Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pygmalia by Stephanie Constante: A Juniper Grove Book Tour

My distractions today include Stephanie Costante's  book "Pygmalia". Pygmalia is on tour so we all get the chance to know all about the story and its author.
Title:  Pygmalia
Author: Stephanie Constante
Published:  May 31, 2013
Word Count:  81000
Genre:  YA Sci-Fi Romance
Content Warning:  It contains scenes of a sexual nature, profanity, underage drinking, and graphic violence. 
Age Recommendation: 15+

Lily is the heir to her father’s family fortune, except she wants no part in it. Especially if it means having to spend months away from her loving mother, being ignored by her genius, yet reclusive father, and tormented by her domineering grandmother.
Since her parent’s divorce, Lily has been forced to spend every summer, bored to death, at her father’s dilapidated estate in England. The one consolation is that this is the last summer she will have to visit before her eighteenth birthday frees her of this obligation. What Lily didn’t expect to find was someone who is just as lonely and out of place as she is. Someone that could make her actually want to stay at the rundown mansion.
Deep in the basement of her father’s home, she finds Adam, who is half human, half machine. He is her father’s latest prototype: a creation built for war, but able to do so much more than just basic fighting tactics and artillery protocol. Lily cannot help but be drawn to her father’s experiment, though she’s certain nothing can come of it. When she realizes that Adam will eventually be taken from her and potentially destroyed, she must decide whether putting her family in jeopardy is worth the risk of helping him escape.

About the Author:
Stephanie was born and raised in Miami where she currently works as a mental health counselor. In her spare time she loves to read, write, spend time with loved ones, travel, and watch anything made in the UK. Her other works include books one and two of The Draconi Series.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | GoodReads | Blog

Let's get to know Stephanie better with an interview.
Welcome to "Urania's distractions" Stephanie Constante. I think your readers already know a lot about you, but please share a short bio with us.

Hey there! My name is Stephanie and I currently work as a mental health counselor, but my real passion is writing. I’ve written a fantasy series about dragon shifters (Baptism of Fire, Incendio) and Pygmalia, a contemporary sci-fi novel. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy listening to music, watching British television programming, and visiting Disney World.

When did you discover your gift for writing?
 When I was little, I wrote a story about an alien who comes to our planet and kidnaps a boy to save his own. My fifth grade teacher asked me to type it out and she shared it with her colleagues. It was the first time I felt like what I wrote meant something to someone other than myself.

What personal need does writing cover for you?
It helps me escape. I deal with individuals on a daily basis who suffer from mental illnesses which doesn’t always make for an easy day. I like to delve into other worlds and get in the minds of other people. I went into psychology because I liked picking other people’s brains, which is funny because my characters live in my own so it’s a weird concept to pick my own mind when I write.

What kind of sacrifices have you made along the way?
I’ve sacrificed money and my social life. I wouldn’t say that it’s a sacrifice per say though. I feel that spending money on a beautiful cover is tantamount to someone else spending money on a pair of shoes or a new gadget. As for my social life, I have very supportive friends, and though I see them a lot less now that I write more often, when we get together it makes that time all the more special.

What genre do you write?
I tend to linger on paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy type stories but I don’t shy away from any genres. I’m working on a period piece right now. I want to be able write something in every genre.

Any genre you have excluded from your writing?
Not yet. I don’t think anyone should limit themselves and I certainly won’t say no to anything. If a story calls out to me, I won’t deny it the light of day.

Do you have a special genre preference as a reader?
I love urban fantasy. 

How do you approach your writing?  Do you plot or go with the flow? Who is your favorite author and why?
Plan, plan, plan! I’m a planner in everything, especially writing. I plan out what characters will look like, I make charts about how each character is connected to the other, I write out what’s going to happen in each chapter, and I even find music to go with scenes from the book. I really can’t pick a favorite author because it would feel like cheating on the others. I love Bret Easton Ellis for his grittiness, I love Jane Austen for her beautiful love stories, I love Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Mary Shelley for their ability to create such imaginative stories. I really can’t decide on just one.

What inspired you to write Pygmalia?
I was rereading Frankenstein and I thought about what it would be like if Doctor Frankenstein had a daughter and that daughter fell in love with his monster. I wanted to modernize it though, so instead of a reanimated corpse, it was a cyborg. I also had been watching Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw which is a play/movie about a man who transforms a degenerate, lowborn woman, into a well spoken, dignified lady. It was moving to see how this woman ended up being caught in between two worlds. She found herself torn between the slum she came from, and the wealthy life of an aristocrat. At the same time, this man was changed as well. He found himself caring for this woman, his creation, even though he did not wish to admit it. I wanted to create a story that dealt with the idea of what it meant to be not only the creator of something, but also the product of that creation. 

What's the significance of the book's title?
Pygmalia comes from the name Pygmalion who is a character in mythology. He created a statue of the perfect woman when he could not find his ideal mate in his village. He fell in love with this statue and Venus decided to grant him the wish of making her into a real woman. I’m sure this story sounds familiar and that’s because it is found consistently in literature. Pygmalia is a play on this name and also the title of the project Adam is a part of.

Is there a main message that you'd like readers to take away from the book?
 I just want to present characters that are not just two- dimensional. I don’t think any of the characters in this book are all good or all bad, and maybe that’s the one thing I want people to take away from this. Also, mankind has an innate nature to create and soon enough, we might start seeing characters like Adam. When I was researching for the book, I found that we are already able to insert chips into human brains, which can control robotic limbs. The question is, how far will we be willing to go and what are we willing to sacrifice in the process? The idea of sacrifice plays a big role in the book. I think that lots of the characters in my book are forced to sacrifice something whether it’s their body, their mind, their freedom, their loved ones. . . it makes you question what you’d be willing to give up for the right or wrong reasons.  

How do you pick the character’s names?
 I research names and what their meanings are. I love to find names for characters that help describe them in subtle ways.

Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
Well, I’m not sure it’s a quirk but I love to find pictures of actors that look like my characters and refer back to them before I start writing. It helps me to visualize how they move or speak in my head.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
 I noticed that I had to do some changes to the story when I began seeing other ways to portray my characters. There’s one character who I did not want to make sympathetic at all, but I felt compelled to change them slightly. Usually I like to make characters more than two-dimensional but this one particular character, I felt that she needed to stay bad but she wouldn’t let me do that to her, lol.

Did you have to do any research for your stories?
Yes, I had to do some research on robotics, human anatomy and physiology, and military procedures. It’s amazing what science has brought to the table over the years.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing?
The most challenging is finding the time and motivation to write after a long day of work and chores. I write sometimes fifteen notes a day about my client’s progress, so when I get home, my mind feels like jelly and I have to push myself to get back into writing mode.

The easiest is the planning process. I love plotting out what’s going to happen, finding names for characters, and creating profiles for them.

What’s the most rewarding aspect?
 When someone tells me how much they loved a particular character or part of the story. Also when I manage to surprise someone with a plot twist.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Someone told me that one of my books made them cry, which was surprising to me because it’s strange to illicit emotions like that from people. I love when a book reaches me in an intense way and I felt really honored that my book could do that for someone.

What is your experience as an indie author and what obstacles did you have to overcome so as to become a successful writer?
Honestly, marketing myself has to be the most difficult part for me. I was never good at sales or pushing people to like something, especially something I produced because it sort of makes me feel conceited or full of myself. It’s really hard for me to say, “Hey, my book is awesome, you should read it!” Even though I love the book, I can’t say that everyone will like it. Unfortunately in the indie world, you have to sell yourself and you have to do it often. I’m still working on doing that but even if one person reads my book and enjoys it, then that makes me happy.

What advice can you offer to those who are struggling to make their book known to the public?
 I really don’t have advice because I’m one of those struggling, lol. I know that those who are successful put themselves out there. They’re not shy about asking people to read and review their books. They know how to network. I’m working on being less shy about it. Writing is the easiest part of this process; it’s the self promotion that takes that extra bit of effort.

What are we to expect of Stephanie Constante in the future?
Well, I’m currently working on a period romance that takes place in 1950’s Miami.

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
What do you think about romances that aren’t contemporary? Also do you think that killing off a main character is something that makes you feel more connected to the story or do you prefer happy endings?

Thanks again, Stephanie Constante and best of continued success to you in all your endeavours!

These were great questions; I had a great time answering them! Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and your readers! :oD
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
·         8 Swag Packs (including 1 notebook, 1 sticker, and 1 button)
·         5 paperback copies of Pygmalia
·         5 eBooks
Giveaway is International for ebooks, US only for print copies and swag.

Excerpt from Pygmalia by Stephanie Constante:

It was the guy from the laboratory; he managed to find me, and the panic coursing through my body is enough to send me curling up into a ball, just letting him drag me to whatever hell he came from. I can’t though; I can’t keep from fighting back. I struggle to get his hand loose from around my wrist, but there’s no use. I smack him, push at him, and even punch him in the face, which hurt me more than it appeared to affect him. He’s immovable. 
“Please,” I finally resort to pleading with him, “Please don’t hurt me.” I feel more tears streaming down my face; I fall to my knees, covering my mouth to keep from weeping. I don’t even care about dirtying the dress further; it was ruined the second I stepped foot in these woods.
“I have no instructions to hurt you. I’m here to bring you back to your father.” He says plainly. I can barely see his face in the shadows, but I remember those haunting blue eyes.
“What does he want with me?” I say, drying my tears with the back of my hand.
“I don’t know. I have only been told to find you and bring you back.”
“Who are you?”
“I was instructed to keep all information regarding myself and your father classified. Please come with me, or I will have to use force.”
“I thought you said you weren’t supposed to hurt me,” I say.
“I do not need to hurt you to get you to come with me,” I can tell that he’s probably from the London area, based on his accent.
“If I go with you, back to the house, what will happen?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then I think I’ll stay here.”
“The likelihood of your survival out here is scarce. You will only injure yourself further.” I can feel him touching a cut on my arm I got from running into a branch when I first ventured into the woods. His hand is warm, the way a live human person’s would feel against my skin.
“Please come with me,” he says, and holds out something. I grab the objects, realizing they’re my heels.
“You brought my shoes?”
“I thought they might be of use to you.”
“Heels in the forest, in the dark? Not so much useful as they are an accident waiting to happen,” I grumble. “Alright, lead the way. But if you try and hurt me, I’m jabbing this Manolo Blahnik in your eye socket.”
“What is a Manolo Blahnik?” he asks. I can’t see his face, but I’m sure it looks extremely confused. Guys.
“Never mind,” I sigh, “just know that I will do some damage if you try anything.”
“I understand,” he says. As we begin our trek back to the house, I stumble a few times. He grabs my waist before I fall flat on my face, and takes my hand in his; it’s softer than I would have imagined it to be. “This might help,” he says as he triggers something on his hand. A light emanates from beneath his skin, turning it an orangey pink. I pull away from him and point at his hand.
“How did you do that?”
“It’s one of my tools. I don’t need it really, but I suppose you do,” he says holding out his unlit hand to me, while stretching the other in front of him so he can light my way.
“What are you?”
“I am Prototype 78.”
“What does that even mean? That doesn’t tell me anything about you.”
“It’s not supposed to,” he keeps his gaze forward as we walk down the hillside towards the house. We moved silently through, and as we passed the lake, I couldn’t help but feel unnerved by him.
“Are you some kind of alien?”
“I can’t answer that,” his face barely shows any kind of emotion, but there’s something in there; I remember seeing it when I looked into his eyes.
“You were dead,” I press on. “You were dead on that table when I found you, and then you just woke up. So you’re obviously not human. You’re some kind of experiment he’s working on.” He doesn’t respond, so I keep deducing on my own.“You have scars, but they look nothing like what I’d imagine a zombie would look like. You’ve got that light coming out of your hand, and you were able to track me in this darkness. I’m guessing alien.”
“I’m not an alien,” he finally admits.
“Aha!” I jump and point at him. “So you’re an experiment. Like Frankenstein, just not as gross looking.”
“Frankenstein is not the name of the monster; it’s the name of the doctor. The monster never had a name.”
“Are you saying you’re Frankenstein’s monster?”
“I’m not a monster,” he says, except for the first time, there’s sadness behind his words. He looks down at his hand, as if somehow disgusted with himself, but his movements are robotic. Even his affect is flat and unexpressive.
“Fair enough, you’re not a monster,” I say. He looks down at me and seems relieved; he’s not a monster, but he’s definitely not human.

Until our next distraction,
keep being distracted by reading!


  1. Hi Urania! It's an honor to be a distraction for you! :)Thanks for taking the time out to come up with such awesome questions! BTW, I just got Gate Deadlock and I'm looking forward to reading it. All the best to you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Stephanie! It was my pleasure to be distracted by you and Pygmalia! My blog will always be available for your future promotions. I hope you will enjoy Gate Deadlock.


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