Interview with Thomas R. Manning

Posted on July 29, 2013

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Over the last several months, Thomas has become a wonderful supporter of mine in the world of social media! He is very talented and I really do look up to him! I am so thrilled to be able to repay a little bit of the support that Thomas as wonderfully given to me! Enjoy his fantastic interview!

 

Do you write under any other names? – I do not. I use my real name to publish my books, though my blog name is a superhero-ized version of my name!

What are you currently working on? – With my first book published about a month ago, I’m hard at work on book two, which is scheduled to be released in November.

How many (if any) books do you have published and what are their titles? – Currently I have one book published – Energize: From the Logs of Daniel Quinn. By this time next year however I hope to have at least three books published. We’ll see!

What inspired you to write your first book? – For as long as I remember I always took an interest in writing. A few years ago while I was reading one of my favorite book series (The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher), I learned of self-publishing through Amazon, and that it was growing in popularity. I decided to take my time, do my research on story craft, and eventually sat down to plan out my first book that I would self-publish. I’m a huge science fiction fan. I love Star Wars, every Star Trek series (except Voyager. Sorry to any fans of the show!), Battlestar Galactica, and more, so I knew that was a genre I definitely wanted to visit.

Do you have a specific writing style or one that you prefer? – Energize is a first person-perspective novel. I thought it was very important that this book and the sequels that (hopefully!) follow are more personal than a lot of other science fiction books I’ve read. It’s very natural for me to write in this style, but I don’t want to limit myself. Next spring, I’ll be releasing a fantasy story written in third person. It’s going to be too epic to only follow one character!

How did you come up with the title of your book(s)? – Honestly? If I had to choose a website for a best friend it would have to be thesaurus.com. I go there almost every day to research synonyms and antonyms. The story of Energize revolves around power, fuel, and energy. I forget which word I used at the time but there in the results was energize. I really love the title. It speaks to what the book is about, and it gives me a cool little way to tie in all Daniel Quinn novels by naming them with an -ize word.

Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp? – Absolutely. I think if anyone could take something away from Energize and apply it to their own lives, it would be –

  1. Don’t let your past dictate who you are. Overcome any regrets you have in your past and instead look toward the future.

  2. Stand up to what you believe is right.

How much of the book is realistic/true? – Energize is set both in the future and outer space, so there’s very little of the book that is realistic. At the same time, however, I try and use terms, technologies, and other components that I believe could exist 80-100 years from now. Things start to unravel a little more into fantasy once my main character lands on an uncharted planet.

Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life? – Yes and no. The story and Daniel Quinn are both original ideas I came up with, but there are other supporting characters in the book who are inspired by real people.

What books have most influenced your life most? – I think overall there are three book series’ that really influenced me. The first would be the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Next would be the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling, and finally The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”? – Definitely Jim Butcher, without a shadow of a doubt. The books he writes are outstanding. I’ve read them multiple times. Jim creates amazing characters, both good and evil. If Sherlock Holmes was a powerful wizard, he would be Harry Dresden. How is that not badass? Jim also has a blog that’s all about story and writing craft. Every piece of advice he’s given I printed out at home to read over occasionally. The man has released over 20 books! He must be doing something right!

What book are you reading now? – I’m currently finishing up a read through of Robert Lawrence-Jackson’s Knightfall, which is brilliant. Next I’ll be diving into the 6th book of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. His druid series is awesome!

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members – My best friend J and I always had fun writing stories, even when we were younger. The two of us have been best friends since the third grade, and both of us became interested in writing publishable books. Every day we’ll discuss characters, ideas, titles, and more. I think together we’ve come up with like, thirty story ideas, some better than others obviously. If it wasn’t for our interaction, motivation and mutual fondness for writing, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Do you see writing as a career or a hobby? – This is an interesting question, because I think that it’s not how I see it, but where writing takes me. Right now I have a full-time career and a family to support, so in that sense writing is just a hobby. If my books are well-received by readers and I sell a significant amount of them, it would be a dream come true for my writing to become a new career for me. You have no idea how frustrated I get that I only have two to three hours in the day to write!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? – I think it’s best if I let the reviews for Energize answer that one; with one 4-Star and three 5-Stars, I would have to say no. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us? – Sure why not? Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Energize. Daniel and Cessa just fled from a space station and are now being chased in outer space:

“You are an idiot,” she said, her lips an inch from my ear. “You should have let me kill those agents.”

“Right, because no one would have noticed the blood, or the sword, or the potential screaming of the victim,” I said sarcastically.

“I knew what I was doing. They could have easily been disposed of. Instead you had us weaving in and out of trees like cowards. The memory makes me sick.”

That’s when an idea sprang to mind, and I looked back toward my sensor screen. With a small transfer of power from my environmental systems, I was able to send my sensors out into a wide arc, and I found a way to evade my pursuer, most likely the only way. Cessa was still pacing behind me telling me how much of a coward I was. I spun around in my chair and gave her a stern look of my own.

“Do me and yourself a favor and strap yourself into that seat over there. This ship gets the job done but it’s not exactly operating at recommended efficiency. If you want to get out of this alive, then sit down and shut up.”

Who designed the covers of you books? – Ronnell Porter designed the cover for Energize and I was thrilled at what he created. I’ve received a few compliments on his work and I hope to work with him for more of my books! You can view some of his work at http://ronnelldporter.wix.com/design

Do you have any advice for other writers? – Don’t give up. Ever. If you have serious aspirations to become a published author, keep writing no matter how crappy you think your story is. That’s why first drafts exist. Create your character, then your story, and then just keep on pushing forward until it’s finished.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? – Thank you. I’ve worked for years developing the right story and practicing the craft of writing and I’m ecstatic to finally release my debut novel. If you loved it, let me know. If you didn’t like it, let me know why so I can take your suggestions into consideration for the next book.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your stories to life? – I had some psychological challenges during my literary journey. I constantly questioned myself, whether I was writing in the right genre, creating the right characters, and so forth. This self-doubt actually led to an urban fantasy project stalling out a couple of years ago. Finally I just said something along the lines of, “screw it” and pushed forward until my science fiction project was done.

What character from your writing is your favorite and why? – Daniel is sort of an obvious choice, because why else write about him? So let me choose someone else as one of my favorites. I think I’m going to have to choose Cessa. I had so much fun writing her. Her personality is so unhinged and complex. One minute she’ll be your friend, then the next she’ll be attacking you without provocation.

Want more Thomas? Well here are all of the ways to connect and find out more about this wonderful author!!

Website – http://www.thomasrmanning.com

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/thomasraymann

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorthomasraymann

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/thomasraymann

Blog – http://authorthomasraymann.blogspot.com

Buy His Book!!!! – http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-R.-Manning/e/B00D8WRXTI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1