Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Guest Author of the Month - Mandi Tucker Slack

A new feature to my blog is to welcome a guest author.

Today I would like to welcome Mandi Tucker Slack – author of The Alias to my blog. 

Mandi I am honoured to have you over here today.  Mandi’s website can be found here:  I urge you to check it out.  You can find my recent review of Mandi’s book The Alias here:

You mention being a very imaginative child.  Did reading books help fuel that imagination?

  It did, yes!  I devour books! I loved when my mother read to me, then later I spent hours hiding in my tree house or locked in my room reading.

Who inspired or influenced you to write?

  The desire to write just sort of came naturally. I had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as a child, and I had a very vivid imagination. Writing was one way that I could put order to my daydreams and chaotic thoughts. Then later, I discovered Dorothy Keddington, who is my very favourite author. Her books touched me and her descriptions were so clear and precise. I love her stories. 

The Alias is your debut novel.  What writing experience had you gained before deciding to write the book?

 I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so as a child I wrote all the time. I wrote my first full-length novel when I was 12. It was 264 pages and it’s terrible!! Really! But I love that first tattered manuscript, because I knew that I could do it. Since that time, I’ve wrote stories just for fun, and when I wrote The Alias, I decided to try and have it published. I sent it in and was shocked when I heard back. I was so excited. 

You are a strong Christian and LDS is featured in The Alias.  This was woven well into the story.  It must be a fine balance not to make it the main focus.  Was this difficult?

  It wasn’t too bad, really. Belonging to The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints (LDS) is just a part of who I am. I don’t really think about it when I write. I like to add those elements that are important to me into my stories. Naturally, my religion is an important part of who I am. My family, my friends, and what I believe are strong influences in my life, so it just feels natural to include elements of my religion and beliefs into my stories.  

Looking next at the character Jacey’s background, someone who suffered domestic  violence.  Is this a subject close to your heart?  I don’t mean personally, but something that you feel should be written about more often and brought to public attention?

Yes, absolutely. I think there isn’t enough focus on domestic violence. Also, it was important to me to include how Jacey grew and developed as she realized that she was more than her ex-husband led her to believe. When I first began work on this book, a close friend was pursuing a divorce where she had suffered some spousal abuse. I was struck by the amount of strength it would take to leave behind such a marriage and the amount of courage needed to build a new life. One reviewer said, “Having had some spousal abuse myself, the author handled the topic with a maturity I appreciated.” I’ve really tried to portray that quiet strength in this novel. 
I read that you have started another book and it is a work in progress.  When can we expect to see it on the bookshelves?

  I can’t really say for sure. The manuscript is currently in review with my publisher. I hope to have my next novel published, however, within a year of Alias’s release. 

  Is it a sequel to The Alias or a new story?

   No. This is a new story titled Fade to Gray. It’s a crime thriller that takes place in Seattle, Washington. Tarrin Grace has just come through a very difficult divorce, and just when things are beginning to look up, her young daughter, Lexie, is witness to a heinous murder. Suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, Lexie is unable to recall details of the crime or the murderer. However, the killer remembers her, and Tarrin must risk all she has to protect her family.  

You have a love of the great outdoors.  What activities do you enjoy?

 My very favourite activity is rock hounding, believe it or not. I love to collect fossils, and living in Utah is perfect for encouraging my hobby. Most weekends, I drag my family across the state looking for new rock or fossil locales. 

  What is your favourite reading genre?

Definitely romantic suspense. However, I enjoy paranormal romance as well.

  Finally, for fun.  Music – what is your current listen?

 I listen to everything!! I could go on and on about music! However, my favourite group to listen to right now (and this changes on a daily basis) has been Owl City. It’s just “happy” music and it puts me in a good mood when I listen.

Thank you for sparing your time and being my first guest author on the blog. 

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