Career Authors

Not IF. But WHEN.

by Lynne Constantine

About six years ago I became serious about pursuing my dream of a writing career. I’d written a book with my sister years earlier and had coasted on that accomplishment for the next ten years—calling myself a writer, but doing very little writing. And then I saw an ad in Writer’s Digest for Thrillerfest. I was excited to meet other authors, sharpen my craft, and find a community of like-minded people. It was an exhilarating weekend and just what I needed to inspire me to get back to my true passion. I met authors who had written not just one, but five, ten, fifteen, or more books. I realized right then, that if I wanted to call myself a writer, I needed to, well, write.

I told myself—it’s not a matter of if I’ll get published, but when.

I got busy, dusted off my work-in-progress, and held myself accountable to a weekly writing schedule. In between shuttling my kids to activities, I’d bring my laptop wherever I had to be, plug in my earphones and write. I finally finished my thriller, THE VERITAS DECEPTION, and while submitting that to agents, began a new collaboration with my sister. We finished that one, titled BLACK-EYED SUSANS, and now there were two manuscripts to submit to agents.

Every week, emails arrived from literary agents

Some with encouragement, others merely a form letter, but all with the same message—not for me.

I told myself—it’s not a matter of if I’ll get published, but when.

In the meantime, every July I’d find myself among my tribe in New York at Thrillerfest, building my network, honing my craft, and commiserating with other writers about the daunting odds of getting published. I enrolled in a local writer’s workshop and took classes over the next two years and there found an amazing mentor. And through it all, I kept writing. “I can’t believe you haven’t given up,” a few friends would comment, after listening to me bemoan the latest string of rejections.

But giving up was not an option

I took the advice I’d heard over and over from bestselling authors to heart: Don’t get stuck on the book you’re pitching, write the next book. And I did. Putting BLACK-EYED SUSANS aside, my sister and I started on The Last Mrs. Parrish. We didn’t think about the rejection. We didn’t think about the odds. We lost ourselves in the story, and when we were finished we didn’t stop there. We had beta readers give us feedback. Then we hired a freelance editor to make sure it was as clean as it could be, because we wanted to give it every chance to succeed. Editors can see things that for the writer, so immersed in the detail, are difficult to discern. Our editor pointed out a flaw that greatly diminished the tension, and over a one-hour brainstorming session, we figured out how to restructure the book to fix it.

We told ourselves—it’s not a matter of if we’ll get published, but when.

Once again, it was time to show our work to the world.

We sent out our query letters and waited

Three weeks later, we received an offer from the agent we’d been hoping would sign us, and it happened, where else, but in the lobby of the Hyatt at Thrillerfest!

After the conference, she submitted our manuscript to publishers and six days later we had a preemptive offer from HarperCollins. To date, the novel has sold in nineteen foreign territories, has been a People magazine book pick and most recently a Reese Witherspoon book club selection.

I could have let all those rejections convince me that I wasn’t really a writer, but instead, I kept writing. And rather than listen to the voices of rejection, I listened to my own, knowing that no matter what, as long as I was writing, I had already succeeded.

When? Right now.


Lynne Constantine is a coffee-drinking, Twitter-addicted fiction author always working on her next book. She likes to run her plots by Tucker, her golden retriever, who never criticizes them.

Her newest book, THE LAST MRS. PARRISH (written with her sister Val)  is published by HarperCollins under the pen name Liv Constantine. Rights for THE LAST MRS. PARRISH have been sold in 19 other territories, including Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Korea, and the UK.

Lynne is the author of THE VERITAS DECEPTION and the co-author of CIRCLE DANCE, as well as several short stories. She has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.

She is also a social media consultant and speaker, working with authors to build their brand platforms. Lynne teaches at various workshops and has spoken at the Thrillerfest conference in New York. She is a monthly contributor to Suspense Magazine and a contributing editor to The Big Thrill magazine.

Lynne is passionate about education, reading, health, and wellness. She enjoys traveling, spending time on the beach and taking walks with her family and their adorable golden retriever. She and her sister contracted with HarperCollins for their next novel, and are hard at work on the new “Liv Constantine” book.