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Intersection Column | A Journey Toward Hope


by Connie Mann

 

One of the very best things about being a writer is that you get to take readers along on a journey of discovery. This quote by Anna Quindlen says it so well: “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”

 

When I’m dreaming up a new story, I always start with the setting because I’m a traveler at heart. I love taking readers to new places, whether they’re across town or halfway around the world. My dad worked for Trans World Airlines (TWA) his whole career and instilled his love of travel and exploration in me. Since we always flew stand-by, I also learned flexibility and patience, independence, and how to take a 10-day trip with just a carry-on.

 

But more importantly, Dad taught me to look around and pay attention. To the people, the culture. To see the needs. Every time I visit somewhere new, the curiosity he instilled reminds me to stop and take notice. To look for the little things that make a place and people uniquely distinct from anywhere else in the world.

 

Those telling details within the larger picture give stories an extra depth, and highlight the truth tucked under the obvious. For example, twice I’ve had the opportunity to visit the majestic Cologne Cathedral in Germany and wanted to include it in a story. That chance came when my research led me down a seemingly random rabbit trail.

 

I discovered the phrase, “I believe in God even when He is silent” and it grabbed me by the heart. In my own life, I’ve had to wrestle down those silences, too. But after the internal battle, I know and firmly believe, deep down, that God is always there. That knowing has become the bedrock foundation of my hope, my anchor. I gave Sophie, my heroine, the chance to wrestle with that silence during the story.

 

I went looking for the origin and author of the phrase and learned it is part of a longer poem, with different variations. It’s also been turned into a choral arrangement. Most believe it was written during WW2, but where and by whom isn’t clear, with attributions ranging from the wall of a concentration camp, a tunnel in Cologne, a Warsaw ghetto, to a basement wall of Cologne Cathedral by a child hiding from the Nazis. I love that last theory, so I fictionalized it in this story.

 

But a great story is about more than settings. It is always about people.

 

As a huge fan of adventure stories, I have gobbled them up like candy for many years. But I wanted to flip the norm and showcase women as the main characters, the ones saving the world. So I created a secret society of women who have been active since the 1500s who help other women. They are the ones having the grand adventures, coming to the rescue, and being heroes. All without anyone knowing what they’re up to. 


They are called Speranza, which means hope, and I had a graphic designer create their emblem: an anchor with a feather across it. I’ve been a licensed boat captain for many years, so the anchor as the symbol for hope made absolute sense to me. So did writing scenes set in Venice involving boat chases.

 

But beyond the fast-paced action and heart-pounding adventure, The Crown Conspiracy is about friendship and about trust. It’s about friends-who-become-family and about finding a place to belong. It’s about working together to make a difference for others and encouraging others to reach out and do the same.

 

About the Author

Connie Mann loves taking readers on heart-pounding, suspense-filled adventures. She’s the author of The Crown Conspiracy, the Florida Wildlife Warriors series, and the Safe Harbor series. A USCG-licensed boat captain, she also introduces Florida visitors to dolphins, which is as much fun as it sounds. Visit her online at: www.conniemann.com.


 

About the Book

When her best friend vanishes, and a rumor about hidden treasure connected to three royal paintings surfaces, art thief and forger Sophie Williams is convinced that finding the other portraits will lead to her friend and begins a twisty investigation that pits her against other ruthless treasure hunters, a handsome investigator who seems to dog her trail at every turn, and a mysterious group that offers help, wearing an emblem identical to one on the painting.

 

Did You Know?


In Old Testament times, a person’s name represented more than a label by which other people identified him. In many cases, his name also spoke to his character. The same was true for God who revealed Himself to the Israelites using a variety of names. Like the facets of a diamond, each name described a particular aspect of God’s character to help them better understand His nature and thus learn to trust Him on a deeper level.

 

God’s names are still relevant to us today. Here are three examples:

 

  • Yahweh Rohi – “the LORD is my shepherd” A good shepherd assumes responsibility for every sheep in his flock. He’s attuned to their unique personalities and quick to address their needs. As our shepherd, God is attentive to us, too. Understanding this aspect of who God is frees us to rest in His care, assured that His intent toward us is always good.

  • Yahweh Yireh – “the LORD will provide” As the infinite source of everything we need to flourish, God not only can but will provide. He meets our basic daily needs, and He also supplies wisdom, peace, joy, strength, and so much more.

  • Yahweh Tzevaot – “the LORD of hosts” God has power and authority over everything in heaven and on earth. When we face a giant, we can surrender the battle to Him and trust Him for victory.

 

Understanding God’s names is key to living unafraid. Fear cannot hold us hostage when we live in the truth of who He is.

 

-Grace Fox, Names of God

 

Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore


“I recently visited a bookstore in North Carolina. I enjoyed a cup of tea while browsing for gifts for my two nephews. The selection of books and educational materials were significant. I walked out with splendid gifts that my nephews enjoyed. Now I am their favorite aunt.”

 

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