February 21, 2017

Interview w/ Steven Manchester, Author of ASHES

 *What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
I think I’d be working somewhere in the publishing industry. I love books and can’t imagine spending my days without them. I’ve been a soldier, worked in law enforcement for nearly a decade, but my calling is definitely literary.

*5 years ago: what were you doing?
Most importantly, trying to be the best husband and dad I could be. I was also writing—from what I recall, finishing up The Rockin’ Chair—and working hard to produce material.

 *Do you have a certain writing ritual?
I can’t claim any great ritual. I write when I want to write and when I don’t. I write every day but Sundays—usually at my dining room table (it’s the quietest place in the house)—and when I’m not pounding away on the keys, I’m working out the plot and characters in my mind.
My writing process has gradually evolved over the years. Today, once I’ve committed to an idea, I flesh out a detailed storyboard that includes plot line(s), scene setting, character profiles, etc.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I was once criticized that I “put everything but the kitchen sink” into my writing. This caused me to take a step back and assess my approach and style—and inevitably made me a better writer.

*Is there an author you'd like to meet?
 Stephen King, the master of our time.

*Biggest writing pet peeve?
 When people say, “I’d write a book if I had the time.” It’s taken me 20+ years of laboring at my craft to be able do what I do. I’m thrilled when others write, as long as they have some understanding of the work and commitment required.

* Do you read other's reviews of your books?
I do—with a grain of salt. There are times when I can learn something to make my writing stronger.  

Fav Color:
Midnight blue

Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with:
Atticus Finch

Fav food:
Pasta with white clam sauce

Fav song and/or singer:
“The Dance” by Garth Brooks

Guilty pleasure:
Binge-watching TV series
Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin' Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island as well as the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning, and BET's Nightly News. Three of Manchester's short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He lives with his family in southern Massachusetts. 

Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life – and death – has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other's company. It's either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he's left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for. 

At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, Ashes puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal.

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