Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing (December 31, 2013) here for an interview today! Here’s the official Goodreads excerpt for the book:
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
Hope you guys enjoy the interview!
Question: Describe your books, using no more than three adjectives. Go!
Answer: Fun, sexy, Jersey (if Jersey can be an adjective!)
Question: Wren was such a down-to-earth and relatable character. What elements went into writing her?
Answer: Wren started ‘talking’ to me in jury duty. I was actually working on a different novel at the time, but decided to amuse myself with some free writing (because you need amusement during jury duty!!) and the first lines came through. She was serious but funny – it’s a fine line writing a teenage voice – there needs to be drama/angst but it can’t be ‘oh woe is me’ (although, who isn’t a bit ‘woe is me’ at times!) I really liked her and had a whole different story plotted out for her – but when the time came to write it, in walked Grayson and he was a game changer.
Question: I really related to Wren being quiet in the beginning, that being quit was “not a character flaw.” Can you explain where this concept came from? Is this something you experienced when you were younger?
Answer: Wren is probably the most personal character I’ve ever written, so much so that halfway through writing I thought…um, maybe I need to change her ‘bird’ name! I loved the name Wren because it’s short and strong, and that’s why I chose it, or it chose me. Not sure. She’s just always been Wren from day one.
I totally experienced (and still do) a ‘quiet’ backlash. Wren’s NHS evaluation came right from my own experience and it left me mystified and confused. I think being quiet can sometimes come off as arrogance or ignorance or snobbiness or disinterest – which is all about as far from the truth as possible. For years it did feel like a character flaw. I chose Communication Studies as my major in college to help me ‘get over it’ – so I had tons of public speaking classes and classes in front of the camera, and I loved it but I’m still quiet by nature.
I thought it would be interesting to have a character with these struggles because there’s also a strange dichotomy with being quiet – sometimes you’re not. I know for me, I’m not that quiet around my family or friends. And when you find people you’re totally comfortable with – they accept your ‘quietness’ and usually then you’re not quiet around them. And I think it’s possible to come out of your shell and still be quiet. Quiet is not a negative. It took me a long time to understand that.
Question: Grayson felt like a very complex character, with two very different sides to his personality. Was he a difficult character to write? Where did you get the inspiration for him?
Answer: Grayson was a minor character in a different novel that I ended up scrapping. Anytime he showed up on the page, he kept stealing the scenes. And he was so different from any character I’d ever written. I loved the idea of having someone less than perfect as a love interest but as I started drafting The Promise of Amazing, I realized Grayson was more than just Wren’s love interest. He had his own story to tell so I experimented by writing from his POV for a while and I loved it. Writing from a male perspective was challenging yet oddly liberating. Grayson has a creative way of expressing himself! Experiencing him getting in so deep with his friends and wondering if he could get himself out of it was difficult to write. Underneath it all, Grayson is a good guy who wants to do the right thing but he’s also a teenager who doesn’t always take into account the consequences of his actions.
Question: Were there any scenes you wish you hadn’t had to cut?
Answer: There was a whole storyline with Madison being involved with Wren’s brother Josh that I loved but it didn’t make sense to the story as a whole, so I decided to take it out before we even subbed the manuscript. They were adorable together!!
Question: On the flip side, were there any scenes that got added during edits that you’re really pleased with?
Answer: Yes!! The scene with the girls getting ready for Andy’s party where they talk to Madison via Skype was added in edits and it’s one of my favorites. (In my original version Madison went to the party.) That was a lot of fun to write.
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Perfect Chemisty by Simone Elkeles and Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.
Question: As a 2013 Debut Author yourself, which 2013 debuts have you read and enjoyed so far? And which upcoming 2013 debuts are you most looking forward to?
Answer: I actually consider myself a 2014 debut, even though my release date is December 31st! I’ve had an incredible time getting to know other OneFours, there are some amazing debuts coming out this year! But since I have my foot in 2013 also…hmmm…I loved INSOMNIA by JR Johansson – so creepy. And I just finished BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke – which was so atmospheric and descriptive and made me want to have a picnic and watch old movies. I loved it.
It is really really hard to pick out which 2014 debuts I’m looking forward to most because seriously, I could list them all. It’s going to be an awesome year for debuts!! But if I had to choose…I’m really looking forward to PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG by Anne Blankman, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy and NO PLACE TO FALL by Jaye Robin Brown.**
Question: Biggest writing quirk?
Answer: I talk to myself. A lot. Sometimes it’s to hear how a bit of dialogue will sound, sometimes it’s about making a certain facial expression and trying to explain it in a more creative way than “he furrowed his brow” or “she rolled her eyes”. I even talk out scenes when I’m driving. If you ever caught me driving home from a critique group meeting you’d think I was on the phone. I’m happy Bluetooth exists or else I’d look completely crazy.
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I’m working on a companion novel for The Promise of Amazing, told from Madison’s POV along with a new male character who I’m already in love with. It’s not a continuation of the story, but a completely new set of circumstances a few months after TPofA takes place. It’s been a challenge shifting gears, but I love it because Madison is so different from Wren. I also love it because Wren, Grayson and Jazz are in it too!!
**To learn more about all the OneFour KidLit 2014 Debut Authors, check out their blog here.
And now for the awesome giveaway, courtesy of Robin! There will be TWO winners! One will win a signed ARC of The Promise of Amazing and one will win some awesome Promise of Amazing swag!
-Giveaway is US/CAN only
-Each winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner(s) does not respond, a new winner will be selected.
-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.
-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway
*The above giveaway rules were borrowed and modified from Jessica @ Just a Book Lover.
With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!