I am pleased to be welcoming Liv Constantine (the writing duo of Lynne and Valerie) to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for their latest novel, The Last Mrs Parrish.
What’s your typical writing day like and as a duo, how do you approach the writing process?
We are in touch everyday via email and FaceTime. We both write in the mornings and email that day’s work to each other. Late afternoon, we jump on FaceTime and give each other feedback on the pages we’ve each read. During these talks, we’ll also bring up any issues either of us is having with character or plot, and brainstorm solutions. Then we assign scenes for the next day. This goes on every day, usually even Saturdays, and occasional Sundays depending on our deadline.
What are the advantages of writing together and also, what are the challenges?
The advantages are numerous. Firstly, we get along great and enjoy each other’s company so we have a wonderful time coming up with the story, the characters, and twists and turns along the way. Our sessions are infused with a great deal of laughter and fun. When we get stuck writing a scene, a simple MORE HERE in the middle of a paragraph and an email to the other results in it coming back all filled in! It’s also great to be able to bounce ideas off your co-writer and to get input when you’re at a loss for where to go next. The biggest challenge is making sure our scenes mesh, both contextually and emotionally. A lesser challenge for us (fortunately) is the need to be open to hearing criticism and the other’s point of view.
The Last Mrs Parrish is your debut thriller. Can you tell me a little about it?
It’s a story of two women: one who has “everything”, the other who has “nothing”. The story was born of a conversation we were having concerning the phenomenon of the “trophy wife”. We began to imagine how this trope might be turned on its head, and the more we talked, the more intriguing the idea sounded. It was then that we decided to write the story of a woman who befriends a wealthy woman with the intent of stealing her life and giving it a big twist.
How do you approach the editing process? What are the challenges of this with the physical distance between you?
There’s no question that editing is the most time consuming and tedious process for us. This is often a four or five-hour exercise as we facetime, both of us with the document open on our computers, and go through the manuscript line by line. More than once!
What elements do you think make up a good thriller?
Suspense is critical– keeping the reader wanting answers to questions and turning those pages; but it’s vital that you play fair with the reader. Authenticity in character and action is a must. Nothing pulls the reader out of a story more quickly than a cheap plot device that doesn’t ring true, or when a character does something totally contrary to her nature. Pacing is also a key element in a good thriller.
What do you think is the most important – Plot or Character?
This is such a tough question and one that is debated over and over. The two are so intertwined that it’s almost impossible to choose, for without a good plot you have no story and without believable characters the story doesn’t matter. We begin with an overall plot, however, we let the characters drive the story. We’re always asking the question “Would she do this, say this, believe this.” And if the answer is no, then the plot has to change. If you think about the stories that move us, it’s usually the character that’s most memorable. Elizabeth Bennet, Scarlett O’Hara, Katniss Everdeen, Eliza Doolittle, Michael Corleone, Hannibal Lecter, Atticus Finch, James Bond, and Jay Gatsby are all examples of characters that live on. Does that mean that character is more important than plot? We go back and forth on this one.by
I am thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for The Last Mrs Parrish which is the latest novel from Liv Constantine.
Amber Patterson is tired of being a nobody: an invisible woman who melts into the background. She deserves more. She deserves a life of wealth, luxury and leisure.
Daphne Parrish is the golden girl of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut. With her model looks, her picture-perfect mansion and her millionaire husband, Jackson, she has everything Amber wants.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive―if she didn’t have a plan. Before long, she has become Daphne’s closest friend, and is catching the eye of Jackson. But a skeleton from her past could destroy everything, and if discovered, Amber’s well-laid plan may end in disaster…
The Last Mrs Parrish intrigued me before I even picked it up to read and it definitely sounded like my kind of psychological thriller.
Amber is tired of being invisible and is desperate to escape her past. She doesn’t want to be a nobody anymore. She wants to be noticed. She wants a life of luxury. She wants Daphne’s life.
Daphne is married to Jackson Parrish and together they are the golden couple. Outwardly, they have the perfect marriage and Amber wastes no time in making sure she becomes a big part of their lives.
The plot to this novel, in my opinion is very clever and is unveiled in a very compelling and exciting way and is paced extremely well.
I was unsure of where it was going to go and I didn’t see the end coming at all. I thought I knew what was going to happen and then the plot would go somewhere completely different.
From the beginning, you know that Amber isn’t what she seems. Her behaviour throughout the novel and the lengths she goes to are quite shocking.
I wasn’t won over by Amber but had sympathy with other characters which then changed over the course of the book.by