Monday, June 26, 2017

Follow Your Passion by Mary Manners

I love to write. Penning stories is definitely my passion. I have been writing since before I knew how to form letters (I would scribble on paper and then share my story aloud). To me, writing is akin to breathing; I must engage in it to have life.

I am a pantster by nature, but I do begin each story by creating a notebook that contains basic story ideas and elements, as well as character traits and descriptions. This is especially necessary when constructing stories that are part of a series. My favorite part of writing is when a character does something completely unexpected. It’s so much fun to see where a story takes me.

One week, during middle school, I had a particularly rough time. I remember asking my dad why certain things happen. To answer, he brought home a poster of a dog in a washtub with the headline, “Is today really necessary?” He told me to use life experiences in my writing, and it worked. Now, when I write, I think of him and understand the purpose in certain life events.

I love coffee and scented candles. I never listen to music while I am creating, but scents really put me in the mood to write. If I am working on a Christmas novella in the summer, a pine-scented candle really helps to create an aura of the holiday season. My favorite writing days begin at about 4 am with a cup of black coffee and a veil of pre-sunrise darkness. It’s cool to create an entire alternate universe and watch it come alive while the world is still nestled soundly in bed.

To all new writers, my advice is to stick with it. Successful writers carry on even when it’s not fun, or they don’t feel like writing. You cannot wait for your muse to visit. You must go out and chase that muse, tackle him and drag him home. I spent many years running marathons. This training has helped me tremendously to stay true to my path as a writer, especially when the going gets tough. Never, ever give up.


Lila Brooks believes in fairytale endings for everyone but herself. She coaxes her dream of opening a wedding shop into reality when she commissions Morgan Holt to transform a run-down Victorian house into an all-inclusive bridal boutique, Diamond Knot Dreams. Clover Cove’s residents have whispered that the house is filled with spirits, but superstitions have no place in Lila's life.

Morgan Holt spent the better part of his youth transplanted from one foster home to another. Separated from his older brother, Gunnar, at an early age, they’re reunited shortly after Morgan’s arrival to Clover Cove. But the last thing Morgan wants is to trust his heart again to a family—or a woman as beautiful as Lila Brooks. He has plans to finish work on the Victorian and then ride off into the sunset, a move he’s perfected over the years.

Soon Lila and Morgan have a chance at their own Happily Ever After, but will events from the past destroy their future?

Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons, a daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.

A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning. While growing up in Chicago, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, hot dog vendor, grocery store cashier, lifeguard, swim instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that bring humor and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.

Connect with Mary at her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.