Author Interviews

Author Interview with Christopher Mannino


I’m interviewing Christopher Mannino, author of YA fantasy “School of Deaths”. Welcome to my blog, Christopher, and thanks for answering my questions.

Author Interview

1. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

In Middle School, I was given an assignment to read books and copy one author’s style. I wrote a story about the lost Entwives, in the style of JRR Tolkien.  It was the moment I think I first wanted to be an author.

2. Where did you get the inspiration for School of Deaths? 

The idea for SCHOOL OF DEATHS emerged when I was finishing my graduate degree at Oxford University. I spent four months abroad, far from everyone I knew. Every week, I traveled somewhere I had never been before. I would climb castle ruins in Wales and visit cathedrals in England. One of my favorite trips was to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. After misjudging the time it’d take to get there, I became stranded. The tourist office was closed, and I couldn’t find a hostel. I walked from pub to pub asking if I could sleep above their bar.

The next morning, having slept none, since I’d found a room over a noisy pub, I crept to Barras Nose before dawn. Barras Nose is a stone peninsula, or rocky outcropping jutting into the Celtic Sea, just north of Tintagel. Tintagel itself is a small island with castle ruins on its cliffs. Some believe it to be the birthplace of King Arthur.  When I reached Barras Nose, the winds howled so fiercely that I had to crawl on all fours to keep from being blown into the ocean below. Then dawn broke.  No other humans were in sight. I struggled to keep my balance, but watched the sun rise on the ruins of the ancient castle, listening to the thunder of waves pounding the fifty foot cliffs I clung to. Wind battered me with ferocity, and I imagined a character being buffeted by winds, completely alone. I envisioned  Suzie, alone in a world of men, buffeted by sexism.

3. What is your editing process like?

To self-edit, I first let a finished draft sit for several weeks without looking at it. Then I return to the story fresh, and read it through, first for content, and then again, for grammar/style.  Once I’ve self-edited many, many times, I will send the novel to several beta-readers, including my beautiful wife. Once my beta readers give feedback, I then re-write the book again. I self-edit until it’s ready to send to the publisher. Then three rounds of professional editing begin. I start with a pre-edit checklist the publisher gives me, including tons they want re-done. Then I work with a content editor to polish the main storyline and pacing, before it goes to a separate line editor to go over all the little grammar and sentence stuff word by word.

4. What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

Finding the time to get everything done, when you work another job, is a huge challenge. Marketing, editing, and drafting all take immense amounts of time. For me, marketing has been the most challenging of those three, but of all three the hardest issue remains finding the time.

5. What are your writing goals for the rest of 2014? 

I hope to start the third novel in this series, while starting the professional editing phase of “Sword of Deaths,” the sequel to SCHOOL OF DEATHS.

6. Are you working on something now? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I am currently in the final phase of “Sword of Deaths”

Her greatest fear is her only hope.

Susan Sarnio made a choice, and will spend the rest of her life as the only female Death.  Last year she was bullied and ostracized. Now, to her complete bewilderment, four Deaths vie for her affection. Yet, something is terribly wrong at the College of Deaths. When a ship carrying scythe metal is attacked, many blame the newly-freed Elementals, but Susan knows the Elementals are innocent.

Shadows from the distant past come to light. Dragons circle the horizon, blood spills, and nothing is what it seems. Susan and her friends struggle to stop a war, but who is the true enemy?

SWORD OF DEATHS releases Spring, 2015.

About The Book

CoverSchoolofDeathsTitle: School of Deaths

Author: Christopher Mannino

Genre: YA Fantasy

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

 Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe.  Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter.

 The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target.  Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Author Bio

image002Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet.  He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland.  In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups.  He spends his summers writing and singing.  Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University.  His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.

 Mannino is currently working on a sequel to “School of Deaths” as well as an adult science fiction novel.

Watch the trailer here

Book trailer:



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