Spotlight q&a with ismael manzano from fantasy works publishing. author of soulless book one of the soul broker series.
Ismael Manzano lives in the Bronx with his wife who is a fellow writer and his young son whose energy and imagination encourages him to create new fantasy worlds every day. Ismael has written reviews and commentaries for G-pop.net, and published short stories in This Dark Matter, and Grey Matter. Currently, he is working on his new urban fantasy series, Soul Broker.
What drew you to writing?
Probably the same thing that draws all writers: reading. For me it was C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series that first piqued my interest in writing. I was swept up into that wardrobe along with Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan, and by the time I was done reading the series, I wanted not only to live in Narnia, but to create my own worlds. I wanted to remain in a fantasy world as long as I could, but more importantly, I wanted other people to join me in the worlds I created.
Do you have a degree in writing? Do you believe that matters? Why/Why not?
No. I took several creative writing workshops both in and out of college, but no degree in the subject. I do believe it matters, but not in that a degree can teach a person to write or to have an imagination. Those things are inherent. You either have them or you don’t. If you have them, the workshops--not the degree--can help you to hone those skills and bring out your best, but if you don’t, I don’t believe any number of degrees will make you able to create stories. For me, that time was invaluable because I had built up a lifetime of bad habits that I needed to shake if I was ever going to get anywhere. In or out of the classroom, getting together with other writers is the best education for this craft.
How long did it take you to create your first book?
About a week. It was a Narnia sequel. I was eleven. I wish I had saved a copy of it. Probably would’ve been very insightful.
How long did it take you to create the last?
About four months before edits.
What have you learned in between?
I learned that revising is very important. And that you need permission to use someone else’s material in your book. Also, to measure twice, cut once. Finishing quickly doesn’t make the story better.
What are you currently learning to further develop your craft?
Currently trying to learn to revise with a cold and critical eye. If you hold onto any part of the story too tightly, you risk strangling the whole.
Do you prefer creating short stories, or novels?
Although I have written short stories, I prefer novels. Even when I try to write a short, it usually ends up expanding into a novel.
What Genre do you write and why?
I have two. Epic Fantasy and Contemporary Fantasy. Epic Fantasy draws me in because I like world building, the idea that I can make up a religion or a structure of civilization is very appealing. For contemporary fantasy, I like the idea of taking something known or mundane and adding something fantastical to it.
Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work (or the work being highlighted) and tell us why this is your favorite?
Not sure if I can pick a favorite, but I think this one is very indicative of the main character’s (Charlotte) voice:
“My dear fool,” he said with all the sympathy of one of Asimov's robots. “I believe you may have just started a war.”
What about your life influenced your drive to create?
I wanted to have something that stood a chance of enduring after I was gone, something that could recreate, for someone else, what I feel when I read a really great book.
Tell us something personal you've enjoyed due to being an author.
Collaborating and brainstorming with my wife who also writes. It has brought us closer together and enriched our relationship in a way that I don’t think would have been possible had only one of us been interested in the craft.
What is next on your current writing agenda?
Right now my agenda is to brainstorm away for part two in the Soul Broker Series. After writing the Soul Broker series? That might take up a lot of my time, but I would like to tweak my Epic Fantasy series Under Realm and see if version 8.0 will finally fix all of the problems. If not, I might try another contemporary fantasy. Have a few ideas I need to flesh out first. I guess whichever comes first.
Thank you Ismael for sharing your time and thoughts with us.
Ismael’s book Soulless (Book one of the Soul Broker Series) comes out March 8th, 2016.
You can find Ismael at:
www.fantasyworkspublishing.com under authors