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 Steven Manchester 

STEVEN MANCHESTER

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestseller Twelve Months and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Rockin' Chair. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning, and BET's Nightly News.

Three of Manchester's short stories were selected "101 Best" for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Manchester recently released his new novel, Pressed Pennies. It is an exceptional story that examines love and family life in all of its complexities.

B2M presents our exclusive interview with Steven Manchester. 

Welcome back to Books2Mention Magazine.

B2M: What was the inspiration for Pressed Pennies?

STEVEN: Pressed Pennies is one of my favorite works because it’s so personal to me. And if I didn’t admit to that, then I’m fairly certain that my wife, Paula, would have my neck. At its foundation, Pressed Pennies is autobiographical. After both suffering failed marriages, Paula and I were blessed with a second chance at love. Just like Rick and Abby, we met at the party of a mutual friend. And from the moment we laid eyes on each other, the adventure had begun. Although Rick and Abby’s details are completely fictional, the feelings are the same. As a writer, my greatest goal is always to make my readers feel. By placing myself within the scene, I have a much better shot at successfully pulling that off.

B2M: How did you come up with the title?

STEVEN: At one point in the book (early on in the childhood phase), the two protagonists head down to the railroad tracks; they each place a penny on the tracks and make a wish—before the train thunders past, locking their hopes for all eternity. After writing that scene, the title Pressed Pennies seemed like a no-brainer for me. 

B2M: What is the central message of the story? 

STEVEN: Whether young or old, love can happen at any time. Pressed Pennies is an intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love in its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings.

B2M: Is there a particular story that you hope to write about in the future?

STEVEN: It just so happens that I’m working on that story now. I served in the first Gulf War, which was a very brutal experience. For years, I’ve watched our military men and women head out to Iraq and Afghanistan only to return home with some deep but invisible scars. I’ve always wanted to write a novel about war that the average person could relate to; just because a soldier, sailor, airman or marine returns home in one piece—it doesn’t mean the war is over. In fact, for many, the struggles have only just begun.

B2M: Please tell us more about the story you are currently working on.

STEVEN: Gooseberry Island: They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?

B2M: What do you enjoy the most about writing?

STEVEN: Years ago, I heard that “a good writer makes readers think, while a great writer makes readers feel.” I have always strived to achieve the latter. Unless a book is going to move someone, it’s not worth the time for me to write it…and that is the foundation on which I write. If certain topics don’t fit this criteria, then they don’t make the cut.

Also, I write for many different reasons, but the most important reason is that I can prove to my children that dreams do come true (though we never really get what we wish for; we get what we work for). It’s an amazing thing to be able to pour your heart and soul into something that touches the hearts and souls of others.

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience.

B2M: When you are penning a novel do you already have the ending in mind, or do you decide the ending as you write?

STEVEN: I usually have the ending in mind, but that certainly doesn’t mean that things can’t change the outcome along the way. Over the past few years, my mentor, Lou Aronica, has schooled me on the efficient art of story boarding. By creating a solid outline, a novel’s ending usually lands pretty close to what I’d planned in the beginning.

B2M: What has been the most rewarding for you in terms of bringing your stories to life?

STEVEN: Without question, sharing the journey with my children.

B2M: What was the last book you read?

STEVEN: Chestnut Sunrise by Buck Young (unpublished to date)

B2M: What wise words would you like to offer to aspiring writers?

STEVEN: Now that I have nearly two decades of writing and getting published under my belt, I enjoy trying to help new writers break in. My advice is always the same: 

Be true to yourself, always.
Write constantly.
Keep the faith!!!
And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness. 

B2M: What was the last book you read?

STEVEN: Chestnut Sunrise by Buck Young (unpublished to date)

B2M: Steven, thanks for interviewing with us once again. We encourage you to continue writing great stories with intriguing characters and interesting plots. Please keep Books2Mention informed about your future endeavours.

Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine

To learn more about Steven Manchester, please visit his website at www.Steven Manchester.com.

Books by Steven Manchester include:
 

 
  
  
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