Interview with A.M. Manay

Describe your desk
I live in California, where the high property values mean that small houses are the norm. I don't have an office or a desk. I work at my dining room table, which currently contains the following: educational placemats, my laptop, my purse, my child's homework folder, my child's pencil case, a Buzz Lightyear cup, my water glass, a smartphone, yesterday's mail, the local newspaper, and two tablets. I promise you that my books are much better organized than my work space is!
What is your writing process?
I tend to do a lot of daydreaming before I put hands to keyboard. I usually begin with an idea for a primary character. Then I mentally sketch out the most important secondary characters and where I want the story to end up. I do some light outlining, but I tend to stray as I go along. My work grows fairly organically. I also tend to revise as I go, tightening and fixing things. I give myself plenty of time to revise and tweak at the end, based on feedback form beta readers.
What life experiences have most influenced your perspective?
Teaching in Oakland and Los Angeles and my family life were probably the greatest influences on my world view. Most white people never have the experience of being the only white person in the room. I had that experience daily, both at work and at home, as I am the mom in a multi-racial family. I feel like this gave me a greater appreciation for the importance of diverse representation in popular culture as well as for many of the issues facing people of color in the Unites States today.
Other aspects of my background certainly influence my books. I live with a serious chronic illness (Lupus), which influences my writing when I include a character who is ill or disabled in some way. In addition, my degree is in Chemistry, which might seem strange for a writer of fiction, but I think my background in science has produced a clean, concise writing style that my readers enjoy.
What are some of your favorite books, and why?
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: It makes an historical villain into a sympathetic character, and the dialogue is brilliant.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I love this series for the world-building and the characters.
Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende: She is brilliant, emotional, visceral. I love all of her books.
This Eternal Season by Tyler Bumpus: This is an indie book with incredible realism in its world creation.
Nailgun Messiah by Jim Heskett: This is a well-written, clever thriller with an indelible protagonist.
Who are your favorite authors?
I adore Isabel Allende and Hilary Mantel, obviously. Stacy Schiff is another favorite. Philippa Gregory is a guilty pleasure. As you can tell from the list, I love to read historical fiction. I think it is because, like fantasy and sci-fi, historical fiction transports you to a world unlike your own.
My favorite indie authors include Jim Heskett, Jolie Mason, Pandora Spocks, Mae Clair, Tyler Bumpus, Ian Martyn, and Ian Saul Whitcomb.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am astounded and grateful to even have fans! Before I published my first novel, I was terrified that no one would like it. I was thrilled to find out this fear was unfounded. It gives me great joy to hear from my readers how much they enjoyed my work, and how impatient they are for me to finish the next book. It really is a great blessing to a writer to hear from her readers. The world of publishing is terribly discouraging, and that review or note from a reader helps me to keep following my dream when the barriers seem insurmountable.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I usually read on the Kindle app on my Android tablet. The only problem is that if the book isn't sufficiently engrossing, it is easy to get distracted by the other apps. I suppose that is a pretty good indicator of a book's quality, now that I think about it.
How do you approach cover design?
I like my covers to provide an emotional connection to the protagonist and some kind of symbolic representation of the most important event or issue in the story. Font choice is also quite important. It can send messages about genre and time period.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I suppose that for me, like for many people, my family is what makes each new day bright. My son and husband are always happy to see me in the morning. A child's hug is a pretty good motivator to get out of bed.
What are you working on next?
I've just begun writing a young adult high fantasy novel. It is partly inspired by English history, specifically the War of the Roses, the Plantagenets, the Tudor dynasty, and the English Reformation. There will be court drama and magic aplenty. I'm quite excited to be trying something new, now that my vampire series is complete.
Published 2017-03-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

She Sees in Her Sleep (Three November Snow Shorts)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,070. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
The past is a long time when you are immortal. This collection of supernatural short stories provides background about key characters and plot points in the award-winning November Snow Series. Vampire, fairies, and werewolves plant the seeds of future events that will influence the life and actions of main character November Snow.
She Dies at the End
Series: November Snow. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 135,380. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Psychic teenager November Snow falls into the dangerous world of the vampires, fairies, and werewolves living among us in secret. Drafted into their conflicts and entangled in their relationships, her powerful gift endangers her as she fights to protect the innocent and to retain her humanity. The only thing she knows for certain about her own future is that she dies at the end.
She Lights Up the Dark
Series: November Snow. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 104,650. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Her psychic gift stalks her, even in the ground. November wakes as a vampire only to discover that her old enemy has isolated her from her friends and from her maker. She fights to discover and thwart Luka's evil plans and to manage her new life, finding solace in strange company. When danger comes from an unexpected place, she discovers that lighting up the dark isn't easy.
She Marches Through Fire (November Snow Book 3)
Series: November Snow. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 95,140. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Psychic vampire November Snow must battle grief, injury, and her own family as she seeks to protect friend and stranger alike. She embarks on a quest for a cure for the poison sapping her strength and for a fairy weapon as powerful as it is dangerous for the one who wields it. When it is time to save the innocent and gain justice for her maker, will she find the strength to march through the fire?