Writer Wednesday – Steven Manchester

Let’s start with the basics.
Tell us (briefly) about you…

I’m a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, where I promised that I would chase my lifelong dreams of being a writer. When not spending time with my beautiful wife, Paula, or my four children, I’m out promoting my works or writing. Visit: http://www.StevenManchester.com

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
I’m the author of my new release, The Rockin’ Chair, as well as the #1 best seller, Twelve Months. I’m also the author of A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), the heart-warming prequel to Goodnight, Brian. My work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of my short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’m rewriting a manuscript that I finished some years ago, entitled, Pressed Pennies. I expect that it will be released early 2014.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
In Mrs. Parson’s 4th grade class, I had two poems published in a classroom anthology. This had an enormous impact on me; I really thought it was quite the accomplishment.

What are your three favorite books?
The Bible; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (amongst many others)

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
No more than two at a time, and right now I’m actually reviewing a manuscript for a fellow writer.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I __
lose myself to the world around me.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Re-read!

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very likely—given that the recommendation comes from someone I know.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely—especially when I know the writer (I’ll do whatever I can to help promote them).

What do you look for in a good book?
I believe that good books make people think, while great books make people feel. I look for raw emotion.

Why do you write?
I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?” Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A stand-up comedian (I’m joking, of course).

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My wife and children!

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That my life will be spent in the quest of knowledge; that I possess the determination to make my dreams come true.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
I’ve been at it for nearly two decades now. I think that the people in my life enjoy sharing the journey with me. And for me, it wouldn’t mean nearly as much if I couldn’t share it all.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
Work ethic; there’s a belief that writers sit around all day—in the comfort of their homes—tinkering with words. In truth, I’ve never worked harder at anything my entire life.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
The rejection rates are insane. I really enjoy working with new writers and this is what I share with them; things I wish I had known at the beginning of my career:
Be true to yourself, always.

  • Write constantly.
  • Keep the faith!!!
  • And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
  • Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Writing is a discipline as much as it is a passion for me, so as I continue to put in the work, my talent has developed. When comparing my recent works with my earlier work, I can’t help but to cringe at times. But I suppose that’s the nature of things and most writers feel the same.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
The Rockin’ Chair—as a film!

How do you deal with your fan base?
As personally as possible. I appreciate all the feedback and the support, so I go out of my way to share the same.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know __ about me.
That although I write tear-jerkers, I’m really more of a clown in real life.

Anything else we should know?
My favorite saying: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

Writer Wednesday – Candy Little

Let’s start with the basics.  Who are you?
Candy Little

 
Tell us (briefly) about you…
…and a bit about what you’ve written…
…and what you’re working on right now.
I write Christian romance and general mystery novels. I live in Michigan with my husband and two grown kids. I have three books out right now. The Unwilling Bride is a Christian, historical romance. Unforgiving Ghosts is a Christian, contemporary romance. Death By Broken Heart is my general, cozy mystery novella.  

 
What are your earliest book-related memories?
When I was a teenager my mother would read romances then give them to me to read. If they made a movie out of the book we’d watch it together. My aunt is an avid reader and we got most of the books from her. So reading was a family affair!!

 
What are your three favorite books?
Come Love a Stranger by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
A Wedding For Maggie by Allison Leigh
And, The Bible

 
How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?
Unfortunately I haven’t read much in the past two years. I’m lucky if I get the book read for my book club. I did read a Christmas novella, The Angel Song by Marry Manners a few weeks ago. Not reading anything at the moment.
 

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
like a good glass of wine and some romance!!

 
To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
I have re-read a few books. However, since I don’t have much time to read I usually have a huge pile of new books to read so I don’t get to re-read my faves.

 
How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
It depends on the other person’s taste. I have read books recommended by friends and hated them. Our tastes were too different. So I’d guess it’s about 50% chance I’d read a book based on recommendation.

 
How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
VERY likely. I do it all the time.

 
What do you look for in a good book?
Vibrant characters.
Good paced plot – it doesn’t necessarily have to be fast paced but it shouldn’t drag either.
I also love adjectives that described the characters, clothing and setting.
And, multiple POV’s so I can understand what other characters are thinking and feeling. When I read a novel that has 1 POV I get bored. You might as well just watch the movie if you have to read body langue and pick up emotion cues from dialogue. Pull me into the story by putting me into the minds of other main characters!!   

 
Why do you write?
Obviously from my comments above, I love to break the rules!! But, seriously, I wrote my first novel, Unforgiving Ghosts, after I had a stillborn daughter. I was able to express myself in a fictional way. Writing is more therapeutic for me. I love expressing my feelings through the thoughts and actions of my characters.  

 
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A teacher.
 

 
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
All my inspiration come from God!!
 

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I’m unorganized and undisciplined, working on both of those. J
But it has also shown my creativity and dedication. I self published after 10 years of rejection and having my family give me no support. I was determined to show them all how wrong they were. And I DID!!
 

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
My husband and kids think it’s a hobby and I don’t really work. Thankfully I have some supportive friends and neighbors who always encourage me.

 
Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I don’t think writers are as shy as they have been portrayed. I’m certainly not shy!!

 
What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Understanding how to market in this digital age. Also, they need to learn the business and understand that book covers and editing are the most important investment they can make.

 
Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Yes, editing!! I had a few friends help go over my manuscript early on. Then a friend who is a retired English teacher helped do the final edit, but we still missed so much and The Unwilling Bride -paperback- is full of errors. I’ve corrected the mistakes in the ebook but nothing I can do for the print copies. I hired a professional editor for Unforgiving Ghosts. I learned that editing is best done by a professional and not friends!

 
Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
Can’t think of anything.

 
How do you deal with your fan base?
I love talking with my fans and I’m thankful for each one!! I guess FB, Twitter and Goodreads is how I stay connected to them.

 
Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
that I have a racy mystery coming out with a very sexy love scene.

 
Anything else we should know?
Only that I love you all. Thanks so much, Mandi for helping me promote myself and my novels. Praying that you and everyone have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!!

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: