Author’s Spotlight: Andrew McManaman Interview

Andrew McManaman, author of Dollhouse and creator of Popcorn Paperbacks.

1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?

Hey, my name is Andrew McManaman, and I’m from a small town in Ontario, Canada, called Kemptville, just south of Ottawa. Currently, I live in Vancouver, British Columbia.

2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?

Dollhouse is my first ever published work, and I’m so proud to bring it on the market. The book is about seven strangers who wake in a house with no memory of how they got there, and to make matters worse; there’s no way to get out. The windows are unbreakable, and the door is shut for what seems for good. The story starts with our lead character, Darla, figuring out what is going on. That’s how the story kicks off, and it doesn’t take long before things go from strange, too crazy strange. Shit really will hit the fan for all of them. Dollhouse is a horror/thriller/drama.

3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

Darla is the main character in this story. She’s a single mom who’s plagued with a lot of trouble and grief in her life. We meet her as she wakes up in this nightmare, trying to solve and survive this crazy place. She’s smart and tough and a great character to follow in this story.

4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?

Well, the whole thing was difficult to write to keep it short. This was my first novel and by far my most complex story, so it made my brain sweat, haha, but it was still such a joy to make.

5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?

I went the independent route. I had a vision for what I wanted with the project. I’m a huge movie buff and with Dollhouse and wanted to add a cinematic touch to the reading experience, which I’ll be doing with the rest of my projects. With the old school film poster cover, to the book’s opening saying (“And now, a feature presentation for your imagination”) to kick things off. Even in the end, I credit all those who helped bring the project together. In a film credit style. Heck, my business is called “Popcorn Paperbacks”, so you get the idea.

6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?

It was hard to say what was the most challenging, but I’d say it was teaching myself how to write again. I have a film background, so I was writing screenplays for the longest time, so I was only used to writing in that way. So, bringing myself back to proper prose was a long time of self-teaching, but, I got there. My advice to other writers is to take your time but not waste your time. Know what you want, work on your project every day and commit. Write and write and write. Another tip if you are going to write a novel, don’t try and hammer it out. Tell yourself that minimum, you will write 500 to 1000 words a day. After a while, brick by brick, you’ll have a book.

7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Right now, this and all the other projects I’ve written are all stand-alone.

8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

Stephen King, Josh Malerman, Richard Matheson, David Sodergren, Ania Ahlborn, Jules Verne, Cormac McCarthy, Blake Crouch, Koushun Takami, David Moody, S.A Crosby, and so many more. I’ve always loved stories and telling stories. These are some of my favourite writers I could pull up at the moment, but still, this isn’t everyone. My parents were great readers and encouraged me to read a lot in my youth. I would be allowed to stay up past my bedtime for half an hour if I read for that half-hour. It was a deal I gladly took. On the top of my head, in no particular order, my favourite books are 1. The Green Mile, 2. The Sisters Brothers, 3. 11/22/63, 4. The Road, 5. No Country for Old Men, 6. The Terror, 7. I am Legend, 8. War of the Worlds, 9. Wayward Pines Trilogy, 10. Dark Matter, 11. Bird Box, 12. Battle Royale, 13. The Forgotten Island, 14. The Perfect Victim, 15. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and many more.

9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?

I’ve only been an Indie published author for two weeks now, but from my limited experience, social media and word of mouth. I am also reaching out to fine folks like yourself who love to help indie authors out.

10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?

They drop the car keys when the killer is chasing them.

11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?

I do read them, yes, and with good fortune, I haven’t heard anything negative yet but I’ve always worked in the creative field and have dealt with negative feedback before. I listen, absolutely, but don’t take it personally. I go in knowing not everyone is going to like it.

12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?

I plot everything before I begin and know all the main bits. I get lots of ideas while writing and will work them in when I can. I listen to music, yes. Mostly movie soundtracks that fit the scene that I’m writing. While writing Dollhouse, I listened to the soundtracks of The Thing (Carpenter, 1982) and A Quiet Place (Krasinski, 2018).

13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?

I emailed Blake Crouch years ago, and he kindly got back to me. He told me, Write what you want to read, and that’s what I did. So I’ll pass his words on.

14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?

YOU BET! But you’ll have to stay tuned 😉

15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:

Thanks for giving this a read. My name is Andrew McManaman and you can follow me on Instagram and Tic Tok. My business is called Popcorn Paperbacks. Give Dollhouse a try; I promise that you’ll be entertained. Reviews are primarily on the Canadian Amazon, so you can check them out and on GoodReads. Also, join my mailing list as well for future content.

If you’d like to be featured in an interview, please check out the interview submissions page to submit your answers.

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