Interview with NA author Michelle Manning – Siding With Plato
Today I welcome yet another new to me author who's here today to talk about her brand new NA debut novel, Siding With Plato. Enjoy our conversation!
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 5/13/2013
Siding With Plato is a romantic laugh-out-loud chick lit novel about Being Young, Beautiful, and a Seriously Hot Mess!
Brooke Aarons can't get to college fast enough. Leaving behind her small town life, she intends to transform herself into a brilliant psychologist at the University of Texas, with no distractions to slow her down. But when she finds herself on a double date with the school's notorious playboy - and worse, enjoying it - Brooke has to wonder if she's the one who needs her head examined.
Hi Michelle welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
I love the title of your novel Siding With Plato can you tell us a little about
it and about the title and how it relates to the novel.
Thank you! I grew up with a mom who had a
good quote ready for anything I was going through. I began seeing quotes as a
theme or a lesson to the point where anytime I read one I wondered what
the story was behind it. Why someone said it, or why someone needed to hear
it. I was already well into writing this book under a different name when I
stumbled upon Plato’s quote that reads, “Love is a serious mental disease.”
That funny theory about love would speak to the main character, Brooke
Aaron’s, personality well and let’s face it everyone’s first crush turns
them into a nut job. Since that’s what this book is about I decided to slip
that quote in there, said to Brooke by her favorite professor, and in the
thick on her romantic chaos she sides with Plato's opinion of love.
You say that your college friends helped inspire the
Did you base a lot of characters on people you know, are they still speaking to
Yes I did and thankfully yes they are! There were eight of us who became thick as thieves in our freshman year of college.
The character’s personalities were split up in a Sex and the
City-like fashion but writing the conversations I could have been right back
on the dorm room floor with any of them. We were all so different but
somehow it just worked. Even though we’re spread all over the country now, we
have a constantly running group text that proves we haven’t changed much.
Five weddings and two babies in, there’s no sign we’ll lose any of
Michelle on your bio you say that publishing a novel
is like letting someone read your diary. What an insightful statement and I bet
most every author feels like that, I in fact am in awe of what authors go
through from start to finish and I can tell you sincerely that I don’t have
thick enough skin to even try. Well I don’t have a story to tell either :)
I don’t believe that and whatever it is, I want to read it!
So now that you have your first novel under your belt
are you breathing a little easier?
I think I’m breathing a little rougher now, actually. Kidding, you’re right. After the first came out, I think I had a
panic attack every 20 minutes or so. Suddenly I had this new identity
that didn’t feel real. Every time someone would call me an author I
laughed like they were joking around. It honestly took a little time to gain
confidence behind it but I think now that the trains on the tracks it
should all just be a fun ride. Who knows though, let’s talk after the second
one is out and see where my panic attacks are at.
And looking back would you have changed anything about
the whole process?
Yes, absolutely. Most importantly, I would have talked about the book
while I was writing it. I felt like a needed a book
agent and a movie deal to sound legit. As if writing without backing was
just a cute little project that might only earn me a pat on the head if I
told friends and family. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone seemed
to think it was cool and interesting and wished they could have been part
of the process. I had a huge untapped resource of people to bounce ideas
off of and I missed out. I’ve changed my tune in learning that valuable
feedback out weighs any embarrassment that comes with sharing something
that’s not quite ready to be seen. It’s also fun to have people be excited
with you so going forward I plan to bring more people in and just let that
Michelle are you still working for the entertainment
news publication or are you now a full time novelist?
No actually. I left to help found a new company called Reserve in New
York. One day I plan to focus soley on writing but at
this time I still like having my hand in a few things. Plus all the
life experiences that come from new ventures and taking risks all feed
right back into writing so I don’t want to miss out on anything.
Will you be bringing back any of the characters in
your next book or is this a stand a lone?
Yes! All four girls will be back but this one will pick up right after college when the girls are starting their
careers and it will be from Stella’s perspective. Spoiler alert – some of my
entertainment news experience may come into play.
Michelle this novel fits nicely in the new NA genre.
Do you see yourself always writing in this genre?
While my own bookshelf is filled with every trilogy, thriller, period
piece and drama I’m not sure yet if my own writing
will take any of those directions. I know I have a lot of fun writing
relatable storylines with characters that are easy to connect with, but
one day I may get the urge to test deeper waters. My struggle would be
fighting the urge to insert quirky dialog when there’s a near-death situation going
on in a scene, but that’s what a good editor is for, right?
So lets push the clock ahead five years.
Tell me what you’re doing?
Oh man… Well, if I’m still living in New York, it’s going to be in a
much bigger apartment than my studio now :).
All four books in this series are out and hopefully people are enjoying them. I’m
working on a new one-off or series but I have no clue what that will be yet.
My group of friends and I will have celebrated more weddings and kids and
I’ll hopefully be getting my family out from California to New York more
often. My mom is retiring this year after a long career as an elementary
school teacher. She plans to focus her time writing children’s books,
so five years from now I hope to be supporting her in a new venture the way she’s
always done for me.
Michelle thanks so much for taking the time to chat
Good Luck with Siding with Plato and all the future novels too.
MEET MICHELLE: Eh em... I was born April 24, 1987 and raised in Valencia, California, which has forever forced me to follow up that statement with, "yes, that's where Six Flag Magic Mountain is," and "no, I don't have a season pass." I finally broke free after 18 years of boring suburban life and found myself on a real rollercoaster, called Arizona State University. After 4 (fine...5) years of majoring in journalism and having the time of my life with incomparable friends (who helped inspire Siding with Plato) I grew up, graduated, and entered the working world . . . as an unpaid intern.
From New York to LA, I experienced life in public relations, marketing, social media, and finally landed an amazing job as a writer and red carpet reporter at an entertainment news publication. One minute I'm doing coffee runs and cold calling people just so they could hang up on me, the next I'm conversing with Hollywood's A-listers.
Jumping into the chaotic world fit my personality to a T, since I tend to live a little impulsively - explaining the one bright green wall in my apartment and the fact that I am a dog owner now- but writing a novel was the biggest test I've ever given myself. There is no such thing as instant gratification in this process and as much as I wear my heart on my sleeve it still feels like letting someone read your diary- even if it's a fictional diary. Without my amazingly supportive family and friends, I wouldn't have the bravery to pursue this career path, but I truly hope you enjoy my corky little chic-lit.
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