Monday, June 7, 2021

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Constellations by Patricia Leavy @GoddessFish


 

Constellations

by Patricia Leavy

GENRE: Women's Fiction/Romance

BLURB:

Constellations follows Tess Lee and Jack Miller after three years of marriage as they navigate the meaning of love and family over a series of holidays. Tess is a wildly successful and world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore our innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jack is a former federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. Both healing from past trauma, together they have finally built the life they wish to live. What will happen to their blissful union when Jack’s childhood family resurfaces? When Tess and Jack visit the Millers for Christmas, how will insecurity, a sense of missed opportunities, and the need for redemption test their relationship? When a terrible accident threatens everything in an instant, will they learn the true meaning of unconditional love? Their loved ones are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who calls her Butterfly; the female president of the United States, with whom Tess talks politics and bakes cookies; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; Bobby and Gina, their younger friends who never fail to lighten the mood; and the Miller family. Constellations is a novel about family – those into which we’re born and those we create – the human desire to belong and feel connected, the true nature of intimacy, and the power of love to heal and redeem. Written as unfolding action, Constellations is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy.


Excerpt:

That afternoon, the kitchen in the Miller house was bustling with noise. Tess, Julie, and Mikey were making Christmas ornaments with the boys at the table. Mary was washing dishes and John was drying them. Jack came into the room holding his cell phone. “Tess, Omar is on the phone for you. He couldn’t reach you on yours.”

She looked up, glitter on her face. “I turned the ringer off when we got here. Is everything okay?”

He said it’s a work thing,” Jack replied.

Well, I’m a little busy. Can I call him back?” she asked.

He said it’s urgent but he’ll make it quick.”

My hands are a mess. Please set the phone on the table and put it on speaker.” She looked at the boys and said, “I’m sorry, this will only take a minute.”

Mary turned off the faucet so Tess would have quiet for her call, and Julie put a finger to her lips to hush the boys.

Hi, Omar. You’re on speakerphone. I have glue all over my hands,” she said.

Of course you do,” Omar said with a laugh.

I’m making Christmas ornaments with my nephews.”

Butterfly, Crystal and I have been trying to get in touch with you since yesterday. I need your final approval on the streaming deal for the limited series.”

I turned my phone off. I told you, no work until after the holidays.”

I know and I’m sorry, but they want the write-off on the books for this calendar year. Everyone will be out of the office from tomorrow until after the new year, so we have to get it done today. I know this donation is important to you. I can sign the paperwork; I just need the green light.”

She sighed. “Fine.”

You were right,” Omar said. “We were able to get them up to three point four million, and they’ll make the donations directly. Is it a deal?”

Yes, that’s fine,” Tess replied.

I also need to confirm that you want to donate one hundred percent. Barry’s still hoping you’ll have a change of heart and keep some of it, but you know how accountants are.”

Well, he can keep hoping. Have them donate the whole thing.”

You still want half to go to veterans and half to that children’s wish organization?” Omar asked.

Yes,” Tess replied. “Is that it?”

I’m afraid there’s one last question, and I’m bracing myself for your response. Don’t kill the messenger, Butterfly, but your publisher wanted me to ask if you’d reconsider your insistence on keeping the donation anonymous. They’d love to get some publicity out of it. Eliza Elkington could do a profile in her magazine, or you could do a TV spot with Diane.”

Absolutely not. That offends me to the core. You can tell Claire that if I see anything in the media about this, even so much as a whisper, I’ll assume they leaked the story and I’ll be publishing my next book with someone else.”

I’m sorry, I had to ask.”

Please wish everyone happy holidays and tell Claire I hope her son has recovered well from his injury. Are we done?”

Yes, Butterfly. I’m sorry to disturb you. I hope you and Jack are having a good trip.”

I love you to pieces, but if you call me about work again, you’re fired.”

From your business or your life?”

Both.”

Omar laughed. “If it’s any consolation, Butterfly, you’re doing a good thing that will help a lot of people.”

Nice attempt at redemption. I’ll talk to you when we’re back in DC. Give my love to Clay.”

She gestured at Jack to hang up. There was complete silence in the room. Mikey and Julie looked up at Jack, their mouths agape. John and Mary looked at each other with shocked expressions and then back at Jack and Tess.

Noticing everyone staring, Tess softly said, “I’m sorry for the interruption.”

John cleared his throat. “Tess, I’m a vet.”

Tess smiled kindly. “I know. Jack told me. Your service was what inspired him to enlist. Since leaving his full-time job with the Bureau, he’s done a lot of wonderful volunteer work to support vets.”

John looked at Jack and then at Mary.

What John’s trying to say is that was a very generous thing you did,” Mary said.

Tess smiled and turned to the boys. “So, I think the snowflake needs more silver glitter. What do you think? Maybe we can convince your Uncle Jack to sit down and help.” She picked up an ornament and began sprinkling sparkling flakes on it. Jack sat down next to her and squeezed her thigh. Mikey looked at him and smiled. Jack craned his neck to look at his parents, and they smiled too. Mary turned the faucet on and went back to washing the dishes. Jack leaned over and kissed Tess on the cheek. “Here,” she said, handing him a star ornament. “Why don’t you start with this one?”


Interview with Patricia Leavy

What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve loved creative writing since I was a little girl. When I was about ten years old, I had a wonderful teacher and she really encouraged my writing. I actually tried writing a novel at the time, an epic love story between people who help each other heal, but because I was ten, it didn’t pan out! Even though I always wanted to be a writer, I was too afraid to pursue it. It takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to put your creative work out and there can be so much rejection and critique. I didn’t think I could handle it so I chose another path, got a doctorate, and became a sociology professor. As a result, I started publishing nonfiction books. After years of doing that I realized life was short and I found my courage. I wrote my first novel, quit my teaching gig, and I’ve never looked back.


What inspired you to write Constellations?

When I finished Shooting Stars, the first Tess Lee and Jack Miller book, I knew there were more stories to tell and I hoped readers would enjoy following their journey as much as I love writing about them. I’m using these characters to explore love, to write a grand love letter to love in all its forms and with all its complexities, one that will unfold over at least five books. Shooting Stars explores love and healing. Twinkle looks at love and doubt. Constellations looks at love and family, really chosen families, something I think many people can connect with, which is why I wanted to explore it using these characters I love so much. Even if people haven’t read Shooting Stars and Twinkle, they can still read Constellations, although I do think if you read them all, you’re more invested in the characters and their journey. Constellations is a novel about love and family – those into which we’re born and those we create – the human desire to belong and feel connected, the true nature of intimacy, and the power of love to heal and redeem. I also really wanted the novel to unfold over a series of holidays, because I think those can be challenging times for a lot of people, whether it’s because they aren’t connected to their childhood family, or they find it difficult being with their relatives, or because they are lonely. I thought an exploration of love and family that took place over a series of holidays would provide unique opportunities so the story begins on Thanksgiving with major plot points occurring over Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. I used the holidays to celebrate the different meanings of family and what those different kinds of relationships look like in our lives. So for some holidays, Tess and Jack are alone as a couple, for others they are with Jack’s childhood family, and for others they are with their dearest friends who are their chosen family, usually telling outrageous stories and laughing uproariously. In the end, it’s meant to be a quick, feel-good read.


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Constellations?

Constellations follows the epic love story of Tess Lee and Jack Miller, now married for three years. Tess is a wildly successful and world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore our innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jack is a former federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. The night Tess and Jack met, their connection was palpable. She examined the scars on his body and said, “I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.” They fell madly in love and have dedicated their lives to each other, both finally able to let happiness into their lives as they heal from past trauma. They’re madly in love. Super sexy, super affectionate, super romantic. The novel opens with a sexy scene of them alone in an outdoor shower in their Hawaiian getaway house, showing one kind of intimacy they share. Later in the book, there’s another shower scene between them that shows a very different kind of intimacy. Contrasted, these scenes paint a picture of how deeply they truly love each other. This is a close, intimate couple. I think they have a truly beautiful relationship. They model what love looks like in action. There’s a grace or gentleness to how they treat each other. They see each other, and when one is struggling, the other is there with a loving touch. They’ve both experienced great loss and pain in their lives, but it only makes them appreciate what they have together that much more. There’s a saying that, “Hurt people hurt people,” but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, people in deep pain are able to love others in extraordinary ways, without widening the circle of trauma. By loving each other, they can even heal themselves. Tess and Jack’s close friends are also an important part of the story, especially Omar, Tess’s best friend who she considers her family. Omar calls her “Butterfly” and he’s wickedly funny, sarcastic, and tells hilarious stories about his past adventures with Tess. He’s one of my favorite characters. He’s the friend we all want. Because Tess’s life has been surreal in many ways, due to her fame and success, she also has some fun celebrity friends who pop in, from Kate, the female president of the United States, to Mick, the rock and roll legend.


You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

I’m friends with so many authors that I don’t reveal favorites for fear of leaving someone out or hurting someone’s feelings.


Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

The next Tess Lee and Jack Miller novel should be coming out in August. It’s titled Supernova and it’s the darkest, grittiest book in the series. The novel explores love and trust. What happens when there is a betrayal? Tess and Jack’s love will be tested in a way it never has been before. North Star, the fifth book in the series, will be out at the end of the year. I’ve also been working on a couple of other novels, also love stories, but with different characters.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I absolutely loved every minute of it. This book came to me like a bolt and held my hand. It was a completely immersive, cathartic, and joyful writing experience. Writing a novel isn’t always like that, but this one was magical. The book is filled with so much love between the characters and while I was writing it, that loved lived inside of me too. I rarely go back and reread my own finished work, but I’ve reread Constellations many times during the pandemic. During a difficult time with lots of loneliness, this book embraced me in the warmest hug and provided much-needed comfort. I hope it does the same for others.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., is a bestselling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chair of Sociology and Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. She has published over thirty books, earning commercial and critical success in both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been translated into many languages. She is also series creator and editor for ten book series with Oxford University Press, Guilford Press, and Brill/Sense, including the ground-breaking Social Fictions series. Patricia has received dozens of accolades for her books. Recently, her novel Film won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction, her 3-novel set Candy Floss Collection won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Anthologies, and her novel Spark won the 2019 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction and the 2019 Living Now Book Award for Adventure Fiction. She has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women’s empowerment network, named her an “Influencer.” In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” She has residences in Maine and Massachusetts where she lives with her husband, daughter (when she’s not away at college), and her dog. Patricia loves writing, reading, watching films, and traveling.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Buy Link:

Amazon



Giveaway:

A signed set of 3 novels: Shooting Stars, Twinkle, and Constellations to two winners (US only)




Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


3 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Thanks for featuring my work!

Sherry said...

This sounds like a very good book.

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