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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+

Synopsis:

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.

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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.

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INTERVIEW:

1)      We are going to start with a toughie: What made you decide to self-publish?

I just want to get my characters out there. I love discussing stories and characters with people so being able to talk about something I came up with would be so much fun! I’ve always loved to write, I’m constantly daydreaming and it’s great to be able to share those stories and ideas with other people. 

2)      What are your biggest fears about writing/publishing? What are you favorite parts as well?

My biggest fear is that people won’t like my characters. I don’t know about other authors, but the characters I create are a part of me in a way, from the villains to the heroes, to every character in between. There are villains that people love to hate and there are heroes that we cheer on and it’s nice when people enjoy the characters you create, and it hurts like hell when they don’t.

3)      A question I know I always wonder about, what makes you pick and choose certain names, or is it completely random?

My names aren’t usually randomly picked unless they’re very unimportant to the story. I like to know the meaning of names and how they fit a character’s backstory or personality. I think every name should have a special meaning and give people an idea about a character long before they’ve gotten to know them.

4)      What made you decided to write fantasy and sci-fi?

I’m constantly trying to escape reality. I work in a job that some might say is very stressful and a bit depressing. I work with people who suffer from mental illnesses so people in my field have a lot of real things to deal with on a daily basis. I like to let my mind drift off into other worlds, other realities, and fantasy and sci-fi are just perfect for that. I’m working on something now that is more reality based though, so I’m not going to shy away from those types of genres either. I’d like to write something in each genre.

5)      As a writer what is some things you try to avoid or resist doing? Pet peeves, etc

I try to avoid making characters that are two-dimensional. Even the baddies in my books aren’t always pure evil and sometimes the good aren’t always saints. I think it’s important to make realistic characters even in a fantasy novel. I know that I love when a storyteller turns someone I used to dislike into someone I cheer on. When that happens, I feel the conflict in my heart and I don’t know why, but I like it. It keeps me open to people and helps me see the best and worst in others, even when I don’t want to.  

6)      Is there any writers or books that helped influence your decision to write? What made you decide to write (not publish, but write in general) in the first place?

I went through phases growing up. When I was little Rudyard Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Andersen and a few others inspired me to write children’s stories. When I was in high school, Charles Baudelaire inspired me to write poetry. Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk helped with my angsty writing in college, and when I got older, I went back to classic writers like Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Oscar Wilde when I wanted to work on writing in a more serious manner. 

7)      What were some influences for Pygmalia?

Well, Pygmalia is a version of Pygmalion which is both a character in Mythology and also the tile of a play by George Bernard Shaw. Both deal with the ideas of creating, molding, or shaping a being/person into your ideal. Pygmalion disliked all the women in his village so he created a statue of the perfect woman and Venus saw how in love he was with this statue that she turned it into a real woman. It’s a notion that we find consistently in literature (Frankenstein, Pinocchio, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, etc.). Pygmalia is essentially the idea of man creating something and the ethical concerns involved. It’s a romance at its core, but other things play out. It’s trying to understand who is influencing who and how destructive is it to mold and shape someone to how we imagine them. Also, do we end up destroying ourselves in the process of this creation?

So Since serious questions are hard, the last are going to be fun ones!! YAY FUN QUESTIONS!!! (Just a side note, fun questions are hard to think of as well)

8)      What is one of your favorite words to use in books? Any particular reason why?

Wow, this is a hard one. I’m not sure, to be honest. I guess I like using Latin words, lol. I tend to fish for Latin words a lot when I’m writing because they just sound really cool.

9)      Is there a certain font that you use while writing? Again any particular reason why?

I love using Arial or Calibri. The letters just seem less harsh than some other fonts.

10)  Now for a super fun question: If you could met any other author (ever, in the history of authors) who would it be?

Jane Austen all the way. I love every single one of her books. She is the queen of romance novels, I think. The saddest thing about her is that she had all these beautiful love stories and she never got married. I would love to pick her brain and ask her personal questions about where she got her inspiration for characters and if she ever loved anyone. Her sister burned or edited most of her letters so what we know about her love life is all speculation. 

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.

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Pygmalia by Stephanie Constante: