Interview with Marion Constantinides

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't have one yet. Right now, I read traditional books, magazines, and newpapers or online.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn) and public speaking engagements.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story is about a young immigrant girl whose uncle betrays her and her new country. The story takes place in Pittsburgh, PA a year or so before Pearl Harbor.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The desire to have as many people as are interested to read my books.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me the tools to format my manuscripts and the opportunity to reach a wide audience with the marketing guide they provide authors. I didn't know that there were so many free marketing resources available. Of course, I already knew about social media.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Using my imagination to create a work of art that I can share with others
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are the people who appreciate blood, sweat and tears that you put into creating a work of art.
What are you working on next?
I'm thinking of writing about Joan of Arc - either a fictionalized account of her life or a biography of some sort. There's not much research I can do. Her trial before the Inquisition is the only record of her life. I would have to write an interpretation of her personality and life.
Who are your favorite authors?
Jane Austen
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My imagination and my ability to create.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm an artist so I do visually creative things. I go to 4 or 5 aerobics classes a week. (I'm a diehard.) I love to garden and I love to travel.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a fictionalized autobiographical account of the 6 or 7 months I spent living in my father's village in Cyprus. I wrote that as an adult. As a child, the first thing I ever wrote was a rewrite of the story of the Hatfields and the McCoys as a play.
What is your writing process?
I dream or read about something which gives me an idea. Then I may continue to think about that idea or I may start the outline of the story. I usually think and then outline. I will do research. Then I add layers to the plot, the characters, the subplot, the setting, etc. I write and write and then I move things around. If I get stumped, I may interview the characters, combine characters, eliminate characters, change or modify the setting, conduct more research, etc.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. It was the story of a young girl who lived on a ranch and rode her own horse. I loved horses and reading forever after that.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a very visual person so I visualize the cover in my mind's eye first. I base the design on the content of the book, though. In the case of What is Art? and Mobiles and Banners, both art books for children, I visualized a colorful almost funky cover design.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility; To Kill A Mockingbird; Little Women; Jacob I Have Loved. With all of these books, the story lines and the characters resonate with me. In the case of Jacob I Have Loved, it inspired me to write for children and Young Adults. The ability of the author to transform the main character from immature to mature impresed me. Austen's abiity to capture the social mores of eighteenth century rural England and to write about characters who are so real and unique imspired me. Littel Women was a favorite from my childhood and To Kill A Mockingbird has a universal theme which contrasted with the story of the children and their reaction to this central theme.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything that captures my fancy but often children and Young Adult books, biographies and mysteries/crime/suspense books.
Describe your desk
It looks like me: organized but busy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, NY (mostly Pittsburgh). These are two cities where a lot is always going on. New York is known for the theatre, museums, the opera, and other cultural institutions and events. What most people don't know is that Pittsburgh has all of those things, too. There is so much to take advantage of culturally. Both cities have long, lively histories that offer ideas and inspiration, too.
When did you first start writing?
In middle school but my output was inconsistent until I reached my late 30's or early 40's.
Published 2013-09-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.