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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Meet Mandi Tucker Slack


Mandi Slack grew up in Orangeville, UT, where her father worked as a coal miner for eighteen years. In 1987 the coal mines shut down for a time and her father joined the U.S. Army. They were stationed in Hanau, Germany, and she had the opportunity to explore Europe. Mandi’s family returned to Utah in 1992, and they settled in Orangeville, Utah, where she attended and completed High School. She then attended the College of Eastern Utah, where she studied Geology. Eventually Mandi changed her major and moved on to Utah State University while she completed a degree in Special Education. She then married her best friend, Charles Slack. They have three children, two dogs, and a lizard (sometimes several lizards).Their family loves to spend time together and one of their favorite things to do is rock hound and camp. Her house is littered with rocks and minerals. Mandi loves the outdoors and she enjoys writing suspenseful novels and short stories.

Mandi, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mom of three great kids. I have two boys, ages 7 and 6 and a little girl, who is 3. I’ve been married for 12 years and we love living in Utah. I grew up in Emery County and I feel very blessed for the memories I have. I love the desert and mountains, and I’ve been interested in everything from archeology to paleontology…and I could go on and on. Really, I just love the outdoors. One of my favorite hobbies is collecting and searching for fossil in the desert and surrounding areas. I also grew up frequenting museums and accompanying my parents on archeological digs in the San Rafael, and I love to incorporate my hobbies and interests into my writing. I love spending time with my husband and children and we spend most weekends rock hounding or exploring new places as a family. I’ve written several manuscripts, all in various stages of editing, and The Alias is my first published novel.

Mandi, your life sounds very interesting!! I bet you would have lots of story ideas from where you've been. Tell us about your story, “The Alias” and what inspired you to write this.

Jacey Grayson is a recently divorced mother who learns some frightening news about her ex-husband, John. Frightened, she and her son Blaze flee to Utah to hide among rural Mormons. The main theme in The Alias is Jacey’s attempt to overcome years of abuse and develop a sense of who she really is. As the story progresses we see her desire to change and grow. She struggles with feelings of guilt and remorse for staying with her ex-husband so long and exposing her son to abuse, but as the story progresses we also see how she uses the lessons from her past to move forward into a more promising future.

My story ideas usually come from a conglomeration of different events that touch my life. At the time, a close friend was pursuing a divorce where she had suffered some spousal abuse. I was struck by the amount of strength it would take to leave behind such a marriage and the amount of courage needed to build a new life. One of the main themes in The Alias is domestic violence. Jacey, the protagonist, is attempting to build a new life for her son after leaving behind an abusive and controlling husband. One reviewer said, “Having had some spousal abuse myself, the author handled the topic with a maturity I appreciated.” I’ve really tried to portray that quiet strength in this novel.

Mandi, that is amazing to have recevied a comment like that from a reviewer. Congrats!  So tell me, have you fashioned your characters after anyone?  If so, who – and why?

To a point, yes. However, I like to combine many different characteristics to develop my characters. I think everyone is unique, and I love to watch people. I stare…a lot. I think I scare people, but I stare because I’m so amazed by the different personalities that make up society. I love watching how other mothers interact with their children, how couples interrelate, and how we as strangers affect each other’s lives. I love to combine different characteristics to develop my characters, because just as we are all uniquely different, so too are the characters in books. My characters are a mix of everything that I love and hate, everything that I want to be, and everything that I hope I never am.

You truly are a writer then! That's great you were able to pick up on those traits so quickly. How did you become a writer?  What or who inspired you?

 As a young woman I loved to read. I devoured books, and little-by-little my interest in writing developed. I wrote my first full-length novel when I was 12 years-old. It’s terrible, but I’ve held onto it through the years because, really, I am very proud of that tattered manuscript. Writing my very own adventure story was such a thrill, and since that time, I’ve always aspired to become a published author. Unfortunately, as I grew older, time became scarce and my writing fell to the background. Then, about four years ago, my husband returned to school and in the evenings while he attended classes, I wrote. I finished my first novel, The Alias, during his first semester. Not long after, I decided to take a chance and send my manuscript into a publisher. I had to work hard to see my dreams realized, but I don’t regret a minute of my time spent.

That's great, Mandi.  You have come a long way! And that's awesome you still have your very first manuscript. I wish I could say the same.  What stories are in your future?

 I’ve just recently signed a new contract with my publisher for a paranormal/ suspense. I’m very excited to see this book in print. The book is titled (title), and you can read a short article I wrote explaining my inspiration for the new book on my blog at http://heyyouslackers.blogspot.com/2011/06/ghosts.html

Kadence Reynold's favorite pastime is exploring old ghost towns. When she and her sister, Maysha, stumble across an old journal and cheap pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling foundation their world is suddenly turned upside down. Immediately, strange dreams and premonitions begin to haunt "Kadie" as she learns more about the keeper of the journal, Charlotte Clark. With her curiosity and good humor intact, Kadie sets out on a journey to learn more about Charlotte and her family. She travels to Bremerton, Washington, where she discovers Charlotte's still living twin sister, Adelaide and her family. Little does anyone know, the journal contains secrets that will plunge Kadie, Maysha, and Adelaide's family into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns……
 
That sounds like a great story, Mandi, and CONGRATS on the contract!!  How can your fans get a hold of you?  Do you have blogs, website, or a newsletter?

I love to hear from my readers! I’m always available. I have a website which can be found at www.mandituckerslack.com and a blog, www.heyyouslackers.blogspot.com .

Mandi, thanks for taking the time to tell us more about you.  I'm sure you're going to be a big name one of these days!! Best of luck!! 
 

 

3 comments:

Betsy Schow said...

Great in depth. Glad to get to know Mandi a little better. Can't wait for the new book.

Betsy Schow

www.finishedbeingfat.blogspot.com

Mary L Walling said...

Mandi what a small world this truly is. My husband was in the Army for 17 years and we were stationed in Hanau from 1980 to late 1982. This is where we became active church members again. We used to travel into the village and attend church over an old store store and gym. I served as the music chairman and either chorister or pianist for all organizations as I was the only music they had. I was also an Air Force brat for 18 years and like you traveled much of Europe. I also have a love for Egyptology and oh my goodness the mountains. I hail from Florida though.
Your books both sound wonderful especially your new paranormal/mystery. It's right up my alley. Good luck and it was great getting to know you.

Anna del C. Dye said...

Mandi is not only a great author, but a awesome person. I have join her a few times in book signing and such. We have great time when we are together.
Anna del C. Dye
for tales of Elfs & Romance
http://www.annadelc.com