I recently interviewed Mary Manners. Her latest release is A Splash of Christmas, a romance that includes suspense.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?
I cannot remember a time when I didn’t write. In fact, my earliest memory consists of me sitting on the floor beside the washing machine in my family’s laundry room and scribbling (I didn’t yet know how to read or form words, but I could certainly scratch across the paper) because I had a story in my head that just had to come out and be shared.
Since that day, I have never stopped writing. To me, writing is as essential to life as breathing. I am convinced that, prior to the use of my trusty laptop, I killed a forest of trees on my quest to record all of the stories woven through my brain and my heart.
I wrote my first full-length novel in the sixth grade. Thanks to my supportive parents and a few wonderful teachers who encouraged me along the way, my fledgling confidence flourished and I figured I’d be published by the time I turned thirteen (after all, S.E. Hinton had managed a similar feat with her acclaimed and edgy young adult novel, The Outsiders). God had other plans, though, and many years (and countless edits) would pass before that first novel finally became published as Wisdom Tree.
WHAT AUTHORS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Definitely Nora Roberts has been an influence. I love the way she makes the reader feel like her characters are best friends and close neighbors within the first few paragraphs of her books. Her voice is fantastic.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Write, write, and write! Get involved with a critique group and online or in-town writer’s workshops. Build a network of support where you can learn and thrive. Most of all…believe in yourself!
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT GENRE?
I feel very strongly about sharing messages of faith and hope with my reader-friends. To me, writing is a ministry.
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU'RE NOT WRITING?
Of course, I love to read, so I do a lot of that. I spend time with my family hiking and watching movies. I also love to run, and have finished three marathons.
HOW CAN READERS CONTACT YOU AND/OR LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WRITING?
I* love to hear from my reader-friends! Visit my website at http://www.MaryMannersRomance.com for the most up-to-date information about new releases and writing events.
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and daughter Danni, and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus. She loves flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.
Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website: www.MaryMannersRomance.com.
When Faith O'Fallon’s best friend ropes her into attending a popular reality show audition, the last thing she expects to find at the studio is the love of her life.
Ben Ward resents his family for coercing him into holding auditions to snag a date for the holiday episode of their reality show, Poolside Oasis. But when a studio mishap accidentally matches him with the lovely, rambunctious Faith O'Fallon, he finds that sometimes family knows best.
This holiday season is filled with the perfect blend of heartwarming surprises splashed with a dose of sweet romance.
“Actually, the gifts are handed out by Santa at the annual Christmas party that’s held each year on Christmas Eve. It’s a pretty big deal to the kids.”
“And to you, I’d say.”
“Yes…I want it to be special.”
“Who’s your Santa?”
“Usually Mr. MacGregor, our cook’s husband. But he’s recovering from a stroke and I don’t think—” Faith lowered her gaze to Ben’s belly. “Hmm…you’d require quite a bit of padding but you might do.”
“No way…oh, no.” Ben shook his head. “Uh uh.”
“Party pooper.” Faith frowned. “This could be a way to redeem yourself, you know, for bailing on the spring fundraiser.”
“I told you—”
“I know what you told me, and I guess that’s reason enough to expect you wouldn’t show up for the party even if you committed to doing it.” Faith stood. “Forget I asked. I’ll find someone more…reliable.”
“Is this reverse psychology?” Ben stood and started after her. “Because if it is, it’s not working.”
“Good. I didn’t expect it would.”
“OK, OK…you win this round. I’ll do it, just to prove I’m a man of my word.”
“We’ll have to have a screen test first. Let me hear you laugh. And not just any laugh. I’ll need your best round of ho, ho, ho’s…”
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Do I look like I’m kidding?”
“Good grief.” Ben glanced around, saw the boulevard was clear. He drew a slight breath. “Ho, ho, ho.”
“That was pathetic. Nope, I can’t allow you to pose as the bearded man. The kids would see right through. They’re tough cookies.”
“Really? Really?” Ben sucked in air to the limit, and then unleashed it with a vengeance. “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Perfect.” Faith rewarded him with a flurry of claps. “That’ll do for now. You still have a few months to practice.”
The words, a few months, gave Ben hope. So she planned to know him—to spend time with him—when the filming was completed and the segment aired. He wasn’t sure what caused the change in him but suddenly that sounded good…very, very good.
Ben took Faith by the elbows and gently drew her to him.
“Now it’s my turn.” He murmured as his gaze connected firmly with hers. Without another moment’s hesitation, he dipped his head and claimed her lips as moonlight spilled over them. For the length of a breath, two, he was completely and utterly lost. When he released her and stepped back, relief flooded as he saw that her gaze clearly mirrored what he felt in his heart. He found his voice once again as he grazed her cheek with the pad of his thumb. “Hmm…that’ll do, too, Faith—for now.”
To be entered to win an e-copy of A Splash of Christmas....
(1) Leave a comment for Mary.
(2) Please leave your email address so I can contact the winner (you may spell it out--name(dot)person(at)gmail(dot)com). Your contact information will not be used for any other purpose.
The winner will be randomly selected and announced on December 19th.