in conversation with Christine manzari...

Christine Manzari is an author and avid reader from Baltimore, USA.
Some of her favourite fantasy books include the Harry Potter series, the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo, the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas, the Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and the Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson.

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am an author and avid reader living near Baltimore, Maryland. I went to college for fine art and worked as a graphic designer for many years, which is probably why my Bookstagram photos have a colorful and symmetrical quality them. After I became a stay-at-home mom, I decided to follow my dream to become an author. I've written a YA dystopian trilogy and four NA romances and am currently working on two other NA romances and a YA fantasy. I read about 100 books a year and turned my dining room into a library because I prefer to read actual books over eBooks, and I needed a place to keep them all. I love adventurous things like zip-lining, roller-blading and snowboarding and try to incorporate those kinds of things in my books. I am married with three kids and our favourite thing to do on a Friday night is go to the book store.

What is something still on your bucket list?
I would like to become a New York Times bestseller. I love writing and it would be such a huge accomplishment to know that people want to read my stories. I would also love to be able to save someone's life. Whether it was because of advice I gave them or something like donating bone marrow, I would like to know that I had a hand in saving someone's life. What greater gift could there be?

What is something you have ticked off your bucket list? Can you describe what it was like?
I created a bucket list when I turned 40 and have ticked a few items off since then. Two of my favourite items that I have done already are that I got a book tattoo on the back of my neck and I learned to shoot a bow and arrow. But one of the coolest things I did was to leave a $100 tip for a server. I took my kids out for lunch. Our bill was only $25 but I was determined to leave the tip, so after the server dropped off the bill, I left the money and we hurried out before seeing his reaction. I wanted him to be totally surprised and didn't want him to feel the need to thank us. I like to think that it made his day and that perhaps he passed along a random act of kindness in return.

Upon reflecting on your life, if you could do anything differently, what would it be?
I'm pretty happy with the way I have lives my life. If I could make one change, I would have started writing earlier.

Do you have a party trick? If so, what is it?
I can do a handstand on a chair.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything around me when it comes to writing. Events, names, beautiful places...they all find their way into my stories. But what inspires me as a person is generosity. My parents were always generous. They always reminded me of the story The Giving Tree because they were willing to share whatever they had. I try to be generous with my time, money and love...not only with friends and family, but with strangers. I think generosity and empathy are powerful and a easy way to change the world for the better.

If you are searching for inspiration, what do you do or where do you go?
When I need to feel inspired, I will take a ride in my car at night. I just drive around with nowhere to go. Being alone in a quiet space with time to think is all the inspiration I need. It gives me time to think without being interrupted by kids or duties.

What was the best advice you ever received?
My dad always said not to care what others think and to just be myself, no matter how weird others think I am. I am not afraid of being who I want to be. I am happy and content with my life, and I owe that all to my dad.

It is a lazy Sunday and you reach for a book...what do you choose?
I almost always choose a fantasy. It was my first love and it is still the first kind of book I like to read. But, it must have romance. Right now if I could, I would read for A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas or Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Those are two books I am looking forward to in May.

What are some of the strangest books you have ever read?
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury were strange and I loved them both.

Do you have a favourite quote from a book/author?
"We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already." - J.K. Rowling

What book should everyone read at least once in his or her lifetime?
Everyone should read the Harry Potter series.

You could write a book in any genre. What would it be and why?
I would write a fantasy because anything can happen, and I love the idea that a powerless nobody could rise up and change the world.