Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Constantine Dhonau to Chat About Books!
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
In 8th grade, I started a myspace-official religion (thank you to our 121 dedicated followers). I picked up trombone after my ska/punk band broke-up in high school. Florida sucked me back in and I became depressed after blowing-out my knee on a 52-day backpacking trip in Colorado because I thought I blew my only chance at realizing my dream by just trying to chase after it. Someone planted the idea in my head to pick-up skydiving as a hobby in college. 8 years later, I jumped out of an airplane solo after watching a man break his leg on landing right before it was my turn to fly. I’m terrible at cooking. After 3 & 1/2 years as a wilderness therapy field guide, my roommate and I woke up one morning and decided to start a high-end catering company. Life is good & I’m satisfied with myself.
All that aside, I like tea. I’m a homebody and a space/tech nerd. I’m becoming increasingly attracted to Daoism. I’m working on letting go of fixed plans and surrendering to the current of life. For the rest and whatnot in between, you’ll have to check out the book.
“Collateral Intentions” is my first-ever publication into official authorhood. It’s a comprehensive collection of my writing from 17 to 28 years-old.
Yes, it has teen angst & cringe.
Yes, it has smile-back-at-that-moment coming-of-age.
Yes, it has letters to unrequited love.
Yes, it has knee-cracking, tear-extracting, mind-blasting, stomach-stirring rawness.
No, it does not have the answer to your problems.
T’was inspired by a desire to put together a book of selected works to read to my students in the field while I was a wilderness therapy guide. I made a small booklet with a few originals and many other established works. It was a fun process creating it (stirring a deep satisfaction to organize and agonize over the most minute details night after sleepless night, cursing the dawn as a landmark of time passing beyond what I could accomplish within “reason”). So, I decided to continue (how insatiable was the urge) and create a larger collection by combing through my dozen journals. Some friends caught wind of my side-project (whole-hearted obsession) that I started so I could have all my writing in one place and they began asking after it. I gave away manuscripts for the cost of printing. At some point, someone teased me about publishing. “PFEH!” I would say. “HA!” I would scoff. “HRNGH!” I would grumble. Then, after sifting through many-a-scam-site, I decided I would self-publish with Overlord Bezos.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The material for “Collateral Intentions” is a collection of previous writing, completely sourced from my journals, phone notes, and scraps of dishevelled shoebox scraps. Inspiration can be a fleeting thing for me, something like surfing. When the waves are there, I ride. When they’re not, I do my best to enjoy the calm anyhow. Sometimes an interesting line will pop into my head, sometimes I’ll be struck by a view or a feeling.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
When those little moments crop-up for me, I tend to build around them. That line will stick or I’ll play with words until they match the feeling or observation. I’m primarily a nocturnal writer. For instance, I didn’t sleep last night. I’ll pour into a piece for as long as I can, then forget about it (genuinely, I’m often surprised at the paper trail my past self creates for future me to rediscover).
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Off the top of my head, I have great respect for Lao Tzu (of the Dao De Jing) and Stephen Mitchell (a translator) for their artistic engineering of words. They both met the task of communicating vast complexity with elegant simplicity. Margaret Cheyney did a remarkable job of adding subtle embellishments to rigorously-researched factual history in “Man Out of Time,” a biography of Nikola Tesla, which made me feel so clearly that I was in the same room with Nikola at times. I’ve never read Stephen King but my hat’s off to him for sheer endurance. Finally, Saul Williams is a seminal inspiration to me. He is an internationally-renowned slam poet and his content, his literary devices, his delivery…ugh…to me, he challenges what it means to read, write, and perform poetry.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Hunter S. Thompson. “Take me with you.”
Were you a big reader as a child?
I was not. I loved being read to, of course, but I’ve always been more of a visual person. I’m much more engaged by movies and shows. Where many readers enjoy the freedom to imagine writing on their own, I enjoy seeing how a director meets the challenge of bringing it to life.
When did you start to write?
I started writing for pleasure around 17. It all started because of a girl. She had stacks of erroneously-scribbled-in composition books and after we parted ways I found myself writing through my difficulties to the point of obsession. It was my coping mechanism until it became my crutch.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Mordor was Sauron’s plot to re-incarnate all along.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
So far, so good. I’ve written all that my fancy fodders.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Well, “Collateral Intentions” is a good start as a memoir for a section of my life. When I’m setting the sheets for my death bed?…Hard to say. Maybe something like “Night Walk”.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Amahl Farouk, the villain from the TV show, “Legion”. He can completely control and alter matter to the point of shaping reality. He enough of an anti-hero morality/indulgence balance that we could have a hell of a day bending the rules for fun. He could probably also imagine into existence the greatest cup of coffee to ever exist.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I play trombone.
What are you working on right now?
A magician never reveals their secrets. “Let your workings remain a mystery. Just show people the results.”
Do you have a new release due?
No BUT I do have something very tangibly in the works and a dozen ideas for the near future.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
A tradition has yet to formulate itself. My first ever publication day passed rather unceremoniously due to several family members passing.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Author Website/Blog: https://www.constantinedhonau.com/blog
Author Website/Blog: https://www.constantinedhonau.com/blog
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Self-love and acceptance are large themes throughout “Collateral Intentions.” I’ve seen radical changes in my life in the past 6 months. I’ve spent time hiking solo, on a vision quest, changing my career, and overall taking a leap of faith. What I’ve discovered is not just self-love, but unconditional self-love. There is no ceiling. I’ve learned that everything is a grieving process and that last step of any grief cycle is bargaining -or- telling one’s story. With this, I believe a new chapter to a new book has opened up for me in my life (while I don’t intend the pun, I see no better way around it).
Wherever you’re at in life, I suspect this book has something to offer you.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Constantine 🙂
Constantine was born in St. Petersburg, Florida and raised by his mother and his aunt, with the help of several formative programs: Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Crew, and Sea Scouts. He spent 3 years as the front man for a Tampa ska/punk band: H1N1. After overcoming blind rebellion against “the system,” he attended St. Petersburg College for his Associate of Arts, followed by New College of Florida for his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
He made his initial escape to Colorado in 2015—degrees in-handin search of his independence, dedicating a year of service to City Year Denver of AmeriCorps. There, he discovered a new passion and direction in life: wilderness therapy. He pursued his first and only dream and vision in life with ferocity to become a field guide with Open Sky Wilderness Therapy, completing nearly 550 days in the field.
He enjoys writing, tea, cooking, brooding, dancing, yoga, astronomy, reprehensibly long walks, movies, being outdoors, etc. & suchforth.
by Constantine Dhonau
At what point does practicing vulnerability fortify ourselves such that we become…invulnerable? This is the vessel on which Constantine Dhonau invites us to explore our most sacred treasure: our inner world. Our voyage is furnished by his journey back across 11 years, from a 17-year-old boy faced with becoming a 28-year-old man, offering a glimpse into his inner dialogue of self-criticism and self-affirmation. We follow his development as a writer and a person as he walks the line between light and dark, love and lust, choice and powerlessness, seeking to free himself from the dichotomous pitfalls of black and white thinking. Throughout this 11-year exploration, he reflects on who he has been, who he is, and whom he wants to become on his way to uncovering a higher calling. He encourages us to embrace the unknown as he bares naked the “collateral intentions” of his choices; those heartfelt efforts which turned against us and those mistakes which became our greatest blessings, in time.