Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Conversation with Robin Constantine, Author of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

Robin Constantine, Author of The Promise of Amazing

I'm so, so happy you agreed to stop by the blog and have a chat, Robin. The Promise of Amazing is a delightful contemporary romance and it's your LAUNCH WEEK!!!! Tell us, what's it been like leading up to this moment?

Linky Buy Links at Goodreads

Well, thank you for having me on your lovely blog, Jaye!!   Wow…this entire year has been a whirlwind, roller coaster, surreal, cross country, psychedelic bus tour.  It’s everything I imagined, and nothing I imagined, if that makes sense.  When you’re working toward publication, you have your eye on this brass ring - you know, being unpubbed you dream about getting that delicious phone call from your agent letting you know you have an offer and the call is wonderful, it really is, but it’s only a gateway to a whole new arena.   I think most of us know that going in, but I don’t think you fully understand it until you’re experiencing it for yourself.  One of the things I’ve learned by meeting other debut authors is that everyone’s journey is different.   

The debut bubble is such a lovely place to be.  After years of getting rejections and all kinds of people saying no - to hear a YES and realize that you have a team of people working on your book can be really overwhelming.  It was for me.  There are definite moments of panic - “They do mean MY book right?”  and complete joy  - “Look at that cover!!” and of course despair  “Will I get these edits finished by deadline?” and in the midst of all of this you still need to work on something new, and put dinner on the table, and take your vitamins and work out and deal with laundry and jobs.  You know, life goes on!  Being able to balance everything is also part of the challenge.  

Each little milestone is fun!  Your editorial letter, cover comp, meeting your editor face to face, seeing your book in print from, then getting an actual galley!! Woo-hoo!!

And then you start getting reviews…(cue scary music) and the good ones are nice and the bad ones sting and the snarky ones make you lose your faith in humanity and the debut bubble bursts and you eat some chocolate or gripe with a friend, and then it hits you thatPeople are reading my work!  And that’s a really great feeling - even with all the good, the bad and the snarky. 

As for right now, in this moment, mere weeks away from my release?  It’s as if I almost don’t have time to worry about it with everything else I have going on, and yet, I kind of feel this low-grade, underlying panic at all times.  I’ll be washing my face and suddenly realize that my neighbor is going to read my book and what are they going to think of me? (or worse, what if they don’t read it?) Or my mom will call and remind me that I should put something in our hometown paper about the release and I get all weirded out by the thought of doing that, even though you know, it would be really good to let people know that I’ve written something.  Or I’ll take a quick peek at the book and suddenly realize it’s not mine anymore.  It’s this whole other entity, apart from me, whatever that means.   I recently read a great post on author Allison Cherry's (RED) blog where she mentions that author Rebecca Stead calls the month leading up to publication “Nausea Month”.  So no one is immune!!  And well, yes, that pretty much sums it up.  Pass the wine and the TUMS and call me in January.  (but you know, there will be confetti and cupcakes on New Year’s Eve!)

Well, by the time this goes live, you'll be in a cupcake hangover! Anyway, I adored Wren and Grayson. The thing I really loved most about The Promise of Amazing, was it was just a real teen story. Family, friends, school issues, mistakes. All things to make your characters super relatable to teens. I admired Wren for her practicality and her tendency toward NOT being a drama queen. There were things in the book she could have flipped out over, but she had such a sincere, balanced way of dealing with stuff. Did you intentionally set out to write her this way, or did she take over the process (as characters are sometimes prone to do)?

A cupcake hangover…YUM that sounds like fun!!  And I’m so happy you liked Wren and Grayson!!   I always knew Wren was going to be a quiet character so it was just a matter of listening to her and letting her do her thing.   It’s part of her nature to think things through. So where someone else might jump all over something, she’s more apt to wait awhile and look at all sides of a situation before reacting or making a snap decision.   I know in the book she gives Grayson A LOT of leeway, some of the times I was even like…hmm…could he really go that far without her just saying I’m out of here?  I do think the fact that she saved his life, has something to do with her feeling like she wants to continue to help him (of course the fact that he is cute is a perk!) in spite of some of the things he’s done in his past.  She is extremely forgiving but I look at that as more of an asset as opposed to a weak spot.  To me Wren is strong and sees the best in people, even when they don’t see it in themselves.  

Yes, I saw that, too, and it's a quality I admire in people. In Grayson (hottie!), I really felt like his parent's divorce was a big bit of backstory factored in to the "things" he did during his player days (no spoilers, people!). Do you think about backstory when you write?

Absolutely!  I could take any character in this book and tell you their backstory.  Grayson may come off as a colossal jerk at times, but he’s definitely masking his pain.  The tricky part in writing him was that even HE doesn’t realize that’s what he’s doing.  It’s the rare seventeen year old who sits around and ruminates about why they are doing the things they do.  And now there’s all these studies about brain development that back that up (and yes, I factored that into this too!)  It’s the reason we can all probably think back to a moment (or many moments) in our teenage years and think “What possessed me to do that?”    I think that’s why I love to write about high school because it’s such a visceral, in-the-moment time of life.   Everything IS dramatic.   That’s not to say Grayson's backstory absolves him from his actions either.  I think this is what he slowly comes to realize through the course of the book, even though he has a few backslides when he’s trying to get free of his past.  

Okay, so I have insider knowledge that you are writing a companion book for 2015. Since Maddie & Josh would probably have to be New Adult (with Josh in college), please tell me it's Jazz and the boy she runs from at Andy's party. I definitely saw a spark there and I really thought Jazz was an interesting character. Am I right? If yes, tell us more! If not, then spill the correct deets, please. (And will Wren & Grayson make an appearance?)

One of my favorite parts of writing The Promise of Amazing was experiencing Wren’s relationship with her friends.  For me it was such huge part of the story!  I adore Jazz but the story will be from Madison’s POV and a new boy POV.  I actually thought about Josh but logistics wise I didn’t think it would work out because of the college thing, and well, when I started writing - this new character just popped up and he’s been so lovely to get to know!!   And yes, Wren, Grayson and Jazz are in the book too.    Madison’s story is front and center of course, but their stories play out as well…so you may just see Jazz and the boy she runs from in there.   It’s been so much fun writing from Madison’s POV because she’s so different from Wren.  I can’t say much about the book right now, but there will be yoga, music and of course…kissing! Not all at the same time…I think.

Okay, I'll accept Madison and new boy. And I'm glad the rest of the cast will be around. And, YES, what a different POV than Wren. Fun to write the saucy friend, I'm sure.

So we're coming to a close but here's what we need to know- the next three books in your TBR pile, what liquid is in your cup, and what's playing on repeat. And thanks so much for stopping by for a chat!

Coming to a close already…oh, drat!!  THANK YOU so much for having me!!

Hmm..let’s see, my TBR pile has been piling up, but the next three are…September Girls, by Bennet Madison, Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith and 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma.

Coffee with cream, no sugar is in my cup.

Song on repeat is:   “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys  

Thanks again for letting me visit, Jaye!!

And enjoy your release week, Robin! (Robin will be having a launch, next Sunday, January 12th at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC - 2:00PM)

Be sure and stop back next week for a conversation with Kristi Helvig, author of Burn Out (April-Egmont)


  1. Congrats on reaching debut week(w/hair and sanity intact)! The Promise of Amazing has such a cute cover- he has elbow patches, how awesome is that! =)

  2. Huge congrats on the debut, Robin! I'm really looking forward to reading the whole thing, especially after the tiny taste you gave us in NC!

  3. Very nice interview, and the book looks very appealing!

  4. I've been looking forward to this one for a while. Thanks for the great interview!

  5. Congrats to Robin! The Promise of Amazing sounds, well, amazing :) I totally love the title (I kind of have a thing about titles--this one rocks it!). Anyhow, great interview you two!!


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'