Wednesday, January 21, 2015

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!



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 novel.
Did you base a lot of characters on people you know, are they still speaking to you :-)
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 that love.

 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 happen.

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 with us.
Good Luck with Siding with Plato and all the future novels too.

 Connect with Michelle - Website - Facebook - Twitter- Pinterest - Instagram

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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  1. She looks adorable in her author pic! This sounds like a fun read and I like what she said about publishing a book is like having someone read your diary. I never thought of a novel that way but considering how much time and heart author's pour into their work, I think that is a great analogy!

  2. This sounds fun, and I love how her friends inspired her. Fantastic interview

  3. She's a little cutie! Thanks for the introduction Debbie, I love NA novels. I can only imagine how hard it must be to publish a novel and hear the reviews...eeek! God bless them! I'm happy they are willing to share with us their diaries.

    1. HI Loupe, I know I bow to the altar of all authors and their thick skin!