What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Read! Seriously, I’ve been hooked on books since I was a kid, starting out with Hardy Boys adventures. I read about a book each week, unless it’s one of Stephen King’s gigantic tomes that go beyond 700 pages. That takes me a bit more time.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself? Wow, that’s a great question. I’d probably encourage my younger self to write more and see where those stories take me. That could have led to a different educational path and even more adventures for me and my characters.
For what are you grateful? My family, first and foremost. I’ve been married for over thirty years to my sweetheart and we’ve raised two remarkable young men together. My working life has led me to several unusual careers, which in turn has provided many great stories and experiences. That includes the chance to teach at the local college, which I’m really enjoying.
At what age were you the happiest? What triggered such joy? Probably in my early thirties. That’s when the kids came into the picture. Seeing life through their eyes and their activities was precious. Recalling some of their youthful stunts always makes me smile.
What is the number one lie you tell yourself? How is that working out? That I’m a good cook. I don’t complain when it’s my turn in the kitchen. There are a few specialty dishes I make that always turn out well, but I’m a long way from being proficient in the culinary department. At least, I haven’t burned the place down yet!!
Now about you as an author…
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? As an avid reader, I quickly grew bored with the Hardy Boys and similar stories. Mysteries always appealed to me, but I could never get into the Agatha Christie books. In my early teens, I discovered John D. MacDonald, who created the Travis McGee series, along with a number of other novels. McGee was not your typical hero, but one I could identify with. From there it was Elmore Leonard with his crime stories. Then I shifted gears and discovered Stephen King, John Sandford, Joseph Wambaugh and so many others.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
I went to Catholic schools, both elementary and high school. (I’ll pause here for you to express your sympathies!) There was a nun in elementary school who taught English. One day the homework was to write a short story. Afterwards, she said, “You’re pretty good at making things up.” I hoped that was in reference to the assignment. There was also a creative writing professor in college who encouraged me to submit short stories to a literary magazine. There was a young lady in college who knew I loved to read. She gave me a book that she enjoyed. Thirty pages in, I figured out who done it and why, but I kept reading to see if I was right. Turned out I was. When I gave it back to her and told her that, she scowled and said “if you’re so damned smart, why don’t you write one?” I had to take her up on that challenge. (Wonder whatever happened to her…)
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? Writing dialogue between my characters is absolutely my favorite thing to do. It gives me the opportunity to convey all the emotions that the scene may warrant, whether it’s serious, tense, humourous or sarcastic. Getting the dialogue right is vital to the story. It’s got to be true for the character. Not everyone speaks in complete sentences. When it comes together, it’s a kick to sit back, reread that passage and think to myself ‘damn, that was good!’ My least favorite aspect is marketing. I know it’s essential, but it takes me away from the actual writing of the stories.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? Editing. It’s a necessary evil, but it can be difficult, especially if you’re in the process of reading over the manuscript for the fifth or sixth time. I think it’s better to walk away from the story for a week or two, then come back with fresh eyes.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Music. There’s gotta be music. It’s essential to life. I cannot work in silence, it’s too distracting. I’m all over the board with music, (no rap, country or opera). Sometimes the music helps set the pace. If it’s an action scene, there is a good bet rock and roll is playing. For romance, I’ll dial up something smooth, like Sinatra, or Marvin Gaye.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? All of my stories take place in Michigan. The three Jamie Richmond novels are set in the Detroit area. “Stealing Haven” the short story that is part of “Once Upon a Summer” happens in South Haven, a resort area on the shore of Lake Michigan. I prefer to use locations that are real and familiar to me. Oftentimes a reader will recognize a landmark and can related to it in the story.
Jamie and her best friend Linda are ready for a relaxing vacation in South Haven, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Sunshine, sandy beaches, good friends, food and wine are on the menu: a long awaited reprieve from their daily lives in Motown.
Yet things rarely go as planned for Jamie. The curious redhead is surprised when she catches the eye of Randy, a handsome local man. Sparks fly and we’re not talking about a bonfire. At the same time, Jamie learns of a local home invasion that gets her reporter’s instincts churning. Could someone have the audacity to disrupt this peaceful haven?
Soon Jamie and Linda find themselves working with local authorities to stop the robberies and catch the bad guys. Because South Haven is paradise. And nobody should be stealing haven.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? Rule number one: Never stop writing. Rule number two: Listen to your publisher and editors. Take their suggestions into consideration. They are probably smarter than you are. Rule number three: Share your efforts and successes with others who are interested in writing. I don’t have any secrets about the work. Rule number four: See rule number one.
Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
My latest release is “Your Turn to Die” . This is the second book in the Jefferson Chene mystery series. One of the parts that worked so well in this book was the appearance of Jamie Richmond. Jamie is such a great character that it’s difficult to keep her out of the action. So while Chene is the protagonist in this novel, Jamie plays a major role in unraveling the mystery. And the interactions between her and Chene were very realistic. I can still hear them squabbling.
BLURB: It was supposed to be a friendly round of paintball. But blood, not paint, covers Kyle Morrissey’s body. Though admired by the public for his charity, the businessman was no choirboy. Could it be that more than one person wanted him dead?
Sergeant Jefferson Chene and his detective squad catch the case. With two new faces on the team, he finds himself in the unfamiliar role as mentor. He is also cautiously beginning a relationship with Simone Bettencourt, the beautiful woman he met while pursuing a serial murderer. Complicating the case are two retired gangsters, a fortune in jewels, and Detroit’s history of organized crime. But the squad must utilize every resource available to catch a killer.
EXCERPT: Here’s an excerpt from “Your Turn to Die”. Sergeant Jefferson Chene and the major case detectives are investigating the homicide of Kyle Morrissey, who was a successful businessman with operations in several suburban cities. On Monday Chene learned that Jamie Richmond had once interviewed Morrissey and had shared all her research material with him, in the hopes it would lead to the killer. Jamie lives with Malone, another police officer.
Early Thursday morning I decided to recruit some help. Someone who was comfortable with research, who was used to digging deeper, who had a fresh set of eyes and a different perspective. So I made the call.
“Malone.” His voice was thick with sleep.
“It’s Chene. I’ve got a few more questions for Jamie. Is she around?”
There was a deep chuckle. “Yes, but she’s not coherent. You have any idea how early it is?”
“Sun’s been up for a couple of hours.”
“She’ll call you.” The phone went silent.
I remembered now that Malone worked afternoons, finishing his shift around midnight. No wonder I woke him up.
It was an hour before Jamie called back.
“Sorry, Chene, but I’m adjusted to Malone’s schedule. Neither one of us is functioning before nine. And even then it requires massive doses of caffeine.”
“No problem. I wanted to thank you again for your notes on Morrissey.”
“I hope they were helpful.”
“Indeed. But that leads me to a question. Do you know how he put together the money to buy the Shores Madrid?”
Dead silence followed for so long I thought the connection broke. I was about to check and see if there was still a signal when Jamie cursed.
“I don’t know. But that’s something I should have looked into when researching him. Damn it! How did I miss it?”
“You’re not the only one. Everything I can find seems to look like he just appeared on the scene at a city council meeting, with a proposal to buy the property for the amount of taxes due. Somewhere along the way, the theater had been foreclosed and the city ended up with it. They must have carried the previous owner’s debt in the hopes that they’d be able to bring it back.”
“But that doesn’t explain where he got the money.” There was a flicker of excitement in her voice. “I never saw anything about investors, silent or otherwise. There was nothing on the corporate records at the time beyond his wife and a couple of key people in management. I looked!”
“So you have any ideas about the money?”
“None.” She paused, as if weighing the options. “But I can look into it. I still have a lot of contacts. I’ll pull court records, public information, talk to a few friends and see what I can learn. This is important, isn’t it?”
“It could be.” I hesitated, weighing my options. “I can’t ask you to do this, Jamie. I’ll put one of the detectives on it.”
There was another pause, followed by a loud, raucous laugh. “Bullshit, Chene. You called me hoping I’d jump in.”
“No, I called you to ask about the money, not to draw you into part of an active police investigation.” I managed to sound sincere.
“You’re full of shit, Chene. And I’ll let you know when I have some answers.” Jamie was still laughing as she ended the call.
How did you decide on your story plot? I start out with a basic idea of a conflict. Then it’s a matter of selecting the main characters, putting them into the situation and letting them go. Despite the efforts of the good nuns in school, I can’t work with an outline. It’s too restrictive.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? There is a favorite scene in each story I write. In the latest book, Chene is investigating a homicide. While interviewing one of the victim’s colleagues, she makes the sarcastic comment “your mother must be so proud.” Chene, who was orphaned at birth, shrugs and says “I don’t know. I never met her.” That added another dimension of tension between them that I was searching for.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? The Addams Family… we’re crazy as hell.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Painting while listening to music and drinking coffee.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself? Hell doesn’t last forever.
For what are you grateful? Living to see another day… and coffee, also music.
At what age were you the happiest? What triggered such joy? 23, now. What triggered it? What I once thought was, falling apart. Which brought a lot of past issues to the surface letting me work through those.
What is the number one lie you tell yourself? You need this cup of coffee, it’s healthy.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? As a kid I loathed to read. It was when I was a teenager that I was bored and complaining, when my sister got tired of it and threw a book at my face. L. J. Smith and Alyson Noel are the first authors I fell in love with and they inspired me to write.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? Least favorite thing about writing would be the migraines. I have issues stopping once I get started and I stare at the screen too long. Favorite? Telling the story that’s been trampling through my mind.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Writing must haves: Coffee, music, and access to the internet. All writers are best friends with Google.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? Common theme… goths and or alternative people, cussing, and a lot of sarcasm.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? I’m learning and accepting it now that I need to write what I want, not what everyone else wants me to.
Tell us about your latest release:
My latest release is Princess?... I Think Not, it’s about a goth girl who finds out she’s a princess and…she isn’t fond of the idea.
The Royal Family Just Got a Little Bigger….
My name’s Baily King and I’ve always considered myself different—liking dead roses, cemeteries, reading fully clothed in the bathtub, and howling at the moon whilst dancing naked under it. But, when my grandma, a woman I scarcely remember, comes for a visit, she opens her mouth and my weird world crashes down all over my combat-booted feet.
See, dear Gram is dying and wishes for me to accept my royal name. Turns out she finally left a small village south of Ireland—a village that her and her husband rule. Pfft. No pressure.
Bam, you’re a Princess. Wear your tiara and shut up.
“Will that be all?” The lady beams like they put a thousand sunshines into her coffee. Everyone turns chipper when they see such a pretty man then they turn bitter when said pretty person leaves. I know from experience.
“Dimitri,” I growl.
He smiles. “Yes, thank you.” Coming back over to me, he gives me a smug, beyond-sexy smile. Hell, I bet when this man sneezes, it’s still bloody attractive. “Baily?”
I cross my arms over my chest.
“Will you please let me—Dimitri, your friend—do something nice for you? Something friends are allowed to do, even in the South?”
I narrow my eyes, but when he just stands there, I give in. “Fine,” I grumble, holding my hand out.
He makes a circular motion with his finger, signaling for me to turn around. With a huff, I do. “Every now and then…” he rumbles in my ear, and I tense when gooseflesh rises on my skin. It’s eighty-degrees, I’m sweating like a pig, but in this moment, I don’t mind the body heat radiating off him. What is this sorcery? “You deserve something for yourself. I’ve only known you for a short time, and in that time, you’ve only thought of others. Promise me you’ll think of yourself upon occasion, too.”
“I make no such promise,” I grumble, turning back to face him. “But thank you.”
“Aww,” the girl behind the register says. “I wish my boyfriend did something like that for me.”
I smile at her, not in the mood to try to explain he’s not my boyfriend but bodyguard. Because my grandma’s kinda a queen of a village called MacAleese, which is on the south side of Ireland and I’m of the royal family. I just didn’t know about it until…bam, you’re a freakin’ princess, wear your tiara and shut up. Yeah, that might make someone ask a few questions or draw a little bit of unwanted attention.
How did you decide on your story plot? The idea came when a comedian was talking about going to visit a prince, and I thought how it’d work out I went to see a prince… things happened after that.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? Names? I wrote it when I was 17, so I can’t remember. But the location is because it’s where I’m from so, it’d the easiest.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? Yes. When they’re at the beach, every part from their beach trip. Because it reminds me of good times with family. And the two main characters are having their moments where you’re like “kiss already!”
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? Yep. Baily because she is me. Whoa, plot twist. :P when I wrote it, it wasn’t fully my intention to base her off me. But I believe I’ve grown into the character I wrote about when I was a teenager.
A. B. Robbins also known as Ashley Brooke Robbins, is a twenty-three-year-old who is obsessed with caffeine, music, animals, and everything most people find unnerving. She lives in North Carolina with four dogs, and a cat. She’s the author of Freaksville, Wishin’ on the Moon, and Princess? …I Think Not.
You can find her on her website: JustThatWeirdoNextDoor.com, or on pretty much any other social media site as ThatWeirdoNext or JustThatWeirdoNextDoor. You can probably find the links to those on her website. And you can catch her on YouTube doing tarot reading videos.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Besides watching a cheerful movie or reading a good book, I love walking along the beach of a morning or afternoon and watching the waves roll in. I feel very blessed to live so close to the water and to be able to enjoy that stunning scenery every day.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
There are probably many things I wish I realised much earlier in life, but the main two are:
For what are you most grateful?
I am most grateful for my parents. Without them—their unconditional love and never-ending support—I never would have been able to pursue my dreams.
Now about you as an author…
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
When I was in primary school, I hadn’t considered writing as a career until my year 7 teacher told my parents and I that he wanted me to send some of my work into an organisation that held an annual writing camp for young people. Apparently, he’d noticed the flair in my creative writing assignments and believed I had the potential to score a coveted spot at the camp. At the time, I had been writing stories for myself after school, using them as a form of escape and expression. I ended up being chosen to attend and got to meet and be mentored by various Australian authors with national and international acclaim. One of those authors was Narelle Oliver, the award-winning children’s book author-illustrator, and seeing her passion, recognising mine, helped inspire me to work toward writing as a career.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Since I hate working in silence, I must have the television on with some movie or TV show that I know by heart and the volume low enough that the verbal buzz doesn’t pull me from focus. Besides my beloved laptop, I also always surround myself with my initial notes, a baby name dictionary, several half-empty “idea” notebooks, my lovely to-do list notepad (which I can’t live without) and an assortment of coloured pens. Air-conditioning is also a must as sunny South-East Queensland is subtropical and not always friendly to electronics.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
Being an ex-swimmer and slightly obsessed with swimming pools, especially as I don’t currently have one at home, I have noticed that the majority of my books include swimming pools or water of some kind. I honestly didn’t plan from the beginning to have pools or water feature so frequently. It must have just been an odd subconscious addition.
Tell us about your latest release:
How did you decide on your story plot?
Let’s just say that the plot of my most recently released novel, Persuading Lucy, was inspired by true events. It’s dedicated to my wonderful best friend, with whom I shared an interesting life event that strengthened our friendship and forever changed our relationship with our closest male friend.
How did you choose the location for your story?
I normally choose local Australian locations that I love and frequently visit. The beauty of these places, whether as picturesque scenery, friendly small town or bustling city, always inspires me, prompting story ideas I just can’t ignore.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
In many of my stories, I tend to identify with my female protagonist’s friends, often their best friend. In Persuading Lucy, I connect the most with Lucy’s friends Maddy and Steph. I think I feel this way, because the protagonist is often guided by their close friends in a way that is somewhat similar to how I, as an author, guide the story and characters along. I also often like to create those characters, especially those who are best friends with the female protagonist, as a version of the kind of best friend I strive to be.
You can’t hide from destiny….
Callum Hawthorne is one of those lucky guys who seem to have it all. He’s a wealthy property tycoon, the CEO of his family’s company. He’s handsome, intelligent and charming and has a gorgeous new woman on his arm every week. But there’s one thing still missing – the love of his life, Lucy Spencer.
Fourteen long years ago, Lucy left for college and cut off all contact with Cal, leaving their mutual friend Madison as his only connection. That was until in his effort to save his deceased father’s beloved Gold Coast property, The Calypso, Cal contacts Insight Marketing, the best advertising firm in Melbourne, and discovers his Lucy among the team.
Successful marketing executive, Lucy Spencer had managed to avoid her ex-best friend for nearly half their lives. Fearful of trusting him, loving him and having her heart broken all over again, Lucy tries to keep her distance from him, but discovers that there is a fine line between love and hate, and maybe – just maybe – Cal could be her inescapable destiny.
Cal was flabbergasted. What had happened? What had he missed?
Then, distracted by her outburst, he made another mistake and his grip on Lucy’s wrist loosened slightly. As if sensing his lapse in control, she used the whole weight of her small frame to jerk herself free of his hold and with a triumphant sigh she began to back away.
“So, you orchestrated this together, did you? What, did you seduce Maddy too? Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
Cal’s gaze narrowed with concern. “What are you talking about, Luce?”
Worried that she’d run before he had a chance to explain, Cal reached out and took a step toward her. But, Lucy immediately backed farther away, taking two steps for his single stride.
“What did you give her to make her finally tell you where I was?”
Her fiery glare was enough to make his fingers ache to touch her, to soothe her. He hated seeing her in so much distress.
“Nothing.” His voice was calm, pacifying. “She didn’t tell me.”
Lucy frowned and her gaze dropped from his, confusion clearly clouding her expression.
“But I—” She shook her head with irritation and glanced back up at him. “But how did you know that I’d be here?”
Cal smiled as he remembered the moment of pure serendipity, the second he’d seen her gorgeous face on the team’s profile page on the Insight Marketing website. Executive Manager Lucy S., it had read. Cal had tried searching the internet for her before, but to no avail. There had always been too many Lucy Spencers and he’d been convinced that she must have altered her name. Yet, this time he’d found her, so simply found her, as though the universe had finally pointed her out to him.
“Fate,” he said confidently.
Tammy Mannersly is an Australian author based in Brisbane, Queensland. She loves writing romance, has a fondness for animals, is crazy about movies and enjoys a great Happily Ever After. Her passion for writing started from a very young age and led her to complete a Bachelor Degree in Creative Industries majoring in Creative Writing at Queensland University of Technology. Her novel, Persuading Lucy, is a semi-finalist in the 2018 Chatelaine Books Awards for Romantic Fiction, a Chanticleer International Book Awards competition.
You can find out more information about Tammy and her work on her website: www.tammymannersly.com or by visiting:
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Be by water. Kayaking, swimming, even walking along the edge of a lake or on the beach is the best way for me to relax and connect to a calmer version of myself.
For what are you grateful? I’m most grateful for my family, friends and four-legged animals. They enrich all aspects of my life. Gratitude is a funny thing, I’ve noticed, it seems like the more I express it, the more I have to be grateful for!
What is the number one lie you tell yourself? How is that working out? I’m a big believer in the “fake-it-til-you-make-it” theory. So, yeah I lie to myself all the time! Mostly though I lie to trick myself into taking a big step that scares me. I’ll let you know how it works out in a few years ;)
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? I love Kathleen Eagle. She’s brilliant and her prose always move me.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? Horses. I’m a hopeless horse lover and those four-legged beauties appear in nearly everything I write.
Tell us about your latest release:
Wild Horse, Wild Heart is my latest release.
“Elsie?” the dust settled, and she took a deep breath, gathering her anger around her. Carefully, trying not to let her limp show, she turned toward the now famous natural horsemanship trainer. The Lakota cowboy, Corbin Darkhorse, and the very first man she had ever loved, stood watching her. He was even more handsome than she remembered: dark hair, dark eyes, with long-fingered hands weathered by the sun and wind. She swallowed a mouthful of dirty words and wondered why he had to be here, on this day, as she picked up her mustang for the competition.
Forgiveness had never been one of Elsie Rosewood’s strengths, and Corbin could see she hadn’t changed over the last ten years. In fact, she looked as wild, angry and stubborn as the mustang pacing in the corral behind her. His mind filled abruptly with the old image of Elsie’s face bloodied, as a previous wild horse threw her to the ground and trampled her limp body. Ten years was a long time to run, and Corbin knew if he ever wanted to have peace, and the trust of the only woman he’d ever loved, then he would have to prove how much he had changed.
The only thing standing in the way of a once- in-a-lifetime love is a Mustang Training Competition, $100,000, and a past neither forgotten nor forgiven.
The wild horse reared and then lunged toward Elsie. She stepped back just as the mustang crashed into the steel stock panels. A cloud of dust enveloped her and the horse; for several long moments, they were alone in a world of golden haze.
The mustang stood perfectly still, breathing hard. She could see fear and anger in his eyes; she felt her own heart beating with similar anguish. Very slowly, she reached out her hand, hoping the horse would sniff her damp fingers.
“You always draw the crazy ones,” she heard from behind her. The golden moment disappeared as the dust settled and the noise of the stockyard rushed to flood her ears. The mustang spun away from Elsie and she pulled her hand back.
She didn’t want to turn and see the man standing behind her. At the sound of his voice, she was again seventeen, and falling in love for the first time.
A trickle of sweat made its way down her back and she forced her fisted hands to open at her sides.
Finally, she did turn, but only after straightening her shoulders and smoothing her face of any emotion. Corbin Darkhorse stood taller and broader than she remembered. There was a smug smile on his expressive lips. “You look good, Elsie,” Corbin said. “You’re training horses again?” He stared at her with his dark eyes and that slow, suggestive smile she remembered all too well. For a long moment, Elsie looked into his eyes, then her mind switched on and she jerked away, swallowing a mouthful of dirty words.
How did you decide on your story plot? In part the plot is informed by own experiences with love. I feel like forgiveness (which is a recurring theme in Wild Horse, Wild Heart) is a very valuable tool to master for success in relationships. Now, I’m not talking about forgiving people and then letting them treat us badly again and again, instead I’m referring to the ability to forgive the mistakes that those who love us will inevitably make. I know that I can be proud, hard-headed and very stubborn and so the more I learn to forgive those around me, the more my relationships (both romantic and otherwise) grow and develop. Of course I'm human and so I fail in this department all the time!!
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? My favorite scene is probably the one where Elsie and Corbin and are riding and looking for her escaped wild mustang. There’s a so much history between these two characters, and yet ten years have elapsed, and so they have to re-learn each other. There’s also so much hurt and anger and guilt and I wanted to laugh and also cry as I wrote this scene. They’re out in the beautiful Montana mountains, riding Corbin’s dark gelding and the chemistry is so intense between them….I found myself biting my nails at times! I just kept wanted to tell them to stop blaming each other and makeout!! They do eventually give in to my advice but you'll have to read the book to get to the juicy parts!
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? I love Elsie, she’s the heroine in Wild Horse, Wild Heart. Her stubborn nature, drive to succeed and passion for horses remind me of me! I, like her, was in a terrible accident when I was 19 years old and was in a wheelchair for a while and had to have several surgeries. I can remember the fear that I wouldn’t be able to ride horses again or live the life of my dreams. I admire her strength and desire to fight for what she wants. Actually, I wish that I had a bit more of her bravery and fire, she’s an incredibly passionate person!