It is my pleasure to welcome author A.M. Manay on my blog today! She writes in paranormal genre and aims for diversity in her characters. Lets chat with her about her books.
- Please tell us what inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing out of sheer boredom. I was a stay-at-home mom to a toddler, and as any stay at home parent can tell you, it can be quite isolating. I felt like my brain was turning to mush. And I’ve always been a daydreamer, spinning stories in my own head. So, one day, I had an idea about the character that eventually became November Snow. I started writing, and when I finished the first, introductory chapter, I kept going. I originally never intended for anyone but my husband to see my work. He encouraged me to consider publishing it, telling me that it was better than a lot of books out there. So eventually, I gathered courage, cleaned up the manuscript, and put it out into the world.
- So glad you decided to publish! How did you choose to write in paranormal genre?
I love fantasy. I love escapism. I love magic powers and secrets and epic battles between good and evil. I also wanted to create a heroine who could interact with these powerful creatures and yet remain true to herself. I wanted to create a girl who would stand up to the supernatural creatures rather than letting them walk all over her. I didn’t want to model an emotionally abusive relationship as normal or desirable, like you see in some other vampire novels. (cough, Twilight, cough)
- Your book titles are unique and fascinating! Tell us more about how you choose them?
The original title of my first book was Midway. It was named both for the carnival where November was living as well as her position as midway between the human world and the supernatural world. So, that was the working title. Then I realized that there are a million books named Midway out there, because of the battle in World War II.
I knew as an indie author, I needed to pick something truly unique in order to stand out in an Amazon search. As I got closer to finishing the editing process, I started thinking about November’s visions of her future burial and how crucial they are throughout the book, and eventually it popped into my head: She Dies at the End.
I decided to keep the same format for the sequels for the sake of cohesion. I brainstormed a long list of possible titles, but none of them seemed quite right. They didn’t really encapsulate November’s mission or journey the way I wanted them to. As I was writing the final chapter, it finally came to me: She Lights Up the Dark. I think you’ll find that the title makes both literal and metaphorical sense once you read the book.
- How do you go about developing characters for your books? Do you aim for diversity?
I do aim for diversity. It’s my belief that the default race for characters doesn’t have to be white. The real world is diverse, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. Diversity is what makes the world interesting. A book full of white people would not reflect that reality, and it would be boring to boot.
My husband is Indian. My son is half Black, half Indian. All my students when I was teaching public school were Black, Latino, or Asian. It’s important for those kids to see people who mirror them in popular culture. And because my family doesn’t “match,” I enjoy creating families in my work who don’t “match,” either.
I’ll give you an example of one of my non-white characters. Because I married into an Indian family whom I adore, I wanted to include a character of Indian origin. Savita is a vampire who is extremely powerful and extremely uncomfortable with that power. She has difficulty standing up to her father and brothers and constantly places her own needs last. She also struggled to hold onto her culture and her pride after having been dragged halfway across the world after being turned into a vampire. She is not a token. Her actions and personality are crucial to the book’s plot, and she is a very complicated person.
For me, characters are what make a book. Plot is great and all, but it’s not worth much without interesting, complex characters, with at least a few characters you can really root for. I try to make them as complex as real people, with flaws and blind spots, weaknesses and strengths.
- I agree, characters make a book interesting. Which book are you planning next in the series?
The third volume of November’s journey is in the planning stages. I won’t title it until most of it is written, most likely. What I can tell you is that actions taken at the end of Book 2 will have serious, world-altering repercussions in Book 3.
After that, I have ideas sketched out for a new fantasy series with a more epic fantasy / court intrigue bent with, of course, a tough-as-nails heroine. But for the sake of my fans, I want to see November’s story through before I try something new.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Answering your questions has been a blast.
A.M. Manay’s Book Links:
A.M. Manay’s Social Media Links:
Fan email list: November’s News
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/A.M.-Manay/e/B0113KJ14Q