In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Christopher Mannino
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Christopher! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
Author, lifelong dreamer, theatre teacher. Mannino lives his creative passions and works to inspire others and the world.
Ah! A creative at heart!
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I started writing School of Deaths in fall of 2011, while studying abroad at Oxford. It took about a year to write the book, and then another year to find a publisher. I tried multiple routes, and was eventually accepted by two small press publishers, going with the contract I liked better. By then, I was teaching high school theatre full time. When the novel went through multiple editors, it was tricky juggling time, something I still struggle with, while working on my fourth novel.
My favorite part of being published is sharing my dreams with others. There’ve been a few unexpected reviewers who are extremely excited about the books, and beg to read more. It’s a great feeling. One of my booktube reviewers gushed about School of Deaths so much she said she wanted to give the book 10 out of 5 Stars. To impact people like that is a wonderful feeling, especially since the book is ultimately about spreading values- it speaks against sexism, bullying, and racism, and I hope it encourages kids to find their own forms of bravery.
One of my favorite parts of being a reviewer is finding that new book from that random author and falling deeply in love with it. I’m sure my friends get super annoyed when I find THAT book because I can’t stop talking about it non-stop.
Tell us a bit about your series, The Scythe Wielder’s Secret. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
While at Oxford, I journeyed once a week to somewhere I’d never been before. On one such side trip I became stranded in Tintagel, Cornwall. I had no car, almost no money, and no phone. I hadn’t realized there was only one bus a day, so I had no way home. I found a pub that let me spend the night, and visited the castle (the supposed birthplace of King Arthur).
I didn’t sleep that night, and at 4am the following morning I set out early. I walked to the end of a long precipice called Barras Nose, which is a narrow peninsula of rock, surrounded by sheer fifty foot cliffs into the ocean. I had to crawl on all fours, struggling against terrible winds, clinging to the rocks for my life. At the end of the cliffs I watched the sun rise over the castle and the coast. While there I felt totally alone, attacked by winds from every side. I imagined a character who was totally alone, attacked from every direction, who still found beauty in their world. The main character in the Scythe Wielder’s Secret emerged.
The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is a YA Fantasy trilogy. The series is about a girl named Susan Sarnio who’s pulled from her life in Maryland, and forced to become a Death, or Grim Reaper. She learns that there are many Deaths, an entire world where Deaths train and live. However, she is the first female Death in a million years. Her classmates and even teachers are hostile. Susan struggles to overcome rampant sexism, while discovering the secret between an ancient conflict between Deaths and the original reapers: Dragons. She and a handful of friends stand at the brink of a war that threatens both the World of Deaths and the Mortal World.
I wish my travels were half as inspiring. I must get around to reading your series. You said one my magic words…DRAGONS!
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I read many books in many genres, and eventually plan to write in many genres as well. My top YA recommendations would be Wonderstruck by Selnick, His Dark Materials by Pullman, and A Wizard of Earthsea by LeGuin.
His Dark Materials is an amazing series. And my classic “I wasn’t ready to read this when I first picked it up” story. I learned that sometimes you have to wait for the “right” time to read a book.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
British TV. Especially Sherlock, Downton Abbey, and Dr. Who.
No way! Those are three of my favorite shows. 🙂 I am not quite sure what I’m going to do on Sunday nights this winter without “Downton.”
And more Sherlock before more Doctor Who?! GAH! The wait it too long!
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
For a website filled with theatre imagery, how about a theatre question- which shows would I most like to direct before I retire as a director? The answer would be Matilda, Wicked, and Ragtime.
Ooo, excellent question and you are a wonderful observer! 🙂 I do love Wicked and I have had the chance to see Ragtime. Both are excellent shows.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you as well, Christopher, for dropping by and chatting with my fans. I appreciate your time and hope you’ll stop back and let us know what you are up to in the future.
The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is a thrilling young adult fantasy/adventure series by Christopher Mannino. The first two books in the trilogy, School of Deaths and Sword of Deaths, are out now, with the third book Daughter of Deaths expected to be released next year.
The Scythe Wielder’s Secret series has received rave reviews and been compared to bestsellers like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson. It is recommended for readers who enjoy magical realism, fantasy, paranormal, young adult, and/or books with a strong female protagonist.
Synopsis: Suzie Sarnio is a thirteen-year-old whose world is turned upside down when she discovers that she is destined to be a Death. She always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe, but now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. As her year progresses, Suzie uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must learn and embrace the reason she was chosen to be the first female Death in a million years.
“If you like Harry Potter, you’ll love this!” – Sasha Alsberg, A Book Utopia
“Wonderful! Addictive! Two thumbs up! The plot itself was beyond intriguing. It definitely took me for a spin. I wasn’t expecting the story to take me where it did, and it definitely kept me guessing all the way toward the end. The author did a wonderful job at keeping me both entertained and fascinated by the world he created. Would recommend School of Deaths to YA lovers everywhere.” – Kristy Centeno, author of The Keeper Witches series and the Secrets of the Moon series.
“The characters are well developed, the story is complex and non-stop. Lots of surprises along the way. A dash of romance, lots of intrigue, mystery, and fantasy. This was a book I didn’t want to end.” – Montzalee Wittman
“Loved this book! Suzie is a wonderfully well written and in depth main character. I understood her struggle and appreciated her growth throughout the book.” – Ann Andrews
“Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!” – Reader’s Favorite