Author Interview: Abigail Manning

Abigail Manning has four fantastic series of retellings. From the classic tales to nursery rhymes and Greek mythology, she’s got them all covered! And she’s here to answer our questions!

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Abigail Manning has four fantastic series of retellings. From the classic tales to nursery rhymes and Greek mythology, she’s got them all covered! And she’s here to answer our questions!

Tell us about your fairytale retellings and why you chose to write in this genre. 

I have always loved fairy tales ever since I was a kid and fell in love with the thick books full of Grimm’s tales! I love making something original out of something classic, which is what I always try to aim for in my retellings. My retellings always follow the classic story they’re inspired off of, but they rarely end the way you expect them too 😉

“I love making something original out of something classic.”

– Abigail Manning

How does the theme of freedom fit into your books?

I write about a lot of young women that are trapped in their circumstances or stereotypes. The theme of freedom flows heavily in most of my books because the characters are often trapped by expectations that they either feel forced to follow, or desire to break free from. I love empowering my characters to find their own voice and free themselves in ways that make them recognize their strengths and rely on others when they need it.

Tell us about your Rapunzel retelling, Towering Future. Why did you choose this fairytale and what makes your adaptation unique?

Towering Future is the last installment of the Emerald Realm series which pretty much acts as the grand finale to all the turmoil being built up in the Emerald Realm. It follows Elle, who is a mage held captive by an enemy kingdom and used for her magical ability to see the future of whoever’s eyes she looks into. There are a lot of things that make Towering Future unique, such as it being an enemies-to-lovers story, having a main character who is blinded a majority of the time, and having a Rapunzel with magic hair as opposed to long hair! I chose Rapunzel as my final story in this collection because it has always been one of my favorites, and I feel like in a series with so many elements that involve breaking free, this was a perfect story to end on.

Nursery rhymes are an unusual inspiration for retellings. What inspired you to write these stories and what do you love most about them?

I worked as a nanny for almost three years prior to writing full time, and if you’ve ever had or worked with young children, you’ll know that nursery rhymes often get repeated a thousand times in a day! While working, I was already knee-deep in my fairy tale retellings and had the thought to retell nursery rhymes alongside them. I loved coming up with the titles right away, and even plotted and scrapped the entire series twice before setting on what it is now. I love how creative I can get with retelling something so simple, yet still leaving hints of the rhyme that inspired it!

What’s something readers might not know about you?

I actually graduated college with a degree in theatre arts, but I have severe stage fright, haha! I only studied the technical side (costumes, lighting design, scenic design, box office, etc.) and a lot of the design elements I learned end up helping describe scenes and attires in my books! 

What do you want readers to take from your books?

That you have to work to change your circumstances, but you don’t have to do it alone. I love writing characters that are strong, but don’t have to be the strongest, either. 

“You have to work to change your circumstances, but you don’t have to do it alone.”

– Abigail Manning

If you could live in any fantasy world, where would you go?

Anywhere I can live underwater! Mermaids, submarines, water-breathing magic, sign me up!

photo of a turtle swimming underwater

When you’re not writing, you are…?

Probably playing Stardew Valley with my husband!

Does the area around where you live inspire your stories?

It probably SHOULD haha! I live in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee, but very few (if any) of my books have taken place in mountainous regions (maybe I should fix that…)

What can readers expect next from you?

So much! I’ve got the ending to my second fairy tale retelling series The Ruby Realm planned for the end of this year (book 4 a Sleeping Beauty retelling, and book 5, Rumpelstiltskin!) Some short story collections, the second book in my Fairmyth Chronicles series, where I mash fairy tales with mythology (Book 2 a Medusa/Rapunzel combo) and the third book of my nursery rhyme series will be released in November! (I think that’s everything haha!)

Author bio:

Abigail Manning is a wife, pet mom, and author of YA romance. She resides with her husband, Marcus, in the beautiful state of Tennessee. In school, she studied both Early Childhood Development and Theatre Arts, both of which aided in the development of her Emerald Realm series, based on retold fairy tales. Abigail has always adored working with young children and drawing inspiration from their creativity. Her stories are geared towards young adults, but inspired by children’s tales. She greatly enjoys the challenge of reinventing stories that most readers grew up with. She has only recently begun her career in writing, but already has growing ambitions revolving around her blossoming stories.

You can find more of her work at her website abigailmanningauthor.com or she’s @abigailmanningauthor on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.