Welcome back to the Author Spotlight! This month, we put Greek-American Author Lynne Constantine in the spotlight. Meet her and learn about her books.
Meet Author Lynne Constantine
Lynne Constantine grew in Baltimore, MD. She traces her Greek roots to Ikaria and Northern Greece, near Thessaloniki. Though from a young age Lynne’s true love was reading and making up stories, she didn’t begin writing seriously until after college. Lynne earned a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University.
For years, Lynne worked in corporate marketing, managing a department responsible for direct mail and direct response campaigns. This allowed her to use her creative talents, but never provided a true outlet. Though she ascended the corporate ladder, something was missing.
A few years later, while discussing that “something”, she and her sister Valerie decided to write a book together. Circle Dance, a story about a Greek-American family, was published in 2012. She’s published two short stories, “Mother’s Day”, about a woman struggling with infertility; and “The Deception”, a prequel to Circle Dance. The Veritas Deception, a spellbinding thriller, was published in 2016. Her next book is expected later this year.
Lynne is also a social media consultant and speaker, and teaches at teaches at various workshops. She works with new authors to build their brand platforms. She is a monthly contributor to SUSPENSE MAGAZINE and a contributing editor to THE BIG THRILL magazine. Read out to learn more about Lynne Constantine.
Q&A with Lynne Constantine
Maria A. Karamitsos: What made you want to write? And publish books?
Lynne Constantine: I’ve always been an avid reader especially of women’s fiction and about other cultures. I realized there was little written about Greek-Americans which was the reason my sister and decided to write Circle Dance. After that, the writing bug bit, and I never looked back.
MAK: When did you start writing?
LC: Circle Dance was published over fifteen years ago.
MAK: What interests you and inspires you as a writer?
LC: I’m intrigued by “What if” scenarios. Possibilities and the complexities of relationships intrigue me and I usually start with a story idea and go from there.
MAK: Does being Greek influence your writing?
LC: It influenced my first book, as that was all about the experience of being a GreekAmerican and balancing the two cultures. I think as I move forward in my career, it’s less of a direct influence, but of course, is such a part of me that even if I don’t realize it, it must have an influence.
MAK: Tell us a bit about your writing process.
LC: I start with a broad idea for a story — a sense of the beginning and the ending. Then I develop characters and try to go as deep into their backgrounds as possible, including details that I know will never make it into the story but will help to make them more realistic. I then begin to write and allow the characters to speak to me and take me where they want.
MAK: Your first novel, Circle Dance, was written with your sister. What compelled you to tell this story?
LC: Both my sister and I married non-Greeks and I knew that my children’s experience growing up would be very different from my own in terms of understanding Greek culture. My yia yia was deceased before they came along so they never got to hear stories of the old country told her in wonderful accent or taste the fresh baked bread and sweets she used to make. From my mother they did learn some things about being Greek and she would make koulourakia with them (which they loved). But I wanted to leave a legacy for them about the full Greek experience.
MAK: Talk a bit about writing this book.
LC: My sister and I wrote Circle Dance over a period of two years while we both worked full-time. It was a labor of love for us both and we grew very close to our characters.
MAK: How was it received?
LC: People tell us that they love the family and wish it was their own. Our feedback has been very positive.
MAK: After, you wrote some short stories. Tell us briefly about them, and why switch from novel to short story?
LC: I wanted to try my hand at short fiction just as something new. I wrote a prequel to Circle Dance which was fun because it let me think about those characters that I loved so much in earlier days and bring them back to life. My other short story is about infertility which is something I struggled with and it was way for me to share my experience in what I think is a story of hope.
MAK: What inspired The Veritas Deception?
LC: The Veritas Deception was a book that incubated for many years before I finished writing it and went through many iterations. When I was working in marketing, I realize how susceptible we all are to images and messages inundating us day after day. I began to wonder, what if society was being manipulated by advertising, the media, and the entertainment would for a darker purpose.
It’s a book close to my heart in that aside from telling an exciting story, it imparts an important message about faith, redemption, and resilience. I worked with a brilliant editor for a year after finishing it, and went back and strengthened the story with her suggestions.
MAK: How’s it being received?
LC: It has gotten some wonderful reviews and feedback. A common thread is that the story, while fictional, could actually be true. People are relating to it and its relevance to what is happening in society today.
MAK: It’s quite an imaginative tale. Talk briefly about the story and how the story came about.
LC: It was always a story about good versus evil but the characters changed as it developed. It was a complicated book to write because I had to weave in historical events, a storyline that took place in the 1970’s, and a modern-day story about two journalists on the run to discover who is behind a mega conspiracy against society.
MAK: Share a story about a reader communication, and how that affected you.
LC: I received an email from the father of an old college friend telling me how much he loved the book and hoped there would be a sequel. I had never met him and was so touched that he reached out to share his enthusiasm about the book with me.
MAK: What’s next for you? Will you collaborate with your sister again?
LC: Yes. My sister, Valerie, and I have a new collaboration coming out this October, published by HarperCollins, under the pen name Liv Constantine. The Last Mrs. Parrish, is a psychological thriller about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants. Find out more here.
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