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Margaret lives in a constant state of fear. Fear of her mother, whose constant state of anger and unwillingness to speak of Margaret’s past have long since pushed Margaret away. Fear of disappointing her father should he ever discover the events of that day. Most of all, Margaret lives in fear of her abuser’s return. Margaret turns to self-harm to cope with her pain and fear. Only when her self-inflicted injuries bring her near death does she realize she has the power and the support from an unlikely place to stand up to her fears and believe in herself again. Tristis Manor is a novella from The Never Chronicles, an epic fantasy series.
Where are you from?
I live in a Philadelphia suburb called Downingtown (Pennsylvania, USA) Although I’ve lived across the country, I somehow managed to find my way back to my hometown.
Tell us a little about yourself!
When I’m not writing, I spend the majority of my free time with my wonderful wife and two daughters. My hobbies include triathlons (swim, bike, run…all in a row as fast as you can), gardening, reading, painting (just got into this one) and filmmaking.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Tristis Manor began after I had completed my first book, Exiled (The Never Chronicles #1). I knew I wanted to give my readers something between volumes of the series so I decided to write a novella. I liked Margaret –her strength and perseverance, and thought it would be fun to delve into her childhood to understand what made her the woman in Exiled.
How do you create your characters?
I usually have a generic idea for a character as the story progresses and when it is time to insert them into the story, they seem to create themselves. Some of my characters spend quite a bit of time in my head telling me their back-stories. Sometimes I write them out (in the case of Margaret via Tristis Manor) and sometimes they continue to swirl around in my head –so if you ever wonder why I often have that glazed over look when you’re talking to me it is probably Akil Karanis telling me what type of tea he’s having or who he’s managed to out-wit.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I’ve always been creative. My childhood was full of my creative efforts (rarely stifled by my parents unless my safety or the safety of the house was endangered) and that hasn’t slowed down a bit. I have so many, many ideas –just not enough time in the day to get to them all. I really don’t need inspiration to write. I write because I love it –because my brain needs to be creative, that’s just how I’m wired, I suppose.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to
write (music, drinks?)
In my office, usually. I need: my noise canceling headphones with movie soundtracks playing on iTunes set to shuffle (right now, Learning to Fly by James Newton Howard from the Peter Pan original motion picture soundtrack is playing –I know, I’m kind of a dork when it comes to my writing music). I also need tea –Earl Grey preferably…and it doesn’t hurt to start off the session with two Sandies® (picture below). Quite an amazing combination with a cup of Earl Grey…well worth a try!
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Generally they just pop into my head. It could be a scene (which is the case with Exiled) or an entire idea. I’m powerless to stop them from distracting me on a daily basis. Thankfully, I carry a journal to record ideas because my memory isn’t stellar.
What do you like to read?
I love reading by the fireplace in the winter. In the summer, I have a comfortable chair beneath a hastily spinning fan. I also read in bed. It helps settle my brain after a long day.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards
Create an online presence for yourself. Build a following. Write every day. Read every day. Write, edit, re-write before sharing your work. Build a peer network (rather easy to do online these days) and help when asked (you will be repaid). Write because you love to write –not because you want to be a superstar. You’ve never heard of some of the greatest writers who’ve ever lived.
Anything else you’d like to share?
ALL proceeds of the sales from Tristis Manor for the next 4 months (until July 20th) go to RAINN, a truly wonderful charity.
Second, from March 20th to July 20th, 100% of the proceeds of this book will benefit the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. To learn more about RAINN, visit rainn.org.