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Interview: Steven Manchester, Author of Twelve Months

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Steven Manchester has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. He is the author of Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. He currently lives in Massachusetts, and when not promoting his work or writing he enjoys spending time with his family. Twelve Months is a novel about a man who thinks he has a comfortable lifetime ahead of him, then has to decide how to live when he finds he hasn’t.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The most difficult part of writing Twelve Months was finding the time. I fell in love right away with the characters and the story that they had to tell. But the kids and wife come first, as do the responsibilities I have to them. When most people were sleeping, I was pounding away at the keyboard.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I served in Operation Desert Storm and it was a brutal experience. I promised myself that if I made it home alive, I would pursue my dream of being a published author. I began writing in 1991 — upon my safe return — and have been writing ever since. I finished my first book in 1992, under the pen name Steven Herberts.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (if any)?

My first book, 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue, took nearly nine rewrites and three years to get published. I learned some very valuable lessons during that time of rejection — the greatest being that perseverance is the most valuable trait that any writer can possess. 

Have you written a book that you have not been able to get published?  If so, can you share a little about it with us?

I’ve been sitting on several manuscripts for years — just waiting for the right publisher. I recently signed a four-book deal with The Story Plant and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Although it takes some real discipline not to sell out and give your work away, if you believe in it enough — wait for the right deal.

How did you come up with the title?

Most times when I start a book, I know exactly what the title is going to be — at least the working title. I had no idea with this one. I was 30,000 words in before one of the characters made a profound statement within the dialogue— eureka! I had my title — Twelve Months.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I’ve always believed that good writers make people think, while great writers make their readers feel. I went straight for the heart in Twelve Months. My intention was to write the simple tale of an ordinary man that would have a profound effect on those that read it. I hope my readers agree!

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