Saturday, February 8, 2014

Author Saturday Spotlight: Edmond Manning! *GIVEAWAY& INTERVIEW*

I kept hearing people tell me I had to read King Perry. I think for a solid month before I said, "Okay, I'll give it a go." I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat on my couch and began this journey. As I sit here writing this post, I'm not even sure I can do it justice at all. It blew my mind. Edmond Manning has a gift, perhaps it's magic. I'm not sure. The imagery alone is breathtaking. I wanted to crawl into the book and never leave. I love books with depth, vision and emotion and I wasn't disappointed at all with King Perry.

Then came book 2, King Mai. If it could get better, it did! Another masterpiece that left me aching for more. The world created by Edmond Manning will literally make you gasp!  The Lost and Founds Series is easily a top favorite series... and he's far from done yet.

All the books Edmond Manning has written can be listed here on his Goodreads page : Edmonds GR make sure you check them all out!!!

As an extra treat Edmond posts on his website book 6 of The Lost and Founds Series "King Daniel" I know what you're thinking... He posts book 6, before 3,4 and 5? Yes, he does, you'll have to trust me here! READ! You can find it on Edmond's website by clicking here >  Edmond Manning's Website

Now, to get the idea of how amazing Edmond is, when I asked him if I could spotlight him for my Author Saturday Spotlight, he was VERY generous! He offered a giveaway, an interview, and cover art... it was just awesome!!!

For the interview, we spiced it up a bit. I said to him, I always wanted to know what questions an author wished their interviewer would ask them... Born was this interview:



Five Questions Someone Should Have Asked Me



1.      Edmond Manning, your first book doesn’t have a traditional HEA, which is the kiss of death for sales. You expected readers to endure a story told by a disjointed, word-fixated narrator and assumed readers would adapt. You tell the story from Vin’s perspective but drive readers mad by letting them inside his head selectively, forcing empathy with the other main character in each book (Perry and Mai). Nobody can figure out who is the true protagonist is! As a new author whom nobody has ever heard of, why on earth would you make these choices? No offense, but isn’t this a stupid approach to your first published novel?
Short answer:  Yeah, kinda.
Longer answer:  Here’s the thing. For decades, I played safe with my fiction writing. I was trying to do it “the right way,” which is always a trap for someone like me, a rule-follower. I had read books about writing and followed the rules for writing good fiction. I was a decent writer. But on some level, I didn’t really get how to play and dance with words. I didn’t push myself.
In 2008, I wrote a short story I didn’t think much about. I was writing it for a friend and it was a distraction from my serious fiction, the Great American Novel I had decided to write. Didn’t care much about this short story…I just started throwing in Joseph Campbell hero journey stuff, ancient masculine archetypes, shamanistic healing, and married it to an insane kingdom with ridiculous kinds that felt more real than illusion. The wounded and loveable narrator, Vin Vanbly appeared in that short story.
But guess what? This insane, blow-off, ridiculous story was richer, more fascinating than anything I had ever written before. The writing challenges were immense. Yet the language flowed around me, refreshing me and feeding me as if I were standing under a waterfall. I never had so much fun writing!
The challenges I set for myself may not be smart but they make me alternately laugh and swear, which is the wild passion I had been missing in my decades of carefully-controlled writing. 
2.      You’ve written two full novels in first person from the view point of narrator Vin Vanbly. What does it feel like when you write in his voice?
Vin reminds me of Charlie Brown, all grown up. He’s sweet, vulnerable and still carries around that “nobody likes me” feeling from his childhood. (Surely Charlie Brown remains terrified of footballs to this day.) To get into vin Vanbly’s head, I have to slow down, like SERIOUSLY SLOW DOWN. I can’t write Vin’s voice when I have thirty minutes here or there. I chill out for a few hours, maybe putter around the house and think about plot, character, etc. I listen to sweet, sexy, reflective music (Connie Rae Bailey’s Put Your Records On). I think about love.
When I get into Vin’s space I love the world like he does, seeing the beauty in everyone, the power of connection. I have been blessed in my personal life to be very well-loved, so it’s not hard for me to reflect on believing the world is golden and amazing. I love to think and write like Vin. I feel like a better man when I am filled with his unique light.
3.      Edmond, in previous interviews you hint that there are clues throughout the six books. Clues about what?

Each book has a ton of clues as to the next king’s story to be told. In King Perry, the real-world king who is mentioned the most frequently? King Mai. In King Mai, the real-world king who is referenced the most frequently? The Butterfly King. Each book hints at the next king to come.

Even the writing style changes a little from book to book. King Perry takes place in San Francisco and Vin’s thoughts reflect the resplendent and lush geography. Sentences are delicate and intricate, like the complicated, flowing beauty found in the Bay area. King Mai’s language is practical and strong like the Midwestern town where it is set. Sure, beauty abounds here, too but it’s direct and powerful. Sentences designed to punch you in the stomach.

Dozens of other tantalizing details and clues won’t make any sense until the first six books are published. For example, in King Perry (which takes place in 1999), Vin muses how it would be nice to have a handheld device so he could leave himself notes like, “Out of eggs.” That line becomes relevant again in Book 5. Who would care about such a ridiculous throw-away line? Nobody. (Well, me.) But when you read all six finished books, you will see everything wildly interrelated.

4.      Do you read the reviews of your books on goodreads? What do you think of the reviews from folks who clearly don’t like your books?
Yes, I read reviews. At first, I did respond to a few but have since then decided that this space is the reader’s time to air their beefs, share their love or hate and not get feedback from the author. Well, that’s my opinion. I want to respect the reader’s right to yell and scream whether I agree with their opinion or not. Some days it’s hard not to chime in.
For example, one reviewer who didn’t like King Perry ranted about my not including enough details and glossing over certain points. This person kept calling the main character “Van.” I really wanted to respond and say, “Hey, speaking of glossing over details, you haven’t got the main character’s name correct.” Grrrrrrr.
But I do learn a lot from the reviews, positive and negative. One negative review was so well written that I started laughing. She hated the book but I couldn’t help but laugh at her eloquence. I almost wanted to email her to thank her for but was worried my email would come across as somehow snarky or placating so I never contacted her. But I respected how she wrote her review.
Some negative reviewers have absolutely NAILED future plot points or things I was hoping someone would notice. The people who have been upset by Vin’s manipulation – yes! YES! I’m dying to talk about that myself but can’t or else will give away spoilers. But short version: you’re right. He shouldn’t manipulate others this way. There will be a price to be paid.
There are others who just don’t like the books I write and that’s fine. I don’t love everything I read either. My friend Tony calls each king novel “A book of spells” and I’m inclined to agree—you either fall under the spell or you don’t. If you don’t fall under its spell, you’re left saying, “I don’t get it. What happened? Did anyone else think this narrator was insufferable?” My magic writing mojo won’t work on everyone. And that’s okay.
Of course, I enjoy reading reviews of people who really loved the book and how it opened their heart. That makes me crazy happy. On days when I am discouraged, I will go read those reviews.
With either positive or negative reviews, I’ve learned to develop a thicker skin so I don’t let the poison in too much nor do I let the flattery go to my head. It was definitely a skill I developed the first year after being published. For a while it was difficult to read reviews. Now, less so. 

5.      Your next book in The Lost and Found series, The Butterfly King, takes places in New York City. How did you research that book?
I moved to New York! Okay, fine. I only moved there for a month. But it was a big deal to get my employer’s permission to do this, find a rental apartment on craigslist and uproot myself, living in a city that scares me. I was never exactly terrified of New York, but I can’t say it’s ever been a favorite city of mine either. Nevertheless, the city had to be researched! I slept on a mattress on a floor and my only furniture was a card table and a chair.
It. Was. Awesome.
I loved New York! I still never want to live there permanently but I had great fun exploring the city, learning to navigate. I spent most of my time walking. Hours and hours. I took over 1400 photos while wandering, scouting possible locations for Vin’s antics. I took pictures of sewers and garbage in the streets, tried to capture sunlight gleaming off buildings and spectacular city sunsets. I photographed hundreds of buildings, scaffolding, fountains, taxis, and recorded a dozen videos of people crowding Times Square. Like everyone who visits New York, I tried to find little pockets of the city to call my own, places that felt like discoveries.
As my plane left Minneapolis for New York, I totally panicked. I thought, what the hell am I doing? I don’t know how to “research a city.” How will I know if I did it right? What if I’m using up all my savings and after a month I still don’t know what to say about this place? Three weeks into my trip, I experienced a “click” inside me, a knowing. Some invisible metric had been achieved. While I would never be a true New Yorker, I knew I had experienced enough to write Book 3. 


Edmond Manning is not just a talented writer, he's a wonderful person. He truly is a breath of fresh air and it comes through in his writing. You see things through his eyes, and you will never look at anything the same way again.

To help you get a little familiar with the Lost and Found Series here are Blurbs for King Perry and King Mai:


KING PERRY




In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.
Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as 'the one true king.'   
Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this off-beat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday's sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary investment banker into King Perry?

KING MAI

 



Adopted from Thailand and never one to fit in with the local bubbas, life has been rough around the edges for Mai Kearns, even before he came out of the closet. Now, almost ten years past the torture of high school, Mai still can't catch a break: he and his parents stand to lose their beloved farm.

How will a “King Weekend” help change Mai’s fate? What has narrator Vin Vanbly been up to for the four weeks he’s been sneaking around Mai’s hometown? At the urging of a ransom note from ‘The Lost Kings,’ Mai embarks on an impossible treasure hunt chasing mystic poetry, Fibonacci Hopscotch, ancient prophecy, the letter ‘x,’ and a confounding, penguin-marching army.

The stakes are high: if Mai fails, the Lost Kings will permanently claim him as their own. Finding the treasure may unlock the secret to saving his family farm. But can this angry farmer risk opening his broken heart before the weekend is over? Mai Kearns has 40 hours to get very, very curious in this second installment of The Lost and Founds. 

 NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!!! Not 1 but 2 King Perry ebook giveaways! That's right. Edmond Manning is giving 2 people a chance to fall in love with this outstanding series..a Rafflecopter giveaway SIMPLE... EASY... FUN!!!


 Make sure you check out ALL of Edmond Manning's books, you will have him on a short list of authors to watch without a question!!!! ONE MORE THING... Just to wet your appetite even more, because Edmond is that great... An excerpt from King Perry HERE:




 *** Necessary Background ***
 Perry and the narrator, Vin Vanbly, met a half-hour ago in a crowded art gallery. They know little about each other, except that Vin was raised in foster homes and Perry is an investment banker. Vin has an unusually strong interest in learning about Perry, so in this excerpt, Vin tricks revelations out of Perry as he tries to get to know the man he intends to "king."

 *** Excerpt ***
 Let’s see how he handles some forced intimacy. 

 “Hey, Perry, ready for an art gallery game?” He says, “Does this involve the shovel painting or the onion rings?”
 “Neither. The game’s called Big Secret. We both share something big and juicy, not just ‘I cheated on my ’94 income taxes,’ but a big ugly secret about ourselves that almost nobody knows. I’ll go first.”
 Perry’s face registers confusion, and he says, “Wait—”
 I say, “See these tiny, crisscrossing marks right here by my hairline?” 
I take his hand and guide his fingers to my skull, ignoring the alarm on his face and resistance in his arm.
 “They’re from rat bites.”
 He jerks his fingers away and looks at me with naked disgust. 
 Ow. 
But I can do this. I can show Perry all my love.
 “When I was twelve, I used to hide in the basement of this one foster home. The guy and his lady neighbor pretended to be married so they could get foster money from the state. His name was Billy. Shitty place to live. Billy's idea of a garbage disposal was to throw food down there for the rats to eat. I would hide from him every third Wednesday of the month, and I thought if I lay still, the rats would get tired of biting me, but honestly, it wasn’t a great strategy. Twice, child and family services hospitalized me.” 
With one hand, I draw quotation marks in the air. “Scars.” 
All my love.
 “I know that this makes me seem creepy, because it is creepy. It’s disgusting. That’s why it’s one of my big secrets. This is me showing vulnerability, Perry, and if you look into my eyes right at this second, you will see I’m afraid of you thinking I am disgusting.”
 His face changes as he sees me, really sees.
 Shit. That was harder to say than I thought.
 “Your turn,” I say, as if I’ve been waiting for him to speak and my nod is additional encouragement to break his silence. “Something big.”
 Perry looks around us. “Vin, I never said—”
 “Go,” I say, adding the slightest urgency to my suggestion. “Do it fast.” 
He pauses.
 “C’mon, something big," I say in a commanding tone. “Go.”
 “I don’t cry,” he says, the words falling out of his mouth. “I mean, I can. I broke my hand playing softball when I was twenty-eight and I—no, no, honestly, I didn’t cry then. I swore a lot. That’s mine. I don’t cry anymore. I’ve even tried watching sad movies, but nothing.”
 “Could you ever?”
 “I cried some at my mom’s funeral,” he says, “but that’s the last I remember, ten years ago. I miss her all the time; I just don’t cry. I don’t know if that’s normal.” 
I nod and take this in. Good reveal. I say, “Your mom died when you were twenty-four?”
 He says, “Yeah.” “I’m sorry.”
 He steps back, careful to make sure he’s not bumping into anyone, and he glances around to see who may have overheard. The crowd fills in the gaps around us, but nobody’s eavesdropping, and the constant chatter around us muffles our conversation. Nevertheless, this uncomfortable turn of events has left a crease between us. 
I say, “Relax. It’s just a game to learn about each other.”
 He says, “No, of course.”
 His face and tone don’t match his casual words, a surprised discomfort lingering as he thinks about what he shared with a stranger. But his expression morphs quickly into something else. 
“Seriously, are those…?” His fingers move tentatively toward my skull, and I turn my head to give him free access.
 He slowly traces his way along my bristly hairline as his fingers tenderly express what verbally he cannot. He pushes over the blond spikes and stops to stroke the tiny canyons in my geography. I’ve run my fingers over them enough to understand that only the softest touch can fully trace the grooves.

 Fifteen minutes ago, this great tenderness would have been far too intimate for a first meeting in public, for how little we know each other. But we’ve crossed another threshold together. His repulsion is gone, replaced by sad curiosity. 
 “Does it hurt?”
 “Now? No. Just looks funky when you notice it.”
 “I didn’t see it until you pointed it out.”
 “Uh huh.” 
He presses harder, still in the realm of gentle, as he explores further. I hate it when anyone caresses these freakish souvenirs from a fucked-up childhood, yet I have to admit his fingertips soothe me. 

“Were you scared?”
 “Terrified.”
 “Wait, why were you hiding again?”
 “I hid from Billy, the guy who owned the house. He hated the rats, even though he fed them.” I can’t explain more than that. I think he’s had enough creepy stories for the night. A woman sidles up to the paintings and oohs in appreciation.
 “People suck,” Perry says slowly.
 “They really, really do.” Our new neighbor says, “Excuse me, who did this?” 
 “Richard Mangin,” I say, louder than necessary.
 Perry looks disappointed but nods.
 His arm falls away, and he takes a step back.
 “Is that a DalĂ­ reference?” the woman asks, a petite blond with dangly, gold bracelets way too big for her slender arms. 
Perry looks annoyed. I don’t mind; I didn’t want to get all chatty about me.
 Besides, it’s show time.


 *** You can order this book in ebook or paperback form at I'm not sure thank you is enough for all Edmond has done today, but thank you to him. I am sure you are all going to get immersed in his books and may even finding yourself asking, "Am I lost King or Queen?" GOOD LUCK! Contest ends February 13th!!!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you, M for bringing us this exciting author! I look forward to starting this new journey.

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    Replies
    1. You're so welcome! You're sure to love his work <3

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  2. Very interesting! The books have now grabbed my attention :D

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  3. Awesome!!! Good luck. He's very talented!

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