Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, we had to offer something that included a book shelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them. WE get personal! Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF,” YOU are an open book!
Today I have with me on the “SHELF,” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, A. M. MANAY!
NJ: Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you? Is it comfy?
AM: So comfy. It’s the fluffiest bookshelf I’ve ever seen.
NJ: (NJ wonders: “Is she referring to me, or the actual shelf?” OK, don’t let your mind wonder there…it’s your first interview in months. Give AM the benefit of the doubt. She looks sweet.) Why, thank you (I guess). Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?
AM: I write under my actual initials and real surname. In real life, I go by Anne Margaret. I decided that was too long and girly for a book cover.
NJ: Well, Anne Margaret (that will be the last time I’m saying that, it is long!)…tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?
AM: I was born outside Philadelphia, grew up in Atlanta, and have been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 12 years now.
NJ: Married or single?
AM: I’ve been married nearly 13 years.
NJ: Awwww, you’re still a newly wed! (Says the old lady who’s been in this game for over 30 years now). Kids or no? If yes, how many? Sons or Daughters?
AM: We have one son. He is 6 years old.
NJ: So, would you consider him your favorite child? I ask because, being the only, does not necessarily make him the most favored. Know what I mean?
AM: It’s easy to pick when you only have the one. 🙂 We adopted him when he was a newborn, so we’re extra grateful to have him.
NJ: Oh, well, I suppose he is the favored one, then! Good for you! Any pets?
AM: Zero. I am not an animal person.
(Really? And you’re brave enough to say that here?)
NJ: So, Ms-Zero-I’m-Not-An-Animal-Person, may we ask your favorite food? Or, are you not into that, either?
AM: Chocolate, of course.
NJ: How about your favorite color?
AM: I love red.
NJ: OK. Got a favorite sport?
AM: Yoga. Does that count? It’s more of a practice than a sport.
NJ: Uh, No. Yoga is not a sport. So, any favorite TV Shows?
AM: Hmm . . . Of shows currently airing, Marvel’s Agents of Shield is probably my favorite. I think my favorite show of all time is Justified.
NJ: Never heard of either. Moving right along, then…Favorite Actress/Actor:
AM: My favorite living actor is Benedict Cumberbatch. My fave of all time is Alan Rickman, may he rest in peace. I’ve loved him since I was a kid.
NJ: Hmm, never heard of them, either. Must’ve come from those TV shows you mentioned. So, are you a couch potato or workout nut? Be honest
AM: Sometimes Lupus keeps me on the couch, but I love yoga and walking.
NJ: Good for you, then! Keep yoga-ing and walking! What’s your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?: (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).
AM: Irrationality. I find it incredibly frustrating when people can’t see past their own feelings enough to make rational decisions about important things.
NJ: Well, ok, then. So, are you neat or messy?
AM: I’m pretty messy, to be honest. My husband could tell you. He grew up in a very neat house. I did not.
NJ: Yea, I have a special place I’m building for you folk, where there are no boats or paddles. Facebook or Twitter?
AM: I like both, for different reasons. For me, Facebook is for friends and family, and Twitter is for work.
NJ: OK. Name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.
AM: Natalie Ducey is terrific, as is Lizzie Chantree. The Club has so many supportive people. I could probably name dozens who’ve made a difference to me.
NJ: Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Feel free to be honest
AM: Well, do you have an invisible plane?
NJ: No, but I have a kick-butt invisible hit man!
So, everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor…
AM: I have a lot of respect for Harmony Kent, and I’m quite impressed with Lincoln Cole. It’s so hard to pick just two!
NJ: Well, thankfully you did, or I would have had to pick for ya! What is it about them that you’ve come to like?
AM: I recently read Lincoln’s Raven’s Peak, and it scared the daylights out of me! It’s engrossing and very well-executed. It’s visceral but not gory in a distasteful way.
Harmony creates interesting characters, and she uses narrative tools really effectively. Her descriptions are evocative without being fussy or pretentious. I really like that in a writer.
NJ: ONE good INDIE book you read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:
AM: The Eternal Season by Tyler Bumpus. It is probably the best indie book I’ve ever read, and better than many traditionally published ones.
NJ: What was so great about it?
AM: Tyler creates a world that is terrifying in its realism and plausibility, with deeply flawed characters that still tug at your heart. I read it in one sitting. I can’t praise it highly enough.
NJ: After you read books, do you post reviews?
AM: Yes, I always review.
NJ: What do you think readers should base their reviews on?
AM: Personally, I consider my overall enjoyment, the level of creativity, and the skillfulness of execution. If it has few errors and sticks with you, and you miss it when it’s done, that’s what I call a 6-star book. I don’t think readers should penalize authors because something wasn’t their usual cup of tea. I think readers should judge a book for what it is trying to be. I’m normally not much for horror or romance, for example, but I can still appreciate when it is done well.
NJ: Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?
AM: I do feel bad when I say something critical, because I know from personal experience how that feels. But I also know how enormously helpful critical feedback can be, and I want to be fair to the truly stellar books out there, so I suck it up and tell the truth. I always make sure I start by emphasizing the good points, though. There are almost always good points. If I can’t give it at least 3 stars, I try to email privately rather than posting on Amazon.
NJ: Read any poorly written books lately?
AM: Unfortunately, yes. There is such a wide range of quality in indie publishing, and in traditional publishing, for that matter.
NJ: Where’s your review so I can go and check it out? LOL No, seriously.
AM: Like I said, the really bad ones, I keep private. 😉 A lady never tells.
NJ: How long have you been writing?
AM: I’ve written on and off for years, but I published my first book only about a year ago.
NJ: What books have you written?
NJ: Which one do you think is the best?
AM: This is way harder than the favorite kid question! I think She Lights Up the Dark is my favorite so far. I feel like I’ve improved as a writer as I go along.
NJ: That’s what we tend to do, is grow as we keep going. Grow and strive to always be better than the last time you hit PUBLISH. Do you have a blog or website?
AM: My website is www.ammanay.net and my blog is ammanaywrites.blogspot.com.
NJ: Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a Rave Reviews Book Club member, so what do you think of the club?
AM: It has been immensely valuable to me. I’ve met great people and gotten tremendous opportunities. My sales are much better, but more than that, I’m learning so much from those with more experience in the publishing game. You’ve all inspired me and allowed me to discover in myself a love of graphic design that I had no idea was in there. You’ve pushed me to improve as a writer, blogger, and designer. It’s been a great experience, and I know it will continue to be.
NJ: Have you come across any other online entities like it?
AM: I really haven’t found anything with quite the personality and scope of RRBC. It’s really a very complex organism!
NJ: Would you recommend it to your friends and family?
AM: I would, have, and continue to do so. 🙂
NJ: This shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words?
AM: Just a tremendous, “Thank you,” to you and the Club. And I encourage anyone reading this to keep on writing and participating in the RRBC! Your work is worthwhile, even when the publishing world gets to be discouraging.
NJ: Anne Margaret, thank you for you kind words, and an extra special thank you for joining us today!
To my guests, please support A.M. by picking up a copy of one of her books above. You can also support her by visiting the blog stops along her tour which ends on Saturday. You can find the tour line up here.
Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet? Well, here’s your chance! And since A.M. was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you. Make it a great day, my friends. We’ll see you next time, right here on the “SHELF” with another VERY INTERESTING GUEST!!