We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to Robin Constantine, author of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, coming from Balzer + Bray Winter 2014. One author, four questions. Here we go!
Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?
How much time do you have?
I’ve been seriously writing for fifteen years. Not chained to my desk, hammering-out-a-word-count kind of writing, but seriously pursuing this dream of being an author since about 1997. I joined SCBWI with the hopes of writing picture books but soon found my heart (and my voice) was in young adult. I wrote when my son napped. I joined a critique group. Went to conferences. Got some “good” rejection letters on my first YA manuscript. I was thrilled. I was on my way!!
That manuscript didn’t sell. I kept writing.
Fast forward to Spring 2009: Another kid. A new state. A new critique group. When my second YA novel was polished and ready to submit, I began querying agents. At the same time, a writer pal suggested I enter The Get Your Stiletto In The Door contest run by a sub-group of RWA, ChickLitWriters.com. There were two judges, one agent and one editor, for each category. Even if I didn’t win, I knew I’d get valuable feedback. Well, I won! The agent for my category, the fabulous Tamar Rydzinski of The Laura Dail Literary Agency, requested a full. I polished that manuscript even more, sent it off and about two weeks later, she offered representation. I was thrilled. I was on my way!!!
That manuscript didn’t sell.
Undaunted, I wrote another novel and over the course of a year went through several rounds of revisions with Tamar until we felt it was ready to submit. THE PROMISE OF AMAZING went out on submission the Monday after Thanksgiving. I tried not to obsessively check my email because I figured chances were I wouldn’t hear anything until after the holidays. When I got the call from Tamar, it was honestly surreal. I’d been in the middle of shopping online for a hard-to-find Lalaloopsy doll for my niece when my phone rang. Donna Bray was interested in my book! After a nail biting week and a half, while all sorts of scenarios danced through my head and no Christmas shopping was done, my manuscript sold! Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.
What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?
(Modified PM blurb) THE PROMISE OF AMAZING is a story about a girl trying to break out of her shell, a boy trying to reform from a troublesome past and what happens after she saves him from choking. Oh, and there are some fist fights and kissing but way after the choking happens.
Hmmm, cool details – I worked in a themed catering hall much like my main character but never saved anyone from choking. I did, however, get a $20.00 tip for giving a man a turkey carcass so he could play a practical joke on a family member during a wedding. That was so NOT in the job description!
Do you have any writing quirks–places you need to write or things you need to have with you?
My desk is my least favorite place to write. I draft at my kitchen table because it’s closer to the coffee maker and has a nice view of my yard. I revise in my dining room because it’s this really calming shade of green and the natural lighting helps me focus. I’ve written in coffee shops and libraries but prefer writing at home because I tend to make faces and talk to myself a lot. I hope this comes across as quirky, not, um, insane. Occasionally, I wear wrist warmers when I type because my house gets drafty.
What are you most excited about in the debut process?
Truly? Everything. Specifically? About a month ago I walked into Barnes and Noble and got a huge, involuntary grin on my face. Granted, that’s usually how I walk into a bookstore but suddenly the realization that my book is that much closer to being on the shelves made me giddy. I also love, Love, LOVE working with my amazing editor, Donna Bray. She’s made the process, dare I say…FUN. And I’ve loved connecting with fellow One Fours. That has been a really cool, unexpected perk of the debut process – sharing in everyone’s excitement as we head toward 2014!
|Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene. Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.|