October 27, 2016

Blanche Manos - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and Interview

I am going to be hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the next two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying a cozy mystery I encourage you to do so. The cozy mystery industry as a whole is in danger of being lost as the publishers are ending a number of series. Please note that not all series I will be sharing are in danger. There are many that will be continuting on as normal. I just wanted to do my part to make everyone aware of this genre as a whole. 

Today I will be showcasing Blanche Manos

About this author:
It may seem strange to some that a mild-mannered kindergarten teacher would become an author of cozy mysteries, but it’s actually a good fit. A teacher is a word crafter. So is a writer. A teacher wants the efforts of her labor to have a positive outcome. So does a writer. A teacher prays and hopes that each student has a positive take-away from her work. A writer hopes that for her readers too. A teacher would like each of the children in her classroom to achieve a satisfying life. Although she can’t control that, as a writer she can control the way her books conclude!
A native Oklahoman, Blanche has a deep familiarity with the Sooner state, so it’s the logical setting for her books. Her Cherokee heritage and feeling at home in the rural settings of Oklahoma are vividly woven into the background fabric of her books. She has two cozy mystery series: the Darcy & Flora mother-daughter sleuthing team, and the Nettie “Ned” McNeil series.

Where to follow this author:

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
My mother inspired me to write. She read a lot, to herself and aloud, to us children. She encouraged me to write and keep at it.

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
When I hit a writer's block, I just keep writing. This may seem odd, but if I let the writer's block get the upper hand, I would never write again. However, if I keep pegging away, the characters sort of take over and tell the story themselves.

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
I don't have a scheduled time to write although I've found I get my best ideas early of a morning. Sometimes I write in snatches; sometimes, I sit down at the computer and lose myself for several hours.

4. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Ideas come to me from more than one direction. People are interesting and each person has a story. I sometimes hear something that I can change a bit, tweak, and use in a story. News stories, history, old family tales--all these are fertile soil in which the seed of a story can grow.

5. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
When I'm not writing, I enjoy painting, reading, visiting with friends, and spending time with my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order.

6. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
The one piece of advice I would give writers is do not give up! You are not defeated, ever, unless you give up.

7. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers?
My favorite mystery writer was Mary Roberts Rinehart. She was from an earlier era but her mysteries can still give me a good case of the shivers. If you haven't read The Red Lamp by Miss Rinehart, I'd recommend you do. However, don't read it during a thunderstorm with lightning flashing, thunder rolling, and trees bending double! I speak from experience.

8. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?
If I could visit any place in the world, it would be Ireland. I was privileged to spend a week there a couple of years ago and just scratched the surface of places I wanted to see. It is a magical, beautiful place that I saw once but it stayed in my heart forever.

9. Five interesting facts about yourself
Five interesting facts about myself? That's a hard one. I love nature and history. It is hard for me to let go of places and people I love. Even though I am a retired kindergarten teacher, I like to read and write cozy mysteries. Some people think that's strange; I don't. Owls are my favorite bird. I try to incorporate my Christian beliefs into my writing.

What did I learn about this author:
She gets her ideas from many different places then tweaks them to fit her story. She enjoys painting in her spare time. Owls are her favorite bird and she would love to travel back to Ireland again. What did you learn about her. 

Note from the author:
Three years ago, I began a readers' and writers' critique group in my home. We meet twice a month. We talk about what we like and dislike in a story. We read and listen to each other's writings and our suggestions are given in a gentle manner. Three of the women in the group are published writers; some are artists. One is a voracious reader and her insight into a good book or a not so good book is greatly appreciated.

So far, I've written five books. The Cemetery Club, Grave Shift, Best Left Buried and my newest book, Grave Heritage follow the lives of a mother and daughter sleuth team, Darcy Campbell and Flora Tucker, who just happen to get caught up in mysterious happenings in their home town.

The fifth book, Moonlight Can Be Murder features a past middle-age protagonist, Ned McNeil who inherits a Victorian house and a murder mystery that goes along with it.

Stay tuned for the next author!

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