Monday, April 14, 2014

At the Edge of A Dark Forest, a Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Connie Almony

As you all know, I LOVE fairytales. Well today I have a big treat for all of us. Author, Connie Almony has a new book that's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast called At the Edge of a Dark Forest. She consented to share some behind-the-scenes thoughts from writing the books.

At the Edge of a Dark Forest
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.

EM: Tell us about yourself.

CA: I am trained as a mental health counselor and have been married for over twenty years to a man who inspires the mischievous banter of my hero and heroine. I also have two children who model the quirkiness of my more colorful characters.

EM: What inspired you to write this particular story?

CA: This book began from an idea to do a series with my critique partners, based on Fairytales without the magic. I’ve always been intrigued with the story of Beauty and the Beast because of the element of loving someone for their insides and not their looks. However, as a counselor who’s worked with abused women who’ve chosen projects, as boyfriends, rather than soul mates, I’m always concerned about encouraging the idea that it is a woman’s job to change a man with her love. So, in At the Edge of a Dark Forest, it’s not Carly’s love that makes him whole.

I had to figure out how this man would be a beast, and how could he be transformed without magic. After having done a MilitaryMinistries Series on my blog a couple of years ago, I’ve been particularly moved by the many ways our veterans have sacrificed for our country. That’s how the idea of a war-vet, amputee with PTSD came to mind. Carly, the female protagonist is a physical therapist who’s developed an innovative prosthetic socket design. I got the socket design from a youtube video showing how it worked, and spoke to someone from the company who manufactures it. If you want to learn more about this socket design, go to the website. It’s really quite amazing!

EM: Tell us how you used horses in this novella.

CA: When researching various treatments for veterans with PTSD I came across one involving horses. It made sense to me, because whenever I envisioned the hero of the story, Cole, for some reason I kept seeing him on a horse. Horses are used in many ways with disabled vets. Riding, itself, can help develop underused muscles for amputees learning to walk again. Vets also benefit from the care and relationship with the horse, and so much more. So of course, this type of therapy became a significant piece in Cole’s healing.

EM: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise your readers.

CA: I once lived with hundreds of hard partying college guys in an all-male dorm. I was a graduate-assistant resident director. Yes, that sounds like the plot of a novel, and it is the setting of my first manuscript. It was quite the experience. While doing walk-throughs, I got hit-on by droopy-towel-wearing guys emerging from the public shower. Other residents tried to get my white t-shirt wet at a field day event. (Note: never wear white to college activities involving water. I don’t know WHAT I was thinking!). And they did announce my initial arrival at hall meetings like I was going to do a strip tease. But at least it inspired my writing career ;o). Like they say, whatever doesn’t kill you … you can make into a really great novel.

At least I think that’s what they say.

EM: Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

CA: You know how movies always portray romance writers with their hair pulled up in a sloppy bun, wearing yoga pants (or sweats) and an old, beat up “grandma” sweater? That’s me. I think there’s a magic in it. You cannot write a good romance without the uniform. My grandma sweater was even once my grandma’s. Only it didn’t get all the holes in it until I started wearing it. If I’m not careful putting it on, my hand will go right through the hole in the elbow. But still, it’s very cozy and makes me feel close to my grandmother who is now with God (probably telling Him what to do).  

Thank you, Connie for sharing your world with us today!

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: and
You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:


  1. Edie, thanks for having me on today!

  2. Love the premise of your story, Connie. Also love the artwork. Must read!

  3. Thanks, Karen. That picture really jumped out at me. I love the way the sunlight illuminates the cross at the top of the little tree.