Monthly Archives: February 2015

Interviewed by fellow Sisters Born, Sisters Found author, Vicki Batman:

Please follow this link to her site here:


Introducing Author, Ana Manwaring, from Sisters Born, Sisters Found:

Last winter I came across a call for submissions by Laura McHale Holland for an anthology about sisters.  I am proud and very excited to be a part of this book project.  The anthology can be found here:  Now that the anthology is available, some of the writers have decided to do a blog-tour / X-promotion for one another. Today, I am delighted to present to you, fellow author and contributor to Sisters Born, Sisters Found, Ana Manwaring!

As a teacher myself, I am always interested in other teachers.  Please tell me about what you teach, where and what you enjoy most about your job as an educator?  What are some challenges you face?

                        I teach at Napa Valley College at the Upper Valley Campus in St Helena. I teach Creative Writing as a process workshop (read that an enhanced critique group) in the Life Long Learning division as well as ESL. This semester I’m teaching English and Computers, a course I’ve developed to teach parents of school kids how to use windows, word, gmail, and the Internet in order to monitor kids and help with homework. The 2nd semester takes them from the rudiments to applications useful in the job market. Often my students only speak Spanish so I’ve gone back to school to improve my Spanish, especially my written Spanish. My writing class started 9 years ago when the then instructor left. People knew I wrote and said, “You take the class” which I did. Over the years my mostly brilliant retired students have trained me. I’m not allowed to lecture but have to know and recognize craft both well-done and not working from the short reading in class and teach from there in any genre except technical writing. Talk about a challenge! But I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Please tell me about your current writing projects.

                        I write a monthly column (personal essay 1100 words) on the lifestyle of Petaluma for the Petaluma Post. I’m a poet of sorts and am working on submissions to literary journals this year. My memoir, Saints and Skeletons, about my time living in Mexico in the 90s is nearly completed. I have finished the first of a trilogy or series possibly, The Hydra Effect Book 1 Zihuatanejo and am close to the end of Book 2 Coyoacan. Book 3 (possibly Valle de Bravo, especially if this is the end of the series) is still hiding in the pile of ironing (see note below on challenges.) I am also working on a character-driven dysfunctional family saga told in three voices: the matriarch, her natural daughter who is dead and her unwanted adopted daughter.

Please tell me about any other publications/ published works you’ve had:

                        I’ve published poems, short stories and short memoir in a dozen anthologies including Cry of the Night Bird produced through the YWCA Changing Hurt to Hope project, Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother ed. by Kate Farrell, Times they Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60’s and 70’s ed. by Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers and Amber Lea Starfire, Vintage Voices ed. CWC Redwood Branch. My work has appeared on KRCB Morning Haiku, on Searchlights and Signal Flares on-line, in Women’s Voices newspaper, El Universal Cuernavaca Sunday edition, and the Petaluma Post. Chupacabra won 1st place in the modern western category of the Southwest Writers contest, The Suitcase won first prize in the Words for Dollars contest on-line, I Do won the Cortage Scholarship prize as well as several  2nd and 3rd prizes for short stories and poems. An essay, Mole, was mentioned in the Tiny Lights Essay Contest.

How did you find out about the Sisters Born-Sisters Found project?

                        I heard Laura McHale Holland read at an event in Sonoma and invited her to join our critique group. Although she left our group, we remained friends and she invited me to participate in her Sisters lit readings at Sisters Couture Clothing in Sonoma. I wrote my pieces for these events. Laura asked me to submit when she decided to create the anthology. I helped edit the poetry in the anthology as well.

What do you like to do in your free time?

                        What free time? Between teaching, editing, taking care of my 91-year-old mom’s affairs, acting as CFO of our business and trying to carve out some writing time, I find that I have from 10-12 at night to watch TV or read a book. I love crime fiction, especially when it involves drugs, human trafficking and heists and takes place in foreign countries with strong, flawed female protagonists.

When did you start writing?

                        I’ve been writing something since my “bestselling” short story Me and My Brontosaurus, in third grade—a fictional exploration of what it would be like to live in the time of dinosaurs and tame one to ride. I’ve always wanted a pet to ride: a seal, a zebra, a hippo. I got serious about poetry when I was 15 and first read A Coney Island of the Mind. I’ve continued to write poetry throughout my life, mostly as part of my journaling practice. I committed to creating a writing life in 1991 when I went to live in Mexico to research a novel I never wrote.

What is a challenge you deal with in the writing process? 

                        When it’s time to sit down and write, I find that many other tasks clamor to be completed: ironing, floor washing, grout scrubbing as examples. Sometimes these menial tasks actually pan out into inspired writing when I finally get to my computer—usually right on deadline. I call that menial work/thinking time “composting.” My husband is also a “creative” and does the same thing. We bump into each other around the house—our heads stuck in the clouds.

LOL, I’ve experienced the same thing doing yard work!  

What is a great joy / pleasure / easy part?

I love hanging around with writers and talking about what we’re all doing, experiencing and perhaps suffering in relation to our work. I love craft. I love grammar. I love putting together literary readings and panel discussions and workshops and participating in events that light writers (me!) on fire. And when I land in “the zone” I love to write, but usually I prefer revision.

How can readers connect with you via social media, blogs, etc?

                        I have a website,

                        Several blogs: Building a Better Story a memoir of my 3 years in Mexico my Petaluma Post                                     columns

                        I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn, Google+ and my favorite, Pinterest I                                     use my name Ana M