Please welcome author Lynne Constantine


Author Bio:

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Lynne relocated to the New York area  in 2004 with her husband and children. In addition to her writing, she is active in her church and local community.   She  has served on the board of her town’s local women’s league for the past three years.   She is passionate about education, reading, health, and wellness.   She enjoys traveling, spending time on the beach and taking walks with her family and their adorable golden retriever.  


Lynne wrote Circle Dance with her sister Valerie.  Circle Dance was a legacy of love fueled by the desire to pass on to their children the traditions and experiences unique to them as second generation Greek Americans. Lynne is currently at work on her next book, a thriller.


Book title: Circle Dance

Brief Synopsis:

The beautiful Parsenis sisters led charmed lives – or so they thought.  Born into a prosperous Greek American family, sisters Nicole and Theodora have achieved the perfect balance between the old world rich in Greek tradition and the freedom of life in America.  But when Theodora marries a rich and handsome man from outside the Greek community, events are set in motion that threaten to disrupt the enchanted “circle” of the sisters’ lives.


Headstrong and independent, Nicole plunges into life head-first. Her talent and astute business acumen make her the perfect heir to her father’s empire, but his old world attitudes prevent him from giving the top spot to a woman.  Nicole’s world spins out of control when she falls for a married senator who shares her heritage and her dreams.


As the dramatic plot unfolds, the two young women must confront deceit and betrayal and the consequences of their personal choices – while they struggle to preserve the values they cherish.


Set in Baltimore, Annapolis and the tiny island of Ikaria, Greece, Circle Dance gives the reader a view into the lives of a dynamic family that has successfully achieved the American dream without abandoning the customs and traditions handed down through their Greek heritage.  Artfully intertwined plots bring generations together in a dance of rejoicing and mourning, loss and healing that will keep readers enthralled until the last frame.


Personal

What do you do to relax when you are not writing?

I hang out with my family - watch movies, play games, chat on the deck in warm weather. I like to go to the gym which helps to center me. I also like to take walks, go to the beach and of course, read.


What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always liked to make up stories - from playing with my dolls to concocting crazy scenarios for my friend to choose from. Reading has been my favourite pastime since 2nd grade. I gradually reached a point while reading when I would think “I’d change this, or I’d do that differently.” I don’t recall the exact day I woke up and said “I’m going to be a writer.” It seemed to evolve quite naturally.


Current work

What or who inspired you to write your current novel?

Growing up as a second generation Greek American, I took it for granted that the traditions and customs of my heritage would be seamlessly handed down to my children one day. My siblings and I all married non-Greeks, my Yia Yia (grandmother)  passed away and I realized that despite my best intentions, my children would not experience many of the things uniquely Greek that I did. Writing CIRCLE DANCE way our way of preserving those traditions and ensuring that they would live on and be communicated to our children and their children one day.


Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.

1)  There is a business intrigue sub-plot

2)  Sophia, the wise grandmother, gives sage advice which gives meaning to the book’s title

3)  There is a strong theme of redemption


What research did you need to do for this book?

We talked to my brother who is in the construction business to research how to authenticate aspects of the family business. We also researched the medical aspects of brain trauma and consulted a family friend who is a neurosurgeon.


Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?

Nick, the father, is based on our own father in terms of personality traits and quirks. Most of the family is a compilation of our own family members  and friends. Costa is modeled after an Italian man who has been a family friend for years.


Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.

I’m working on a thriller that takes place in current day and deals with the changes on mores and values that society has undergone. There is a conspiracy thread running through the book which encompasses major spheres of influence and the role they have played in securing and manipulating these changes


Writing/publication process

What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?

Writing with a co-author required a great deal of organization and adherence to agreed upon plot points. We set a schedule of 15 pages a week each and would meet weekly to swap and review pages. We did this for a year until we realized it was still taking too long. We each took a week vacation from work, set up two computers in the house (pre-laptop era) and worked from morning til midnight to finish our first draft. Since that first draft, we have edited the book at least five full times.


What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?

I listen to Mozart while I write, so my earphones are an integral part of my writing routine. If I haven’t already exceeded my quota - a good cup of coffee is always welcome.


How easy did you find it getting a publisher?

CIRCLE DANCE was originally published traditionally. I took us over five years to find a publisher and another year before the book finally came out. I have a binder full of rejection letters that I collected before finally getting a contract.

The publisher was small and the marketing fell largely upon our shoulders. This was before the days of Twitter and Facebook and we were very limited in who we could reach. We managed to sell our or original print run. We decided to buy our rights back from the publisher and put the book aside for a while. We edited it once again last year and made some changes that we felt would enhance the book. We re-launched it in September and have been very happy with the results. It is now also an audio book.


What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?

1)  Perseverance - I was working full time and had to squeeze in my writing on evenings and weekends. My commitment to my sister to produce 15 pages a week was the primary reason I was able to keep the pages coming. In many ways CIRCLE DANCE is a tribute to our parents and I worried that we wouldn’t get it finished in time for my mother to read it. She was 82 by the time it was published. I’m happy to say that she is still with us and CIRCLE DANCE is her favorite book!

2)  Editing - Knowing what to cut and what to change was difficult. Everything felt personal about it and it took a while to toughen up enough to listen objectively to constructive criticism and suggestions about editing.

3)  Feeling authentic - There were times when I felt like I was just playing with this “writing thing” and wondering if I was just wasting my time working on something that no one would ever read


Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?

I’ve learned that I don’t have to write in a linear fashion. If I sit down prepared to write a certain scene in my novel and the words don’t come, then I will come up with a different scene I feel in the mood to write. Most of the time, that works. If I’m still stuck, I’ll work on a blog post, research or doing some book promotion. The critical thing is to set aside the time everyday and write whether I feel like it or not.  I participate in a writer’s workshop hosted by a local writer’s group. As our teacher, Patrick McCord,  likes to say “Don’t get it right, get it writ.”


What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?

Write consistently, even when you don’t feel like it. Sit down, every day if possible and write something.


Genre

What genre does your book fall into?

Contemporary Women’s fiction


How did you get interested in this specific genre?

I read a lot in this genre and feel very comfortable writing about issues of interest to women.


You as a reader

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?

1)  Susan Howatch - Her stories transport me into the worlds she creates and her characters are complex and three dimensional. I enjoy her ability to create an allegiance with one character and an antipathy with another UNTIL I read that other character’s point of view.

2)  C.S.Lewis - What can I say about C.S. Lewis? His brilliance, creativity, and gorgeous prose are only a few of the things that inspire me. His fantastical worlds and characters remain with me long after I’ve read the last page.

3) Dean Koontz - He hooks me from the first sentence. I love the way he creates characters that I care about. His protagonists have great senses of humor and the way he writes women impresses me as someone who has admiration and regard for females. Even though they are thrillers, they usually have an underlying societal message that I find important.


What was your favourite book as a child?

Anything Nancy Drew


What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?

The Art of Racing in the Rain. There was just something about this book that stayed with me. The life philosophy told through the eyes of a dog was extremely compelling it its simplicity and wisdom.


What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?

What Alice Forgot. It’s a refreshing, entertaining and funny book that has a wonderful underlying message. It made me examine my own life and really think about the choices I was making and whether or not I was being true to my self and living my life in a meaningful way.


Hollywood is calling

You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?

Natalie Cole as Nicole because she has the looks and presence of Nicole.

Rachel McAdams as Theodora because she has the warmth, beauty and sweetness of Theodora.

Patrick Dempsey as Michael because he has the easy good looks, charm and all around nice guy vibe that is Michael.

Clive Owen as the suave and charming Senator Demetrios

Paul Walker as the classically good looking scoundrel, Stewart

And of course, Olympia Dukakis as Sophia


The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?

Five for Fighting. I love the sound of John Ondrasik’s voice  and his lyrics are soulful and thought provoking


Favourites

Drink – Blackberry Summer Iced Tea (from Baltimore Coffee & Tea)

Meal –  Steamed Crabs (I’m from Baltimore, MD)

Holiday destination – Mykonos, Greece

TV programme – Grey’s Anatomy & Grimm

Film – The Godfather

Method of travel – Mercedes 560 SL

Sport – Swimming


How can people connect with you?

Website/Blog: www.lynneconstantine.com

Twitter: @LynneConstantin

Facebook: LynneConstantineauthor

Google Plus


Where can readers find your book?

Barnes and Noble

Kobo


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