Chatting with Cathrina Constantine

Cathrina Constantine has been my author friend for several years, starting with the time when my first novel The Day I Became a $py has gone on submissions by my agent Sharon Belcastro. 

She writes YA, and her Wickedly They Come series is amazing. Check it out on Amazon

My interview with her is posted on her blog, and we are talking about my new book, writing process as well as the long road to publication. 

Here is an excerpt, but you can read the full interview here

10.        What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

 

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Life is a journey. Enjoy the process rather than live for that one moment when you get a book deal. Being an author is so much more: building relationships with other writers, getting better at your craft, revising your novels, and learning—every day.

 

 

On Love Triangles in Books

When I wrote the first draft of The Corner Office, I was warned that love triangles don't work. Readers don't like "cheating" as well as discovering that a heroine ended up with a different man she was with in the first chapters of the story. I agree. As a reader I don't like to feel betrayed when I get emotionally invested in certain romantic relationship.

But bear with me. I never meant for the The Corner Office to be about love triangles.

 

The novel is about making mistakes: in your love life, in your career, in choosing the wrong man. It's about falling into a trap that you've built for yourself, in eloping into something you believed to be true. Life is not perfect, love even less so. Sometimes things we don't understand are the ones that turn the course of our lives. Sometimes the best things are right under our nose, and every day we pass by those and never pay a second of attention.

 

In The Corner Office, the main character Tara gets involved with a man, her subordinate she just hired. He is not like anyone else she'd met in a long while, certainly different from her ex, and he is intent on pursuing her. He is wrong for her, as she quickly discovers, but this mistake is what becomes the turning point in her life. This is really what the book is about: the mistakes that we make, and where it takes us when we're brave enough to try to resolve them.

 

In our lives, we'd never move forward if we didn't make any mistakes. Our mistakes is what makes us human, what allows us to grow. Some mistakes are more damaging than others, and some can be prevented, but without mistakes . . . well, there'd be no plot for The Corner Office. 

Why self-publish?

I am oftentimes being asked, why did I decide to self-publish The Corner Office? I have an agent and a deal with an amazing publisher. Why turn to the "dark side" if I achieved what many other authors aspire to, even before I reaped the benefits of working with a publisher? 

Well, I've always wanted to be a hybrid author: self publish some of my books while having others traditionally published. I am very excited to be working with one of the best editors (I was stalking her online for years until she finally offered me a publishing contract; authors, I am sure you know what I'm talking about...). However, I also can't wait to see some of my other books in print. 

But it's more, I want to try my hand in marketing and promoting. I want to learn from the experience and become better at it. 

I wrote The Corner Office more than four years ago, and at that time I decided to shelf it for a few years. I submitted it to a few publishers, and although there was interest, many of them wanted to see it revised as a traditional romance. They saw an issue with Tara falling for her subordinate, and her relationship with Richard as a love triangle that “just doesn’t sell.”

I contemplated changing the story but ultimately decided that I liked it the way it was. That’s why I waited that long to self-publish: sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the rejections. If the experts believe it doesn’t work, they must know what they are talking about. What ultimately swayed me was the ressurection of feminism that became apparent this year. More than ever in a long while, people are talking about women rights, women advancements. Suddenly people care so much more about women serving on the boards of big corporations, women being paid less for doing same jobs as men, women managing their career and family lives. I felt that The Corner Office was very relevant in the current social climate, and I wanted to get it out.

That's a thing about traditional publishing that I've learned: they will be much less willing to take chances on something they consider outside of their customary bounds of what sells. 

But as a hybrid author, I am willing to take that chance. I am eager to work hard at promoting this work and letting it see the light of day as it is, as I intended it to. 

I'd love to hear what you think. Would you consider being a hybrid author? 

Reviews!

There is nothing more exciting than getting first reviews on the first book. Now that those Netgalley reviews are coming in, I am sitting by my computer and refreshing Goodreads page. Yes, not entirely productive, but so addictive!

Thank you to everyone who took their time to read an ARC copy of the book and post their reviews. 

 

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Cover Designers

 

It hasn't been easy to find a good cover designer for The Corner Office. I interviewed several artists, yet none of them understood what I was trying to portray. Then I met Sanja from Book Cover for You

She's been fantastic. 

Sanja is creative, professional and responsive, and has been a pleasure to work with. She used my vision and created designs that perfectly expressed what I’ve been visualizing. She made suggestions while staying in line with my ideas and creating the final product that was the collaboration between my concept and her keen designer eye. 

I will definitely work with Sanja and Book Cover for You on my next book cover, and I recommend Sanja to all authors who are looking for a partner in creating book covers that are perfectly depicting an author’s vision. 

Check out her work or follow her on Facebook