A Conversation with Jamie Manning

When we heard that paranormal author Jamie Manning was going to have his trilogy published, we just had to get the scoop. We’ll talk with Jamie about the release of his debut novel, Blood Born and his journey as a writer.

BF:  Jamie, you recently announced that your YA paranormal series, The Blood Prophecy Trilogy, will be released by Pendrell Publishing beginning in Spring 2012. Can you tell us a little about the series, as well as your road to publication?

JM: The Blood Prophecy Trilogy tells the story of Ava, a teenage half-vampire who wakes up without a memory and must kill vampires to save her own life. A description is up on my blog (and book one, Blood Born, is on Goodreads if anyone would like to be a sport and add it to their TBR lists!)

BF: You did not have a literary agent when you received your book deal. How did you base your decision to go this route in your writing career?

JM: I first tried the traditional way—getting an agent. I got some positive feedback from a few agents (and even a couple of requests for partials/fulls), but I think it mainly was a no go because of my book’s content. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Vampires are dead…and not in the good way! I knew that I wanted to tell this story, so I simply began looking at alternative methods vs. the traditional ones. I honestly had no clue that there were so many publishing houses out there willing to read an author’s work without going through an agent. I lucked out finding Pendrell Publishing, and I couldn’t be happier!

BF: At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

JM: This one’s a bit tough for me. I can remember as a kid writing stories, even going so far as to hole-punch the pages and tie them together with yarn (hey, don’t judge). But I don’t want to say that I’ve been chasing this dream for that long, because I didn’t really, truly go after it until a few years ago, after I read Twilight (please, hold back the naysayers). I don’t know what it was about that book, but it lit a fire in me to try and achieve this dream of mine. So needless to say, Twilight ranks high on my list!

BF: What inspired you to write your first book?

JM: A combination of the second half of the previous question’s answer and a dear friend who read some of my work and wouldn’t let it go until I agreed to submit it (fyi—she stayed on my tail until I signed with Pendrel and I love her for it!)

BF: What books have most influenced your life?

JM: Wow, that list is long, lemme tell ya! As far as the writer in me, I honestly have to say everything I read. Just knowing the amount of hard work that goes into writing a book is inspiring every time I open the cover of a finished one. And as far as life in general, that one’s pretty easy. The Holy Bible and To Kill a Mockingbird. The first one for telling me what type of person I should be, and the second one for showing me.

BF: What book(s) are you reading now?

JM: Right now I’m reading Wildfire by Karsten Knight and Forsaken by Keary Taylor, both of which are wonderfully good. And if by chance I’m done reading these at the time this interview is posted, rest assured that whatever I’m reading is YA—because that’s what I love!

BF: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

JM: I think an easier question would be are there any that haven’t! I come across authors and books that I want to read almost on a daily basis. Most recently I discovered Colleen Houck (who is so nice, truly), Karsten Knight (a brilliant writer) and Leanna Renee Hieber (had the pleasure of meeting her at ALA and she is hilarious!). Seriously—too long a list!

BF: What is your favorite part about writing (for example, outlining, creating characters, etc., etc.)

JM: I think just being able to put down the stories that swim around in my head. In no way am I saying I’m better at it than anyone else (far from it, actually), but knowing that I can put pen in hand and create something that is entertaining not only to me but also to others is pretty awesome.

BF: What do you think is the most challenging part about writing?

JM: Ooh, a tough one. I like how you snuck this one in close to the end, sneaky. Playing on the opposite of the previous question, I think everything about writing is difficult. Sure, it’s easy to write something down, and even make that something interesting or funny or touching. But making that “something” good? Yeah, very challenging—and I have no clue yet if I’ve achieved that or not!

BF: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what’s your solution for it?

JM: I am so, so thankful that I haven’t experienced writer’s block—yet. Of course, there are days where the ideas are tough to dig out of my mind, but they’re in there somewhere at least. I honestly think that having multiple things going on at once is what keeps me from hitting that proverbial wall. I like to flip-flop between two stories at the same time (though my contracted one gets top billing!) to keep from getting “bored” or “bogged down” with a plot line or particularly difficult scene. So far it seems to be working for me.

BF: What is your typical writing process?

JM: Well, unfortunately, I have yet to hit the Lotto nor have I hit book sales like Stephenie Meyer (I haven’t hit any yet!), so I have a day job that takes up most of my time. I also have over an hour commute one way each day to said day job, so I have little time once I get home to actually sit down and write. But I use that commute to brainstorm ideas and even dictate them into a tiny digital recorder (seriously folks, if you don’t have one of these, get one. TODAY), and I either jot them down once I get home or wait until the weekend, which is when I do most of my actual writing. I’ve also been known to spend my lunch hour writing furiously!

BF: Finally, can you share a small sample of any of your work?

JM: Here’s a paragraph from Blood Born, which is slated for publication Spring 2012. Hope you enjoy!

“I dropped my mouth onto the vampire’s skin, it’s cold, dead texture sending a chill down my spine. My fangs punctured the tough leather like a hot knife through butter, and my mouth was filled with ice cold blood. Even though the taste was repulsive, and the smell was even worse, I couldn’t stop drinking. I wanted nothing else. Nothing in the world mattered to me more than drinking every drop of his blood.”

You can visit Jamie at his blog: Writers Write, Right?

Pre-Order Blood Born at Barnes & Noble!

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