Meet Novelist Megan Manning

Megan Manning is a new writer who has completed her first romance novel, an admirable feat. She’s exploring different sub-genres and having a ball while doing so.

Although Megan is a Northern girl at heart who was born and raised in Rochester, New Hampshire, she currently lives in Killeen, Texas with her husband, ever the true Army Infantry man. They have an adorable flip-flop eating puppy named Zeus. Megan holds an Associate’s in Business and is working on her Bachelor’s in Accounting, which will provide her with a portable job option conducive to the Army life she leads.

When she’s not writing or studying, Megan indulges in self manicures and pedicures. She loves to hike and do anything outdoors. Baking is one of her passions. She’s keen on trying new recipes, having recently found one for pumpernickel bread “that came out perfect.” French fries are her addiction, with Burger King’s at the top of her list followed by those at McD’s. She says she has such random food cravings, she’s often asked if she’s pregnant, to which she replies, “I’m not. I just love food.”

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Since Megan’s obviously a much better cook than I am, I asked her what virtual treat she’d like to offer. Here’s what she said.

Cheesecake is my all-time favorite dessert. Homemade cheesecake, maybe with a dash of strawberries on top. Homemade is best, though there is a risk of the cheesecake not setting up right, resulting in a cheesy gooey mess.

So, thanks to Megan, you get to indulge in homemade cheesecake smothered in strawberries. And since it’s cyber fare, it’s calorie free, so help yourself to a nice big slice, settle in, and prepare to learn more about this talented novelist.

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Megan Embarks on Her Journey

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•When did you first hear the call to write?

I was 9, going through puberty. It seemed natural to write down everything that was confusing to me. When I was 13 I started writing down my life story. Nothing super tragic, but someday someone might find it interesting. I don’t think I’ve stopped putting pen to paper since.

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•Your stories represent a wide range of sub-genres. What is it you like about each of them? Has one become your favorite?

No favorites yet. I love romance because it’s always so sweet and tender, no matter how it ends up. The sci/fi fantasy element is just fun, anything is possible if you can come up with a decent sounding explanation. The thriller/mystery type sub-genre adds more tension and depth to a story.

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Megan’s Milestones

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•One of the first milestones a writer experiences is reaching The End. You’ve done that. How did it feel? What did you learn during the creation of the story?

When I came to The End, it was an awesome feeling. I felt so accomplished. Until I realized what horrible writing it was! I learned that writing as much as you can, as fast as you can, without regard to grammatical rules, is not the best way to write a first draft. I learned that going back and editing what I’ve just written (even just for grammatical mistakes) is one of the best things I can do while writing a first draft.

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•You’ve written a number of other pieces as well. Please tell us about them.

I tried my hand at the short story market. Didn’t go well, every short story idea blossomed into a novel idea. I have a box of random pieces of paper covered in notes for half a dozen novels. I have old notebooks full of teen angst poems. Some of them make me cringe with embarrassment, others are actually pretty good.

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Megan’s Sources of Inspiration

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•What sparks your story ideas? A person? A place? A newspaper headline?

I have absolutely no idea. A snip of dialogue or an image of a person will just pop into my head. I’ll see part of a story, usually a piece of the middle or the climax, never the opening. Could be a muse, or God, or just how my brain works. I don’t know and I’m not bashing it. I’ll take the random inspiration!

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Megan’s Characters

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•What is it about a character that comes to you first? Name? Appearance? Traits?

When a new character pops in my head as an image, I see them doing something. Like a clip from a movie. I see what they look like, their current emotion, sometimes their job, depends on the clip. I instantly know something key about the character. Greatest fear, best quality, something that ends up being a major player in the story.

The image is usually a still and I have to fill in the before and after. It’s rather fun actually. I do find the images are a lot harder for me to describe properly. I see it crystal clear in my head and it doesn’t always come through the same way written.

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•How often do your characters hijack their stories and take them places you never dreamed of going?

Constantly! Whenever they do, it always makes the story better. The first time it happened to me, I had no clue what was going on. I reread what I had just typed and was shocked. My FMC’s best friend turned out to be a traitor, and I had no clue. But it tightened up the plot and overall made it better. Added a nice dash of tension for the reader, they knew she was a traitor way before the FMC.

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Megan’s Challenges and Solutions

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•Writers face many challenges. What are some of yours, and what do you do to overcome them?

Carpal tunnel, mild OCD and a regularly deploying husband.

Overcoming them: carpal tunnel means a wrist brace, less typing and surgery in the near future. With OCD there’s not much to do short-term. Takes time to make any lasting changes. Thankfully, I have no problems with typos or trying to make first drafts perfect. Deploying husband? I have no idea how I overcome that, but I do. We’re heading for deployment #3, they don’t get easier. You just make it through.

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Megan’s Journey Continues

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•What are you working on now?

Three main things: Finishing the edits/revisions on my novel Ivory, prep work for a comedic sci/fi with a dash of romance, and barely starting the first draft of a romance novel I’ve dubbed ‘Romance Novel.’ That one looks like it will have a crime twist. FMC gets kidnapped by chapter 2.

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Five Little Known Facts About Megan

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~ I’m super shy, but you’ll never know it because I’m now very outgoing when meeting new people. Took a long time to get to that point.

~ I do lawn work! Not very well, nor very willingly, but when it’s necessary, I’ll get down and dirty and fight in the war against weeds.

~ I would love to simply be a housewife. Not just because it would give me more time to write, but because I loves being able to take care of my husband and house without feeling rushed.

~ I love watching bridal shows. Guilty pleasure, as I’ve been married for almost 5 years and don’t foresee a second wedding in my future.

~ I play first person shooter video games. Like Call of Duty. Not often, nor well, but I actually enjoy playing them sometimes.

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Five Items Megan Has at Her Fingertips When She’s Writing

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~ Post-its (Post-its and I have been having a love affair for years now…shh don’t tell my husband!)

~ Water (Need to stay hydrated.)

~ Sharpies (Something to write on the post-its!)

~ Laptop or pen and paper (Very essential.)

~ Wrist brace (Prolongs the writing time!)

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Megan’s Question for You

What is one of your little known facts?

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Megan’s Drawing

Megan has generously offered to give away a multi-pack of colorful post-its! Including traditional squares, stars and hearts!

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Megan by midnight August 17 (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)

On August 18, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)

Congrats to Deb L. Mallory Bonogofsky, winner of the sticky notes.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

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Learn More About Megan

Visit her personal blog ~ Writing, Food and Life

Follow her on Twitter ~ rayelynnlee

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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23 Responses to Meet Novelist Megan Manning

  1. territiffany says:

    I enjoyed learning about Megan and want to tell her thank you for having a husband so willing to serve. I know it can’t be easy and I hope she has a huge amount of success with her writing endeavors:)
    Little known fact about me? I was once a dancer for our high school band.

  2. Brooke says:

    Awesome interview. Nice to meet you, Megan 🙂

    Little known fact about me? I also play first person shooters with my husband. Halo is my fave… I’m looking forward to the release of Reach next month.

  3. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Megan! It’s great to have you here at Romance Writers on the Journey. I enjoyed getting to know more about you and your writing journey.

    I smiled when I read that you like sticky notes. I’m a huge fan of them myself. They are an integral part of my plotting system. I use different sizes and colors to represent the various aspects of each scene in my story.

    A little known fact about me is that I didn’t know how to swim when I started high school. On the day we began our swimming unit in my physical education class, everyone stood at the wall and took off when the teacher blew her whistle–everyone but me.

    I spent the next few weeks feeling like a total dweeb as I learned how to float, dog paddle, and perform the basic strokes, while my friends were doing laps, jumping off the diving board, and watching me humiliate myself. I did learn to swim, thanks to my extremely patient teacher, but I’m still not a real fan of the sport.

  4. christicorbett says:

    A little known fact about me…you and I share a mutual love for Post-its! As I type this I have 22 (I counted) stickies around my desk, monitor, and wall. They are an indispensible writing tool.

    Thanks for the interview, and I hope I win the contest…for obvious reasons :).

    Christi Corbett
    http://christicorbett.wordpress.com

  5. A little known fact about me is my age 🙂

    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the joke. I love that you write in different sub-genres and find yourself comfortable in each.

    I have completed two mainstream novels with romantic elements. They are funny and one of my MCs is haunted by the ghost of her late Aunt Annie May.

    I admire so many of the writers who come here. Women who can juggle careers, children and still have time to write.

    Good luck on your journey to get published. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  6. Jillian Kent says:

    Hi Megan,
    My youngest daughter is a Meghan. My oldest suffers from severe OCD. You might enjoy checking out the obsessive-compulsive foundation website if you haven’t already.

    I love the idea of “prep work for a comedic sci/fi with a dash of romance.” Now that sounds fun.

    My little known fact? I just made salmon for the first time in my life last night. 🙂 It came out great and I was shocked! I am not known for my cooking skill. Kudos to you!

  7. T. Anne says:

    Megan, I share your desire to bake! But sadly my household has put itself on a low carb diet and now they’re no fun. FOr the upcoming birthday’s in the family I’ve decided to bake low carb cheesecakes. And if they’re not good we’ll never know because I plan on having lots of strawberry’s and blue berries on hand. 😉 nice to know you!!

  8. Alison says:

    Megan,
    What an interesting ife you seem to lead! I admire your bashing your way to ‘The End’ too – shws a great deal of dedication even if you do have to go back over it all again.
    Little-known fact about me? – I once set fire to my trainers, in a completely unscripted accident. Fortnately I wasn’t wearing them at teh time…

  9. Meg says:

    territiffany – Thank you! My husband loves what he does, and appreciates everyone who shows their support for the military. I was in my high school band, not as a dancer, I played the flute. That was fun to march around with.

    Brooke – I have never gotten the hang of Halo. I played it when it first came out and just gave up. Too much storyline for me I think. Nice to meet you too!

    Keli – We didn’t have swimming for gym class, I wish we had. I still don’t trust my swimming ability enough not to drown. 🙂

    christicorbett – Good luck with the drawing! I’ve had to fight the urge to open the post-its. I recent ran out of the fun shapes.

    ramblingsfromtheleft – lol! I won’t ask a lady’s age. 🙂 Thank you!

    Jillian Kent – I have checked out the website, tons of information available. The prep work is fun! I had no problem adding the comedic elements in the rough idea, the outline is another story. I think I’ll be able to add dashes of comedy in once I start writing it. Outlines can only be so funny.

    T. Anne –Nooooooooo! Low carb=evil! I’d starve. I love food too much. I do pay for it with extra time at the gym, but it’s worth it. Don’t know what I’ll do if I ever run out of time to go to the gym… How do you make a cheesecake low carb?

    Alison – LOL! Good thing you weren’t wearing them. Accident…hmmm. How does one accidentally set fire to ones shoes?

  10. That was great!! Thank you for sharing that link!

  11. Deb L Mallory Bonogofsky says:

    Ah, Megan- three of my favorite things in one post. Cheesecake, sticky notes and writing. I think I can face the day now. Thank you. A little known fact about me? My grandchildren haven’t figured out who the skinny girl with the baton is in the picture on my wall. She looks nothing like anyone they know.

  12. Meg says:

    Thanks for stopping by Cherrie! (She’s my husband’s Aunt – an awesome Aunt btw.)

    Deb – I’m glad to be of service! LOL – don’t tell them, they’ll probably be shocked and and not believe you. I remember not understanding how my grandparents were young once. I thought they had always looked the way they did. Innocence of children. 🙂

  13. I think reaching the end is a bittersweet experience. It is an awesome feeling. I gloated, as if standing over a vanquished foe. Yeah, I kicked your ass. But it didn’t take long before I was sad to say good bye to my friend of two years. Its like raising a kid then sending them off to college.

    Stephen Tremp

  14. Dorothea Lashua says:

    I am so very proud of you! Thank you for sharing. Sending tons of love and hugs.

  15. Helen Ginger says:

    Except for the Post-It notes, we keep pretty much the same things nearby. Instead, I keep a notepad where I write things To-Do, then joyfully mark them off as I do them, then add more.

    This was a fun post with great questions!

  16. Windie Mazock says:

    WTG Meg I am completely with you on the love affair with post-its I am right there with you!! So happy for you on your writing talk to you soon.

  17. Jenn says:

    Fun interview with one of my favorite people- who I never see enough of!

    Grats Megs!

    – Jenni

  18. Meg says:

    Thanks Jenni and Doss for stopping by. Family rocks. 🙂

    Post-its are awesome, Windie!

    Helen, I love a good to-do list, I just always end up obsessing over not being able to check everything off.

    Stephen, I wouldn’t know about sending a kid off to college, but I’m sure it’s a bottle of mixed emotions. Fear for the child yet excitement at seeing them finally go!

    Thank you everyone for such great comments!

  19. Hi Meg–how fun to learn more about you through one of Keli’s great interviews 🙂 Congratulations on finishing your first novel. What a great feeling, right?

    I never used post-it notes for my writing before the last story I wrote. But in my plotting, I starting putting down plot points on each sticky note, then added more and more for each event of the story. Pretty soon, I’d marked up dozens to help plot out my story. I love them now!

  20. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Megan and her writing journey.

    I’ve held the drawing for the selection of sticky notes she generously donated as a prize, and the winner is Deb L. Mallory Bonogofsky.

    Congratulations, Deb! I’ll be in touch.

  21. Deb L Mallory Bonogofsky says:

    Oh! Thank you,thank you, thank you!

  22. Meg says:

    Congratulations Deb!

    Cindy – Post-its truly an awesome tool. 😀

    Thank you everyone!

    And Keli, thank you for interviewing me!

  23. Megan Manning says:

    Hello! My name is also Megan Manning. I am currently writing a book even though I am only 14. Do you have any advice for choosing publishers or flat out writing?

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