Red was perched on a couch enjoying a cappuccino and a good book, when Mickey jumped up and interjected himself between her and the pages. Conny Manero was not far behind. Red invited the M3 Coffee House founding author to have a seat and discuss her novel Voice of an Angel and terrific balancing skills. Mickey curled up to watch the show.
M3: Conny, you and I go way back, but the M3 Readers who have not already bought one of your books may not know you. Give them the press agent introduction. We can introduce Mickey a little later.
CM: I am Conny Manero: Freelance writer and author of three novels and two children’s books. Animal lover with a particular fondness of cats. Volunteer for Toronto Cat Rescue organization.
M3: You have have some amazing help along the way. Is there anyone you want to thank?
CM: Oh, quite a few. Those I pitched the story to who said You may have something there, or responded with That’s different. I should also thank the ladies who were my amateur editors, Dawna and Anastasia, who edited Voice of an Angel. They did a fabulous job. And I have to thank my son, Dieter, of course, who did the layout and designed the cover of Voice of an Angel.
M3: You have written a lot. Where did you board this crazy train?
CM: I was at work, typing a manual for soldiers how to dissemble, assemble and repair a war tank when suddenly I got this idea for story. The opening line just came to me. I quickly wrote it down, followed by another sentence and another. By the end of the day, I had the first chapter. From there on, I wrote nearly every day. Sometimes my inspiration ran like a train, other times I couldn’t string two sentences together. It was fun though, spending time with my imaginary friends.
M3: They are always such good company, especially when there are cracks in the tracks. Do you have any bones to pick with the brick and mortars?
CM: Are you familiar with the statement “No unsolicited manuscripts”? Publishers insist that authors have a literary agent before they look at their work. Literary agents prefer authors who have been published. It’s a vicious circle. The book industry should stop looking down on self-published authors, allow their books in bookstores and not make it so difficult for self-published authors to have book signings.
M3: I need to refer you to a friend of mine. Remind me later. You really do believe the old school thinks self-pubbed material is inferior.
CM: Most definitely, and it’s their loss. As an avid reader I’ve come across a lot of books which aren’t worth their shelf space. If publishers took the time and effort to take a closer look at self-published books, they might find some treasures.
M3: The digital slush pile. Have you managed a coup against the industry bias?
CM: Unfortunately not, but then, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Even J.K. Rowling had her work rejected by quite a few publishers. Just imagine how they are kicking themselves right now.
M3: Karma. You have already mentioned agents, and we all know what they do. How important is your own marketing effort toward the sale of your books?
CM: Obviously marketing is important, but with a limited budget and no car, getting around and buying books to take to book signings is a challenge. If I could afford the services of a publicist or had plenty of money for advertising, I’m sure I would sell a lot more books.
M3: We have to see if we can drum up some traffic for your books. There are a lot of authors who frequent M3. How do you feel about your colleagues?
CM: I think there’s a lot of unrecognized talent among us.
M3: (Laughs) Maybe, I need a bigger spotlight! You have already given some good pointers, but do you have any advice specifically for the aspiring authors?
CM: Same every other author advises…write about what you know. Tell your story, don’t write it. Some people are great story tellers, but the moment they put pen to paper (or their fingers on the keyboard) their style of telling changes. In addition, feel free to keep the story to yourself. While asking for feedback can be encouraging, feedback can also be a killer. Ten people can say the story is great, but it only takes one who says something negative to make us lose confidence.
M3: Very true. Let’s talk about work. Should the M3 Readers care about your day job?
CM: Writers have to eat too, so unless you want me to starve you should most definitely care if I have a day job. In addition, I’m at my most creative when I’m working. Being home all day can be mind-numbing, but out there, surrounded by people, traffic and nature I get inspired.
M3: With all that job work plus the blog work plus the writing work, do you ever break up the monotony with a haitus?
CM: Of course. All work and no play makes for a dull day. Or as they say in the word of archery… A bow that is held tense all the time loses its strength. I found that after writing for a while, my brain goes to mush. That’s when I take a break and either play same games or do some work around the house. While I’m not thinking of the story, that’s when inspiration comes. Especially when I’m surrounded by water, which is why I’m contemplating moving to Hawaii.
M3: Wonderful place to want to go! Between working and writing, you stay busy. How do you find the time?
CM: Delegating. My son did the dishes on more than one occasion while I was busy writing. Other than that, I wrote during lunchtimes and worked on ideas while work was slow. And of course, I wrote evenings and weekends. Time was never really an issue for me, inspiration was.
M3: So, what are you inspired to work on at the moment?
CM: Later this year, I hope to release my latest book Lily. Right now, I’m working on something that will raise eyebrows. Something that will address a few injustices, and I’m not going to pull any punches.
M3: Intriguing. While you are being a tease, tell me a secret you do not want me to share.
CM: The conclusion of Voice of an Angel. Throughout the story the suspense builds and along the way different things come to light. Two ordinary girls turn out not to be so ordinary at all. What I’ve tried to accomplish is… don’t take people at face value, some of them are rather interesting. Some know it, some don’t, but sooner or later whatever they’re hiding gets revealed.
M3: I love the mystique. What makes Voice of an Angel so close to your heart?
CM: Voice of an Angel portrays two strong women. They don’t know their own strength, but life teaches them a thing or two. The don’t need a man to take care of them, they can take care of themselves. The story also shows that a negative can be turned into a positive. Life’s road is not straight, it’s full of twists and turns, but leads us to where we are supposed to be, eventually.
M3: That is the truth. What makes this book different from the rest in its genre?
CM: Voice of an Angel is more real than some of the other books I’ve read. It seems most authors are out of touch with reality. Voice of an Angel is 100% real, yet at the same time it’s uplifting. It’s something most people can identify with.
M3: Play the role of the ad campaign manager: Sell the book to the M3 Readers in 15 words or less.
CM: Prepare to curl up and be entertained. To get a taste of the story, please visit.
Faithful M3 Readers,
Please take a few moments to check out Conny Manero and Voice of an Angel. Visit Conny’s blog to learn more about the author and her books. Follow her on Twitter for the latest on Voice of an Angel, Waiting for Silverbird, Kitten Diaries and her upcoming releases. Links to her other blogs are in the Green Room.
Thank you for your unwavering support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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