To conclude this series of mini-interviews with our Mannison Minibook authors, we’re interviewing ourselves! Hey, the first Minibooks we published were our own…maybe somebody would like to know about our experiences, too, right? So today, for our final Minibook mini-interview, we are interviewing Mannison Press founder and designer…
Deidre J Owen
Author of Mannison Minibooks
The White Mannequin’s Game, The Salted Cabin, I Actually Dreamed This Crazy Nonsense, and Overworked: A Legal Fiction (with Ronald Linson)
So here’s Deidre, sharing a little about her own work here at Mannison Press…
1. How old were you when you decided you were a writer?
More recently than you may think. I mean, I’ve been writing for a long time…since I was eight. I still have a sci-fi adventure I wrote in third grade, all typed up on my mom’s typewriter, fully illustrated, and bound in fading purple construction paper: “Stranded on the Planet Mars.” (It’s so silly, haha.) I wrote for school and for pleasure all through my youth and into college—receiving praise and encouragement from teachers along the way—then continued writing for myself as I entered adulthood. However, it wasn’t until I wrote my first novella in my late 30s that I realized I was a writer writer. I wrote a freakin’ BOOK.
2. Crazy Nonsense is obviously dream-inspired. What about your inspiration for The Salted Cabin?
That was a dream as well. However, it was less complete than the stories from my collection. The detail in my Crazy Nonsense dreams was so vivid I didn’t have to do much more than get it out of my head and name characters. Salted Cabin, however, was an idea born of a nightmare that needed some fleshing out. It was fun though! I set it in North Carolina because that’s where my husband grew up and it suited the story well…in fact, the dream was probably inspired by my fascination with the dilapidated structures sprinkled across the countryside. That said, I think my favorite part about writing Salted Cabin was devising all the different ways to kill my characters. *evil grin*
3. So The White Mannequin’s Game…WTF?
Haha, I know right? That’s a weird one, I love it. And it was just another bizarre dream! Okay, nightmare. One of those where you startle awake and then scribble down the details with trembling hands. It was pretty complete, too. I’d dreamed of a group of adolescents (all six very clear in my head) who were sent into an altered reality and given strange but specific tasks by a menacing, dead-eyed mannequin…only to discover they were trapped there until they figured out how to succeed. Brutal! And deliciously weird.
4. Did you have any specific music in mind as you wrote any of your stories?
Not for my short stories, no. Well, one of the dreams from Crazy Nonsense (“What Is It?”) had an ominous ostinato in the dream, but it was original and non-specific. My upcoming novellas, however, did have a soundtrack! I was huge into the band The Afters at that time, and while writing the first novella I latched onto the songs “Start Over” (as the main theme) and “Say it Now” (for dramatic moments) from their album Light up the Sky. Hugely applicable. Then for book two, “One Moment Away” from Never Going Back to OK embodied it perfectly. Man, this still gives me head-to-toe chills!
5. What’s your favorite genre to write in?
That’s tough to answer, being such a diverse writer. For a little while I would have responded with children’s books. I have nine children’s books published (with another written and waiting for me to illustrate it). However, over the past couple of years I’ve really enjoyed exploring spec fic/horror (Crazy Nonsense, Salted Cabin, “They Belong to Her” from Little Girl Lost) and weird fiction (White Mannequin, upcoming Terminal Faults). I’ve discovered that I derive a twisted pleasure out of making my husband cringe over my writings.
6. Got anything new cookin’?
A few things! (Isn’t that how it goes with most writers?) I’ve got a new sci-fi novelette that should be coming out as a Minibook this fall: Terminal Faults. (Hold on to your hats, you guys, it’s another weird one!) And as I mentioned in question #4, I’ve got a series of novellas simmering on the back burner. There are four of them—all drafted out—they just need betas and revisions and some heavy-handed editing. I call the series Exercises in Humanity and each book focuses on one or two facets of the human condition including humility, mortality, vanity and motivations, and hope. They are interconnected, but you only begin to see the story lines intertwine in the third book. Contemporary fiction with heavy spiritual undercurrents.
7. And just for fun… Are you wearing a band-aid today?
*checking* Uhmmm…surprisingly, no! However, I will update you directly before this is scheduled to post. Things change, and it’s no secret that I’m an ungainly individual. Update: As of the night before posting, I AM NOT wearing a band-aid. I do, however, have several colorful, self-inflicted bruises. It’s kinda my MO.
That’s MP founder and designer Deidre J Owen! Deidre’s next Mannison Minibook, Terminal Faults, is due out spring 2022!
And that’s a wrap, folks! We hope you have enjoyed learning about our Mannison Minibook authors these past few weeks. We are grateful to all of them for indulging us, because we certainly enjoyed putting together this mini-interview series.
If you like our Mannison Minibooks, then you’ll be excited to learn that we’ve got more on the way this fall! We’ll have some returning Minibook authors including Matthew Brady and our two founders, Deidre J Owen and Ron Linson; you may recognize a few names from other publications, including Rhiannon Lotze (from Little Girl Lost) and Tim Mendees (from Little Boy Lost); and then we’ve got a short list of new names for you, plus a whole pile of new submissions to read! Are you excited?! Because we’re excited!
The White Mannequin’s Game
Fiction/Horror (29 pages)
A group of teenagers find themselves challenged by a silent but disturbing figure. The tasks they are given seem simple enough, but when things go wrong and requirements aren’t met, the White Mannequin’s consequences are brutal!
The Salted Cabin
Fiction/Horror (50 pages)
A group of ghost hunters sets out to investigate an abandoned cabin deep in the woods of North Carolina. They knew about the history. They knew about the deaths. It’s too bad they didn’t take the botched exorcism more seriously.
I Actually Dreamed This Crazy Nonsense
Speculative Fiction/Fantasy/Horror (105 pages)
Do you have crazy dreams? Because I have crazy dreams. Occasionally, my dreams are reality-based, like bounty hunters tracking a cold case or a shunned college student on a rampage. But more often, they are fantastical: a tournament with an ogre, an encapsulated city, or suddenly tiny monsters!
Overworked: A Legal Fiction
Contemporary Fiction/Humor (22 pages)
Law student Joshua Jacobs is exhausted! He’s deep into his final semester, the Bar Exam looms large on the horizon, and the family drama just won’t quit…why did he think he could work part time, too? Another night of study and he might just lose his mind!
Deidre J Owen was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but aside from a stint in the Canadian Maritimes she has spent a majority of her time in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. A versatile writer, Deidre has taken delight in exploring many different genres including contemporary fiction, humor, horror, Christian themes, and children’s books. She is currently loving life with her husband in Lithia, Florida, as an author, publisher, and work-from-home mother. Learn more about her writings and read her blog at deidrejowen.com, or visit Mannsion Design to learn about her work as a designer with Mannison Press.
Learn more about Mannison Minibooks here.
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