Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Friends With Morgan Mandel

I am so excited to bring you this interview with Morgan today. Not only is this the first time I've been the interviewer instead of the interviewee, but Morgan is one of my dearest friends. Without her, I might not be a published author today.

So, without further ado, I'd like to welcome Morgan Mandel to Heroines with Hearts!

1) First, tell us a little about yourself.
At first I freelanced for the Daily Herald newspaper, which I really enjoyed. Still, I had the urge to do more. Realizing I didn’t have enough time to work on a book plus do newspaper features, I gave up freelancing in favor of book writing. I credit my longstanding membership at Chicago-North RWA with helping me achieve my publication goal. I’m also thankful to Chicago-North for the many friendships I formed there, including the one with my good friend, Debra St. John.
I’m also the Library Liaison for Midwest Mystery Writers of America, belong to Sisters in Crime and EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection).

2) What are you working on now?
That’s a loaded question. I’ve got three books going at once and am determined to get at least one of them finished. The one I’m currently concentrating on is my Nanowrimo book from 1 ½ years ago, which I never managed to get done, since at the time I was in the midst of marketing Girl of My Dreams and getting Killer Career started. I’m also working on Forever Young, which is targeted for the Baby Boomer generation, plus a children’s book based on my dog, Rascal.

3) Where do you get your ideas?
Experiences that happen to me in real life worm their way into my subconscious and somehow end up in my manuscripts. Sometimes it’s obvious, but other times, I’m not even aware it’s happened until afterwards when I analyze what I’ve written.

My Nano Book, which so far is called No Way Back, features a young woman who out of desperation becomes a country singer. I’m very much a country music fan, so it was a natural for me to include that in one of my books.

Forever Young has a universal theme of never growing old, and Our Little Rascal is self-explanatory. She’s my dog child.

4) What's the best writing advice you've ever received/read?
Get the book finished. Everyone says that, but it’s still the best and hardest advice to follow. Once the book is done, then it’s time to do the edits and make it shine.

5) What have you learned from being published that you wish you knew before you were published?
There are not enough hours in the day to live a normal life and also pursue a writing career. That said, I keep trying anyway. I enjoy social networking immensely, yet sometimes I have to ignore the Internet and concentrate on getting my WIPs done. No matter which I choose, I feel guilty about ignoring the other.

6) Any advice for new writers?
Be persistent. Keep at it. Use critiques as a springboard to improve your writing, instead of taking them personally. We all have to learn sometime. Not many writers start out knowing what to do right away.

7) You write both romance and mystery/suspense. What's the biggest difference in how you approach each?
If you didn’t see my name on the cover of Girl of My Dreams, I’m not sure if you’d know it was the same person who wrote Two Wrongs and Killer Career. My mysteries definitely have a darker current running through them. It’s fun to write according to my light or dark mood. I’m considering using a new pen name for future romances to make the delineation more obvious.

8) Let us know where we can find you and your books on the web.
Signed print copies plus e-books of my current romantic suspense, Killer Career, about a lawyer whose career change could be a killer, are available at .

Killer Career, Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams are also available at, in print and very competitive kindle prices.

You can find me at lots of spots on the web. There are too many to name them all, so I’ll leave you with a sampling. Everyone’s welcome to come over and visit, plus exchange links and writing experiences.

My website is, You can find me at Facebook at or .
I’m on Twitter at

My personal blog is: I’m also on these group blogs:,,

Thanks so much for the interview, Debra. I enjoyed sharing my writing experiences with you and your readers.

Morgan, thanks so much for joining us today! It's been such a thrill watching your career blossom, and I'm looking forward to seeing your current projects in print soon!

Readers, please leave a comment for Morgan to let her know you stopped by...


  1. Thanks for having me here, Debra!

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Three books at once? Wow! Do you usually work on multiple projects at once?

  3. Great interview, Morgan and good advice to newbies in the biz. :)

  4. About the three books at once - I wish it weren't so. I think the older I get, the more distracted I get. At least this way I have a chance to maybe get one of them done!

    That said, I'm really determined to do the Nano book first and ignore my inner urgings to flit back to the others. Then there are the other distractions, like finding out Blogger changed its designs so I had to go and fool around with my Blog and change its design, since I couldn't resist!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Hey, Morgan,

    Great interview! I too am a HUGE country music fan.

    What writing books (if any) have you used that you found the most helpful with edits, plotting, etc.?


  6. Hi Morgan,
    Great interview, you certainly are a busy lady, best of luck with all your projects.



  7. Toni,
    Glad to hear you're a fellow country music fan. There are many of us out there.

    About the writing books - I've read so many of them over the years I can't remember them all. I have a bookcase with tons of them which I ordered and use for reference when I remember they're there. For a while it seemed I'd buy a book, put it on the shelf and forget about it, somehow thinking I'd learn what was in it by osmosis. Now I don't buy as many, since it's better to actually sit down and write and afterwards figure out what's wrong with the manuscript.

    I still have a subscription to Writers Digest, which is helpful. I've learned the most through the critiques at our Chicago-North RWA Chapter, the ones given to me, plus the ones for others. It's so much easier to find things wrong with someone else's manuscripts instead of my own. After a while,some of the comments from the critiques starts to sink in. Now I have to be careful about overediting instead of going with the flow when I write my first draft.

    Morgan Mandel

  8. Hi Morgan,

    Wow! Everyone is up bright and early this morning!

    Morgan, thanks so much for being here today. Like I said, Morgan is not only a fellow author, but a good friend as well. When I decided to really get serious about being a published author, she offered some great advice and suggested my publisher The Wild Rose Press. Our love of country music is another thing we have in common.

    Have a great day, y'all!


  9. Great interview, Morgan. It's nice to know that someone else is working on multiple projects. I'm learning that I need to abandon some things for the sake of my writing, so I'm in mourning for giving up my farm on Farmville. *lol*

    By the way, this is a lovely blog, and I like the idea of having "Friday Friends."

  10. Liked your interview, Morgan. I, too, like knowing that others have a lot of irons in the fire. I have a Nano book that I never finished, either. Maybe this is impetus I needed to pull it out...

  11. I couldn’t agree more when you said, “There are not enough hours in the day to live a normal life and also pursue a writing career.” With three books going at once, you seem to do a good job of managing both!

  12. Girl of my Dreams was SO fun! Great interview!

  13. I feel better knowing I'm not the only Nano procrastinator! Also, great to know I'm not the only one who can't sit still enough to do one thing at a time.

    I'm glad you liked Girl of My Dreams, Pauline. I had great fun writing it.

    About Farmville - I'm afraid to look. I have a feeling all of my crop has withered and died. I do need to get over there some time since I've gotten some neighbor requests I haven't answered. I'm afraid, though, that they'll learn I'm not a good neighbor over there since I don't visit my farm very often. I do like the music, though, but don't know half of what to do there yet.

    Morgan Mandel

  14. Hi Morgan! You give great advice and the most basic of all - finish the book. So many aspiring writers don't make it past that first big hurdle. Always enjoy reading about your work.

  15. Hi, Morgan. Great blog and great advice. I know so many people who can't seem to finish that book. One of these days we'll have to meet for coffee (or something stronger) in the city.

  16. Now I need to follow my own advice and finish the book!

    Keena, yes we'll have to meet somewhere around here.

    Morgan Mandel

  17. Fabulous interview, ladies. I love learning more about my online chums. Killer Career is one of my favorites.

    Keep up the great work, Morgan.


  18. Fabulous interview ladies. Good luck!!

  19. I love that you're working on three books at the same time, Morgan. When I try to do something like that, nothing gets finished. Like now. :)

  20. Hi Morgan
    Good to have you with us on HWH today! Juts wondered how you divided your time between 3 different WIPs at the same time? It takes me all my time to keep up with one!
    But I laughed at the comments about Farmville - maybe if I spent less time with my crops and animals, I'd have more time for writing LOL (and I'm always on the lookout for new neighbours too!)

  21. I'm glad you like Killer Career, Cheryl. Thanks again for the great review.
    Patricia, so far none of them are finished. Does that tell you something? (G)
    Anyway, I'm forcing myself to focus more.

    Thanks for stopping by, Mary.

    Morgan Mandel

  22. Two things you said really resonate with me: the "not enough hours in a day" and "finish the damn book!"

    (I uh, might have added a little to that second one)

  23. I live (and work) on a real farm, and love that so many people "farm" in cyberspace. Get those pineapples harvested!

    Thanks, Morgan, for being here today. Question: How does EPIC work? Why do you belong?

  24. Other Lisa said it better than I did about finishing the book. I was trying to say it the polite way. (g)

    Ana - About Epic, for the cost of $30.00 you get lots of support if you have books published electronically. It's all online, except for the conference with awards each year in March, which unfortunately I've not been able to go to, but it's still a good thing.

    They also have a social and a business e-group to keep you informed and to socialize about what's happening in the e-book world. All ebook people can join. There are no special conditions like with RWA or MWA.

    Morgan Mandel

  25. Hey Morgan,

    It's been such a pleasure having you today. Thanks so much for joining drew quite a crowd!

    I'll see you at the end of the month!

  26. Thanks for hosting me, Debra. I hope to have lots more done with my manuscript by the next time I see you!

    Morgan Mandel

  27. PS - I'll be your neighbor if you want, Paula, but don't expect a botanical garden from me!
    Morgan Mandel

  28. Hey, Maggie, it's not just aspiring writers who don't make it past that first finish the book hurdle. Like Morgan, I'm having trouble concentrating on one thing. Great interview, Morgan, even if I am late to the party :)

  29. Thanks for dropping in, Liana. I did 700 words on my WIP today. Not as many as some people, but I was glad to get anything accomplished on a busy Saturday.

    Morgan Mandel