Sister Act: Liv Constantine on ‘The Last Mrs. Parrish’ (Q&A w/ event details)

“Liv Constantine” is on book tour for the debut novel, The Last Mrs. Parrish. The following is a list of local events:

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017 – WESTPORT, CT
BARNES & NOBLE BOOKSELLERS – 7:00 PM
Post Plaza Shopping Center
1076 Post Road East Westport, CT 06880
203-221-7955

MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017 – AVON, CT
AVON FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY – 6:30 PM
281 Country Club Rd
Avon, CT 06001
860-673-9712

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2017 – FAIRFIELD, CT
FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE – 7:00 PM
1499 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
203-255-7756

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017 – MADISON, CT
RJ JULIA BOOKSELLERS – 7:00 PM
768 Boston Road
Madison, CT 06443
203-245-3959

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2017 – UNCASVILLE, CT
“DELICIOUS DISCUSSIONS” – 12 Noon
HOSTED BY BANK SQUARE BOOKS & THE OTIS NORWICH LIBRARY
@ MOHEGAN SUN
Event location:
Michael Jordan Steak House
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville, CT 06382
*This is a ticketed event with a book and lunch included, for more information, visit:

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2017 – MILFORD, CT
MILFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY – 2:00 PM
57 New Haven Ave.
Milford, CT 06460
203-783-3290

***

Today, I’m cyber chatting with the authors known as Liv Constantine.

Sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine—aka “Liv Constantine”—are the debut novelist of The Last Mrs. Parrish (Harper). Separated by three states, they plot via Skype and email and are currently at work on their next collaborative book. Lynne and Valerie credit their ability to generate dark storylines to their Greek grandmother, who spent countless hours regaling them with tales that inspired them to carry on the tradition. They make their homes in Connecticut and Maryland, respectively.

Liv Constantine two together cr Erika Livingston
Liv Constantine (Photo credit: Erika Livingston)

Praise for The Last Mrs. Parrish:

The Last Mrs. Parrish is an addictive and twisty debut.”—New York Times and internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter

“Captivating. . . a deliciously duplicitous psychological thriller that will lure readers until the wee hours and beyond. With a plot equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, this is sure to be a hit with suspense fans.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Constantine’s debut novel is the work of two sisters in collaboration, and these ladies definitely know the formula. A Gone Girl-esque confection with villainy and melodrama galore.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“To the pantheon of Gone Girl–type bad girls you can now add Amber Patterson, the heroine of this devilishly ingenious debut thriller. . . . The reader watches with shock and delight as Amber cold-bloodedly manipulates Daphne and Jackson and lays waste to anyone else who stands in her way. . . . To say any more would spoil all the twists that Constantine (the pseudonym of sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine) has in store along the way to a surprising and entirely satisfying ending. Suffice it to say that readers would have to go back to the likes of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying or Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley to find as entertaining a depiction of a sociopathic monster.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The twists keep coming in this psychological roller coaster from debut author Constantine, the pen name of sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine…this is a satisfying thriller that offers a window into the darker side of glamorous lives and powerful men.”—Booklist

From the publisher:

The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy “golden couple,” from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

The Last Mrs. Parrish

Now, Lynne and Valerie reveal the inside story of their collaboration …

John Valeri: What inspired you to write The Last Mrs. Parrish – and in what ways were you influenced by the family tradition of storytelling as well as your own reading lives?

Liv Constantine: As we developed the story line for The Last Mrs. Parrish, we were excited by the prospect of giving a common situation a very different slant. We were talking about the trophy wife phenomenon and thought, wouldn’t it be nice if … and we can’t say more or we’ll give too much away.

Storytelling was a big part of family gatherings, perhaps because as second generation Americans, we only knew great grandparents, great aunts, uncles and cousins through the stories our immigrant grandparents recounted to us––an oral history. We have both always been voracious readers, helped by the fact that our mother read to us from the time we were small and made library visits special occasions for us.

JV: Your novel has already drawn (the perhaps inevitable) comparisons to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, which can be a double-edged sword. How do you view this work as paying homage to that bad girl literary lineage – and in what ways do you   believe it satisfies and surprises on its own merits?

LC: Gone Girl opened the door for darker stories about the baser instincts and motivations that some compelling characters have. In Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, things are not what they seem on the surface and the same is true in The Last Mrs. Parrish. But where The Last Mrs. Parrish diverges, is that our narrators are reliable. Everything that you see from each woman’s perspective is absolutely true. The surprise comes when the perspective is changed and you understand how perception is flawed and how when one is on the outside looking in, things can seem quite different from what they truly are.

JV: Tell us about your collaborative process. What did you each bring to the proverbial tale … and how did you survive it? (I’m sure the distance helped!)

LC: There are areas of writing where one excels more than the other and fortunately they are complementary. It’s not uncommon for Lynne to email Valerie and ask her to expand the details of a particular setting and Valerie will email Lynne with some dialogue that needs tightening. We also both bring lots of humor which helps when we are at odds over a plot point or a deadline.

JV: The narrative is set against the backdrop of fictitious Bishops Harbor, Connecticut. In what ways does setting enhance story – and how do you see this created community as being based in the realism of socialites and sociopaths?

LC: The setting was so important that we treated it as another character.  Lynne lives in New England and Val visits often so we knew the area well. New York is a secondary setting and again we’re both frequent visitors to the city so we were able to do our research in person. The setting plays a key role in The Last Mrs. Parrish as the wealth and privilege surrounding Amber infuriates and motivates her to claw her way to the life she thinks she deserves.

JV: In your opinion, what is the role of the bookstore within its community – and how can author events enhance the reader/writer/bookseller relationship?

LC: We feel so strongly that community book stores should be supported that where possible, we have chosen to do book signings at independent book stores rather than the larger chains. There is nothing like walking into your local independent bookstore where you know the owner, run into friends, and take your time browsing in that wonderfully intimate atmosphere.  Bookstores are the ambassadors to the reading community at large and bringing readers in to meet the authors and learn more about the process plays a vital role.

JV: Leave us with a teaser: What comes next?

LC: We’re having a great time writing the next book which takes an even darker turn. It’s another dual protagonist novel but this time you also hear from a third person – the killer – whose thoughts are not for the squeamish.

***

With thanks to Lynne and Valerie Constantine for their generosity of time and thought and to Heather N. Drucker and Tracy Locke of HarperCollins Publishers for facilitating this interview.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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