Another Author of the Month at MyShelf.Com

Author of the Month
William Manchee [November 2004]
Chosen by reviewer Beverly J. Rowe, MyShelf.Com

     William Manchee is my choice as author of the Month for November. He is emerging as a force to be reckoned with as a mystery/suspense writer. Although he is an attorney, his books are more about the investigations than courtroom scenes. He incorporates multiple, parallel plot lines and alternating viewpoints that keep you guessing. His tenth book, Deadly Distractions, was published this summer, and it kept me mesmerized. Manchee and his family live in Dallas, Texas, where he and his son have a very busy general law practice that primarily caters to the needs of small businesses.


Bev: Thank you for interrupting your busy schedule to be interviewed for I'm currently reading Deadly Distractions, and I see that I am going to have to read the other Stan Turner mysteries and get up to speed on Stan. What a great character.

What made you decide to begin writing?

William: About ten years ago I was kind of burnt out practicing law and started looking for something new and exciting to do. Writing a novel was something that had crossed my mind over the years and I had been kicking around an idea in my mind since a college experience 30 years earlier. One afternoon I got inspired from watching the movie, the Shawshank Redemption, and started my first book Twice Tempted. It didn't take long to get hooked as the writing process is very absorbing and took my mind off all the stress in my life.


Bev: What authors do you enjoy reading? Is any other writer a particular inspiration to you?

William: I like many authors such as Patterson, King, Sheldon and others too numerous to mention, however, movies have been the greatest inspiration for my storytelling. My wife and I go to just about every movie that comes out not only for entertainment but also to study why the story works or doesn't work as the case may be.


Bev: The book description for your first novel, Twice Tempted, says that the story was based on actual events that happened to you. Tell us about that.

William: When I was in college at UCLA I had a job as a bank messenger and one day I walked into the bank late at night and found the vault left open. I later found out there was 6 million dollars in the vault and that the alarm didn't engage until the vault was closed. This got me to thinking (not seriously, of course) about the possibility of taking the money. It made for great speculation with my friends about how I could have taken the money and fled the country. Several weeks later I walked into the bank again after hours and found the vault open again! This experience led to my first novel, Twice Tempted.


Bev: You have published five Stan Turner novels, two Rich Coleman novels, and two novels that are unrelated to the others. Tell us about your favorite character. Can we expect to see more of him?

William: Well, Stan Turner is my favorite character and he'll be around for some time with more adventures. In fact, I've already finished the next Stan Turner Mystery which I am calling Black Monday as it is set during the Savings and Loan Crisis of the late 1980s. In this episode Paula defends a man accused of killing the chairman of a failed thrift while Stan gets entangled in the political web of Iran-Contra.


Bev: Do you outline and plot first, or just start writing? Tell us a bit about how you work.

William: I'm what you call an organic writer. That means I do not outline, but simply start writing with a few characters and a few ideas for a plot. The story then unfolds day by day much like life. I really enjoy writing this way and believe it creates a more realistic and unique novel. My writing is done usually at night for 2 or 3 hours after work and an hour or two of watching TV.


Bev: You just signed some foreign rights for publication of Yes, We're Open, Defending the Small Business Under Siege, your nonfiction book. That's exciting. Tell us about this book.

William: Defending small business owners is what I do as a lawyer much of the time, so I decided to write a book that small business owners could read if they were in trouble, or wanted to avoid getting in trouble. It's written not as a manual, but a collection of stories about businesses that have got in trouble and how they were turned around. I was very surprised when I was approached by a publisher from India for the English reprint rights for India, Pakistan, and several other countries in that region. But, I guess the problems of small business owners are similar in all parts of the world.


Bev: Do you have plans for any other nonfiction books?

William: Not yet, but if I come up with a good idea, I probably will.


Bev: What has been your biggest writing challenge?

William: Juggling my legal practice with writing and promoting my books.


Bev: ...And your biggest writing reward?

William: When I'm out on the road and fans who have read and enjoyed a novel that I've written come to see me. Also, when I get email from someone after they've just finished a book or I find a review by a reader who was inspired by what they read. That kind of feed back makes all the effort worthwhile.


Bev: Tell us about your current writing project.

William: Like I mentioned, I just finished Black Monday, so I'm in between books right now. I'm not sure if I'll do another Stan Turner Mystery now or a Rich Coleman Novel. Either way, I'll have to get started in the next 30 days as I have to keep a year ahead at all times.


Bev: Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share with your fans?

William: Writing is a wonderful endeavor. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and devotion to be successful, but it is definitely worth the effort. I sincerely believe it reversed a definite tailspin in my career and got me back on track.


Deadly Distractions
A Stan Turner Mystery
By William Manchee

Lean Press - August 2004
ISBN: 1-932475-02-8 - Trade Paperback
Buy a Copy

Beverly J. Rowe, MyShelf.Com

     This story starts off with a literal bang as Stan Turner's client is found standing over the body of a dead IRS agent, with his shotgun in hand. Since Dusty Thomas has had a years-long feud with the dead agent, Bobby Tuttle, and Bobby was killed with a shotgun, Dusty is charged with first degree murder even though he claims to be innocent.

   Stan's new partner, Paula Waters, handles Dusty Thomas' arraignment and begins to get an investigation underway while Stan is finishing his vacation. She even manages to arrange financing for Dusty's defense. A radical paramilitary group, the Citizens Defense Alliance, or CDA, is doing the funding, much to Stan's dismay. He doesn't want to be associated with this group of anti-government radicals.

     Since the CDA denies the legitimacy of the federal income tax and has been a target of federal prosecutors for many years, Stan's worst fears are realized, and his office immediately comes under the close scrutiny of the FBI and the press. To further complicate matters, Stan's best client and close friend, Tex Weller, has transferred 1.8 million dollars to Stan's trust account from Ecuador, and now he is reported missing by his wife.

     While Stan is searching for Tex in Ecuador, Paula continues her investigation of Bobby Tuttle's murder and quickly discovers a long list of enemies with motive to kill him, becoming more and more convinced that Dusty Thomas is innocent. Her investigation is sidetracked when she learns Stan is missing and may have been kidnapped. As time goes by and Stan doesn't turn up, she is forced to turn her attention back to the Dusty Thomas case and leave the search for Stan up to the FBI. Then Paula, herself, is charged with a phony hit and run.

    Paula, of course, is secretly in love with a very happily married Stan, and by alternating viewpoints between Stan and Paula, Manchee achieves the near impossible task of getting into the mind of each protagonist. The action is non-stop with surprises in every chapter. Parallel, complicated plots converge to an explosive climax. Don't start this book until you have time to read the whole won't want to put it down.

Other Manchee reviews: (click on titles)
Death Pact
Second Chair
Trouble in Trinidad
Cash Call
Plastic Gods


Booklist -AmazonCom-

Twice Tempted - 1997 & 2002
Undaunted - 1998
Brash Endeavor - 1998
Death Pact - 1999
Second Chair - 2000
Trouble in Trinidad - 2001
Cash Call - 2003
Plastic Gods - 2004
Yes, We're Open Defending the Small Business Under Siege - 2003
Deadly Distractions - 2004
Black Monday - Coming soon

2004's Honorary List

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