About the Book:
From the award-winning author who brought you i am Elephant, i am Butterfly and Upside Down in a Laura Ingalls Town.
Erica O’Donnell is hardly the quintessential high school senior. She doesn’t have a driver’s license. She’s never been to a concert. Sports are out of the question. She doesn’t own a pair of heels. No boy has ever asked her out. All of this for good reason: Erica faints. A lot. And at the most inconvenient times.
Chronic fainting, also known as syncope, keeps Erica on the sidelines as the odd-girl out. Luckily, Lindsay Bennett hovers nearby to catch Erica each time she nose-dives to the floor. Lindsay isn’t only Erica’s best friend—for four years she’s been her savior.
But things are about to change.
When Lindsay breaks up with her boyfriend Adam to pursue a married man, Erica is intrigued. But as Lindsay’s relationship intensifies, Erica finds her own world spinning out of control: from covering up her friend’s affair, to hiding her feelings for Adam, to casting suspicion when a string of arson fires sweeps through the town.
Gradually peeling away layers of deception from those she trusts the most, Erica must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover truths—and how many people will get burned in the process.
“Manning has pieced together a web of events and characters with a perfectly elegant flow. What seems to be a modern coming-of-age tale, mixed with a slight bit of romance, quickly turns into a suspenseful mystery filled with betrayal and deceit…highly recommend.” ~ Amy Powers, Readers’ Favorite Reviews
“Rules of Falling gave me a lot of the same vibes as i am Elephant, i am Butterfly, and I am just as impressed with this book. Readers will not be disappointed!” ~ Jennifer, Book Sirens Reviewer
“Complex and sophisticated. Absolutely un-put-downable.” ~ The Prairies Book Review
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
Thank you so much for the interview! As a kid, I was always making up stories and plays, and performing for my family. In high school I was involved in everything theatre and music related. Flash forward: I was in college as a theatre major, ready to graduate, when I took a play writing class. I was subsequently asked to direct the play and present it as part of the Day Reparatory Theatre program. During my final semester, I took a novel writing class, and it was like the flood gates opened and never shut! I have been writing for 22 years, both plays and novels, for adult and young adult audiences. And that very first play from college is now an award-winning novel called Knock on Wood. Sometimes life comes full circle!
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
YES!! I only write in my home office (situated in my little 1910 home) and only Monday through Thursday, from 11-2. I am very strict about this writing schedule. This is the best way for me to keep my writing style consistent.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Heck if I know! Ever since that first play, ideas pop into my head all day long! It’s a blessing and a curse. Most ideas flitter away. Some make it to a Post-It. If that Post-It makes it to a file, then it will probably stay there forever. But if it makes it to my desk, then there is a good chance it will eventually become a book.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
There are two types of writers: Pantser (flying by the seat of your pants) and Plotter (knowing exactly where the story will go). I am right in between. I think about the story and take notes for up to a year before sitting down to write. Once I know the beginning, the ending, some crucial scenes, some character names, and the title, I begin. During the first draft, all hell breaks loose because the characters start bossing me around. I take back control during edits. You know, killing a character, bringing in a new one…showing them, ultimately, who’s boss.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I am what’s known as the genreless writer. I love to dabble when I read, and I do the same when I write. I have written everything from contemporary adult fiction, to magical realism, to a musical. It’s difficult enough to build an audience as a romance, horror, or any other genre writer. But as a genreless writer, I have to work extra hard to not only build an audience for each book, but get those readers to read across genres. Many of my readers do this, but there are so many who would rather read a book that follows a strict genre format. That, my friends, is not me. I’d rather write what my heart dictates than follow the herd.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
RULES OF FALLING, my latest YA contemporary novel, would make a great limited series, or so says Taleflick, the book-to-film curation service. And while I don’t usually put a face to my characters for my readers, as I want them to use their own imagination, I would cast the following:
Erica, teen protagonist who suffers from chronic fainting: Sadie Sink
Adam, hunky volunteer fireman who sees more in Erica than anyone else: Uriah Shelton kind of guy
Lindsay, the misguided bestie who gets involved with a married man: Amber Midthunder (Native American)
Mom, who is a bit neurotic when it comes to her daughter: Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Garner
Larry, antagonist and total creep: Someone like Alexander Ludwig
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I work in the evenings as a private English tutor, so I end up RE-reading the classics over and over again with my students; however, some of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Mitch Albom, and Laurie Halse Anderson.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I’ve just finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Dark and sad, but a necessary read in today’s crazy world.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. This little book has layers! Each chapter can stand alone as a short story, as we meet all of the neighbors in one young boy’s life. At the same time, there is an ominous feeling hovering over the town, as there is a murderer on the loose. Bradbury does such a great job of juxtaposing the warmth of summer with a backdrop of foreboding. Also, the story takes place just before the Great Depression hits, but because the characters do not know this, additional suspense is created.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Well, that’s a packed question! I give talks on this subject, and they last two hours. If I had to offer two pieces of advice before someone sits down to bleed onto the page, I would tell them this: Do not make excuses for NOT writing; in other words, get your butt into the chair! Secondly, don’t let anyone EVER tell you that you CAN’T write. Everyone gets better. Maybe not your first book, or even your second. But you will get better. Remember that novel I wrote in college? It sits in a box under my bed. My literary agent has never seen it. I have grown as a writer since that first book. And you will, too!
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
Here you go. Stop by and say hello!
Amazon Books: www.amazon.com/Leslie-Tall-Manning/e/B00VRZ3FOK%3Fref
Book Sirens: www.booksirens.com/book/SFBU8QK/L9BNVKW
About the Author:
Leslie Tall Manning is an award-winning novelist who writes about adults and teenagers craving independence and often stumbling into it headfirst. She especially loves digging into universal themes such as friendship, bravery, and self-forgiveness. Her previously published books have received 5-star reviews from Publishers Weekly; Prairies Book Reviews; Midwest Book Reviews; Netgalley; Novel Gossip; YA Books Central; Readers’ Favorite; Pickled Thoughts and Pinot; and the Story Circle Network. Manning’s awards include the Sarton Women’s Literary Award; North Carolina Author Project Award; Self-e Library Journal Selection; International Book Award Finalist; Taleflick Road to Development Finalist; Indie Brag Medallion; Story Monsters Certificate of Excellence; and the Firebird Literary Fiction Award. She spends her days writing furiously and her evenings tutoring young adults. When she isn’t crafting books, plays, or musicals, she enjoys taking care of her Victorian home and traveling with her artist husband. She is proudly represented by Uwe Stender at the TriadaUS Literary Agency.