New Author Flash Portrait – Edmond Manning

Edmond is our third new author being featured in this very short series. He and I met at GRL when I drank him under the table at 1.00 A.M. early one morning, although his version is slightly different. 😆

 “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Drinking me under the table? Oh, please.That sounds like you’re challenging me to a ‘drink off.’ I’ll see you in Atlanta and then we’ll see what’s up. 😆

That Icelandic liqueur sure has legs . 🙂

Please ask Edmond any question to which you have been dying to know the answer. As you probably know by now I don’t ask questions for author profiles, you do.

Here’s his story:

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When Dreamspinner published King Perry, they tasked me with writing my author biography.

I was thrilled. Tickled, even. I had been eagerly waiting for the professional need to write this. But as I sat before the soft glowing screen staring at my fingers hovering above the keyboard, ready to sum my relationship with writing in 200 words or less (and in third person), I found myself lost.

I experimented with different approaches.

I tried the historical approach:

Edmond Manning has been writing for many years, but his first works of fiction were simply atrocious. Seriously. Should you have been unfortunate enough to encounter any of the over-exclamation-pointed drivel, you would not purchase his book you’re currently considering. Which you should. Purchase it, that is, because those over-exclamated days are long over!!

The out-and-out bragging approach:

Edmond spent years studying literary masterpieces and more recently attended the renown University of Iowa’s Writing Program. He spent years analyzing the craft from granular sentence construction to the loftiest thematic structures by European greats, all in service to realizing potent, melodic paragraphs designed to make you weep openly, laugh heartily, and then go purchase a silk handkerchief for the mere purpose of throwing it at his feet like a true Victorian homeboy.

Too pretentious.

Also, it lied.

“Years studying literary masterpieces” meant I spent my lonely teenage years reading every Charles Dickens book I could devour in my bedroom. I only attended a one-week summer seminar through the University of Iowa’s Writing Program, available to anyone with a checkbook, where I listened to estate lawyers sick of their profession argue about whether “good abs” was a character-defining trait.

I needed a different autobiography.

I wrote fiction for 20+ years and for most of that time, I never thought of myself as an author. I felt objective enough to realize my material was high-end mediocre, certainly not publishable. While I definitely wanted my writing to be amazing and even entertained fantasies of around-the-block queues for my book signings, I can’t say that I developed a serious plan to make any of that happen. (However, I did practice my fruity, author signature.)

I took a writing class here and there. Wrote 100 pages. Realized it was kinda crap. Repeated.

Through it all, I enjoyed myself. I liked finding unusual stories, mapping conversations, and creating unique approaches to characters. But I didn’t see myself as a writer, not really. Something was missing – the big passion.

In 2008, I wrote a short story about something not terribly important to me but important to a closeted 20-year-old gay man I had met online. He was sad and alone, terrified his only option was to remain closeted. We talked quite a bit. I remembered those days well and decided he needed inspiration, so I wrote him a story, a story of him in love and happy and I published it on a free website. I decided to try a few literary tricks, fuck with the point of view, throw in some masculine archetypes, some Joseph Campbell shit, because why the fuck not? Who cared? It was just a writing exercise for a new friend.

Because I wasn’t writing SERIOUS FICTION and had dropped all expectations (i.e. literary pretensions), a curious thing happened. The story flowed through me, relaxed and intentional. Decades of sweeping out mediocre sentences paid off, transforming my writing with surprising grace into a Cinderella story, a lyrical, ball-gown construction resulting in Beautiful Sentences. I had written Beautiful Sentences. And I really, really liked what I wrote.

So I wrote a little more and discovered something wonderful at the ball:  passion.

It turns out that all those years I spent trying to write literature, I should have been writing passionate romance.

I have tried to describe the 2008 writing phenomenon to friends as one of those romantic comedies where the idiot protagonist suddenly realizes he’s been in love with his best friend and so he races to break up her wedding before she can utter the words, “I do.” I’m not sure I could run to the church without ending up wheezing and huffing, hunched over, but still, the metaphor fits.

I love writing fiction.

I feel lucky to be in love with my best friend, and a little foolish when I consider how long it took me to arrive here, but still, happy and dazed. This is what I submitted to Dreamspinner about myself as an author.

Edmond Manning has always been fascinated by fiction: how ordinary words could be sculpted into heartfelt emotions, how heartfelt emotions could leave an imprint inside you stronger than the real world. Mr. Manning never felt worthy to tread down these hallowed halls as an author until recently, when he accidentally stumbled into his own writer’s voice that fit like his favorite skull-print, fuzzy jammies. He finally realized that he didn’t have to write like Dickens or Maupin, two author heroes, and that perhaps his own insignificant writing was perfect just because it was his true voice, so he looked around the scrappy word kingdom that he created for himself and shouted, “I’M HOME!” He is now a writer.

The Lost and Founds Series

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

8 comments

  • Awwww, thank you Eden! What a lovely thing for you to say. I’m glad Sheriff Me left a lasting impression. Perhaps you have a guilty conscience for something illegal in your past? Or maybe just a sheriff fetish. Hmmmmm.

    I have never really considered myself to be the life of the party, so, wow. Maybe I should go to more parties instead of staying at home!

    Reply
  • You made quite an impression on me at GRL, Edmond, with your open friendliness and wry wit. You in sheriff mode just has to be witnessed first hand. I think that no matter what good time is happening, the party doesn’t really start until you arrive.

    And I like the bragging bio too!

    Reply
  • Thanks for reading King Perry, Brenda! I’ve finished the next book in the sequel and am prepping it for publication in 2013.

    And thank you – I’m delighted to find my passion, too!

    Reply
  • What a good interview this is Edmond. It’s nice to get to know you a little better and I’m so happy for you that you found your passion in writing. It’s even nicer that you’re a very good writer as well. I thoroughly enjoyed King Perry and am looking forward to reading more of your wonderful stories.

    Reply
  • Shelagh, a Kleenex will TOTALLY be appropriate. Even a dishtowel works. I’m very flexible. I like the bragging bio, too, full of um…untruths as it may be.

    And thanks, Sara, for being impressed by my journey of trying to articulate who I am as a writer. That makes the gloomy Sunday I’m experiencing over here *me* a little more cheerful.

    Chris, it’s always a pleasure to meet your cheerful wave! We have to reschedule our fire chat one night in December.

    Edmond

    Reply
  • I have to say, I liked your ‘bragging’ bio. Sadly, I don’t think there’s anywhere around here that sells silk handkerchiefs – will a kleenex do?

    Reply
  • I know I shouldn’t “grade” a post like this, but I really liked this presentation/portrait. It brightened an otherwise pretty gloomy Sunday afternoon, the winter is rapidly melting away outside, and this made me smile. I now I’ll have to check out that book too.

    (I don’t even know what it is about … I know, I know … I’m on my way now.)

    Reply

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