Saturday, August 31, 2013

Welcome Edmond Manning and win a book

Please give a warm welcome to author Edmond Manning today....also he is giving away an e-copy of King Mai at each tour stop. Giveaway information is at the end of the excerpt.

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?

I’m working on a series I call The Lost and Founds. The first book, King Perry, came out in 2012. The second book, King Mai, came out in 2013. I hope to pick up the pace so it’s more than one book a year, but I’m not making any promises. I want high quality over quantity.

How would you describe yourself using only five words?

Inquisitive. Dreamer. Motivated. Lazy-as-fuck. (That’s only one word.) Hopeful.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I can use more than five words, right? Bacon, Earl’s cheese pops, salsa, panag curry, chocolate milk, guzzling glass after glass of regular milk, walking around the house in my underwear, shredded cheese, slices of cheese, cheese fries, melted cheese, cheese as a dipping sauce, sliders, staying up late, and reddit/funny. 

Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I wish I were a painter. Don’t get me wrong, I love the written word, but painters amaze me. Dazzle me. I have several paintings in my home that friends have created and I stare at them, fascinated with how they know that color would work or when to end that brush stroke. How could you see that with your mind’s eye? How could you know it would turn out so luscious? I don’t get it.

If we could have three or four lives to live, for the next one, I’d choose to be a painter and study art history.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I could see myself living in a two room cabin somewhere in Oregon near the coast. I am first class hermit material. I like to be alone. I like pissing in the backyard. I can eat the same meal six nights in a row (if it’s delicious). I already talk/argue with myself, so I’ve got the crazy old man thing down. I think I’m ready.

Are your characters able to love or do they need to be taught?

Love this question! For me, the answer is both. Of course, everyone knows how to love. We all know how to open our hearts and show exquisite vulnerability. We do. But forgetting how to love is a skill acquired and polished throughout adulthood. We forget through love that doesn’t work out, by hardening ourselves to the working world, and we forget in reaction to strangers laughing at us. We learn to move efficiently around our emotions, slamming shut windows into pain and before we know it – there’s no cross breeze anymore. No air gets in.

Characters in my books can love big, love brilliantly. But they don’t remember what they’re capable of. They have forgotten. So they don’t need to be taught. They need to remember. They spend the entire book running around throwing open windows, all of them, every last hurt until they’re ready to scream at the rising sun, “I remember!” 

Coffee, tea or other drink to get you moving in the morning? 

Diet Pepsi. I need my Diet Pepsi. Diet Coke will work in a pinch. And eggs. Do eggs count as a drink? I would like eggs. And bacon. Bacon, eggs, and Diet Pepsi. That’s my breakfast drink. Don’t argue with me, just get me a Diet Pepsi.   

What is coming up from you in 2013? Anything you want to tease us with?

Oh, I can tease.  My second book, King Mai, came out in July of 2013. Hrrrm. That’s not so much a tease as a fact. Well, the tease is I’m already writing a book of short stories based on characters in the second book. Some of these characters looked me in the eye and said, “Hey, we’re not done. We have more stories to tell. Write about us.” So, I am.

I also hope to have a book of non-fiction (a collection of blog entries) ready sometime in November.   That’s another 2013 project. My best friend has been on me for a year and a half to “do something” with all my blog entries about heart-opening love. In 2013 on New Year’s Day, she made me promise that I would ‘move the project forward’ in 2013. Can’t break a promise to your best friend, can you?

When you begin your stories, do you go with the flow, or go with an outline?

I often have a big-picture outline in my head but I don’t always follow it. I don’t write in sequence either. I usually write a rough draft of some climactic scenes in the book and start planning backward. Then, I’ll write a pivotal scene in the middle and then I’ll start at the beginning. It’s quite erratic. At some point when enough ‘big scenes’ have been written (often without description or the jokes that run through the book), then I’ll go back to the beginning and start writing from scratch.

I had planned out the six-book story arc of The Lost and Founds before I wrote the first book, King Perry. I know what’s revealed about the narrator, Vin Vanbly, in each book and how each man’s story advances certain themes.

But each book requires quite a bit of research, too. I moved to New York City during the entire month of May so I could research that setting. I found an apartment on craigslist and wandered around the city at night (worked remotely at my day job from a card table and metal folding chair). I wrote lines, outlined a few chapters, but mostly just soaked up New York and took a ton of photos.

I think my books are a wicked combination of spontaneity and careful planning.

What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know? 

Read every review of your first book. Either learn from your mistakes (as pointed out by others) or keep rereading the sucky parts until you develop a thicker skin. It’s just one person’s opinion. 

About the Author

Edmond Manning is a Minneapolis resident, owner of a rarely-used gym membership, maker of raspberry jam, and the author of King Perry and King Mai.

King Mai by Edmond Manning
M/M Contemporary

Adopted from Thailand and never one to fit in with the local bubbas, life has been rough around the edges for Mai Kearns, even before he came out of the closet. Now, almost ten years past the torture of high school, Mai still can't catch a break: he and his parents stand to lose their beloved farm.

How will a “King Weekend” help change Mai’s fate? What has narrator Vin Vanbly been up to for the four weeks he’s been sneaking around Mai’s hometown? At the urging of a ransom note from ‘The Lost Kings,’ Mai embarks on an impossible treasure hunt chasing mystic poetry, Fibonacci Hopscotch, ancient prophecy, the letter ‘x,’ and a confounding, penguin-marching army.

The stakes are high: if Mai fails, the Lost Kings will permanently claim him as their own. Finding the treasure may unlock the secret to saving his family farm. But can this angry farmer risk opening his broken heart before the weekend is over? Mai Kearns has 40 hours to get very, very curious in this second installment of The Lost and Founds.

Teaser Excerpt:

The events in this novel take place in 1996

Chapter 1 
 Ladies and gentlemen, the BBC proudly presents another episode of Vin Vanbly, Farm Spy. Today, we follow the case—nah, no time. Only ten minutes until we begin his King Weekend.
From my hiding spot in the corn, I watch Mai Kearns on his front porch, watching his watch. Watch. Watch, watch. I like the word watch. Kearns wears a solid yellow T-shirt I have not seen before, which means either it’s new or one of his good tees. Yellow looks sexy against his hazelnut skin. I wonder if he realizes that color is perfect on him or if it’s a happy accident. He must know. I’ve been aching to kiss his dark copper neck, to glide my pale fingers down those strong arms, slightly less sunburned than his neck. I want to caress his chest, and to compare his farmer tan to what’s under his shirt. And, of course, his ass. I bet it’s a goldeny-brown, a tender shade that flushes when you kiss it, worship its rippling goose bumps.
His eyes… I can’t wait to see those hard, dark eyes staring right into me. Today I will see his eyes up close, no longer through binoculars.
Over the yellow tee, he’s wearing a white linen shirt, unbuttoned, the one he wore last Sunday when they ate dinner on the backyard picnic table. I almost strolled out of their cornfield to ask for a steak. Hard yellow corn, baked potatoes, fat red and gold tomatoes in a bowl, and his mom made a pie. I wish I knew what kind of pie. I’ll ask him. Tried to catch a whiff, but from my hiding spot, I could only smell dirt and corn.
His flat tummy peeks out as he stretches his arms behind his head. He looks at his watch again. I love his tummy. Slender guys have cute bellies. Or whatever you call his lack of belly.
God, I want to have sex with him.
He glances at his watch again and jerks his arm away. He’s already pissed and I’m not even late. I remained so adamant about beginning exactly at 6:00 p.m. that my impending tardiness will surely burst a vein in his neck.
He leans over the wooden porch’s railing, staring down the narrow, country road leading to his parents’ farm. Still no sight of me. He clunks his worn cowboy boots down the front steps and with clipped strides crosses the house’s front, the only side scraped and primed, ready for its repainting. Standing in the yard, he peers beyond the driveway but he can’t see far, not with cornstalks seven, eight feet high everywhere around us.
Okay, time for the final alignment test.
I step backwards, deeper into the field, and tighten my grip on the cornstalk in my right hand. Pressing my foot against the stalk, I wait until he’s looking away and with my boot, I punch it.
Mai’s head snaps straight toward this field. He knows what he heard.
Yup, he loves the corn.
After staring in my direction and hearing northing further, Mai storms back to the porch and flops hard into an Adirondack, his morning coffee chair, lifts his feet to the railing, and then scrapes his boot undersides across a banister spoke. His mom’s not going to like that—Kearns, you know better. But the man can’t stand to be doing nothing, and this latest distraction betrays his impatience.
5:55 p.m.
Fuck it. I can’t wait until 6:00 p.m. I want our time together to start right now, this very second. I stride from the field into the neighboring grass and wait for him to notice me. He’s, what, fifty yards away? Sixty? Not close enough to distinguish eye color or read expressions accurately, but close enough to notice there’s a person now standing here.
Mai stands again and after flicking a few dirt chunks off the railing, catches me in his peripheral vision. He turns to look at me for a moment, peers in my direction, and jumps back a foot.
“Hey, bubba,” he yells. “That’s our corn.”
I love it. That’s what he calls the men in DeKalb. He once emailed me the word meant nothing more than a playful swipe at the locals. He lied. It’s more than a gentle snub. He hates the town bubbas, the redneck high schoolers who taunted him, a hurt exacerbated because he once loved a local bubba. It’s exhausting to hate what you love and love what you hate.
He stares at me, then glances down the road.
I cock my head, but say nothing.
Across the front yard, driveway, and expanse of grass crushed flat and ripped open by tractor wheels, he cups his hands and yells, “You…are you Vin Vanbly?”
I nod.
He yells, “C’mere.”
I shake my head in refusal, exaggerating the motion so he can see it clearly.
I smile, remembering the many months it took us to get here.
When we first started emailing six months ago in March, Mai argued the sheer impossibility of so many kings, arguing the nightmare bureaucratic and legal consequences. He next launched real-world crime statistics like missiles, demanding explanations for how any utopia could remain untouched by humanity’s worst. In another email, he insisted that with many countries barely acknowledging women’s rights, so how could they recognize each woman as the one true queen? Despite his goading questions, Kearns didn’t really want answers.
He wanted to believe.
He waits a minute, staring at me hard. “Hey, could you come here for a moment? I need to talk to you.”
I shake my head again. With my right hand, I motion for him to come.
Fuck talking. I already know he wants to back out. “Something important came up.” That’s about half the excuses I get. Also popular lately is “I only showed up to explain why I refuse go.” Blah, blah, fucking blah.
When I invite men on my King Weekend, they never know what to expect, only that they must submit to my every demand all weekend. When Friday evening arrives, they realize my promise to help them “remember the man they were always meant to be” seems awfully vague weighed against a full weekend of total submission and obedience. I’m sure they worry it’s all dungeon basements and restraints in metal chains but lucky for them, I’m not that kind of guy. I guess I’m not surprised men want to back out at the last minute. I probably would too.
Mai tilts his head and skews his face into what might be a frown. Can’t tell. But I dig the cowboy angle of his body, hands on his hips, fighting me for control over this single moment in time. I wish I had a camera.
Almost the entire Kearns’ farm lies behind him. The dilapidated red and white barns don’t need new paint; they need new wood to go under the paint, and then new paint. The barn they use for storing tractors and hay shows its ribs in a few places, and a few massive corrugated tin sheets stretch themselves across squares of missing roof, protecting its modesty. I can’t imagine it’s effective in winter. The animal barn appears in better shape. They take good care of the cows. It’s clean inside—well, as clean as you can get with forty-three shitting cows. I’m not a farmer but from my night-time lurking around the property, I could identify dozens of necessary improvements once money is found.
No, Vin, don’t think about that. Don’t think about the farm.
He saunters across the yard, extra-casual, attempting to disguise his irritation. Damn he’s hot, even when he’s angry. Maybe especially when he’s angry. I get the appeal of angry men. They carry a clenched power in their eyes and fists, threatening immediate, immoderate action. While I do not want the anger, I love the accompanying raw testosterone. Bring it on, bubba.
After he storms across the white-stoned driveway, he skirts the scything machine, whatever that thing is, careful not to step on the border of impatiens I’ve seen his mom water and weed. Clearly, this rusted thing is beyond salvage. The rubber wheels are years flat, the blades dull and useless. I want to believe the surrounding pink and white flowers communicate his mother’s Midwestern sensibility regarding beauty: if this piece of crap stays in our yard let’s make it look like we intended it. I have to remember to ask him where this machine came from. I have a theory.
When he reaches the grass twenty feet from me, I start backing into the corn.
He stops and puts his hands on his hips. “Yes, yes, just like Field of Dreams. It’s been done, Vin.”
I leap back a few more feet until I’m sure I’m hidden, then turn and dash down the row. People associate cornfields with either Field of Dreams or Children of the Corn. That’s a pretty fair dichotomy: Found Kings’ interpretation, Lost Kings’ interpretation.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION~ Want to win a copy of King Mai? Leave a comment/question, etc for Edmond to be entered to win this wonderful book. 

1 comment:

H.B. said...

Great interview. i loved your answer for characters and how they love. Thanks for the excerpt and for a chance to win =)

humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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