WASHINGTON -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will speak publicly for the first time in months, describing with her husband the grueling 10-month recovery from an assassination attempt in January.

ABC News' Diane Sawyer interviewed Giffords and Mark Kelly for a special to air Monday night. It includes video footage of the Arizona Democrat through various stages of her recovery after being shot in the head from close range at a constituent event in Tucson.

The network has released a brief excerpt showing Giffords saying only a few short phrases.

"Pretty good," Giffords says when asked how she feels.

"Is it painful?" Sawyer asks.

"It's difficult."

The nation has seen only occasional glimpses of Giffords during the course of her recovery. Most prominently, she came to Washington in August to vote on the deal that resolved the debt ceiling crisis, a visit kept secret until she arrived in Congress for an emotional return.

She made a second trip in October for a ceremony marking the official retirement of her husband, a Navy captain and shuttle astronaut.

The man accused in the Jan. 8 mass shooting, Jared Loughner, faces 49 felony counts in the rampage that killed six bystanders and wounded 13 at a public event staged by Giffords. Prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty. Experts have concluded that Loughner has schizophrenia.

The Giffords interview is airing on the eve of the release of the couple's book documenting her recovery.