MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANNE MARGARET MANAY!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Anne Margaret Manay. I write under my initials, A.M. Manay. I consider myself a fantasy author. My first series is paranormal/supernatural. My new series is more high fantasy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My latest book is called Hexborn. The idea was born of this question: What if using dark magic while pregnant was dangerous for the baby, like some drugs are? I came up with the character of a child who is the daughter of a powerful sorceress who has to live with a disability caused by such magic. The name for the book eventually came to me from there.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I love escapism. I’m a daydreamer, and fantasy gives you so much freedom to explore all kinds of serious things while keeping the story exciting.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did some research to create the map, which I based on the region of northern California where I live. Otherwise, I mostly just make things up. 😉
Can you tell me about your Series?
The current series, The Hexborn Chronicles, is about a young girl who is an outcast due to her medical condition but is brought to court anyway because her magical gifts are so extraordinary. She has to contend with her new environment and its new dangers while handling her illness. The kingdom is in a time of religious and political upheaval, and there is danger around every corner.
My first series, the November Snow Series, is about a psychic young woman who is drawn into a supernatural civil war between members of the vampire royal family. She gradually grows into quite the fighter and experiences romance, new friendships, heartbreaking betrayals, surprising twists, strong loyalties, and intense battles for survival.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I just started the Hexborn Chronicles, so I don’t yet know for that series. From the November Snow Series, I suppose my favorite is the third and final installment, She Marches Through Fire. It showcases how much the characters have changed over the course of the story, and how my own skills as a writer have improved.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Hexborn is partly inspired by the English Reformation and Henry VIII, but with wizards. 😉
For November Snow, I wanted to write a vampire story in which the girl doesn’t put up with being walked all over. And I liked the idea of a carnival psychic who was actually a legitimate seer.
Was the first book always meant to become a series?
I have a tendency to love characters and never want to let go, so I think series writing was inevitable.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I have to juggle my writing in between taking care of my family and my volunteer work, so I fit it in wherever and whenever I can. I do most of my writing at my dining room table. I don’t set daily goals. That just causes me stress.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’m working on the sequel to Hexborn, which is, as yet, untitled. I’m about 65,000 words into it, with about 35,000 to go.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I tend to play around a lot with the character names, save for the main characters. Those usually get set in stone pretty early. Typically, I choose names that sound pretty to me. Shiloh is the main character in Hexborn. That name means “peace.” I chose it because she was born at the end of a vicious war.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’m thinking of possibly dabbling in science fiction.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think they’re fun. You get to express the gist of the story in a different way than you do with the blurb. I do create trailers for my books. You can see them here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCULkGHlwwFZMeM2ga970LbA
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I’m proud of finishing four novels and having the courage to put them out in the world. I have won a few awards.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I love the creative part and the interaction with readers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope I’ll still be writing and that I will find a large audience.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, when I was a kid, I loved to write.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Read a lot and write a lot.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
I don’t enjoy marketing.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here is a flashback I just wrote for the sequel to Hexborn:
Little Shiloh sat down in the shade to rest. Her basket was nearly full of berries, and it had grown heavy on her arm. She leaned against the tree trunk and closed her eyes for a moment.
“What’s the matter, freak? Too weak to carry your basket home?” Meegan taunted.
Shiloh’s eyes snapped open, and she leapt to her feet. Meegan had already snatched up her basket and begun to eat.
“Give me back my basket, and leave me alone!” Shiloh cried.
“Make me,” Meegan taunted, mouth full of berries. The girl bent and picked up a rock and pulled back her arm, preparing to throw it at Shiloh.
A screech sounded overhead, and both girls looked up to see a young falcon dive out of the trees, straight toward Meegan. The child shrieked and dropped both basket and rock in her desperate effort to protect her face from beak and claw.
The raptor kept attacking her until she ran form the clearing, screaming, then flew to Shiloh’s side and landed lightly on a tree stump. Shiloh’s mouth twitched, and soon a raucous laugh escaped her lips, continuing until tears began to pour down her face.
“Thank you,” Shiloh finally told him, her hysteria exhausted, and she offered a curtsey. She bent to pick up a handful of spilled berries. “You want some?”
Carefully, the bird took one berry at a time from her juice-stained hand. Then he watched as Shiloh gathered up the rest of the fruit and refilled her basket for the walk home.
“I’m Shiloh,” the little girl shared. “What should I call you?”
The bird shrugged.
“How about Honey?”
Where did your love of books come from?
My parents loved to read. I suppose I picked it up from them. As a kid, I could read all day and be happy.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I adore Hilary Mantel and Isabel Allende.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
It’s too hard to choose. The most fun to write is definitely Luka, the villain from my vampire series. He will say anything and has no shame. He’s a gleeful villain, and what is more fun than writing for that guy?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I think I have a good balance of both.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Fan email list: Better Living Through Fantasy
Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ammanay
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.