I love them both, coffee in the mornings and tea at night! I’m a sweet tooth for sure and I love the new Coffee Nut M&M’s but I rarely snack when I am writing because I get too caught up in playing with words!
I was swept up in your debut novel ‘Counted with the Stars’ and the subsequent followup novels in that series. With ‘A Light on the Hill’ releasing soon you have obviously found your niche in Biblical fiction. What originally drew you into writing this genre?
I had not planned on writing Biblical Fiction specifically. But Counted with the Stars was the story that crystallized in my mind when I was doing some personal study into Exodus and for the moment biblical era stories are where I am finding the most inspiration. A Light on the Hill came from a similar vein since I was researching the law given by Moses about the Levitical Cities of Refuge and became fascinated with how they paralleled Jesus and his work on the cross, and so voila! Moriyah’s story was born.
‘A Light on the Hill’ segues off from ‘Wings of the Wind’, which for a fangirl is a-mazing. How much time has passed for Moriyah between then and now? What can we expect with the follow up novels in this new series?
About seven years has passed (if you don’t count the Epilogue in Wings of the Wind where Alanah alludes to Moriyah’s trials). The people of Israel have fought many battles and are beginning to settle into the Promised Land. There are three books in this series, all following Moriyah’s family through the next twenty or so years. The next book, Shelter of the Most High, will tell the story of Sofea, a foreign woman who is brought to Israel after a devastating run-in with bronze-age pirates and Eitan, who is a child during A Light on the Hill. It was a fun challenge to get to know him as a boy and then shift into writing him as a man; but as a result, I ‘know’ Eitan better than any other character I’ve written so far and therefore he’s probably my favorite at the moment (shhhh. don’t tell the others…) The third book is a prodigal daughter story, a fun twist on the well-known parable, which takes place around the time Joshua and the remaining elders of Israel have passed away and the people of Israel are already turning away from pure worship of the One True God and beginning to suffer the disastrous consequences of such behavior.
In your novels you tackle some tough topics that are still relevant in today’s society. Human trafficking, slavery, sexual assault, and even family relationships have never gone out of relevance. These are difficult topics to talk about, much less research and write about. Do you feel like taking these on in your writing has impacted your life differently and what is your ideal takeaway for your readers?
I did not consciously set out to deal with these topics when I began writing, but as I delved into the Bible and into the historical and cultural settings, I became struck by the truly precarious position women in the ancient world were in and yet how relevant their struggles were to women today. Most cultures back then treated women like cattle to be bought and sold and without the protection of a caring father or husband were extremely vulnerable, therefore, the laws of the Torah were a radical departure from the culture norms of the day. We tend to see the people of the Bible as flannel-graph characters instead of human begins who lived and breathed and loved and hurt just like we do today, so I hope that readers will be inspired to see the Bible in a fresh light and connect with the truth there in a new way and most of all will dig deeper into the Word for themselves.
Writing Biblical fiction, to me, is a different environment than just meeting some characters and living in their world. Is there a system in your choice of the Biblical times and events you have chosen to focus on? Did they come to you or did you go to them so to speak?
My first book, Counted with the Stars, came out of my own personal Bible study but since the Bible is where I finding the most inspiration right now, mostly I am looking for interesting people, places, and events within the Word that my characters can entwine with. The Cities of Refuge series came about after finishing Wings of the Wind and wondering “What happens next?” As I began looking into Joshua and Judges I found this law about cities where accidental manslayers could run to to flee lawful vengeance by the next of kin (or the Blood Avenger) and was struck by a number of similarities to those cities and the work Jesus did on the cross and so, Moriyah’s story was born. Who knows where my curiosity will lead me next!
If there was no limits and of course Missouri wasn’t available, where would be your ideal writing environment be? Why?
I really love being near the water, so most likely some secluded cabin near a quiet lake in the woods where I could sit on a deck and absorb the scenery as I interact with my imaginary friends would be ideal. No wifi and no dishes or laundry would be a must in this lovely daydream place, as well as a giant stack of beautiful books to spark inspiration. I’ll even bet there are lovely places such as this in Missouri, right?
Connilyn, I want to thank you so much for taking time out from all that you have going on with real life and the book launch to answer a few questions for me and my readers.
Want to know more about this amazing book? Scroll on down to today’s Goodreads Monday and check find out more about the book and where you can pre-order your copy!