A week or so ago, my friend Cathrina celebrated the release of her newest novel, Don't Forget to Breathe. It's a young adult thriller/mystery, with a clever premise and a gorgeous cover. I was intrigued by all this, and wanted to learn more, so I invited Cathrina for an interview...
Cathrina Constantine resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and two cats. When not with her family, reading, or stationed at the computer, you will find her walking in the backwoods with her dogs, conjuring up a new tale.
Cathrina’s published credits are Wickedly They Come, Wickedly They Dream, Tallas, and Don’t Forget to Breathe.
LR: What’s the most compelling thing about Don’t Forget to Breath, the thing that’s kept your butt in the chair through hours of writing and revising?
CC: I fell in love with the characters and the new genre. It was the fastest first draft I’ve written. 3 months. But then months and months of editing….
LR: Your bio says you took some time off to raise children (though I’d argue you were probably more ON during that time than ever before), then got back into writing. How’d you do it? If you had to recommend one writing resource, either a class or a book or a workshop, what would that be?
CC: Yes, I did write pre-kids and pre-computer age, but nothing became of it. I saved those stories and chuckle reading them. One day out of the blue an idea came into my head, I grabbed pencil and paper and began to write. Not until the pages started adding up when my son said, “Why don’t you use my computer?” That was my first manuscript, Wickedly They Come, which went into years of rewrites and editing.
I never studied creative writing or took any workshops, which I should do because my technical prose needs work. But I’m a reading carnivore. I’m self-taught and it shows in two drafts that will never see the light of day.
LR: Most of your work has a touch of the paranormal, which I think is cool. Does that reflect how you see the world?
CC: The mystical and inexplicable happenings I find intriguing. I truly believe there are dimensions all around us. Heaven and Hell. Good versus Evil.
LR I love the joint book reviews you and Nana Prah do – and not just because you said nice things about my book. J How’d you get started doing them? Who chooses what to read next?
CC: We loved BetweenThe Sheets! Nana and I connected after both becoming contracted with Black Opal Books. We were floundering authors, wondering how to make ourselves known. The Prah & Constantine Reviews were Nana’s brilliant idea. As far as how we choose what book to review, we sometimes take monthly turns or we discuss it.
LR: So, how’s the winter going up there in New York State? Are you getting any writing done between bouts of shoveling snow?
CC: Brrrr….frozen artic region. My favorite time to write is in the winter, especially during swirling snowflakes. Summer’s short, so I don’t like to spend my time behind a computer.
LR: What’s your favorite non-writing activity? Like, are you a closet marathon runner? Could you crochet a house-cozy if you had to? Maybe you secretly want to appear on Antiques Roadshow?
CC: Your questions are cracking me up! I do crochet and hand-quilt, but I never made a house-cozy. I recently started babysitting my first grandbaby. I love it. But my writing’s been tossed in the background.
LR: What’s next on your horizon? Describe your current WIP(s) or other upcoming project.
CC: I just finished the first draft to the sequel, Tallas. Now the hair pulling edits. I’ve started two fantastical stories that I’m itching to sink my teeth into. And I have a short story in Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly’s Anthology called Mystical Bites coming this spring.
Sixteen-year-old Leocadia arrives home from school to find her mom’s bloody body. Unaware that the killer still lingers, she rushes to her mother’s side, only to be grabbed from behind and then everything fades to black.
After a year of retrograde amnesia and battling personal demons, Leo’s dreams are getting worse—she’s starting to remember. More bodies are discovered and they seem to be oddly linked to her mom’s unsolved homicide.
When Leo allows her friend, Henry to drag her into the haunted Lucien Mansion, misty ghosts appear, ghosts that just might lead to her mother’s murderer.
Will Leo let her memories threaten her into a relapse or, will she fight to find her mother’s killer – only to become his next victim?
I trekked farther along the tracks. Using the heightened berm to observe the area, I could scarcely make out the tombstones that pocked the ground amidst the fog; it looked eerie and lonesome. Then spotting remote figures, I counted three. It could be kids looking for a place to party in private. I crouched and balanced on my heels to monitor the dark shapes and wondered if one might be Henry.
They traveled behind a large monument, losing sight of them. To the left a prowling cat distracted me when suddenly, a blood-curdling scream scraped into my bones, clutching my heart.
Available from AMAZON!