Saturday, January 18, 2014

Showcase: Interview with Heather Manning

Heather is super cool. She's a seventeen-year-old published writer, lover of chai tea, and even has an appointed day of the week to talk about Broadway on her blog. What's not to love?
When discussing what she would do to start off our writer showcase today, Heather and I decided on an interview. She was really patient with the off-the-wall and sometimes not-so-author-related questions I threw at her, and I'm super excited to formally "introduce" her here today!

Can you start off by telling us a little bit about your debut novel, Swept to Sea?

Swept to Sea is about Lady Eden Trenton, a young woman who stows away on a pirate ship to escape her abusive fiancĂ©. What she doesn’t expect is to find herself taking care of the son of the ship’s revenge-seeking pirate captain, Caspian Archer.

How long did it take you to write Swept to Sea? Had you written any other novels beforehand?

Counting multiple stages of editing, and typing it up, (originally I wrote it in a notebook), it took me about two and a half years. That was mainly writing just in my free time; now I write more seriously.
I had not written any full-length, complete novels before, but I had started a few and plotted a few, and written a few novellas and short stories.

I think your cover is absolutely adorable and I’m in love with your main character's name! One of my first books (currently stashed away in the milk crate of shame) had a main character named Eden. How do you come up with names for your characters? Are you the kind of writer who can throw any name at a character to have it turn out great, or do you take a couple of days to find something perfect?

Thank you so much! I LOVE my cover. As for characters’ names, it usually takes me a while to figure out the right one. For quite a few drafts, Eden was named Nicole. I didn’t love that name or think it fit her, so I decided to choose another. When I’m searching for a name, I have to like it, think it fits my character’s personality, and make sure it is historically accurate. I usually google names or use a baby name book or site.

So you’re a teen author like me. *sends virtual high-five* What’s your strategy for balancing school, writing, marketing, and blogging all at once? Have you figured it out yet?

*high-fives back* I don’t know if I have really figured it out yet, but I would like to think I have. It can get pretty overwhelming at times. Typically, I will try to get all or most of my homework done at school, even if that means doing it during break or lunch. This way I have more time to write. Now, I’m not sure if I’ve figured out time for marketing yet—I’m working on that now. J My blogging I tend to do on the weekends, so I have more time. Overall, I usually end up making time for all of these.

What are some of your favorite books?

I love a LOT of books, but some of my favorites are by authors Mary Connealy, Deeanne Gist, and MaryLu Tyndall. I could re-read their novels constantly.

Out of curiosity, how did you go about publishing Swept to Sea? Did you do all the research yourself? Do you have an agent? How long did it take for a publishing company to pick you up?

I met my publisher at the 2013 Romantic Times Convention, where I pitched to them. I did all of that by myself. I do not have an agent. It took about two months total for me to actually send the requested query and the publisher to get back to me with a contract. I had not been looking for a publishing company before that.

So pretty much all the authors and writers I know are addicted to chocolate, coffee, and Pinterest. Could you say the same for yourself?

Yes, pretty much. :) Haha but I would say I am more addicted to chai tea than coffee—I love my chai tea.

What are some of your favorite authorly pastimes?

I love to read—that counts, right? I also enjoy acting and chatting with fellow writers. :)

If you were a lollipop, what kind would you be? The big swirly kind with lots of colors, or the itty bitty little ones that taste like rootbeer?

Hmmm…I would probably be the big kind with lots of colors, because I like all of the colors. But the rootbeer ones are pretty good…decisions, decisions…

Do you have a bucket list? What are the top five things you want to do before you die?

Top five things? I’m not sure if I can narrow it down…
1. Read ALL the books I own and are on my TBR list.
2. Perform on a Broadway stage.
3. Write inside a Starbucks/coffee shop.
4. Learn how to sail.
5. Stay in the Cinderella’s Castle Suite in Disney World.

Thanks so much for being here with me today, Heather! It’s been a pleasure. Where can my lovely followers find you online?

Thank you so much for having me! Your lovely followers can find me:

Heather Manning is a young lady who loves to read—and write. She has won multiple competitions for her writing with “Nextgen Writers” and placed first in some writing contests with the “Go Teen Writers” blog and is a proud member of ACFW. She lives in Missouri where she attends high school, acts in community theatre, eats donuts and reads every Inspirational Historical Romance she can get her hands on.



  1. Thanks so much for having me, Stephanie!

  2. Great interview!

    I love Swept to Sea, and this interview was fun to read!

    1. Doesn't she have fun answers, Cortney? I actually haven't had the opportunity to read Swept to Sea. *Sigh* These are the (very occasional) times I wish I actually owned a Kindle! I"m sure the book is fabulous, though!

  3. What an awesome interview! Your book sounds good. I would love to read it. :) I'm also a fan of M.L. Tyndall! Her series Legacy Of The King's Pirates is the best historical fiction ever!

  4. Thanks, Cortney!
    C. thanks! I love M.L. Tyndall's Pirates series so much. They got me to start reading this genre. :)

  5. Great interview, and congratulations for your success with your book, Heather!