06 April 2014

Connie Almony's Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Author Connie Almony

Connie, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. I have so enjoyed the privilege of getting to know you and becoming friends through our ACFW MidAtlantic Zone! You are such a sweetheart and have a heart of gold!
Thanks for having me.

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)
I’d have to say the most striking thing He did was to prepare me to be the mother of a special-needs child. When I was in grad school, He gave me a dog with a major skin disorder that required I use natural therapies I would later need for my son. I remember saying this dog was an angel from God to teach me how to be a good mother, and then joke, “I guess He’s going to give me a high-maintenance child.” I didn’t realize how true that statement would become.
The other thing God did to prepare me was to show me a novel, Sir Gibbie, by George MacDonald, about a wonderful, compassionate mute boy who wordlessly changed lots of lives. Little did I know then He’d give me a son much like the Gibbie of the book. This helped me to appreciate my son for who he is rather than what he isn’t.
Lastly, He drew me to my current job, at a Christian counseling office, where my faith would be tried and strengthened in order to weather the coming storm. Being there, I had a group of solid Christians who would love, support and pray for me as I journey the challenges of motherhood.
Thank you, Jesus!

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
Yes, At the Edge of a Dark Forest is currently available in Large Print. I am looking into having an audio version done eventually.
At the Edge of a Dark Forest by Connie Almony

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
This novella deals with many issues surrounding the homecoming of a disabled veteran: Adjusting to life without limbs, alcoholism, dealing with flashbacks due to PTSD, and the pride that gets in the way of accepting the help one needs. It is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. However, I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of a woman setting out to change a man with her love. Having counseled many abused women who dated projects rather than soul mates, I worry some could take this story as an encouragement to find a beast of a man and hope to change him. Because of my experience, I felt I needed to adjust the story, just a little bit, so now it’s not her love that makes him whole. I’d love to see a book club expound on that idea after reading this story!

Thank you, Connie, for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Book Blurb:
Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.
Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become.
At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.

Author Bio:
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. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.
You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: InfiniteCharacters.com and LivingtheBodyofChrist.Blogspot.com.
You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:

Giveaway:  We are giving away two copies of Connie's book this week and a $10.00 Starbucks gift card.  We also have a giveaway from Connie, this week, of a $10 gift card to an online book seller such as Barnes and Noble. Follow Connie on Twitter/Pinterest/or Facebook and leave a comment or answer my Q to enter (and your email address.) Put T/P/FB for wherever you followed this lovely lady!  My question: Were you aware that this is Autism Awareness month?

34 comments:

  1. CONNIE, we are thrilled to have you join us this week on OWG! Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. Isn't it amazing how God often prepares us for the major life changing events in our lives? -- although sometimes it seems as though He plops them in our lap and we have to learn as we go! :) I'm so excited about discussing your new book and sharing my review later in the week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Diana! One of the perks of aging (how ever slowly I appear to be doing so ;o)) is that I can see God's work in so many of my trials. The blessings are innumerable. When I first saw that question, I had to really think. Not about whether or not God has helped me, but which time to choose. On any given day, I'll be reminded of a different one, depending on how the Holy Spirit is prompting me to share. Thanks for having me on. I can't wait to see your review ... I think ;o).

      Delete
  2. CONNIE, Welcome to OWG and we are so happy to have you with us. And I treasure the time I have spent with you in person, so reading your interview is like having a visit! Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss you, Carrie. It's been too long since you've traveled through the historic Balt-Wash area to do research and have lunch with me. Always a blessing. Thank you for allowing me to talk about At the Edge of a Dark Forest on your blog!

      Delete
  3. I very much appreciate your interview I very much appreciate the fact you knew how to adapt for a special needs child
    I very much appreciate that you wrote about war and ptsd
    God bless u
    Chris Granville
    granvilleATfrontiernetDOTnet
    PS I was a special needs kid, I married a very special war veteran

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Chris. God has a very special place for each of us in the Body of Christ. He uses all of what He's allowed into our lives. I know God is using you and your "special war veteran" as well. Isn't He wonderful?!

      Delete
    2. God bless you, Chris. And per random.org, you are one of our winners this week. Reading your comment, I can see that that is very apropos.

      Delete
  4. I have a niece and nephew who have autism. It's great to see a month dedicated to it. Hopefully, studies will increase to help us better understand autism. Thanks Connie for the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we are all praying for answers. There are definitely more now than even ten years ago. But there are also more questions. I know God will show us how it all comes together in the end.

      Delete
  5. Your book sounds interesting. I have a brother-in-law who has suffered from PTSD and I don't think enough of us fully understand it. And in fact, that anyone can develop PTSD following a traumatic situation in their life--not just war veterans. As to autism--I have a friend who works with disabled teens at her local high school, and she is also an awesome foster mom for one of them, so I see reminders all the time about autism and how we all need to be open to understanding ALL disabilities.
    Vicki

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, PTSD can occur from many different events, not just war. Victims of sexual assault or long-time abuse also often suffer from it. It is even reported to be the result of having had an abortion. I’ve worked with a number of women dealing with these effects.
      Please thank your friend who works with disabled teens for me. My son goes to a Young Life group, called Capernaum, which is designed specifically for those with special needs. He loves it and it is pure Joy to watch in action. Many parents have shared how much this group has changed their lives.

      Delete
  6. I was aware, I am aware, that it is Autism Awareness month. It seems to be all over the Internet, so its wonderful that the message is out there.

    F

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is that time of year, isn't it ;o)? It's funny, I often forget about Autism-Awareness month. I guess I'm already aware :o).

      Delete
  7. Thank you for the great interview, making known that this is Autism Awareness month and the great giveaway. I was not aware and I thank you.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. CONNIE, so great to have you on OWG and bring people's attention to your wonderful story that's not only a treat to read, but that also has a great message in it!! Looking forward to sharing my review of it this week!

    I'm like you... I often forget about Autism Awareness month but I'm very much aware of it too - having a son with Aspergers Syndrome. He's come a long way, but he still has issues that impact him in his life. Issues that I often wish I had someone to talk to about, in the hope that they could help us. He is the greatest blessing in my life however, and I'm grateful everyday that God blessed me enough to give him to me. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words about At the Edge of a Dark Forest.
      I know what you mean about your son being a blessing. My wordless young man brings so much joy to our household, in the most unexpected ways. Still, I worry! Who will take care of him when I’m gone? Will my daughter (and her future spouse) spend time with him wherever he is? I pray, and trust God will be there for him. Though I did not include him in this novella, he makes a guest appearance in my first manuscript, and plays a large role in my current WIP. I hope to share both the great need of families dealing with special needs issues, as well as the gifts they can bring to the church. I fear there are many gifts not being utilized because not enough churches make it easy for the bearer of those gifts to attend and bring their special needs children. If they took on this “challenge” they’d find many blessings in return--I am certain!

      Delete
    2. I have had those same thoughts often myself and suspect probably all parents of special needs do. Whenever I see the opportunity, I'll make mention of my concerns to his older sisters... and then pray that they will remember to look out for him once we are no longer around. Tougher I'm sure for you with your wordless young man... but I suppose all we can do is prepare the best we can and then trust God to do the rest.
      I'm excited to hear about your current WIP and that it will cover special needs issues! I'll pray your story will be a great inspiration to parents and churches both as well as raising awareness. Let me know when it's ready for release! Bless you.

      Delete
  9. Carrie, thank you for featuring Connie. she is such an inspiring person. I am deeply touched by her humble spirit and her outlook on life. It has always been my opinion God places His special needs children with the people with the biggest hearts. Blessings to all of you.
    Yes, I am aware it is Autism Awareness Month. I am going to go follow Connie on F B.
    Her book sounds terrific . Congratulations on it
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, I don’t know if I have the “biggest heart” but I do believe God knows what He’s doing when he gives us our children. We are all special! I don’t necessarily mean in that we are all great and wonderful and deserving of prizes (exactly). I mean that He created us each unique to fulfill a special, and important purpose. We sometimes don’t even see it and feel purposeless or not good enough. But rest be assured, He has a plan and each of us, as a member of the Body of Christ, play a key role.

      Delete
  10. Yes, I was aware that its autism awareness month. I've seen it mentioned many times on the internet and television, its so great that the media outlets are getting the message out there.

    Katie J.
    johnsonk133[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  11. You're a strong and wonderful woman and mom, Connie, let alone a dear friend. I'm glad you've written such a beautiful story to encourage others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elaine, for all your encouragement!

      Delete
  12. well, don't know what happened, I commented earlier but won't let me comment with my Wordpress ID..... What I said, was [basically] it looks to be a wonderful book, and I would love to read the full story.
    I also noted that, yes, I am aware it's Autism Month. I have friends who have children affected with this disorder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh boy, I know how you feel about trying to post under the various IDs. I've gotten kicked out after having written very long comments I'd spent lots of time on. Ugh! So glad you finally made it through :o). Thanks for persevering!!!

      Delete
  13. No, I did not know about Autism Month. I have followed Connie on FB.
    Susan Snodgrass
    TSL9Snodgrass@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, I see we are now Friends :o). Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  14. Yes, I did know about Autism Month. I have a child that had all the symptoms but the doctor told me to try going gluten free and see if that changed anything. It was a miracle - she is completely normal, as much as a 7 year old can be. :) I think God every day for that miracle.
    Thank you for sharing some of your life with us! I follow you on FB.
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PTL, Susan! Thanks for sharing and am praying for your daughter!

      Delete
  15. I Would love to read this book it looks so interesting

    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, GREAT REVIEW NOELA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a powerful story, the kind I like !!! The words exceptionally realistic and captivating caught my attention, and knowing that you made it a point to call it both a tribute to the brave men who risk life and limb to fight for our freedom and as well as those who work tirelessly to help those brave men and women recover from the ravages of war with the assistance of prosthetic limbs, I want to read this book.. You gave such a fantastic review, I believe all that read this review is going to want to read the book. The emotional impact is such a deciding factor also.. I look forward to getting to know Connie Almony, I am now following her on FB, she sounds like my kind of read .. Thank you so much Noela !!!!!
    Have a blessed day, Rosemary Foley rfoley@salemstate.edu

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sounds super-fascinating -- I like the concept. Thanks for letting everyone know about this book.

    ReplyDelete

Google Analytics