Steven Manchester: An interview with The Writer’s Life

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Manchester Author PhotoQ: Welcome to The Writer’s Life, Steve.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I’ve been writing since 1991. I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?” Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

Today, I’m the published author of Twelve Months (my new novel), Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. My work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of my short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with my beautiful wife, Paula, or my four children, I’m promoting Twelve Months.


Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full. A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, Twelve Months is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.

I wrote this book for my children. As far as we know, it’s only one life—so you have to make it a great one! Many people drift through the years, but when you’re intentional about how you spend every moment, you can’t help but to live a great life!

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: The most difficult part of writing Twelve Months was finding the time. I fell in love right away with the characters and the story that they had to tell. But the kids and wife come first, as do the responsibilities I have to them. When most people were sleeping, I’m pounding away at the keyboard.

 Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: Yes—but my press kit varies depending on what kind of information is requested/required. Usually, it includes a book cover pic, author pic, brief synopsis of the book, brief author bio, links where you can find the book, book reviews (sometimes), book excerpt (sometimes).

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A:  I’ve presented the book to several books and have appeared on local radio and cable television. I intend to capitalize on every opportunity I can to promote.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: I do not have an agent on this book, though I have used them in the past.

Here are my thoughts: It’s said that the publishing industry’s ‘Catch 22’: Without an agent, you can’t secure a publisher. And without being published, agents won’t even take a look at you. I’ve proven both to be wrong.

The trick is in the work you put in: Using your portfolio (Internet, magazine, anthology published pieces, etc.), pre-publication book reviews, and a clever and incredibly well written proposal—and PERSEVERANCE!

I’ve also discovered that some publishers are agreeable to working directly with an author (a little research on your part will tell you who these are). It’s a difficult business, for sure, but it’s not an impossible one.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: Yes—I did it in collaboration with my publisher. We blitzed social media, as well as book bloghers and reviewers. Lots of hard work usually means lots of good results. 

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: I signed a 4-book deal with The Story Plant.

My next book is Goodnight, Brian: A healthy baby is poisoned with toxic soy formula, causing permanent brain damage. When the doctors say that he’ll never develop normally, his grandmother sets out to prove them wrong…and does. Faith and unconditional love are what make the difference. What she doesn’t expect, however, is that her grandson will return the favor. Goodnight, Brian is an emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we’ve been given.

After that, we’ll be releasing The Rockin’ Chair: A compassionate farmer loses his lifelong love to Alzheimer’s. Deciding that she was cheated a lifetime of memories, he sits in his chair and remembers for them both. Before he can join her in eternal rest, though, he must tend to a few final chores and heal his family.

The 4th book is a Work in Progress!

Q: Thank you for your interview, Steve.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A:  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

I can be reached at:!/AuthorStevenManchester


The Rockin Chair front coverSteve Manchester is The Story Plant’s Author of the Month. This means we are offering sensational deals on all of his works. Steve’s latest book, The Rockin’ Chair, was released on June 18. You can learn more at our website.

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On June 19, 2013
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