Tiffany Manchester on writing the book “Surfer Girls Kick Ass”
Tiffany Manchester is an ex pro athlete and an avid surfer. Writing a book is never an easy task but Tiffany wrote a great one in Surfer Girls Kick Ass.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Tiffany Manchester spent a decade in a career as a professional athlete in freestyle whitewater kayaking. She traveled all over the world and won several competitions including; 3x Canadian Champ, National Champ, and Bronze World Medalist. After a while, the spark that once ignited her life began to dim, and for unexplainable reasons she craved saltwater instead of her familiar freshwater. She is now a novelist, splitting her time between the surf beaches of Hawaii and Nicaragua. Surfer Girls Kick Ass is her first novel.
How exactly did you end up in Hawaii + Nicaragua?
For years I dreamed of surfing in Hawaii. I finally took the leap when my fiancé/kayaking partner left me for another woman, and because I was transitioning out of my career (and image) as a professional athlete. I went through a major transformation during my first 5 years here in Hawaii, mostly from the need to recover from heartbreak. This was no small task! But it forced me to do a lot of personal healing (in the form of; surfing, meditating, dancing, magic mushrooms, plus the trials and tribulations of new lovers), all leading me down the beautiful path of massive self-growth.
I eventually met a beautiful man, Ken, one night on the dance floor of an electronic music festival. We both wanted to find a new surf mecca together, so we jotted down our goals and desires, and when Nicaragua kept popping up on our radar we decided to take a trip. We fell in love with it, and have been going back for years.
Writing a novel is not a small aspiration – What made you decide to write one?
It actually all started with a bumper sticker I had made: surfergirlskickass. This is going to sound weird, but it felt like there was more to it than just a sticker. It wanted to be more, and I had this urge…a calling that came in the form of a whisper: ‘write a book’ that wouldn’t go away. And while I had written articles for kayaking magazines back in the day, I had never considered writing a novel! So for a while I did nothing, even though I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In fact, the longer I procrastinated the worse I felt. But eventually the timing presented itself and I was out of excuses. The only thing left to do was- to do it!
Fiction is often inspired by true experiences – Is that true about this story? Is the main character, Zoe Smith, based off any one in particular?
Creating a story out of thin air was a surreal experience, but you’re right in that I definitely infused it with my own experiences, using people I know to help develop the characters while sharing lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I do see a lot of myself in Zoe because I had to draw from my own experiences to ensure the book was relatable. Yes, the storyline is fictional, but the underlying essence and feeling of it comes from the depth of my soul. As for the other characters, I’d say they all have bits of lots of people in them, especially Sophie and Seth…who became very dear to my heart. It’s really incredible how the characters became ‘real’ to me. It’s as if they are long lost friends…
What were some challenges you faced writing this story? What are some challenges you faced in the book-writing/publishing world?
I’d say that fear and uncertainty were the main culprits. Some of those fears were: Why am I writing this? How does it fit into my brand? Is this a good use of my time? How am I going to create a story out of thin air?
As for the writing and publishing part… Yeah, the challenges were based on the fact that I had never written or published a book, and therefore had no idea how to go about it. How it would all unfold was beyond me.
I played games with myself for the writing part, like; write one page/day, or write one chapter/day etc. I took a month off here and there as well, when I let the procrastination win. It’s a lot like yoga…the hardest part is getting to the mat. But once I found a rhythm and got into the story and the development of the characters I was too curious as to how it would play out so I couldn’t quit! It was a relief to get to the point of knowing that I would actually complete the book, which is when I gave myself a legit goal: to finish it by the end of the year.
The publishing part was a completely different adventure. Self-publish or find a publisher? Who should I self-publish with? What about the cover art? How much is this going to cost? What can I afford? What about an editor?
There were so many insane decisions to make when I think about it. But that was the hardest part. Now that I have the experience and knowledge – my next books will be so much easier to create!
Did you ever feel like giving up? If so, what made you press on?
I took breaks from writing, but I don’t think I ever gave up. The best way I can explain what made me press on is that the force was too strong! Honestly, if that urge to write this story hadn’t been nagging away at my mind, I never would’ve thought to write a book in the first place.
What do you want your readers to take away from the novel?
My aim is to help my readers develop their intuitive skills so that they learn to go inward for the answers to their questions and to realize that while asking for the opinions of others can be helpful, the only real way to gain confidence in your ‘self’ is by paying attention to and taking action from the truth within.
What did you learn about yourself and/or take away from this process?
I learned so many things!
The desire for accomplishing your goal has to be so strong that you won’t let anything stop you from achieving it. Meaning, even though I didn’t know what would come of the book or even its purpose, I could feel that the book wasn’t about ‘me’. It was coming from something beyond me — and that force carried me to completion.
I also learned the importance of not being attached to the outcome. I honestly haven’t worried whether or not people will like it – I’m just proud that I followed through with it. I’ve felt guided through the entire process, so even though there was a ton of research involved and decisions to make in the publishing process, once I landed on my answer, the thing that felt right, I trusted it completely- Feeling supported each step of the way.
Having experienced that, I’ve discovered that it’s the only way to work: With heart, with inner guidance, with trust and faith in the process.
Feeling peace is way better than feeling anxious and stressed, right?
Tiffany Manchester is now writing her second novel, and also helps clients gain clarity and insight with angel tarot readings. You can find out more about Tiff and Surfer Girls Kick Ass and everything else on her website: www.tiffanymanchester.com
Instagram: @tiffmanchester, @surfergirlskickass
Surfer Girls Kick Ass is available on Amazon for $9.22 on Kindle or $18,99 on paperback.