Author Spotlight — Paul Mannering — Interview

How does a typical book get written in your world – what do you start with?
Usually a book starts with a sudden, ‘What if…?” thought. Then the idea quickly escalates – changes, immediate cliches and plot holes present themselves and I’m like “Hmmm… what if ….?”

How would you compare the protagonists of your books with yourself? Who’s Paul more like?
All my protagonists have a little of me in them. But they are also a big mix of other people. My dad has always been a big influence on my characters – he’s an academic, scientist and former University lecturer. There is nothing he doesn’t know about – and has a life time of practical experience in all sorts of things.

How would you typically choose the names of your characters?
Normally they tell me their names. The one exception was the Courier aka Bad Dog in Tankbread. He never told me his name and it became part of the series.

What’s that one Classic work that you wish had been written by you?
One…?
Uhm…. I guess it depends on your definition of classic. I have some favourite books which aren’t classics. Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams would probably be the classic I wish I had written. Other than that, almost every book I read and enjoy.

How would you deal with reviews?
Reviews tend to fall along a scale. At the low end is your standard trolls who just rant about how your book was garbage. At the the other end is the people who just say they love it.
In the middle you have the people who enjoy the book and give it a constructive review. We seem to be wired for picking out negative comments in a stream of positives. So the best thing is to move past the negative – find constructive advice in the reviews and remember that not everyone enjoys what you write.

What’s your favourite writing location?
I have a table in our living room where my computer is. So I can write and ask my wife questions during Shortland Street (she doubles as a muse) and it’s warmer than being banished to the far end of the house, where there are no cats and no one to get instant feedback on paragraphs.

What awesome books and projects are you working in at the moment?
Oh wow… so many.
Book 4 of the Tankbread series
The follow up books to ‘Engines of Empathy’. Book 2 is ‘Pisces of Fate’ and tells the story of Ascott Pudding’s adventures in the Aardvark Archipelago where he has gone to look at the fish. I’m writing the third book now. All going well Pisces of Fate will be published by Paper Road Press in 2015.

I’ve just finished the edits on an anthology of post-apocalypse stories about unlikely survivors of the end of the world, it’s called Fat Zombie and comes out in 2015 from Permuted Press.
I’m working on finishing the first book in a new end of the world series, “Dead! Dead! Dead!” which will also be published by Permuted Press in 2015.

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