Robin Constantine considers herself a 2014 debut author though her book, The Promise of Amazing, technically released on December 31st.
“My book sold in December 2012 and per my contract was set to release winter 2014. I didn’t have an exact date. So my season is Winter 2014 and I just happen to release on December 31st because it’s a Tuesday and new releases come out on Tuesdays. I don’t straddle both groups because I wasn’t aware of my release date until June and by then I was already firmly in the 2014 group,” explained Constantine.
As such, Constantine was one of the first of the OneFour KidLit members to celebrate her book birthday.
“My release day was low key – social media can be really overwhelming to me but it was wild and touching to have so many people wish me a happy book birthday! I celebrated on my ‘book birthday eve’ with friends and had a really wonderful time. They are in my acknowledgements so I shared that with them and we had a good cry, because they know how hard I’ve worked for this. Then on my actual release day I stalked bookstores to see The Promise of Amazing out in the wild. Surreal. Yes. That sums it up.”
The best part about the debut groups, according to Constantine, is the supportive atmosphere.
“Debuting is such an exciting process but it’s all a tiny bit terrifying and having people who really get what you’re going through has truly made a difference,” she explained.
The Promise of Amazing is about two Jersey teens fumbling toward adulthood and falling in love. Constantine and her main character Wren both have bird-like names – but that’s not all they share.
“I had a lot of the same struggles in school with being quiet suddenly turning into a detriment when for most of my life it had been seen as an asset. I also had a mini-crisis in junior year regarding what I wanted to do with my life. And went to an all girl school…and…wow, yes, I guess the short easy answer is totally – she’s me but she’s not. I think there’s an aspect of me in all of the characters but writing Wren did come for a pretty personal place,” said Constantine.
For Constantine, the journey to publication has been surreal.
“The excitement whipped up long ago when my cover was revealed and advanced copies were available and out in the world. I even had the chance to go to New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and meet some awesome independent booksellers and sign some advanced copies. In the midst of all that, I kept working on new things and began doing some publicity for the book, so when the day finally arrived it felt like one more step in a pretty amazing – yes, I used that word – year already. And yet it was different because it’s really out there now!”
It took Constantine three tries before she wrote the book that would ultimately land in reader’s hands. The first novel she wrote is collecting dust on her hard drive. The second is the book that landed her an agent in 2009. Though the second novel she wrote did not sell, she was able to work on The Promise of Amazing while it was on submission.
“The first draft took me about six months. Revision was at least another six months. My agent is quite editorial, which I love, so we went back and forth for several rounds before it went out on submission. It went out the Monday after Thanksgiving 2012 and by Christmas it sold to Balzer + Bray! My pre-release year went by so quickly but the road to get there was long and winding and took at least ten years of stops and starts and moments of “why am I pursuing this?” before I finally achieved that elusive goal of publication,” said Constantine.Author Robin Constantine.
Ultimately, though, being published is not a destination – it’s just part of the rollercoaster ride.
“There are more stories to write, more goals to reach. And I love it!
Constantine loves it so much, in fact, that she’s hard at work on her next novel.
“I’m working on a companion novel to The Promise of Amazing featuring Wren’s best friend, Madison and a new boy. Jazz, Wren and Grayson will be in the novel too as well as a cast of characters I’ve enjoyed getting to know. After that I have this new idea brewing but it’s too soon to tell what it’s shaping up to be!”