Today, we have author, Connie Ann Michael back with us to answer a few more questions and tell us a bit more about her new book, FORSAKEN.
Welcome, Connie, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself.
A new resident of Montana, I grew up in a close family on the outskirts of Seattle. Drawn to the Lord I’ve followed my calling of service and has taught for twenty-six years, currently the fifth grade teacher at Crow Agency Public School, on the Crow Reservation. I love my family and am lucky enough to have two grown boys. Living with my husband and two dogs in Big Sky country, I enjoy any activity that takes me outside and I’m working hard to overcome my fear of being eaten by a bear to enjoy more hiking trips in the mountains.
So, you’re newest novel, FORSAKEN released earlier this year–May 23rd to be exact. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Eighteen-year-old Oli cannot remember life outside the barrier, a life before the oil spill that poisoned human kind, killing half the population and infecting the other half until they deteriorated from the inside out, forced to walk the earth as Screamers. It’s a dangerous new world in which barely anyone makes it past the age of twenty, and Oli’s time is running out.
Studying the Bible, Oli searches for words to help restore faith in a lost world, and when she receives a message from God telling her to leave the barrier, she knows what she must do. There’s only one problem: Her best friend, Coi, doesn’t believe her, and he’s showing the first signs of infection. But before she can convince him to leave with her, the Governor quarantines Coi and orders his execution.
Oli risks it all to rescue Coi, and they set out to find sanctuary away from the safety of the compound, not knowing who or what will get to them first: the Governor, the illness, or the Screamers. When they stumble upon a group of uninfected humans hidden among the rubble of an apartment building, they think they’ve found their salvation. But not everything is as it seems, and their enemies are closer than they thought.
What’s your favorite scene from the book?
I like the easy banter Oli and Coi have at the beginning of the book. They are very close and know how to get to each other, especially when talking about who Coi likes. Here’s a short excerpt…
“She hates me. Can’t you find someone to love that likes me?”
“That could be a difficult task.” His eyebrows drew together. “Why does it matter? You aren’t the one marrying her.”
“Marrying her,” I almost shouted. “A minute ago you liked her. Now you’re marrying her?”
“Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?”
I opened my eyes wide and gave him a hard stare. “It isn’t that she doesn’t not like me. She hates me. You’re like my brother. What if she tells you not to hang out with me?” I pouted. “I’d be lonely.”
Coi raised an eyebrow. “Be nicer to her then.”
I punched him in the arm, but I knew he was kind of right. I didn’t have friends other than him and Bliss. I was also feeling a little jealous he was deciding to accept his life and move forward, that he was looking for a love different than the one I hoped he’d search out, the eternal one I was afraid he’d turned his back on.
“God’s love is infinite,” I said quietly.
“It isn’t enough.”
“It’s all you need. You should pray and ask if she’s who you should be with.”
Coi started to laugh but it quickly turned into a cough. “I’m not going to pray for anything let alone whether God wants me to be with Erica.” He coughed again. “Should I pray for him to bring me a woman and then wait to see what rotting gal comes knocking on the door?”
I punched him again. “That wasn’t what I meant.”
He rubbed his arm and coughed again. “Oli. God is gone. The Governor has approved our relationship. That’s all I need.”
What’s your least favorite scene and why?
My least favorite scene is the fight scene when Oli needs to help Coi escape. It is hard to get the words right to show the emotion and urgency of the situation, and I always feel I fall short in that area.
Sounds like a great story! Where can we get a copy?
And you can add it to Goodreads.
What one book or series do you wish YOU had written and why?
I wish I had written the Chop, Chop series by L.N. Cronk because even though it’s time in the spotlight has yet to come, it is one of the most moving series’s I’ve ever read and to be able to get a reader totally invested in a group of characters is a wonderful thing.
What’s the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
I have ideas bumping around in my head all the time, and I keep notebooks full of short paragraphs and title ideas; however, when I sit down to write often times those ideas get jumbled and I can’t get them out in any semblance of order.
What one piece of advice would you give to new writers?
Write for yourself and not to become the next best thing. If you rely on others to make you feel good about your writing, you will never be happy.
Finally, tell us where can readers find you?
Thanks so much, Connie!