Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

On the Commitment to Writing: An Interview with Connie Mann

Connie Mann is a licensed boat captain and the author of the Safe Harbor romantic suspense series, as well as Angel Falls and Trapped. When she’s not dreaming up plotlines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on Central Florida’s waterways, introducing boats full of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She’s also passionate about helping women and children in developing countries break the poverty cycle. Now let’s learn about her writing.

What drew you to writing romantic suspense novels?
I grew up reading the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown. Then I moved up to Danielle Steele and Mary Higgins Clark. Suspense and romance naturally go together for me. I’ve been writing since I was a child, but it was years and years before I had the courage to submit anything.

Do you write full-time? Or do you have another job that supports your writing habit?
I’m a USCG-licensed boat captain and my day job is taking local 5th graders down the Silver River here in Florida and showing many of them their very first alligator. It’s very fun and gives me people time and the nature fix I need to balance out the lonely hours in my writing cave.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Dialog? Tension?
The opening scene, always. I generally end up rewriting mine at least 6-7 times.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
When people read one of my books and tell me they loved the story and stayed up waay too late reading, that makes me smile. It means I’ve done my job.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of how you learned to write past it.
I hit a point where I got so discouraged by the rejections that I quit writing. That’s when I became a boat captain. Eventually, the stories called me back and I realized I wasn’t ready to give it up. When I get discouraged, I remind myself that this is what I love to do.

I see you’ve written for Wild Rose Press (I know a number of other writers who do), but now you’re with Waterfall Press. What made you make the change? What tips do you have for someone considering Waterfall Press or Wild Rose?
No matter what house you submit to, make sure you send them your absolute best work. Don’t think, “Oh, I’ll fix it later.” You want your first impression to be memorable—in a good way. 

The Wild Rose Press taught me much about working with editors and deadlines and I’m grateful for the experience. I wrote for Abingdon and now Waterfall, both wonderful, but both discontinued the line I was writing for. My upcoming series (Jan 2019) will be with Sourcebooks. 

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing? 
I discovered years ago that writers are some of the most giving, encouraging, talented, fun people you’d ever want to meet. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know so many of them through RWA (Romance Writers of America). 

What frustrates you the most about your writing career?
Marketing and promotion are hard for me. I get frustrated with how much time it all takes.

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
Know yourself. Be willing to experiment, but then go with what works for you. I’ve learned that I need a basic plot skeleton before I start, that I do my best writing early in the morning and that nothing happens without a deadline. I make those things work for me, so I don’t fight myself.

What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
Keep learning and try to make every story better than the one before. That said, once it’s done, let it go and move on to the next. Don’t let perfectionism paralyze you.

Can you give me a short synopsis of your current novel?
My current release is DEADLY MELODY: Home is where the heart is. The danger, too ...

The Martinellis were the closest thing to family Cat Johnson ever had. That’s why she ran—to protect them from her threatening past. The orphaned child of classical musicians, she’s been lying low in Nashville and performing at the No Name CafĂ©. When Cat reluctantly agrees to attend the wedding of her beloved foster sister, the plan is simple: make a quick appearance at the Martinellis and then disappear again. Instead, she’s thrust headlong into a nightmare.

After a wedding guest is murdered, Cat’s past descends with a vengeance. So does handsome and inquisitive Safe Harbor cop, Nick Stanton, who will stop at nothing to uncover the town’s secrets. That means exposing Cat’s as well. The more intimate Nick’s feelings for Cat become, the more driven he is to find out what she’s hiding.

As things in Safe Harbor take a terrifying turn, Cat realizes that the man she’s afraid to trust might be the only one she can turn to.

Sounds intriguing! What else is in the works?
I’m currently working on a new Florida-set romantic suspense series and can't wait to introduce the Tanners--a family of tough, fiercely loyal law enforcement officers. BEYOND RISK, book 1, is scheduled for release in Jan. 2019 from Sourcebooks.

That’s all for today’s interview. Sounds like some great summer reading. Here are some links to learn more about Connie’s writing. 

Website: www.conniemann.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConnieMannAu...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/captconniem...
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...