Liv Constantine is actually two sisters, Lynne and Valerie Constantine, who wrote The Last Mrs Parrish via Skype, FaceTime and emails as they live three states away from each other in the United States.
Now, I won't go too much in depth into what The Last Mrs Parrish is about (I have questions linked to that further down), but when I got an email from Felicity at HarperCollins to ask if I wanted to do a tiny Q&A, I jumped at the chance! I was intrigued on how these sisters write this story living so far away from each other.
Now, before I hand it over to part me and both Lynne and Valerie, I want to thank them both for answering my questions and Felicity at HarperCollins for asking me if I wanted to be involved in one form or another.
OH! If you want more info on Liv Constantine, check out their website at livconstantine.com or follow them at @LivConstantine2. Now, over to the questions!!!
Before we start, what would be your elevator pitch for The Last Mrs. Parrish?
A woman insinuates herself into the life of another with the intent of taking it over.
What inspired you to write The Last Mrs Parrish?
We were discussing the phenomenon of the second “trophy wife”, especially those cases where a woman deliberately sets out to destroy a marriage and become the next wife. We began to talk about how nice it would be if the outcome could be turned on its head. The more we talked, the more apparent it became that this was the book to write.
How much research did you do while writing The Last Mrs Parrish?
A fair amount. We needed to research facts about Cystic Fibrosis and wanted to make sure that we were accurate in writing about it. We also had to research all those fabulous clothes and accouterments of wealth enjoyed by The Parrish family. And of course there was the research/consultations with a psychologist to discuss sociopathic thinking and behavior.
What I found while researching is that you are two sisters who live three states apart and yet, you co-author this together? How did you manage to write this story while being so far apart? And how did you find the balance between each other’s ideas on what would and wouldn’t work within this story?
We talk every day, even on the weekends, and most days we FaceTime as well. Lots of emails fly back and forth too. Since we are in such close and constant contact, we always know where the other is in the story, and so we are never writing in the dark. When one of us has a concern about something the other has written, the issue is always resolved by talking it through and answering the question, “What would this character do or say in this situation?” We do our best to leave our egos at the door, listen to each other openly, and then try to do what is best for the story.
The Last Mrs Parrish is told to have a shocking final twist that no one sees coming (am still reading so am already tense). Without giving anything away, did you know about the twist when you started writing or did you stumble upon the idea of it while writing?
The twist was the first thing we came up with and we were so excited about it that it ignited the passion for the book. The biggest twist comes in the middle of the book and then the ending delivers several more twists.
When this book was first release, it got praise from authors such as Karin Slaughter, Lee Childs, Karen Dionne and it got compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Plus, Reese Witherspoon chose The Last Mrs Parrish as her December 2017 Book Club Book of the Month. What was it like when you first heard the praise The Last Mrs. Parrish was receiving?
We were awed by the reception the book received, and so grateful to these amazing authors for their wonderful blurbs. We were absolutely stunned and thrilled to get the news that Reese had chosen The Last Mrs. Parrish for her book club. Our editor wisely told us to sit down before delivering the good news, and we couldn’t stop smiling for weeks!
Lastly, if it doesn’t reveal anything too spoilery, what are you writing next?
We’re very excited about our current work-in-progress. Once again, we have two female protagonists, but this time they are best friends. The book opens with a murder, and the reader gets a glimpse into the killer’s mind. The narrative switches back and forth between the two women and the killer.