Friday, August 2, 2013

10 Questions with SciFi Writer Thomas Manning (@thomasraymann)

This Author Spotlight features debut novelist
and science fiction writer

Thomas R. Manning

author of

Thomas R. Manning is an aspiring author from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a BFA degree in Musical Theatre and currently works as a Litigation Support Specialist at a law firm in the city. He’s a husband to a wonderful wife and a father to two amazing children. All Tom’s life he’s been fascinated with creativity and imagination, and hopes to bring his own to others with his first novel Energize (From the Logs of Daniel Quinn).

1.How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I got into writing because I love a good story. Whether  I’m watching TV, reading a book, or playing video games, I always get the most engaged when there’s a good story behind it. I love the plot twists, the character development, the revelations, etc.

I decided to write because I found that I have stories to tell. For years I’ve been building mental storyboards, characters, and scenes. Sometimes during the day my brain is literally on autopilot, brainstorming new ideas. So one day a few years ago I told myself that with all of these ideas, why not get into writing and see if I can create an engaging novel? It took a long time to finally decide on a story and character that I thought would be good enough to self-publish.

2.What do you like best (or least) about writing?

Seeing a story or even a character take shape and evolve throughout the process is amazing, just like a work of art. That’s definitely one of my favorite aspects. A runner up would be creating book titles. It might sound odd but I really enjoy coming up with book titles to my stories!

It’s tough to think of a definitive aspect I dislike about writing, but I think while the final read through and edits are necessary, they’re also tough. By this point I’ve read through my book so many times I could probably create an audiobook by memory. I know how the story goes and what happens in every chapter, but I still have to go through it one more time to make sure I caught everything. Hell, even now I’m paranoid I missed something!

3.What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

After I come up with the character and the story, I tend to think of a good beginning, middle, and end. After that I write out an outline for myself to fill in the blanks. Once the story is set, I set a goal of 1,000 words a day, 7 days a week. It worked out really well for Energize and I look forward to trying to expand that goal for my second book!

4.Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

There are so many authors I enjoy, but three top the list. George R.R. Martin had me hooked with his Ice and Fire series. Jim Butcher is an author who solidified my love for reading with his Dresden Files series, and Kevin Hearne is also wonderful. His Iron Druid Chronicles are fantastic!

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

It should definitely be on the “outside”. Why’s it inside anyway? It’s such a nice day out!

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

I think it’s great, necessary at times, and overall a plus in my book! (See what I did there?)

7.What is your book Energize about and how did it come to fruition?

Energizeis about one man, Captain Daniel Quinn, who is a less-than-reputable mercenary. Inadvertently stumbling upon a secret onboard an enemy starship, he feels he can turn his luck around and gain riches from it. Little does he know it will get him into more trouble than he bargained for. Before you know it he’s running from people on the ground and in the stars, forced to explore a new, mysterious planet, and feuding with an assassin sent to watch over him.

Honestly, Energize was a culmination of a lot of ideas I had over the years. I created the Energize universe about three years ago when I first made an attempt to write science fiction. I ultimately abandoned that story and moved on to others. Eventually I found my way back to it, tuned it a bit, and migrated supporting characters from other story ideas I was working on. I think the final product turned out great!

8.What’s your current writing project?

My current project is the second book in the Daniel Quinn series. I’m just beginning to work on it now and should have it ready for a late fall release. After that I’m going to dive into an epic fantasy story I’ve been working on.

9.What book(s) are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Knightfall by Robert Jackson-Lawrence. I’m really enjoying it!

10.Who or what inspires your writing?

It’s tough to say. I like to think that I’ve been interested in storytelling all my life, from the moment I received my first action figures and gave them their own storylines. In college I would write song lyrics and plays, though none of them ever saw the light of day. A few years ago, about the time I read through a handful of Jim Butcher’s books, I started to seriously consider taking these story ideas floating around my head and putting them to paper. When I learned that self-publishing was starting to take off, I decided to give it a shot! Like the many great titles out there that I enjoy reading, I aspire to create rich and amazing stories filled with a great cast of characters. I’m excited to see where this path leads!

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

First I want to thank you for this opportunity! I’m so excited for the future of my writing career! Anyone interested in Energize (From the Logs of Daniel Quinn) can order it on Amazon Kindle. I’m also happy to announce that a print version will be coming soon, so look out for that!

My main website is where you can find information about me, my social network sites, and my books. There are also a couple short stories there that I had fun writing! Additionally you can venture to my blog at to read book reviews, personal opinions, and more!

That's great, Thomas. Thank you for sharing Energize with us. It has a great cover and the story sounds equally fascinating. Best of luck with the sequel and come back when it's ready.

Be sure to visit Thomas's website and blog at the links above, and grab your copy of Energize from Amazon at the link below: