Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Getting to Know You with Keona Tann

Please welcome Keona Tann to our blog today.


1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up on the beautiful north west coast of Tasmania in Ulverstone. I had a fairly active childhood: I would frequently ride my bike to visit family and friends; I learnt ballet and taekwondo; I was involved in tennis, hockey and the Surf Life Saving Club.
I have been married for 21 years, to my college sweetheart, and we have been blessed with 2 wonderful children. For the first 10 years of the children's lives I worked part time so that I could be the primary care giver. I then worked full time for almost 3 years until a debilitating illness in 2014. Most of my life was plagued with sickness – I suffered with endometriosis for 28 years and an illness in 2014 developed into adrenal/chronic fatigue which was severe for 28 months. I am so grateful that God intervened at a Christian retreat in September 2016 and I received healing. That moment set me on a path of restoration and transformation. I’m slowly getting stronger and more ability is returning each week.
I have been a Christian since I was 13, I strayed for a little bit in my late teens, so when I was 20 I rededicated my life to Jesus. I have been involved in Women’s Ministry, Church drama groups, led a small home group and worked in the Church office. I am now an active member of the Church intercessor group which is a great source of training, inspiration and support.

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
The book that instantly came to mind was "The Magic Faraway Tree" by Enid Blyton. I just loved the idea of this gigantic tree and I loved all the different characters. My favourite description was Moonface's part of the tree, a slide in the middle of his house that took you to the bottom of the Faraway Tree! Surely that’s every kid’s dream?! Reading her book sparked my imagination and in my mind I joined all the amazing characters in that Faraway Tree!

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and right write?
I have 3 different styles that I enjoy reading. I love Christian novels which contain biblical truths. The series that I really enjoy reading over and over again is Angela Elwell Hunt's series "Legacies Of The Ancient River" which consists of 3 books: "Dreamers", "Brothers" and "Journey". In this series the story of Joseph came alive to me, as I read them I felt very connected to Joseph and his journey.
The other style that I enjoy is action novels, such as Lee Child's Jack Reacher books. In regards to this style L.T. Ryan has done a very similar series about a character called Jack Noble. When I read L.T. Ryan's books I felt as if a great secret was unlocked in my mind. L.T. Ryan's writing is similar to Lee Child's. For me I felt the secret was that there are no limitations upon me other than the ones I place upon myself. Of course there needs to be structure and order, but I don't need to be afraid if my story is similar to someone else's or even if not many people like my work! My role is to prayerfully write and ask that the words reach and touch those that they are for!
The other style is memoir. I found Annette Mace's book "It's Official It's A Miracle" extremely uplifting. She suffered for several years with chronic fatigue which she details very openly in her book. I read her book when my adrenal/chronic fatigue raged on and her healing testimony inspired me to continue to press into God for my very own miracle. Which praise God I received!

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
My mum would read to me on a regular basis which I absolutely loved! I come from a long rich heritage of readers! My nana purchased for me some of the books in the Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' series and I simply devoured each book! They took me on grand adventures.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
In High School I crafted a book with a friend as our English project. I loved the whole process! But then life just seemed to take me on a different path and my writing just 'slipped away'. Then in my 20's I was inspired to start journaling and I found it therapeutic and encouraging. To be able to look back on a prayer and realise it was answered was faith building. To read back on a really 'dark day' and see how God had changed that circumstance was astounding.
Then around 10-12 years ago I had an idea that maybe my struggle with endometriosis could be shared with the hope of encouraging other sufferers. I started to write about my experience. Then a few months later my computer died! I gave up and said to myself "oh well you're not a writer anyway". Then in 2014 when my adrenal/chronic fatigue first developed I again found writing extremely beneficial. 
At the start of 2016 I entered various competitions with the hope of winning to fund my first book. I wrote up a mission statement:
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.Psalm 40:3 New Living Translation
I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding.

I wasn’t successful in any of the competitions, but the pieces that I had written have now been used on the ACW. They also form part of my healing testimony, so all that work was not in vain.

6. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I've been interested in being a personal trainer in the past. At the start of 2016 I thought that I might have been on a career path in fitness. But my health prevented that from happening. It was definitely a huge passion in my life before my illness. Maybe that might still be in my future?

7. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my family. We are blessed to have a family shack up in the Highlands of Tasmania and try to get there as often as we can. I just love being able to sit in front of the fire and relax. Also spending time in the bush or out on the Great Lake is so relaxing!

8. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
My dream since my late teens has been to visit Ireland. I would love to explore the wonderful countryside and spend some time there learning about the history. To be honest I simply love the Irish accent and music, so just being there would be a huge blessing!

9. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
Amy Grant- when I was in High School I struggled and each day I'd come home in tears and play her music. Her music inspired me to keep living and enabled me to press on!
Heidi Baker - her book "Compelled By Love" has inspired me immensely! 
Lysa TerKeurst - her daily devotions sustained me through my 28 months of severe illness. God deeply touched my heart through her Proverbs31 Ministries Facebook posts and emails!

Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.
I'm writing a weekly blog which can be found at: https://keonajtann.wordpress.com/

I have a few book ideas that I believe God is inspiring me to write and publish. So this is currently a work in progress that I pray will happen soon. I hope to publish my first book before the end of the year. I’m working on a children's illustrated book with a local artist as well as documenting my healing testimony and restoration journey. So stay tuned!

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