Interview with Ani H. Manjikian

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
"But when people say, Did you always want to be a writer? I have to say no! I always was a writer."
-Ursual Le Guin

While I can't claim that exactly, it's close to how I feel. I've always enjoyed books and stories. I especially love the ones where I become the characters and experience the world they lived in. I hope through my writings I do the same for my readers.

Defining when I first considered myself a writer is hard. I've always felt more comfortable expressing myself through writing than speaking. While I like the spotlight, I tend to get nervous when in it. When I'm writing, I don't have such a constraint. I still try to be respectful, but I can be a little more expressive and enjoy a conversation with someone without worrying about the mixed messages I'm getting from their tone and body language.

Since I first picked up the pen for something other than school assignments, I've always felt like writing and being at a known writer was going to be my destiny. I validated that belief when I published my book. My validation grows stronger with the each review the book gains on Amazon. Doing various events, posting on my blog and social media, and generally connecting with people about my writing helps too.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I get to breathe life into characters and their worlds. It's part power trip, part emotional cathartic. When I have a problem I can solve in the real world, I let my characters take a crack at it. Their perspective often gives me the solution I need.
What are you working on next?
Do You Believe in Legend? Though the characters are trying to deal with the aftermath of the events in Spirit, it's still probably one of the lighter books in the series.

Jeff Mason has always been a part of Jo’s life, offering an encouraging or wise word when she needed it. For her whole life, she had no reason to think of him as anything other her cousin. Then she learned that he replaced her real one, who died saving his life. That discovery plus hearing her own voice in a place where she shouldn’t have leaves Jo wondering about her place in time.

When Jeff’s twin brother Randy falls into her lap, both literally and figuratively, Jo hopes he can give her some answers. There is only one slight problem… He doesn’t remember anything about himself or his life and what he does, doesn’t help.

Together, the three of them learn that life isn’t about who or what you know, but who and what you care for.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life and the fact that I have too many things to do before I die, including finishing the Stars of Heros series.
Who are your favorite authors?
C.J. Cherryh, Jim Butcher,Elizabeth Moon, Piers Anthony,Mary Stanton, Isaac Asimov, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Jeffery Archer, and Michael Crichton among other. What struck me about these are that they are storytellers. Some have a message in the books, some don't. What caught my attention with all of them is that as I'm reading their stories I can literally see and hear how their characters are interacting with their world.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
To make money, I develop websites. For pleasure, I watch TV or Netflix or play computer games.
What is your writing process?
I'm a fly by the seat of my pantser with a little plotter mixed in. Because I'm working on a series, I have to have the organization part to keep track of everything. Right now, that organization is an official timeline of major events and the fact that I have the ideas for every book laid out in Scrivener. Some have more ideas than others, including complete chapters.

When I write a book, I like to work on the book ends first and then middle. Chapters organize themselves as I follow plot lines, characters, or situations through the manuscript. I've gotten more disciplined about working on only one book at a time, but there are times that I start in one book that triggers an idea, or important piece of information, for another book, so, of course, I have to write it down. Or, if I'm stuck on the book I'm working on, I'll work on another just to get the creative juices flowing.

Having everything in Scrivener helps. I don't have to worry about saving things, I can move stuff around, and I can cross-reference characters and situations as needed.
Who is your favorite character from your book? How about your least favorite character?
My favorite character is my main one, Jo Mason. She’s the only character I have to write in first person present when she is thinking or speaking. When she isn’t herself or someone else is describing her or an interaction they had with her, then I do third person past. Jo, like her brothers, are reflections of different parts of me. She, especially, because she’s strong-willed, seeks understanding, and has a very soft and vulnerable side under her tough, no worries, exterior. She also gets to fly jets, lead people by example, live and work around horses, and other stuff I can only imagine doing.

I don’t have a least favorite character. There are ones that are more difficult to write than others because their beliefs and reactions are different than mine. Sill they give me a chance to express myself, so I can really hate them for that.
Describe your desk
My desk is a three side one, more C than L shaped. The most prominent feature on it is my computer set up. Three monitors makes it easier to keep track of things I need. Most of the time, my email is always open on the one monitor behind other stuff. If I'm working on website, it's especially handy as I can code on one monitor, upload on the second, and preview the changes on the third.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Know yourself and your story before you venture out into the world. You'll need this inner strength to keep true to your vision even as you are being bombarded on all sides by the naysayers, the helpful, but sometimes contradicting, advice of the experts, and your own heart and mind when things don't happened as planned. You'll also need to be flexible enough to learn and grow with each new experience, wise enough to filter through the BS to find the right people and knowledge to help you, and brave enough to continue when you only have yourself to lean on for support. Feeling, touching, smelling, and holding your book in your hand is worth everything you have to go through to create it.
Published 2016-02-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Do You Believe in Legend?
Series: Stars of Heros. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 82,300. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Negative consequences always follow the rare positive outcomes. At least it seems that way to Jo Mason until a man from the future falls into her lap, both literally and figuratively. Jo hopes he can give her some answers and a better perspective. There is only one slight problem… He doesn’t remember anything about himself or his life and what he does, doesn’t help
Spirit of the Lone Horse
Series: Stars of Heros. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 99,930. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
Thanks to a horse almost killing her, Jo Mason is terrified by the noble creatures she once loved. Meeting the rogue stallion's son, she is faced with the choice of running away from her fear or taking back control of her life. Her decision begins an adventure that weaves a tapestry through past mistakes and regrets, present circumstances and consequences, and future hopes and dreams.