Connie Mann is a licensed boat captain and the author of romantic suspense novels Tangled Lies (May 2016) Angel Falls and Trapped! as well as various works of shorter fiction. She has lived in seven different states but has happily called warm, sunny Florida home for more than twenty years. When she’s not dreaming up plot lines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on Central Florida’s waterways, introducing boats full of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She is also passionate about helping women and children in developing countries follow their dreams and break the poverty cycle. In addition to boating, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their grown children and extended family and planning their next travel adventures. You can visit Connie online at www.conniemann.com.
Tracey: You are a boat captain! How exciting! Please tell us about how you became a boat Captain and what sort of things Captain Connie does.
Connie: I became a boat captain 10 years ago out of self-preservation and found I love it! I’d had one too many rejections (including a book contract that fell apart) and finally realized I had to get out of my home office or I’d lose what was left of my mind! Being a captain is the perfect balance. Being outside around people fills the creative well and gets me excited about getting back to my stories. I work for our local school board and take 5th graders out on the Silver River here in Florida and get to show some of them their very first alligator. Very fun!
Tracey: You’ve written a lot of parenting books and articles, share with us how you’ve balanced family life with your writing life.
Connie: I think it’s a hard balance for everyone who works from home. I have to consciously shut down the computer, turn off social media and focus on being present with my family. When the kids were young, I also established some routines. I’d tell them I was going to be in my office for a bit (short stretches) and posted this sign on the door: “Writer at work. Do not disturb. (Exceptions: fire, flood, blood).” This helped me focus during that short window and they learned that when I came out, they’d have my full attention.
Tracey: How did the storyline for Tangled Lies come about?
Connie: People had been asking me to write a boat captain heroine for a while and I love Florida and all the cool little places here, so I started with that. My nephew and his wife are foster parents—which is awesome!--and that also got me thinking. After that came my favorite part of any story: asking dozens and dozens of ‘what if?’ questions. What if you’d been a foster child, and what if you were a boat captain, and what if you came home…?
Tracey: How does your faith play into your writing and your stories?
Connie: Two themes run through every story I write: hope and second chances. I believe that the Great Creator who writes our life stories—and gives us stories to tell--is also the author and foundation of our hope. He always, always gives second chances and because of that, the characters in my stories always get second chances, too.
Tracey: I know you support a project that is near and dear to your heart. Can you tell us about the Seeds of Blessings project?
Connie: Seeds of Blessing is a fabulous organization dedicated to helping artisans (especially women) in developing countries break the poverty cycle. The artisans in the program not only create beautiful things, but they are able to become entrepreneurs and buy livestock, or fields, or start a store to create a better life for their families. It has changed whole communities and I’m delighted to work with them. If you’d like to know more, please contact me or visit www.connie.seedsofblessing.com
Tracey: What has been your favorite vacation?
Connie: It’s so hard to pick, but one of our favorites was a trip to the Florida Keys when our children were young. We went with another family and had a blast swimming, snorkeling and even taking a boat ride out to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson.
Tracey: What is your favorite hymn and why?
Connie: For me, it will always be Amazing Grace. I especially love the newer version by Chris Tomlin – My Chains are Gone. Because at the end of the day, it’s always about grace…and hope…and second chances.
Thanks so much for having me as your guest! It’s been a pleasure.
Orphaned as a child in Russia, boat captain Sasha Petrov has spent most of her life adrift, anchored only by her loving foster family. So when they beg her to return to the family marina in Safe Harbor, Florida, for Mama’s sixtieth birthday, Sasha complies, hoping to put the past behind her. But Mama has other plans: she wants her three foster daughters to find Tony, the biological son who disappeared twenty years earlier.
Sasha agrees to try, but that’s easier said than done when bad boy Jesse Claybourne shows up, reigniting an old attraction. Back in Safe Harbor on a quest of his own, Jesse gets tangled up in Sasha’s search, and soon the two are close to uncovering an old town secret that some will stop at nothing to protect.
When Jesse is violently beaten and Sasha’s dog is poisoned, they realize the past is hiding something more sinister than they ever imagined. Can they uncover the truth without destroying Sasha’s family and breaking each other’s hearts, or are they sailing against the wind?
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