Hello Constance and welcome to my blog. I’m so excited to have you here today. I know that the readers are looking forward to learning more about you. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Ohio with my husband, daughter, and four canine kids. My son, now on his own, is planning a wedding, reconfirming that romance still lives and breathes.
When not writing stories of finding and rediscovering love, my husband and I spend the hours planning a cross-country motorcycle trip for the not-so-distant future…if we can find a sidecar big enough for the pups.
I'm so glad to hear that you're from Ohio. I was born and raised there. It's the place of my heart even though I've not lived there in years. Now onto some fun questions!
If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?
Boy, that’s a hard question. I would have to say I’d like to see a mass return to the golden rule. If everyone cared just as much about their neighbor as they did themselves, I think we’d see a lot of the world’s problems melt away.
I agree. Too many people are thinking of themselves only. If you knew the exact date of your death down to the minute, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow?
This is a great question. In a way, it’s one I asked myself while I was working on Resurrecting Harry. More than an escape artist performing the ultimate escape, it’s really about living your life for the moment – for today – because we really don’t know what tomorrow has in store for us.
For me – this would be really difficult – but I would want to stop worrying so much. Worry really does have a way of stealing joy.
I have a hard time letting go of my worry and guilt too. When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive!
I love music, especially live. So I would have to say when I attended my last concert, which was just this past December.
When was the last time you helped someone that was desperately in need? What did you do? Was this person grateful?
People close to me have told me this is sort of my fatal flaw. When I see a need, I do try to help the best I can. Sometimes, I hesitate because more often than not my attempts at kindness do not seem to be appreciated. However, I work at not letting that change the way I act.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
I’m going to dig into the oldies box here. Whenever we would watch old reruns of Roseanne, my kids would tell me I was just like her. I think, Hope, that it was because we always try to handle the bad things with humor in our house.
I loved Roseanne. She did have a great sense of humor especially with the teen issues! What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Without a doubt, reading.
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author.
Did you always want to be an author?
For as long as I can remember. When I say that I’ve wanted to write books from the time I learned to write words, it’s the absolute truth.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
As a child I would read anything I coud get my hands on. The local librarians knew me by name, and it would be nothing during the summer to go to library daily to check out 2 or 3 new books. As an Adult I really fell in love with paranormal romance. I started reading some Laurell K Hamilton, and also love Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. R. Ward, and Charlaine Harris.
Those are some of my favorite authors too. They fill my keeper shelves. Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
What ever I’m drinking at the time (Diet Coke or Coffee depending on the time) and music.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
Probably, time management. That might seem odd, but it’s really a task balances the creative side of writing with the business end. It really requires me to be able to segment my time.
Tell us about the birthday release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
Devastated by Harry Houdini's unexpected death, his widow, Bess, clings to his promise to deliver a coded message from beyond the grave. She's determined to provide the bridge for him to cross, just like she assisted him on the stage, even if that means befriending her husband's sworn enemy.
In order to save the only woman he's ever loved from self-destruction, Harry puts his afterlife on the line by entering a wager with purgatory’s keeper, who gives Harry a younger face and body, and a new name: Erich Welch. Even with Harry's soul and memories, Erich feels out-of-place and disconnected from everything he once called his own.
Will Erich be able to help Bess recover from her loss and will any good come from resurrecting Harry?
For Harry Houdini, failure wasn't an option.
Being closed into the old steamer trunk didn't faze him, not even when the familiar sound of a padlock clanking in place echoed in his ear. When water began to seep through the seams, most men would panic, but years of experience pushed down the instinct. He knew his faithful assistant and wife, Bess, had slipped into the spotlight to distract the crowd and raise the tension, just like they'd practiced for hours and performed dozens of times.
While the fans anticipated the worst, he took a slow and measured breath and prepared for several minutes without oxygen.
Harry focused on his center from behind veiled lids and used every last bit of strength to extend his legs. The side of the trunk he'd carefully loosened the night before popped off, and the water now rushed in. With cuffed hands, he felt along the lid, guiding himself out. His hooked pinky swiped the key from beneath his tongue, but the metallic taste remained.
Lifting his legs, he made short work of the shackles binding his ankles and then arched his back, reaching toward the surface. In seconds, the cuffs securing his wrists fell away too.
All that was left was to break the surface and claim his reward. The roar of the crowd and Bess's loving arms were the only two things that thrilled him more than defying death. Her and his fans gave him the drive to succeed.
Light faded away, as if rain clouds covered the sun or as if he was sinking further away from his destination.
His world spun like a child's top. A pulse thumped in his ear and molten-hot blood pumped through his veins. Pure adrenaline fueled the glimpses of his past, which flashed by like the slides his brother, Theo, showed after every vacation. But Harry wasn't watching the events unfold; he relived the memories over and again.
The spinning stopped. He now hung upside down, wrapped tighter than a Christmas present. His Chinese Water Torture Chamber, a straight jacket and the stage of the Orpheum Theatre; Harry might as well be safe at home in bed. He'd free himself from the binds as soon as he pushed his shoulder out of joint.
With a pop, this faded to white too.
Always trapped. Never escaping. No reward.
The spinning continued, like a phonograph record.
Shivers raked his body. In the distance, he could hear a doctor offering comfort and explaining to a sobbing Bess that hope was lost.
Harry saw nothing, just shuddered and listened. Icy water enveloped him; his neck rested on the frosty cast-iron tub. No matter how many times he relived it, he still believed his infection would clear and the fever would break. He may have stood in the shadow cast by the angel of death, but he still denied the inevitable. A burst appendix destroy the great Harry Houdini, master escape artist and expert showman? Never. When the lights fell on his final performance, something grander than illness would extinguish his flame.
Swallowing hard, he fought the quiver in his lips and tried to call out for Bess. Her touch to his cheek would provide the needed strength. The only vision that ever played out completely: he whispered her name and watched his own chest rise and fall for the last time.
The cold vanished, his pain dissipated, but the mental torture never ended. Over and over he experienced his greatest challenges, but not the successes. Never completing an escape and returning to Bess's embrace kept him lonely and devastated. What had he done to deserve such torment, and for how long would this agony continue?
Harry always believed in ashes to ashes. When his heart stopped, his mind would too. Anything else seemed impossible, but now he knew different. This was Hell.
But what of the fire and brimstone ol' man Thomas used to preach about on the corner?
As a child, Harry's sainted mother would rush him past Seventh and Main where the elderly man testified to the world. She'd whisper passages from the Torah and remind him his main concern should be this life. Despite his mother's dislike for the reverend, he taught Harry a valuable lesson that would stick with him his whole life: give people a show.
Would it disappoint the preacher to know that, despite what the scriptures said, Hell didn't torture the body with never-ending fires, but focused on the mind? Harry knew this was worse.
His stomach heaved to and fro. Bile bubbled in his gut and pushed its way up, burning his throat, but the relief vomiting would bring never came.
Why won't the spinning stop? Maybe because he allowed it to continue. Change comes from within. That's how he lived his life: for every action, a reaction. Why should death be different?
No more complacency.
He tightened his muscles and stretched his body as taut as possible. "STOP!"
Spinning. Spinning. As if he was embedded on a reel-to-reel film and someone had pushed rewind, but he was through being held at someone else's mercy. Again, he ordered an end to the torture.
The loud clank of rusty gears grinding together sounded, and he felt whatever force kept him tied to this existence snap. His body plummeted and his arms thrashed; pleas turned to screams. Maybe there was something worse than the status quo. Falling faster now, he tensed his muscles and braced for the agonizing pain of hitting the ground.
Soft and comforting instead, like slipping into a feather bed and wrapping up in a patchwork quilt, he felt ground beneath him. And serenity. An end to his anguish? He opened his eyes and wondered if he'd see anything but his past. White padding adorned the walls and the floor, like he'd seen in those mental hospitals he toured while concocting his straightjacket escape.
But Harry wasn't crazy. He was dead.
The air shifted; the temperature rose. Sweat replaced the goose bumps that covered his arms. A body? Harry touched the flesh to make sure it was real. The image of a floating soul now shattered by this reality. Hot, humid air burned his lungs as he leaned against the wall and looked up into the ice-blue eyes of a stranger, who loomed a good foot taller than Harry and was wrapped in tight, black leather like the blacksmiths he'd known in his youth or the cowboys he'd first met out west. Long, black hair veiled the stranger's face. He lit a cigarette and threw his head back, inhaling deeply and giving Harry another look at those bizarre eyes. A shiver rode his spine. "My God."
A bubbling laugh erupted from the giant. "Not bloody likely."
**Nominated for A Grave Tells 2013 Reader’s Choice Award in the Sugar Shock Category
I was playing around with the idea of escaping death. You know, they say the two things that are inevitable: taxes and death. I liked the idea of an escape artist who had figured a way around it. A large ego who was good with mind games as well. I came to the realization there was no one more larger-than-life than Harry Houdini, and the details surrounding his untimely death gave me a great canvas to play with the story I wanted to tell.
Don't you love playing with "what if"? How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
Well, Bess was Bess, there was no getting around that. For the reincarnated Harry, I decided to use Erich. Houdini’s given name was actually spelled Ehrich, I purposely dropped an “h” because it was, but it wasn’t Houdini.
I named the celestial being that he bargained with Jaden, a play on the fact that the character is very jaded.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
I have so many in this book! The opening ranks up there pretty high. Houdini/Erich in the dreamstate, his life being played out in flashes before his eyes. It goes back to what I was saying up above about the moments in our lives. I often wonder if what we think is important now, will matter at all late on.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
It would have to be Jaden. He questions everything and is always challenging Erich’s why. I’m not sure if it’s the writer in me, but I always want to know the why.
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Amazon POD : http://www.amazon.com/Resurrecting-Harry-Constance-Phillips/dp/1939173132/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1361977605&sr=8-3&keywords=Resurrecting+Harry
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Resurrecting-Harry-ebook/dp/B00BLBKDDQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361977605&sr=8-1&keywords=Resurrecting+Harry
Barnes and Noble (print/Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/resurrecting-harry-constance-phillips/1114721629?ean=9781939173133
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-resurrectingharry-1101825-143.html
Local in her area, tv commercial: http://youtu.be/2ug8N3EFsKo
A touching tale that delves into love, responsibility, loyalty, death and grief. I’m going to have to read more on Houdini now. Such a fascinating character! – Shawna Romkey, Author of Speak of the Devil
This charming tale of will make you laugh and cry. Told with such emotive candor we watch as Harry disguised as Erich learns about love, trust, and forgiveness. – Louann Carroll, Author of Gemini Rising
This book is truly one of the best love stories of the ages I have read. So touching. – Kriss Morton of Cabin Goddess
This is an old-fashioned love story with a ghost story kind of twist. – Katie O’Sullivan, Author of Son of a Mermaid
Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).
Constance blogs regularly at www.constancephillips.com. You can also follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook.
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