Connie Mann has written dozens of articles, ghostwritten six books, and served as the editor of a parenting magazine. She had a non-fiction book on parenting released in 2005. Her screenplay, Catch of a Lifetime, was made into a feature-length film. And her first novel, Trapped, was published a few years ago. But Angel Falls, a romantic suspense set in Brazil, has always been the book of Connie’s heart, and it released earlier this month.
When not writing, “Captain Connie,” a USCG-licensed boat captain, is usually out on the water with local schoolchildren or family and friends in Central Florida.
You have a variety of writing credits. Which came first for you, fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction has been, and probably always will be, my first love. But for me, non-fiction was an easier way to earn a paycheck. I’ve done everything from writing yellow page ads to ghostwriting, to editing a magazine to writing a parenting book for Revell. All the while I kept writing fiction, learning my craft, acquiring rejection letters. Today, I write suspense fiction and try to encourage busy women through my blog. I found I love the balance of doing both.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
It’s hard to pick just one! Sometimes the detours were clearly God’s doing—and sometimes I wandered off the path and He had to turn me around. Angel Falls was definitely a detour. I sold the book in 2004 and thought my time had finally come. But months before publication, I was asked to change the story so significantly that I felt it would rip the heart and soul right out of the story. I couldn’t do it, so the project was nixed. I got so discouraged I quit writing and became a boat captain—and found I love being out on the water around people.
Of course, the stories pulled me back, so I wrote another novel, which was published by a small press. But then I learned that Ramona Richards—who had been the freelance editor for Angel Falls years ago—had taken a job with Abingdon. I sent her the manuscript and it landed on her desk the SAME DAY she emailed me to ask if the story was still available. Talk about God’s timing. Just the fact that she remembered the story blew my mind.
Fast forward another two years, and Angel Falls is finally available, TEN years after I first wrote it! I believe God, in His infinite wisdom, has a reason Angel Falls’ time is now. I’m delighted to ride along to see what He has planned.
How does your faith play into your work?
No matter what I’m writing, the words flow out of a Christian perspective and worldview. That’s the foundation I stand on, but the faith elements are rarely overt. They’re definitely there, quietly planting seeds, but they’re intentionally woven in underneath.
That term always surprises me, because I simply set out to tell a story. On a trip to my father’s hometown in Porto Alegre, Brazil, I learned the heartbreaking reality of the street children who lived there. I started wondering how a young girl would survive being abandoned, who she would become. What if she was raped as a teen and then brutally attacked while pregnant? How would someone with a past like that find healing? And how would she ever trust a man enough to risk letting him near her, never mind contemplating the ultimate intimacy of marriage? Trying to answer those questions is how Regina, my heroine, was born. Angel Falls is ultimately a story of God’s healing and the second chances He loves to give His children—if we let Him.
On your website, you are an encourager of “dreamers.” What set you on that particular mission—and from where or whom do you draw personal encouragement?
God has put some incredible people in my life who have walked beside me, not only in the happy times, but through the dark, discouraging days as well. Nothing makes my heart smile like knowing God has allowed me to encourage someone else. This dream chasing business isn’t easy! I draw my encouragement from my relationships with God, my family, close friends, and books like John Eldredge’s Beautiful Outlaw, which is changing my view of Christ in wonderfully unexpected ways!
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Ooh, I love to eat, so it’s hard to pick. So let’s just say if it’s shrimp or Italian food, I’m in. Finish it off with a Snickers bar, and I am one happy girl.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Piano lessons were required in my family, and I also learned to play the flute. I sang in choirs and lead a praise team, but haven’t done any of that in years. Lately I’ve realized how much I miss making music.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Definitely instrumental jazz. I love its unexpected twists and turns, its emotional depth and sense of yearning. It relaxes me and makes me smile. I’d like to be a person who brings that to others.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I’d love to be the mysterious woman behind dark glasses, the super heroine or the strong, female lead. But I’m afraid I’m usually the girl next door trying to walk in high heels!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Our aging black lab, Shadow–aka The Queen–has been part of our family for sixteen years. Arthritis has made her stiff, but she still bounds inside like a puppy, tail wagging, looking for some loving, which we’re happy to give.
Thanks, Connie! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thanks so much for having me, Kathy. It’s been a pleasure!
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For more information about Connie, visit her website at http://conniemann.com.
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