Interview with C.L. Mannarino

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I really loved Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Ella always made friends with the misfits, no matter where she was, and that resonated with my own experiences with friend groups. She also was so much braver than I was, and I admired that. She made friends with a boy, and they grew close in a way that I wanted to have happen to me. I think she taught me a lot about valuing the people who value you, and being who you are.
How do you approach cover design?
I used to do my own covers to save money, but now I work with fabulous designers, and I feel like I get quality results every time. It really is worth the investment. When I ask them for help, I try to give them what I think would be the closest to how I envision the story in my mind: some key elements about place, mood, and the main character. After that, I like being able to trust their vision.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Not sure I can pick just five! The ones I've loved the most are Tana French's THE LIKENESS, Garret Freymann-Weyr's STAY WITH ME, Susan Dennard's WINDWITCH (or the entire WITCHLANDS series), Abigail Barnette's THE BOSS, and Erika Johansen's QUEEN OF THE TEARLING. They're all very different, but they all touch on things I like in stories: description, mood, atmosphere, mystery, depth/richness to a story, romance, consent, female power, magic, and friendships.
What do you read for pleasure?
Whatever I'm in the mood for. Mostly fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle.
Describe your desk
Tiny -- no more than 2 feet x 2 feet -- and still manages to be cluttered.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
The suburbs, which is probably why so many of my stories are set in small towns. My town felt smaller than it probably was when I was growing up.
When did you first start writing?
After the second Harry Potter book came out, and I decided I could write that kind of story, too. I've been trying to do so ever since.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book as of this writing, WHAT HAUNTS NIKKI WHITNEY, is the result of a desire to see what was happening in Northam while book 2 was focused on Zara and Arizona. It's also a twisted homage to my love of stories where the love interest is older than the protagonist.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to tell a vampire story at the same time that vampires were going hugely out of fashion, and then I realized I could tell me stories a lot faster if I was the only one in charge of giving them to the reader, instead of waiting for a publisher to decide for me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I like being able to distribute my stories to multiple platforms. I feel like I get more of an advantage from having that capability in my corner, as opposed to only distributing my stories on one site.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Solving a puzzle I built for myself when I wanted an answer I hadn't found in any other books.
What are you working on next?
Two things, as of this writing: I'm fast-drafting the sequel to SWANS OF ATLANTIS, and then I'll be revising the last book in the Almost Human series, hopefully for the last time.
Published 2018-11-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Marina Duology
Series: Marina Duology. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 11,150. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
You've seen her escape a pirate. You've seen her save her kingdom. Now get all her adventures in one place. Far Below the Surface and Far Beyond the Sea, in one volume.
Secrets of Atlantis
Series: Matt and Kat. Price: Free! Words: 13,700. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
She knows me. She has my heart in her hands. But could she ever love me? Told in poems and journal entries, Secrets of Atlantis takes readers behind the scenes of one of the main characters of the Matt and Kat series. Join him as he sets the ball rolling for everything that’s about to happen next.
What Haunts Nikki Whitney
Series: The Almost Human Series. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,790. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Horror, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
What Haunts Nikki Whitney is the second of two short stories set in the supernatural world of the Almost Human series. If you want a sneak peek into what’s going to happen next in the trilogy, then you’ve come to the right place.
Far Beyond the Sea
Series: Marina Duology. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,370. Language: English. Published: May 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
One mermaid’s trip to the surface has cost an entire kingdom everything…
Apples and Perfume
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,290. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
Mother won’t listen. He doesn’t love me…but he is willing to help. That’s all we’ll need to escape our wedding day.
Far Below the Surface
Series: Marina Duology. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,220. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
Every mermaid longs to know what exists beyond the sea, and Marina is certainly no exception. But there’s more to humans than just what she sees on shore, and she’s about to discover what lies there…
Tainted by Alchemy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,500. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
It was something they’d known their whole lives. They never knew it put a target on their backs… When Louise and Pearl O’Leary get a note from home, they know immediately that something bad is happening. But when they arrive, they find out that the note is just a tiny part of a bigger plot to take their lives—one they never even knew was coming…
Swans of Atlantis
Series: Matt and Kat. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,750. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Every life born in Atlantis is controlled by the magic of soul mates, and Katrina Kamiya is no exception. She dreams of finding her soul mate by the time she’s eighteen, and growing old the way only a lucky few get to. But when her oldest friend gets sick after getting engaged, she starts to wonder what’s happening to him — and begins to learn the horrible truth about why he’s not getting better.
Closer than you Think: Tiny Fairy Stories Flash Fiction Omnibus
Series: Tiny Fairy Stories, Series #1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,470. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Five flash fiction collections, all in one extraordinary volume: Hiding in the Corners Love, Lust, and Pixie Dust In Deep Waters Runs in the Family Once Upon a Spell Start reading today.
A Time for Love
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,620. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
Carl and Evelyn have been married for 15 years. They’ve also never aged past 18 in all that time. Why? They haven’t found their soulmates. Tired of never growing old, they decide to take matters into their own hands. But what will they discover when they do—and will they stay together afterwards?
What We Do for Truth
Series: The Almost Human Series. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 115,240. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Family
Her mom is dead. Now, Zara wants answers. How far will she go to get them? Perfect for fans of Richelle Mead and Justin Cronin, this riveting sequel to What We’ll Do for Blood takes action, adventure, and mystery to a whole new level.
After All This Time
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,100. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Nothing, not even love, ever comes easily. When a starry-eyed dreamer breaks her leg, she never expects to be interested in the doctor who treats her. But as their relationship grows, so does the scorn of those around them. Can they manage to stay together? Or will the pressures of society prove too much for them?
Once Upon a Spell
Series: Tiny Fairy Stories, Series #1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,400. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
A selfish queen. A hungry princess. A rogue nymph A possessive mother-in-law. And a servant who doesn’t do things quite by the book. Care to join any of them?
Runs in the Family
Series: Tiny Fairy Stories, Series #1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,980. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal
Be careful: these women aren’t fooling around. One house isn’t enough to hold them. Want to look inside?
In Deep Waters
Series: Tiny Fairy Stories, Series #1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,370. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The sea can be a dark and dangerous place. Just be sure not to take this journey alone. These stories are as deep and wide as the ocean itself. Are you ready to dive in?
Love, Lust, and Pixie Dust
Series: Tiny Fairy Stories, Series #1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,350. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Romance comes in many, many forms… and you’re about to meet some highly seductive companions. You should stay awhile. They’ll be sure to make your day.
Hiding in the Corners
Series: Tiny Fairy Stories, Series #1. Price: Free! Words: 3,350. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Something moves in the attic. More things have taken up space by the bed. Something else cracked open a hole in the closet. And the paintings in the bedroom? They live.
What Killed Clara Mitbourne
Series: The Almost Human Series. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,570. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Thriller & Suspense, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Horror
Scott Whitney had wanted a night out on the town. Nothing major: just some good music, maybe make a few friends, and have a little something special to drink. What he got, though, defied all his expectations. But as he’ll learn soon: that’s not always a good thing.
What We'll Do for Blood
Series: The Almost Human Series. Price: Free! Words: 76,170. Language: American English. Published: October 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Paranormal, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama
Someone crouched on the ground. They clung to something thick and dark brown—a forearm, he realized. Scott went cold and shivered. “Dad?” What We’ll Do for Blood is the first book in a trilogy of supernatural novels.