Interview with Connilyn Cossette & GIVEAWAY

Interview with Connilyn Cossette & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted Word

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas.

Connect with her at


Welcome to the blog, Connilyn. I’m so happy to have you here today. Congratulations on your debut release, Counted with the Stars. It looks and sounds amazing!

Interview with Connilyn Cossette & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordWhat do YOU love most about this story?

Thank you for having me here Savanna! I think what I love most about this story is that I didn’t actually set out to write a book, it all came out of my own personal study of Exodus. In fact, one verse stuck out so much in my mind (A mixed multitude also went up with them… Exodus 12:38) that I just could not stop thinking about it. I kept wondering: Who were these other people? Were they Egyptian? What would make them pack up and go with the Hebrews? My wheels started turning and suddenly I had a vivid picture in my mind: an elderly Egyptian woman, standing on the east bank of the Jordan River, waiting to go into the Promised Land—and voilà! Kiya was born and refused to go away until I wrote the story of why she chose to turn her back on her gods to follow Yahweh into the wilderness. Since I was forced to really dig deep into the historical context of the Bible, I fell more deeply in love with The Word and became passionate about writing a story that would inspire others to do the same.

What’s one of the strangest things you had to research for this series?

I would have to say that the strangest thing I’ve researched would be Ancient Egyptian medical practices. Some of it is really fascinating, like the fact that the kohl eye-makeup that they wore on their eyes wasn’t just for looks; the ingredients actually protected their eyes from infection. But some of it is just plain weird and stomach-turning. In the Ancient Egyptian mind, medicine and magic went hand in hand, so a lot of the prescriptions used pretty gross things to ward off evil spirits. If my doctor ever said, “Let’s try slathering you with some crocodile dung, or perhaps some goat’s blood and smashed tadpoles,” I might think about choosing a different physician. And yet, these were some of the treatments recommended by the medical papyri. However, although we may remember the Ancient Egyptians for the strange practice of mummification, but they were actually very advanced in many ways, performed complicated surgeries, and utilized things like wild honey to treat wounds, which modern science has proven has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. But still, no crocodile dung for me, thank you very much.

Haha! I’m with you there. 😉 How fascinating, though! I never would have guessed.

You’ve entered, finaled, and won several writing contests. Do you have a word of advice for other writers entering in contests?

Interview with Connilyn Cossette & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordAs an aspiring author, I had a great many fears about releasing my “baby” into the world. But every leap of faith I took, every time I pushed SEND and surrendered my story into God’s hands, was preparation for sending to agents and editors, and ultimately for putting my story into the hands of readers. Feedback from a variety of judges will hone your skills, thicken your skin to criticism, and make you realize that reading is ultimately a subjective thing. I had judges that raved about my story and some that thought it was awful. I learned that I could not please everyone and needed to write for the glory of God, instead of man—which was such a freeing thing. My advice? Do it! Enter contests, take the criticism with an open mind and a teachable spirit, and don’t ever get discouraged. You never know what God has in store for your writing if you are willing to lay it down at his feet.

I read online that you are a homeschooling mother. I was homeschooled and hope to teach my own kids someday. 🙂 Do you have a particular favorite subject you enjoy teaching them?

How cool! I love homeschooling my kids and am grateful for the privilege (even on those days when I wonder how fast I’d have to run to catch up to that yellow bus!) Since I am a history nerd, I enjoy learning alongside my kids and sharing some of my own research with them. I also am very excited that both my kids are learning French this year. I was a French Major in college (at least for awhile, since I only recently decided what I wanted to be when I grow up and changed majors a thousand times) but I was pretty fluent at one time. So I enjoy dragging all that dormant French out of the far recesses of my brain and speaking a language I love with my family. Since my husband is passionate about helping the Haitian people, he is learning along with us as well, so that makes it extra special. Both my kids also participated in NaNoWriMo last year and love to write stories, which of course is right up my alley! So, basically I like teaching everything, except for math. Math and I aren’t friends.

Name a book that really impacted your life.

Interview with Connilyn Cossette & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordThat is a tough one. Being a voracious reader from the beginning, there have been so many books that influenced me over the years. Jane Eyre is my favorite book, but I have to say Gone with the Wind impacted me the most personally. I read the entire book, in one day, when I was home sick from school my eighth grade year. I still remember the sun coming up and the birds welcoming the dawn as I turned that last page. Gone with the Wind awakened my curiousity for history, as well as a passion for historical fiction. In fact, I was so inspired that when I found out Margaret Mitchell had died before writing the sequel, I pulled notebook paper out of my Trapper-Keeper (which dates me), uncapped a green pen, and started writing it for her. I can still see that first scene in my mind—Scarlett sitting on the porch at Tara with her head in Mammy’s lap, bemoaning the loss of Rhett. I consider that first page (which I dearly wish I still had) the beginning of my writing career.

Wow! How neat, Connilyn! I love hearing stories like this. 🙂 Thank you so much for being with us today. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

I have just finished writing Book Three in the Out from Egypt series, which I cannot wait to share with you all. My Canaanite heroine is a little bit Mulan, a little bit Merida, and all ready to avenge her family members killed by invading Hebrews—even if she has to shave her head and marry her enemy to do it! I am now in the process of researching and plotting out my next series and am excited to see where God leads me for inspiration! I’d love to hear which stories in the Bible readers might be interested in exploring in a fresh new way, so tell me in the notes below for a chance to win a copy of Counted with the Stars! And don’t forget to stop by and sign up for my email list for exclusive content and giveaways and to hear more about upcoming projects.

Thanks again to Savanna for having me here today, I’ve so enjoyed answering these fun questions!

Thank you, Connilyn! I can’t wait to read Counted With The Stars!


Connilyn has graciously offered a copy of Counted with the Stars to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends March 22, 2016.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!

80 comments on “Interview with Connilyn Cossette & GIVEAWAY
  1. Rebecca Maney says:

    Ruth and Boaz (which Regina Jennings hinted at in “Thirty Acres and a Bride”) would be a fun re-write.

  2. Sonnetta Jones says:

    I would love to read about Rehab. I think she is so interesting. Her back story would be worth the read.

    Just finished reading Risen, so I know that I will like your story.

    • Just a little hint, Rahab might just make an appearance in Book 3 of the Out from Egypt Series! 🙂 I want to read Risen too, but I have to wait until my son is done with it, he won’t give it up!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Great point, Sonnetta. I would love to get to know more about her too. 🙂 I’ve not read Risen, but I’ve heard many good things about it! Good luck in the giveaway. 🙂

  3. Rachael K says:

    It would definitely be interesting to learn more about Rahab – What happened after Jericho fell? Did she actually marry one of the spies, like people like to believe?

  4. Kim Potter says:

    Would love to win. Thanks.

  5. Annie JC says:

    Great interview! I’d be interested in Sarah and Abraham. It took love and faith for their love story to be more than years of being without child. I don’t see a lot of retelling of that.

  6. Diana Guz says:

    Ever since I saw the cover for Counted With the Stars, I have been crazy excited!! I’m waiting very impatiently for it to come out in April! I was super happy to see this interview. I think any Bible story that has not been written about yet would be nice for a future novel.

  7. Melanie Backus says:

    I love Naomi and Ruth’s story so a new twist, I don’t know!

  8. Connie Scruggs says:

    I would love to read more about what Jesus’ life would have been like when He was growing up

  9. Joanne Keith says:

    I woul love a new interpretation of Moses. I love these interviews, thank you so much!

  10. Wenona says:

    I’ve also enjoyed the story of Ruth 🙂

  11. Staci says:

    There are so many interesting stories that could be brought to life in Fiction. I would say one of the lessor known disciples.

  12. Raechel says:

    I like almost all Biblical fiction if it’s done well. Not sure which I’d love to see most…some more in set in the New Testament maybe… 🙂

    • Glad to hear you are a Biblical fiction fan! I have so many stories floating around in my head, so at some point I’m sure I’ll dig into the New Testament!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Me too, Raechel. Yeah, I haven’t read too many set in the New Testament. Great point! Just talking with you all here is making me want to go read more Biblical Fiction again. 🙂

  13. Becky B says:

    Maybe the story of Joseph. So much of his life is a sentence or two. I wonder about the long stretches where he wondered where God was in his life.
    Becky B

  14. Hi Savanna! Hi Connilyn! I loved the interview! I hope to homeschool my littles someday too! (they’re only 2 and not yet born yet though!) I think I would have LOVED to have been homeschooled. And Gone With The Wind was also the book that spurred my desire to someday write a novel… even if it did take me another 15 years to get around to doing it. But I also had a silly notebook back in high school which I’d started at sequel to GWTW. 😀 I’m SURE it was terrible! ❤️

    • Hey Dawn! I don’t doubt my GWTW sequel was equally horrendous, but of course in my 13 year old mind, it was a bestseller! How fun that we have that in common.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Dawn! So happy to see you here. I hope to homeschool my kiddoes someday as well. 😉 I loved hearing about your early writing dreams. If only you still had it to look back on. What a special memory, even if it makes you cringe to read it today. 😉 Trust me, I have those works as well. 😉 Have a great weekend!

  15. Bonnie M says:

    I enjoy all Biblical fiction. It inspires me to dig deeper into the Bible.

  16. And who ever wins is in for a treat! Connilyn writes her Biblical fiction from first person POV–there aren’t many of us historical first person POV writers, so do take advantage of digging into this gem! ❤️
    Can you imagine living Biblical history through the deeply intimate perspective of such a character?

  17. Anne Rightler says:

    I think I would like to know more about Anna the old woman in the temple that was awaiting the Messiah’s birth. I do enjoy the Biblical historical novels that authors are bringing out these days! Thank you for sharing. Enjoyed the comment on math. It reminded me of the controversial talking Barbie or several yrs ago who said: “I hate math.” Thank you for sharing, ladies. I look forward to reading your book!

    • Oh she would be interesting wouldn’t she? Can you imagine waiting your whole life to hold the Messiah in your arms? I guess Barbie and I have something in common 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Oh yes! I would love to see a story around Anna. That would be such a special perspective. Thanks for sharing, Anne. I’m glad you could join us!

  18. Stella Potts says:

    I think Rehab would make a great story. Thanks for the opportunity to win your book. It sounds so good.

  19. Polaris says:

    Well, I love how R. J. Larson repackages the stories in a fantasy form while still staying true to the original content…so…really anything by her?

  20. Joan Arning says:

    How about some lesser known people like Joanna or Lydia

  21. Deanna Stevens says:

    Noah’s wife would have had quite the life..
    Your book sounds like one I’d enjoy..

  22. Jan Hall says:

    I would love to read a story about Job

  23. Vicki G says:

    I think a book about Mary Magdalene would be great!

    • She would be interesting to learn more about for sure. I love how God used women like her as major witnesses to Jesus in a day when women were treated so harshly. Great idea!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Ohhh, I like that idea too, Vicki! And I agree with what Connilyn said. I love seeing how God used her and others like her to show His grace and glory. So beautiful!

  24. Linda Moffitt says:

    Looks like a good book Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy I’d really love to read it

    • Linda Moffitt says:

      I Have not really read The Bible in that way so any of the stories would be new to me

      • Thanks Linda! I hope you enjoy Kiya’s story and that it inspires you to read more about the Exodus, its a great way to jump into reading the Bible. Lots of action in those chapters! It’s cool to realize that people back then were just like us; they loved, they cried, they had fears and doubts. Putting myself “into” the stories of the Bible has taught me so much about God, and myself! Thanks for sharing!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      So glad you could join us, Linda! I hope you get to read this one real soon. The Biblical fiction I’ve read has been so special and powerful. Each one has been so memorable. Hope you get to explore this genre soon! 🙂

  25. Terrill Rosado says:

    A few months ago, i would have answered Deborah, but Jill Eileen Smith has recently released The Prophetess. I have always been intrigued by Deborah, but her story is so short (although powerful.) I haven’t read Smith’s book, but I am very interested in the fictional liberties she would have had to taken in order to lengthen Deborah’s story.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Terrill! Yeah, I’ve heard about Jill’s new book and it looks good! I’ve read others by her and enjoyed them. It would be neat to read her spin on Deborah too. Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Beth says:

    I love any biblically set fiction but especially those with people who don’t get a lot of attention in scripture (like all those mentioned in the long genealogies or many of the women who aren’t mentioned by name). I think that with the right research and respect for scripture, these stories serve an important role in creating the cultural context for the events of the Bible.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Yes, totally! It would be so fascinating to read some stories on those we know so little about from the Scriptures. Thanks for visiting, Beth!

  27. carylkane says:

    I LOVE Biblical fiction! I would enjoy fresh insight into Jesus’s ministry. 🙂

  28. Amanda says:

    This book sounds so fascinating. I never noticed that part in Exodus that others went with the Israelites. Randomly I just found out about this book today and added to-read on Goodreads and then I found this! I think it would be interesting to see what type of ministry the man who was possessed and with the demons went on to have. He must have been such a witness.

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