Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Flee from Evil GIVEAWAY with Connie Almony

Today we have Connie Almony stopping by for a visit, and she comes bearing gifts! A GIVEAWAY of her latest release, Flee from Evil, is up for grabs. 

Flee from Evil
A pastor with a past uses his underworld connections to try and save the child of the woman he wronged many years ago.
Pastor Vince Steegle thought his destructive beginnings were ancient history, but the ramifications of his prior choices just walked in the door of his church. Is Romans 8:28 really true? Can God really make all things good? Or is Vince's past just too ugly?
After the death of her much-beloved husband, Cassandra Whitaker is looking for security for her children. One, a teen on the cusp of womanhood. The other, a young boy struggling with the effects of autism. But there are those who seek to destroy them. Can Cassandra keep her family safe, or must she flee from evil?

Rebekah:  What's your favorite things about the romance and romantic suspense genres?
Connie:  I like stories that make my pulse pound. Romance and suspense do just that - though each for different reasons :o).
Rebekah:  Describe Flee from Evil in 3 separate words.
Connie:  Poignant, Real, Redemptive
Rebekah:  If your book was made into a movie, what actors would you cast as your main hero and heroine?
Connie:  When I first began conceptualizing this book (almost twenty years ago), the hero, Vince, had an eerie quality that made him sort of dangerously attractive. He is a pastor with a past, and I wanted him to have to fight some inner demons as he redeemed his life. For that reason, I first saw Val Kilmer (as portrayed in the movie, The Saint) in the role. However, as time marched on, the character took on a lighter quality and began to appear in my mind a cross between Mac Powell of Third Day--in the Come Together years--and Richard Hatch from Battlestar Galactica (back when I was a girl). If I had to choose and actor today, I think it would be Chris Pine with his dark and charismatic grin, contrasted by striking blue eyes.
I did not have a female in mind when I created Cassandra. However, I'd found a picture of Debra Messing which resembled much of how I'd conceptualized the character. But she is currently about fifteen years older than Cassandra, so I'd have to pick Jennifer Lawrence (with hair dyed auburn) to play the character today.
Rebekah:  How long did it take you to write this book? How do you balance writing with other responsibilities (job, family, etc.)?
Connie:  Does conceptualizing count? That's been about twenty years. However, once I sat down to put it to paper, it took more like six months. Balancing writing with other responsibilities has been difficult. I work part-time at a Christian counseling office, and I have daily care of my now-adult son struggling with the effects of autism (his ten-year-old self is in Flee from Evil). You'd think these things would take time away from writing but it's more the fact that my very chatty husband works from home that distracts me from immersing myself in story world. What's worse is when my daughter has way too many snow days, creating another source of distraction in a house that has no quiet place (my writing desk is in the kitchen) unless all members are out of it. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my family as I do. However, a moment of peace here and there never hurts! Even Jesus took time away to be by himself.
Rebekah:  When did you realize you first wanted to be a writer?
Connie:  I've dabbled in writing for years, never thinking I'd do it seriously. Suddenly, I'd get an idea for a scene (not even a whole story) and feel the need to write it down. However, I truly caught the bug after helping my daughter work on a project for school where she had to write a Cinderella story set in Greece. Together, we brainstormed ideas. Some she used--and made them sing. Others, she discarded, to my chagrin. I decided then and there I wasn't going to let her have all the fun (nor the control), so I began to write my own story. And I kept on writing! I've never enjoyed something so much in my life. AND I've never worked so hard!
Rebekah:  Do you stick to your TBR pile or are you an impulsive book buyer? What are you currently reading?
Connie:  Impulsive book buyer!!! There are so many great books out now with all the indie authors. Many are my favorites! And eBook prices make it very reasonable to read lots of book within one week. Currently, at the request of my daughter, I'm reading The Testing Series--a dystopian YA trilogy. It's very good. Just before that I read Tamara Leigh's newest release, Baron of Emberly.

Rebekah:  At some point an author has to torture their characters. Tell us the truth. Do you enjoy or hate it?
Connie:  It depends on the torture and who is at the receiving end of it. Some bad guys need a little torture--he he! And sometimes the good guys need a fire lit that will move them forward. However, I have been known to cry while writing certain scenes and even in the editing and polishing phases, because even though I know the torture is good for them in the end, it hurts to watch them go through it. I have to laugh, because I always remind my daughter when she's really into a book or TV show, "You know that isn't real, don't you?" Yes, we know these stories are just fiction. You'd think I'd know it more when I'm the author of them. And yet, it pains me just the same. I suspect that's what God feels (and more) when He watches us go through trials He's authored, knowing these are necessary to bring us into a deeper relationship with Him.
Rebekah:  Who's your number one fictional character crush OR favorite fictional couple?
Connie:  Other than the men I write??? Sigh! It's a heady thing to be able to create your perfect romantic hero. But I'll give you someone else's.

This will sound cliché, but I have to say it . . . my favorite fictional couple is Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. Not because it was the best book ever . . . necessarily. Mostly, because it reminds me of how I came to love my husband. You see I married Mr. Darcy, and maybe the only man in the world who appreciates that novel. Whenever I play the A&E video version of it, he makes sure to watch the part where Mr. Darcy first proposes to Lizzie (getting pointers, I'm sure), telling her how much he loves her in spite of all her deficits. Very much like conversations we've had. I know, sounds awful. But as Mr. Darcy says, "Your good opinion is rarely bestowed, and therefore more worth the earning!" My husband's disdain for empty flattery was part of what drew me to him. When he compliments me, it's like finding a wallet filled with cash in the trash.

Rebekah:  What's one thing readers would be surprised to know about you?
Connie:  Maybe that I once lived in an all-male dormitory while in grad school. That was the inspiration for my first novel, One Among Men. Though that book is not my life story, there are elements I took from real life that would also surprise readers. You'll have to read it to find out what those are :o).

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women's Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. She is the author of  At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD. Other titles include, An Insignificant Life and One Among Men (the Maryland State University Series), and her current release, Flee from Evil.

Connect with Connie here:

Connie's giving away your choice of a paperback or eBook
version of Flee from Evil to anyone within the United States.


Connie Almony said...

Thanks so much for having me on today, Rebekah. It was so much fun to answer your questions! Can't wait to give away a book.

Rebekah Millet said...

Hey Connie! It was great interviewing you! Can't wait to see what lucky person wins Flee from Evil!

Dana Michael said...

Awesome interview. Connie is a great author. Yeah don't we all love that Mr. Darcy. I married one too. Lol!

Just Commonly said...

Great interview! Thank you for a thoughtful interview, and the answers (love the P&P reference) and the giveaway!

Rebekah Millet said...

Hi Dana! Thanks so much for stopping by & your kind words about Connie! I'm in Mr. Darcy's fan club too. My sister leans toward Mr. Bingley, but I'm Team Darcy all the way!

Rebekah Millet said...

Hey Annie! It's great to see you here again! So glad you were able to stop by and meet Connie :-)

Stella Potts said...

Thank you so much for the interview Connie. I love getting to know authors this way and find out things about them I would never know otherwise. I would love to read this book. It sounds absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for a chance to win a copy.

Connie Almony said...

Dana, always good to see you on the blogs. Thanks for coming by. Annie, yes I love a good P&P reference. We say in the writing biz, show-don't-tell. That is the essence of Darcy. He was not one to show off to the world, but when Lizzie needed him, he was there. That's the kind of man you keep. Stella, I hope you have a chance to read Flee from Evil. I have a soft-spot for this one. Much of my family is in it--sort of. My son inspired the ten-year-old boy with autism!

Caryl Kane said...

Fantastic interview! Flee from Evil sounds great! I look forward to reading it.

psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

Rebekah Millet said...

Hi Stella! So glad you enjoyed the interview. Like everyone else, I've got you entered for the drawing. Good luck!

Rebekah Millet said...

Thanks for stopping by Caryl! Best of luck with the drawing.

Connie Almony said...

Hope you enjoy the book Caryl!

Rebekah Millet said...

And just a reminder--The giveaway is open through Tuesday. We'll draw the winner of Connie's book Wednesday morning (April 6th) & post the winner here.

Linda Rainey said...

Good blog post.
The book sounds like a good read.

Rebekah Millet said...

Thanks Linda! So glad you stopped by :-)

Trixi said...

Connie I loved reading your fun interview! Your book sounds good, I especially enjoy redemption stories. I love how the author glorifies God in them, He's the best restorer of relationships :-)

Thanks for sharing today and for the giveaway opportunity!

teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

Connie Almony said...

Linda, hope you get a chance to read Flee from Evil.

Trixi, I love to re-purpose things in my own life--making purses out of old jeans, Barbie clothes out of t-shirts--that sort of thing. God is the ultimate re-purposer. Just when we think we are too broken or ripped, He turns us into something purposeful. I've seen it too many times in the people around me not to be amazed by His creative power. And I like to tell the stories! That's what I loved about writing this story. God finds purpose even in Vince's horrible past.

Trixi said...

Oh Connie, what a perfect descriptor of God....a re-purposer! I never really thought about it that way, but it's so true. I can see so many places in my own life where God has done just that, and made something even MORE beautiful out of the old torn & shredded! I'm keeping that in mind, such a wonderful way to think :-)

I love that you do the same with old things, I think it's so neat when people are gifted in that way! Me, I have not a crafty bone in my body...lol!

Rebekah Millet said...

Don't y'all just love Connie's outlook?! I never thought of God that way either.

Trixi - We're in the same boat. I can't craft for anything! Lol! Thanks for stopping by & best of luck with the drawing.

Peggy Trotter said...

So glad you could make it to the Diamond Mine, Connie! Loved the interview!

Rebekah Millet said...

Hey Peggy! Thanks for checking out Connie's interview ��

Rebekah Millet said...

The winner of Connie's book is.........Linda! Congrats Linda! Please give me your email address so we can send you the link for your free copy of Flee from Evil. Thank you to everyone else for stopping by!

Connie Almony said...

Congrats, Linda!!!