Liv Constantine is the pen name of bestselling authors and sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via Skype and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark storylines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. THE LAST MRS. PARRISH is their debut thriller.
1) Apart from your Greek grandmother, was there anyone else who inspired you?
We’ve both been readers from the time we can remember, starting with Nancy Drew and moving on to adult authors. It’s hard to identify only one that inspired us, but some authors we admire are: Susan Howatch, Ian McEwan, Dean Koontz, Margaret Atwood, Sinclair Lewis, Helen Dunmore, Kurt Vonnegut, and Henry James.
2) A lot of writers choose self publishing to start their writing career. Do you think that's wise? Or is it better to choose traditional publishing instead?
It really depends on the goals of the authors and how they determine success. The path to traditional publishing can be long and arduous. It’s very competitive but if an author’s ultimate goal is a traditional publishing deal then it’s worth persevering. On the other hand, many authors are very successful self-publishing and enjoy the entrepreneurial aspect of it. Our feeling is that you should write the best book that you can and make sure that it is professional and edited before it publishes. The route one takes is highly personal to each author.
3) Can you tell us how your novel, "Circle Dance" came about?
At the time we were reading a lot of family sagas and ethnic fiction, and it occurred to us that there were very little stories about Greek families. We wanted to leave a legacy for our children of what it was like growing up in a strong Greek community with grandparents from the old country. We both married non-Greeks and our grandparents were gone when Lynne’s children were born. Circle Dance was our way of preserving for them a glimpse into a way of life that they wouldn’t experience.
4) In an article published by the Suspense Magazine, Lynne - you have mentioned you don't follow an outline. When you both started working on, "The last Mrs. Parrish" did you sketch an outline before starting to write?
No, we come up with a broad overview of the story and then we jump in and start writing the scenes. Things change along the way and we like for the story and characters to take on a life of their own.
5) Do you both have a common taste in books ? Which writer has influenced you?
Yes and no. We both enjoy domestic thrillers and women’s fiction. Lynne also reads a lot of horror and Valerie is a fan of 19th and early 20th century American and British literature.
6) You sisters worked on your novel through video calls or emails. Did you both ever face a situation were you couldn't progress the story forward? Perhaps a writer's block kind of situation?
We push through because we are accountable to each other. There have been times when life gets in the way and when that happens one will pick up slack for the other. But generally, we keep the pages flowing.
7) If there's one vital rule for co-writing a book, what would it be?
Be respectful and keep your word
8) Can you share a few words of encouragement to aspiring writers around?
Don’t give up. Keep writing. Many of the bestselling authors you read today had to write three, four, or five books before they found representation and a publishing deal. If you can’t sell your first book, write the next, and the next, and the next.