Book 2 in the Keeper Chronicles is finally with my editor! So in celebration I am offering Book 1, The Portal Keeper, for FREE Today and Tomorrow. (ebook only)
It's a great story for any fantasy lover, or to read out loud to your kids. I love reading books out loud with my kids. However most the time they think I'm too slow and end up reading ahead of me.
Enjoy, Happy Reading!!
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Today I'd like to welcome author C.L. Mannarino to the blog. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Massachusetts-born lover of Halloween and 50’s swing dresses. I work at a desk job during the day, and in my free time, I conjure up fantastical stories about mermaids, vampires, and small-town drama. I’ve been publishing since 2015, but I’ve been writing since before high school. The Matt and Kat series, especially the first book, Swans of Atlantis, started from just one of the ideas I had during that time.
Throughout your writing career have you been given any helpful advice?
For writers: you can’t edit a blank page. That advice was instrumental in helping me learn to just start writing so that I can fix the story later.
For readers: read what you love reading, and stop listening to people who tell you what you “should” read.
That's great advice. I think sometimes you just have to fill the page, and then you can always go back and tweak it to perfection. Currently, what are you working on?
The second book in the series! We left Matt and Kat on a cliffhanger, and now we have to find out if what happened in book one is permanent, and where the story will take them from there.
I love cliffhangers! I think it makes the anticipation of the next book so much more exciting, which to me adds to the whole enjoyment of reading. Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Matt and Kat are the classic friend-of-a-friend: they know each other because of Kat’s cousin, Ty, which is the pseudo-crushing-on-your-brother’s-best-friend situation I always enjoyed in romances growing up.
Matt is a senior in high school who is besotted with a girl who might not actually be the best for him, but he’s committed to being whatever she wants him to be, even while he’s getting hurt.
Kat is a freshman in high school who has a crush on Matt, and because he’s also her friend, she wants to protect him from a danger that he’s clearly heading straight towards. She just doesn’t know how to do that without butting into a relationship that she has almost no say in.
How did you decide on what to title each book?
For this series, because it’s about people and magic that comes from this specific town (Atlantis, Massachusetts), it was important to me that the title not only evoke those people and that magic (Swans are what people in the town call anyone who has found their magic-given soul mate, because when the swans in town mate, they mate for life), but also that the title evokes the place. This all happens in Atlantis, or to Atlantians. It seemed fitting, then, that the first official book in the series be about those magic-touched people, because it is!
What a great idea. Is this a stand-alone novel or part of a series?
Definitely part of a series! There’s so much more to explore, and I hope people will want to dive into it as much as I do.
Who designed the artwork for your cover? Or did you design it yourself?
Sarah Hansen of OkayCreations designed the artwork! She’s fantastic, and I highly recommend working with her if you get the chance.
It's always so nice when you find that designer who just gets your vision. What brought about the idea for your book?
This might sound silly, but part of it was based on how I felt about the seniors during high school. When you’re a freshman, the seniors are just the coolest people, and the thought of dating one just seemed so scandalous, at least to me! It was also a rule in my house that you couldn’t date a senior if you were a freshman because of how much older they were. As an adult, of course, the 3 or 4 year age difference isn’t anything, but when you’re literally a kid, it’s a big deal. So I wanted to explore that “impossibility.”
The other part of the idea, which came about later, was what if you lived in a town where everyone literally has a soul mate, but unless you meet them before you turn 18, you won’t ever age past 18.
How would that change the way you feel about soul mates? How would that change the way you went about your life? How would that make people look at you when you eventually went out into the world? How would that change how you feel about LOVE, even? And what if you don’t like your soul mate?
So yeah, a lot of ground to cover. :)
What are your hobbies aside from writing, if any?
I love to read, hike, bake, crochet, play in Photoshop, and just spend time with my family.
Crocheting is something I have always wanted to learn how to do. My grandmother always crocheted the most beautiful blankets. It's quite a talent. In your novels, which character is your favorite?
That’s such a hard question! I think Kat is my favorite because she’s the way I wished I could be growing up: she’s willing to take more risks, and talk to boys, and live with her heart firmly on her sleeve.
C.L., since you wrote in this genre, do you think you will ever write in other genres?
Absolutely! So far, along with the Matt and Kat series, I also have the Almost Human series that I’m just about finished writing. Both are teen-focused, but Matt and Kat is romantic fantasy, whereas Almost Human is paranormal fantasy. I have a hard time choosing between Halloween and Springtime, so I decided to write a bit about both.
I also have written contemporary fiction, and historical fantasy.
What advice would you give someone who is considering publishing? Should they consider traditional or self-publishing?
It depends: I think with teen fiction, I’ve found it’s a lot harder to reach your target audience (teens!) because they don’t have credit cards, and many don’t have very much disposable income. So you have to be savvy about where you sell, and diversify the types of formats you create – having both print and digital copies of your book, for example.
I think you also have to target places you might not think of, like libraries, where teens have greater access to free reading materials. So adults are also the people you have to convince to buy your work because they’re the ones often reading teen fiction, and can buy it in greater numbers.
With adult fiction, it’s easier because your audience presumably has more access to your work.
So I’d say that, if you can learn not only how to write a book, but also learn how to edit it, market it, and sell it, then you can self-publish. If you’re more interested in getting listed for awards, and having the name of a larger publisher behind you, then I’d go traditional.
Any last words?
Thanks so much for having me!
Be sure to check out more from C.L. Mannarino at the sites below. Happy Reading!!
Cover designer: https://www.okaycreations.com/