I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

4 Dec 2012

Indie author interview
Stephanie Constante

Hello world

This post is part of a blog tour for Stephanie Constante and her latest book Baptism of Fire. Go check out the author's blog tour page here.

Title: Baptism of Fire
Author: Stephanie Constante
Published: Self-Published – September 7th, 2012
Word Count: Approximately 63,000
Genre: YA Fantasy

Being the daughter of a dragon slayer was never easy, especially when Leito discovers a dragon child injured in her father’s fields. Knowing the fate that will befall this child, she helps the boy escape before the hunt is upon him.

Leito realizes years later that no good deed goes unpunished and after the village offers her up as a sacrifice for her father’s actions against dragons, Leito must utilize all her knowledge and strength to outwit the dragon who aims to kill her. In this mythical tale, Leito is challenged mind, body, and soul as she learns more about the dragon world and the one creature who makes her question her fears and her heart.

This book contains mature subject matter and is intended for an older audience (16+).

“The night your kin came was the last night he killed a dragon. I made him promise me he would never do it again. He never did. And you may hate him, and I am not saying you haven’t the right to, but what you felt for your mate, for your son, that is what he felt for my mother and for me.” She swallowed when his eyes finally met hers again.

“All I saw growing up was a sad, hopeless man who was trying to quell the horrible memory of losing his only love. It was not hate he felt, it was pain and guilt. Guilt that he could do nothing to save my mother. I know what revenge looks like Aidan, I know that to you, it seems important and it seems just, but in the end, the only person you poison is yourself and anyone who you keep in your company.”
“You’re in my company. How do my feelings of your father affect you?”
“Well, I cannot say I enjoy knowing you wish to make him miserable but there is nothing I can do to stop how you feel. I have learned that people do not change because you want them to. My father has not changed; I know that if he were here right now he might want to kill you even if I said you were my friend.”
“Are we friends?” he asked.
“Do you not think so? Am I still just a prisoner to you?” Leito felt her heart skip a beat wondering what his answer would be.
“No, you’re not my prisoner.” Aidan shook his head frantically. “You are more than a prisoner to me, Leito, I assure you.”
“And you are more than just my captor.” She returned. He smiled at this and pushed his hair back with his steady fingers.
Leito yawned and covered her mouth. She apologized but this seemed endearing to Aidan since he pushed some stray hairs behind Leito’s ear. “You’ve had quite the day. Visiting dragons, hidden passageways, learning to swim and saving my life in the process . . . it is no wonder you’re weary.” He rose and began walking towards the torches snuffing them out.
“Are you leaving again?” she rose up from her seat as well, watching him as he walked around the room.
“Only if you would like me to go.” His face went blank. He was waiting to see her reaction. He did this a lot with her. Always offering his hand and waiting for her to take it.
“I would like you to stay.” It took her all her courage to say this. She never knew how much rope to give him, how much to offer of herself. She did not know if she could even compare him to others who had tried to court her. This was much different. Leito enjoyed being pursued by him if that was what he was doing. Part of her always wondered if she was reading too much into his actions. The smiles, the little touches, it all made her feel wanted but she knew girls in her past that took a simple kiss on the hand as a proposal of marriage. She never wanted to be one of those girls, especially now when she was still trying to understand this dragon, this young man who was slowly knocking down the walls that encircled her heart from the world.
Aidan smiled and let out a little chuckle. “Then I’ll stay.” His eyes seemed to brighten. Then she followed his gaze to the bed and her face became hot and flushed. “I will take the floor.”
“That is not necessary, I will take the floor, it is your bed after all.” She had already started grabbing one of the pillows to place it on the ground.
“Stop it.” He took the pillow from her gently and looked down at her, his eyes nearly burning right through her. She felt shaky all of a sudden; her stomach fluttered being so close to him and the bed. She had to look away to keep from blanching. “I have slept on cave floors all my life.” He assured her.
“We can compromise, can we not?” She grabbed the pillow back from him and placed it on the bed. “We can share the bed, as long as you promise to be a gentleman.”
His grin grew wider. “And as long as you promise to behave like a lady.”

About the Author:
Stephanie Constante was born and raised in Miami where she currently works as a mental health counselor. While growing up, she loved to write poetry and fiction, hoping to one day become an author. It was only recently that she began to see an opportunity to live her dream through self publishing. In her spare time she loves to read, write, spend time with loved ones, travel, and watch her favorite UK television shows.

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1) You work in the mental health sector. Describe a “normal” day for us?
In the morning, I typically run a group on a specific topic related to mental health, such as: dealing with paranoid thoughts, anger management, proper social skills, and the like. In the afternoon, I work with them on their prevocational skills (typing skills, resume building), independent living skills (cleaning, cooking), and anything else they wish to work on. We have special activities on some occasions, like art shows, health fairs, community integration, multicultural events, and holiday parties.
Sometimes my clients have their bad days, and I have to talk them out of their negative thoughts, paranoid ideations, and ruminations; however, for the most part, the group as a whole functions great. I’ve been working with my particular group for over four years, so I’ve gotten to know them pretty well. 

2) Has your work influenced your work at all? It has, actually. I deal with a lot of people who experience hallucinations, as well as paranoid thoughts and delusions, and they have to learn to deal with these symptoms on a day-to-day basis. Some function better than others, but it’s really amazing what the mind does to us, how it influences our beliefs and thoughts. For a fantasy writer, it helps inspire a lot of ideas for characters. In fact, in the second book, I cover some of what it means to experience these sorts of symptoms.

3) One of the themes in your book is revenge. Why did you choose that as a theme? Does it have an relevance to your life? I do have to say that, in my younger years, I thought revenge was very important. It meant justice and fairness; an eye for an eye. I thought that there was tremendous satisfaction in it. In the end though, it didn’t feel all that great, and no one benefited from it. I think, as I got older, I became more aware of people’s motives and behaviors. I noticed that sometimes the people who were the most hateful, cruel, or harmful, were some of the most broken also. If they’re broken already, revenge wasn’t going to solve anything.

4) Evolution or creation? Evolution. Darwin is my buddy.  :o)

5) What makes you unique as a writer? To be honest, I don’t think I can call myself unique. To say that I am in any way would be presumptuous. I think that, in this day and age, every story we tell as writers stems from another that has already been told. Even JK Rowling, a truly amazing writer, took from authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

6) You explore the possibility of an egalitarian society. Do you believe that an egalitarian society is possible? If so, what are some of the steps we can take to get there? I wish I could say that I believe it to be possible, but I don’t. It’s an ideal that would be very difficult to reach. I think it is the nature of man/woman to dominate. There are too many cultures that hold that belief system. Even when people attempt to create an egalitarian society, it always seems to fail. There always seems to be the need to attain power, wealth, and status. There always seems to be someone taking the leadership/authority role. It may sound a bit cynical, but I think the world has a long way to go before we become that type of society. I think that, to get there, people would need to really believe that everyone in the society is equal to them. They would need to put aside their pride, and the need to be better than others. Granted, it also means that this sense of enterprise and competition would also go out the window, which some would argue is a detriment to the progress of any society. There’s a reason I included this society in a fantasy, because it probably will never be part of our reality.

7) Why did you choose dragons and fantasy? Dragons have fascinated me since the moment I saw Maleficent turn into one in Sleeping Beauty. They’re dark and beautiful, feared and revered; they’re just a great mythical creature to start a story with. You can’t go wrong with dragons. As for fantasy, it wasn’t always my favorite genre. When I started writing in high school and college, I took from satirical and black comedy authors like Chuck Palahniuk, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bret Easton Ellis. When I started working in the mental health field, I needed a break from the cynicism, and I turned to reading and writing fantasy novels. It was a much needed escape, and I’ve been enamored with the genre ever since.

8) What is the biggest failure in your life? I think my biggest failure has to be not moving out of Miami. Not that I hate this city, I love it in fact! It’s just that I wonder how I would have grown if I got away from my hometown for a bit. I thought of teaching in Japan after I graduated college, but I never did. I think I got too complacent, and made a lot of excuses as to why I needed to stay here (family, friends, stable job, etc.) I would like to one day move away, even if it is just for a few years, and get out of my comfort zone. I’m not a fan of change, so moving away would be something major for me.

9) You talk about empowerment through inner strength. Being a mental health professional, I’m going to assume that this is a large part of your job. Do any of your patients stand out as pillars of inner strength? There are many of them who have a great deal of inner strength, but they don’t know how to access it. I try to instill in them a sense of assertiveness and self-confidence, which they sometimes confuse with being mean or arrogant.
I had one person a few years ago whom really exemplified inner strength. She had two very traumatic events take place, one of which was losing her daughter in an accident. She had to have been one of the strongest people I have ever met. I cannot begin to imagine how it must have felt going through what she went through, on top of having to deal with her mental illness. The fact that she would continue to come to program nearly every day amazed me, because I don’t know how I would have reacted in that situation.
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  1. Hi Daniel,

    I just wanted to thank you for being a part of the tour. It means a lot that you would go so in-depth with your questions. I really enjoyed answering them. You’re a stellar interviewer!

    Thanks a million,
    Stephanie <3

  2. It's a pleasure Stephanie.
    Thanks for your wonderful comments.
    I appreciate that! :)
    I hope this brings you much success in the future with your books.

    Good times, and all the best

    Oooh, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Years, if I never get to chat to you again :)

  3. Thank you so much, the same to you! :o)