A Personal Message from Steven Manchester...
When I was a boy, my grandfather—Herbert Manchester—told the most amazing stories. As I sat at the foot of his chair, I remember thinking how powerful it was to make someone laugh, or even more so to bring them to tears. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I’d been inspired and wanted to become a writer.
After returning home from Operation Desert Storm in 1991, I worked as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?” Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.
I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years practicing my chosen craft. As the years progressed, I heard that “a good writer makes readers think, while a great writer makes readers feel.” And right from the beginning, I strived to achieve the latter. I decided that unless a book was going to move someone, it wasn’t worth the time for me to write it…and that was the foundation on which I began to write. If certain topics didn’t fit this criteria, then they didn’t make the cut. It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre: a sensitive male perspective.
Although I write for many different reasons, the most important is that I can prove to my children that dreams do come true (though we never really get what we wish for; we get what we work for). It’s an amazing thing to be able to pour your heart and soul into something that touches the hearts and souls of others.
The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.
Some random things to know about me: My favorite song is The Dance by Garth Brooks. My favorite authors are Stephen King, Mitch Albom and Lou Aronica. My favorite book character is Addicus Finch. If one of my books were made into a movie, I’d love for Morgan Freeman to narrate the story. I’m from Massachusetts and my favorite food of all time is my wife’s Fettuccini Alfredo. The perfect day for me is hanging outdoors with my kids and I live by Walt Disney’s quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
In the end, I consider my writing to be the first half of a conversation. The second half takes place when I receive feedback for my work. I love hearing from readers and will always make the time to reply. My passion—writing novels—would not be possible without those who are passionate about reading them. And for that, I am eternally grateful.