At Gothic Bite Magazine we love welcoming new patients to become part of our asylum. We question them and learn about them. It doesn’t matter what creative field they are part of because they’re our patient now. This week, we welcome Indie Author Mandi Konesni!
Patient Name: Mandi Konesni
I’m Mandi Konesni, a paranormal romance author. I’ve always been a “jack of all trades” crafty person. Soaps and toiletries? Okay! Jewelry? Hey, why not? Drawing? Eh, I’ll give it a shot, even if I could mangle a stick person. My first love, however, has always been writing.
I started reading young and haven’t stopped to this day. Eventually, you start imagining your own little worlds, which got me into roleplaying and gave me the courage to try my hand at writing for myself. It’s been a long journey filled with a lot of life lessons.
Fitting into a mold has never suited me, so I busted out and made my own. Between my professional writing, running a roleplaying site, a consulting business, and having my own craft business, well, I’m a very busy female!
Through it all, bringing my creations to life and painting my characters on a canvas of words brings me peace and keeps me happy. I hope journeying into my little alternate realities brings my readers as much joy as it has me.
ARIELLE LYON: When did you find out you would want to write novels?
MANDI KONESNI: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a kid and teen, I bounced between wanting to write or being a marine biologist. Went through my forensic scientist/profiling stage. But ew, bugs. In the end, I came back to my first love when I got sick and was housebound for over a year.
It gave me something to do and a reason to get up in the morning. Now, writing simply keeps me sane and gives me a breather from “real” life, one we all sorely need sometimes!
ARIELLE LYON: You mentioned to us your work, all set in paranormal or Gothic settings. Would you let our readers know why you are more attracted to that genre?
MANDI KONESNI: I am disabled, and it happened young. Due to that, I’ve always felt a bit like an outsider. I couldn’t do the things that people my age were doing. I never got to experience a typical high school social life. As an adult, I didn’t hit up bars or go out partying all night. I had to constantly worry about my health and stress. It didn’t matter what I did. It had an effect on my body.
Writing paranormal romance lets me escape into another world for a little while, where aches and pains don’t exist, where disease and sickness don’t plague my characters. I can imagine meeting a fantasy lover who wants to sweep me off my feet, change my life, and make me whole.
I write for people like me who, for whatever reason, need an escape from their real life and their real worries, even if it’s just for a little while.
ARIELLE LYON: When writing about the paranormal, do you do research, and if so, how far do you go with your research?
MANDI KONESNI: Oh! my goodness, I research so much. My mom just rolls her eyes when I have to create another list, another spreadsheet.
I have a whole notebook for each novel, down to the streets and settings in the location I chose. I look for haunted places, local myths, and legends.
I research historical things, compelling reports in the areas. If I’m writing about a cryptid or mythological creature, I look through all the lore, so I know the characteristics, the stories, the symbology.
Even if I’m making things up, I try to make my worlds and legends feel natural, so everything feels plausible.
ARIELLE LYON: What is most important to you when writing your novels?
MANDI KONESNI: For me, it’s all about being realistic. Even though I’m writing about these amazing creatures and deities, I want the world to come alive for the readers. I want it to feel plausible for what I’ve written to make sense.
It’s important to me that readers can get lost in my story, that they can visualize the scene I’m setting. I do my absolute best to keep that from happening when I’m plotting and writing.
If I don’t do my job, odd details that don’t match up or super unrealistic things to the story itself will pull them out of the fantasy.
ARIELLE LYON: Which authors influenced your writing?
MANDI KONESNI: The first book I ever read was Bullfinch’s Mythology. I was… kind of a dork, I admit. After that, I got into the Time-Life and Enchanted World books that my dad had collected, learning about myths and legends as I read under my blankets at night after bedtime.
It was a colossal awakening realizing there were authors out there writing the things I was interested in, knowing that readers were voraciously poring through these stories.
After that, nothing could stop me from putting words on the screen and exploring my own few worlds.
ARIELLE LYON: Which of your novels is your favorite, and why is it your favorite?
MANDI KONESNI: I think out of all of my books so far, I’d have to say Ashes of Eden. For me, it was really the culmination of all the work I’d done for years. When reading it, I can see how much improvement I’ve had from my first book to that one, and I fell in love with the characters and world I’d created.
It was also the first one that my mom and dad helped with research for, which makes it highly personal as every new location and artifact reminds me of the conversations we had. To date, if anyone asks what book they should start with of mine, my mom will always recommend Ashes of Eden.
ARIELLE LYON: Do you believe in the paranormal? By that, I mean in hauntings, that there are creatures out in the wild we still don’t know the existence of?
MANDI KONESNI: Of course! I genuinely believe the world is too big and too wild for us to be so narcissistic as to believe we’ve uncovered everything. New discoveries are made every day. Animals we thought were extinct are found again.
I’ve experienced things in so-called “haunted” places that I simply can’t explain. We’re merely ants in the cosmic universe. There’s always something bigger than us, something more than us. We’d be fools to think otherwise. I just hope I’m around to see some of the discoveries come to fruition eventually!
ARIELLE LYON: What made you decide to be self-published?
MANDI KONESNI: For me, it just made sense. Having been diagnosed with OCD, anxiety, and depression, I just couldn’t see myself being a good client of a publisher. I knew I wanted to publish and get my stories out into the world, but I also knew I didn’t want to settle, to have someone else decide what cover I’d use, what editing got done, etc.
It’s important to me to have complete control over the work that has my name on it. Self-publishing allows me to have free rein over my content and publish around health issues to create my own schedule.
I know I could potentially see better reach with a traditional publisher, but for me, the tradeoffs are entirely worth it. I’m my own advocate, and I am involved in every part of the work I put out. That’s important to me.
ARIELLE LYON: What sets you apart from other paranormal and Gothic authors?
MANDI KONESNI: I hope I bring a fresh look to the genre. I like taking legends and myths and putting my own twists on them, so they become something wholly unique, something the reader hasn’t seen before. I enjoy breaking out creatures that might not have been utilized in popular stories and doing a ton of research before ever sitting down to write.
I try to keep my author’s voice more casual, so readers can visualize the scene in their heads and view the conversations just like conversations between them and their friends. Basically, I try to keep my writing unique and approachable. I hope I’ve succeeded for those that read my work!
ARIELLE LYON: What can readers look forward to from Mandi Konesni in 2022?
MANDI KONESNI: Well, I’ve got five signing events lined up for 2022 already and have started booking into 2023 already. Eek! I’m hoping to have another book or two readies for publishing next year.
There will be at least two or three anthologies I’m a part of being published, one we’re aiming to hit the USA Today list with.
I’ve also still got plenty of plans for my jewelry and crafting business, so I’m going to be a busy gal! So that’s exciting and terribly nerve-wracking.