Author Guest Post
In 1991, I served in Operation Desert Storm—an experience that proved to be a brutal one for me on all fronts. I remember making myself a promise in the desert, “If I make it home, I’m going to chase my dream of becoming an author.” And I did.
After returning home from the war, I worked as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole—corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”
Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue (under the pen name, Steven Herberts) on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.
Fast forward 24 years and I’ve written a dozen and a half books, with four of them (The Rockin’ Chair, Twelve Months, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island) becoming #1 national bestsellers.
In the spring of 2014, I met with my publisher (as well as mentor and friend), Lou Aronica in Connecticut to discuss my next project—an emotional, highly-relatable novel for young and old, as well as male and female. After a two hour lunch, I drove home story boarding The Changing Season in my head.
I decided I wanted to write a coming-of-age story that addresses the time frame between high school and college (which two of my children have recently experienced, while a third is on his way). I’d set the story in New England and create an endearing tale between a boy (Billy) and his loyal dog (Jimmy), as they experience a summer of firsts: first love, first job and the first time the weight of responsibility is felt. Amidst the twists and turns, I’d make Billy (with Jimmy by his side each step) learn how one wrong decision can change the outcome of a lifetime and how the right decision can bring as much pain as it does joy.
After several months of research, I started the writing to discover that the greatest challenge for me would be time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day—creating Billy and Jimmy’s world on paper.
In the end, The Changing Season took me eight months to complete. It is, by far, one of my favorite novels to date—as I truly believe it is a tale that most people can relate to and feel deeply.
About The Author
The Story Plant - Publisher
The Changing Season by Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: Hardcover - February 16, 2016 / eBook February 22, 2016
Format: Hardcover / Paperback - 349 pages
Kindle - 2003 KB
Genre: Coming Of Age / New Adult / Dog Lovers
Buy The Book:
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
A beautifully crafted and poignant coming of age story where loyalties will be divided, friendships will be tested, teenage love will be discovered, and through it all, the enduring bond between a boy and his beloved dog will always be remembered.
This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy: one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He'd fill the hours playing with Jimmy - his canine best buddy - going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they'd do before Billy left. But that was before the accident that shook the entire town. It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck. And it was before Vicki. This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn't truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple.
An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, The Changing Season is an experience to savor.
Praise For The Book:
"The Changing Season is a story that will bring you back to that awkward period of time between childhood and adult life. I highly recommend this book." - Richard Paul Evans, #1 NYT Bestselling Author, The Christmas Box and The Mistletoe Promise
"Manchester's The Changing Season will be to young adults what Old Yeller is to my grandson." - Ed Asner, Actor, Up, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, Elf
"The Changing Season is a thought-provoking coming-of-age tale that explores the complicated themes of love, faith, family and, above all, loyalty. Mr. Manchester's portrayal of a boy at the cusp of manhood is evocative and sympathetic." - Susan Wilson, NYT Bestselling Author, One Good Dog
"Heartfelt, emotional, and beautifully written, The Changing Season is captivating. Steven Manchester is one gifted storyteller!" - Carla Neggers, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, Harbor Island and Echo Lake
My Book Review:
Every once in a while an author comes along who writes novels that are so powerfully compelling, poignant, and thought provoking, that they pull at the heartstrings and stir the soul. For me, that author is Steven Manchester and his latest novel, The Changing Season.
The Changing Season is a wonderful coming-of-age tale that follows seventeen year old Billy Baker's summer of change as he transitions from the end of his childhood to being on the cusp of young adulthood. Set in New England, the reader is transported back to a time of innocence, a summertime between Billy's high school graduation and entering college. Billy's journey of self-discovery will bring many firsts: first love; first job; first adult responsibilities; struggles with uncertainty, questions, choices, and decisions about his future career; the test of bonds and loyalty between family and friends; and the unconditional bond with his beloved dog Jimmy. In this summer season of change, Billy will discover the harsh reality and complexities of the real world through an unexpected tragedy and through his choices and decisions, and the outcomes will provide him many valuable life lessons, and ultimately help him transition into adulthood.
The Changing Season is a poignant coming-of-age new adult story that will simply pull at your emotional heartstrings. Author Steven Manchester weaves a richly descriptive tale about Billy's journey of self-discovery interwoven with the special bond that he has with his twelve year old dog Jimmy. The reader will be easily captivated and drawn into this beautifully written and touchingly realistic tale. You can't help but get swept away and experience the full gamut of emotions as you walk down memory lane and relate to that awkward period in life when a person is at the crossroads between childhood and adulthood. Throughout this season of change, Billy's best friend / beloved dog Jimmy is at his side, and for anyone who is a dog lover, this is an emotional and unconditional loving bond between a boy and his dog that will simply melt your heart.
The Changing Season is an amazing story that is written from the heart. It is a must read that will stir your soul, and resonate with you for a very long time.
RATING: 5 STARS