Marc Costanzo, Content Marketing Strategist at CQuence Health Group, wasn’t your ordinary kid.
“When I was little, I’d go to my parents with pages and pages of titles for stories I wanted to write,” he said. “Even at that young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer.”
Marc says from an early age he was encouraged by his parents, Frank and Dolores, to read and write stories. Having a father who was willing to drive him to the local bookstore on the day the newest Goosebumps book came out was fuel for his imagination. Later, the Harry Potter and Star Wars series would capture and hold his attention. It would seem that creativity runs in the family. Marc’s father is a nationally known print and caricature artist whose works can be seen today in Omaha’s Old Market Artist Gallery.
And now, the rest of us can see firsthand exactly how Marc’s early interest in storytelling panned out. On Tuesday, June 12, Marc’s first novel Persistence, was published as an Audible Original thriller.
“We were really off the beaten path, far out in the middle of the desert, and I saw this call box along the roadway,” he said. “I was thinking to myself ‘that box is placed so randomly on this desolate stretch of road. . .what if you actually had to use that?’”
He filed that small seed away, letting the idea percolate for a couple of years. Sometime later, thinking about how his own wife and other women he’s known have suffered from a lack of respect in the workplace, the image of the desolate call box resurfaced.
“I wanted to write a thriller that took the concept of workplace harassment to an extreme. I came up with a plot about this character, Celia Miller, the only woman on the force in this small Nevada town, someone who puts up with all sorts of sexism in the workplace. She goes out to answer a call for help at a call box in the middle of the desert – and things go very badly from there.”
When asked to describe his writing process, Marc said “I do a lot of outlining in my head and try to get the broad strokes down on paper first. It’s important to know how it’s going to end so I can connect those dots. The challenge with this particular book was trying to make an entire novel interesting when the majority of the action takes place inside a broken-down squad car in the middle of nowhere.”
Marc sought a publisher for his novel around mid-year 2017, about the same time he joined the marketing team at CQuence Health Group. With the help of his agent, Ethan Ellenberg, Marc spent last summer editing the book.
The novel eventually caught the eye of an editor at Audible, the Amazon-backed company that has made a big push into original content in recent years. After working with Audible to fine-tune the manuscript even further, Marc received word that the book would be narrated by Bahni Turpin, whose work includes The Help, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Hate U Give and Children of Blood and Bone, all available now on Audible.com.
The question everyone asks authors is whether or not he put himself or other friends and family members in the book. Marc said, “I hope not. I have created some really awful characters.” But there was one name that made it in there.
“Celia, the hero, is named after my grandmother, Cecelia. She was a pretty awesome person. It’s a small thing, but it’s my way to honor her.”
If you’d like to support Marc’s audiobook and join him in celebrating the release of his first Audible Original, you’ll find it at Audible.com.