Exclusive Interview "T. Denise Manning"
Combat Veteran, Author, Motivational Speaker, Holistic Health Practitioner, International Certified Birth Doula, 1st HBCU Certified Life Coach, Certified Yoga Instructor, Forensic Fingerprint & Mortuary Expert, Juvenile Justice Advocate, Former Deputy Sheriff & Active Humanitarian…Better known as “Wonder Woman”
Your trajectory is quite impressive, ranging from being a Motivational Speaker, Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Yoga Instructor, and author, just to name a few. Please tell us how you manage your time and how your journey as an author started?
I was able to focus on all my passions when I retired from the US Army. Being financially stable enabled me to pursue all my goals outside of working a 9-5. My journey as an author started when I was a child. I had an imagination & would write stories and poetry. I moved to Japan in 2014 to Life Coach military spouses and in addition to my service work, I dedicated my time to writing tow of my books.
Please give our readers a brief description of each of your books and the inspiration behind them.
I was inspired to write “Imagine Potential” for teen girls
that needed an extra push, for the girls that were told they weren’t good enough or ever felt that she couldn't or wouldn't accomplish her dreams because of what someone said or her because of her upbringing… I was that girl. Imagine potential is a Life Coaching guidebook for teen girls to empower them to reach for their goals.
I was inspired to write “ Clipped Wings” because I’ve worked in the criminal Justice/Juvenile Justice field for years and I’m passionate about coaching youth that are in the system. Clipped Wings is a restorative life-coaching guide for youth transitioning out of the justice or foster care system. The book is a tool that can be used as a roadmap or guidebook that will help the youth reach success.
I was inspired to write “ I’m Unique” because I felt empowerment and establishing high self esteem for girls was vital, no matter the age. I’m Unique encourages and inspires the girls to spread her wings to whatever life brings, to utilize her imagination, to instill confidence, to promote self-esteem and to celebrate her uniqueness!
I was inspired to collaborate and share a small piece of my story in
“20 Beautiful Women” because I wanted women to be encouraged and empowered from reading some of the dark places in my life… 20 beautiful women is a book of stories that will heal, Ignite and Inspire. It’s a collection of personal short stories from 20 authors, speakers, and life coaches bonding together for the common goal of sisterhood, and to transform women from the inside out.
With all of the hats you wear, you’re also a life coach, correct? For those who may not be aware, please tell us exactly what a life coach is and does?
Yes, I’m a Life Coach. I’m also proud to say that I’m the first Life Coach to serve/hired at an HBCU. I worked at Florida A&M University as a Life Coach. A Life Coach is person that works with their clients to help them achieve goals, overcome obstacles and make changes or shifts in their lives. The coach works with the client, as a partner, knowing that the client has the answers to create the changes they seek so a Coach adds that extra push, holds them accountable and cheers the, along.
Do you believe your wide range of professional work experiences have helped or hindered your professional career as an author?
It has absolutely helped! Working in the criminal justice system and with high-risk youth for over a decade has helped tremendously. I have also traveled all around the world from the states to Africa to India to Asia and I can keep going… all of my experiences to include my upbringing have contributed to my
Along with writing self-help coaching books for teens, and collaboration stories, you also write children’s books. Do you have a favorite genre?
I read everything but I’m a “ Self- Help” junkie! I love read anything about wellness, spirituality or mindfulness… As for writing, I love to write children’s books.
First, lets talk specifically about your book “I'm Unique.” For many young girls gaining self confidence at a young age can be challenging without the right people, tools, and resources in place. Can you give us five reasons why you believe your book can be a great conversation starter to talk to young girls learn about the importance of self-confidence?
In my non-profit, my book Imagine potential helped with conversations a great deal… I was able to talk to the girls I mentored and share my experiences and the challenges I faced when I was their age. Starting with 3 important talking points … Visualization. The book has a chapter on visualization and how vision boards are important.
Facing Fear. The book is open and upfront with talking to girls about punching fear in the face and going after their goals despite of what someone says, thinks or feels.
They have all they need and to “ use all they’ve got”
The book is a tool that will add to their self-confidence, its open an upfront and focuses on topics that should be discussed when mentoring, the book is a guidebook that allows girls to write in it and start the first phase if their goal planning.
Now, lets talk about your book “Clipped Wings: A restorative life coaching guide for youth transitioning in the justice or foster care system.” In this book you provide youth transitioning from the juvenile justice or foster care system with a guidebook to encourage and empower them for future success. Along with reading your book, are there any programs or resources you can recommend to at-risk youth transitioning back into society?
The book covers a great deal and is a great guidebook for any youth transitioning out of the system but I would strongly encourage a transition plan/ goal plan. I would encourage that every youth work with the adult they trust to identify resources in their community that can help them reach their goals. Library cards, non-profits, club memberships & volunteering go a long way…
Your book “20 Beautiful Women: 20 More Stories That Will Heal Your Soul, Ignite Your Passion, And Inspire Your Divine Purpose ,” is a best seller! In your opinion, what does it take to write a best-selling novel?
Writing a best seller is all about strategy, having a great product and being authentic.
What message(s) do you hope your readers will take away from your book “Imagine Potential: Imagining Your Possibilities and Reaching Your Full Potential, a Life Coaching Guide to Success”?
It’s my hope that readers are inspired to think and dream beyond their circumstances. I hope readers are inspired to set their goals and achieve them. I want readers to know that they can make it despite of what anyone says, thinks or feels about them. Your life is yours to live and to never doubt the calling on your life…Imagine your potential and go for it!
What’s the most surprising thing you learned about yourself as a person while you were writing your book(s)?
I learned that my life is bigger than just me. I learned that my voice and calling was supposed to be shared with the world and my duty was to inspire others especially teens that need guidance.
As an author, what would you say were the three biggest struggles you faced while writing your book(s) and how did you overcome them?
Procrastination. The only way to combat procrastination is to take action. Make a plan and prepare to ACT… make plans for the plan. I overcame procrastination by sticking with my plan and following it through. I fought those thoughts to put my agenda off and went straight ahead without looking back.
Focus. Being focused means your writing goal needs to be the center of your attention and your main priority outside your daily responsibilities.
Goal Planning. Planning ahead is vital to your writing success.
Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?
Mary McLeod Bethune has been my inspiration since I was a young girl. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students.
On a more personal note: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, hobbies, etc.
I’m a retired US Army combat veteran that does humanitarian work. I have a non profit for high risk girls that have been expelled from school or have been in the Juvenile Justice System, I’m a Birth Doula that helps deliver babies, I’m a funeral director that has been in funeral service for over 20 years, I have A LOT going on lol Outside of being busy and living my Life’s purpose, I’m married to my amazing husband that’s a NASA Aerospace Engineer. We love to chill at home, travel and spend as much tike as we can together.
As a seasoned author, what advice would you give to aspiring authors reading this interview?
Take notes, outline your chapters and don’t neglect that voice that says “ write this down” You might have to change your environment to write and that’s ok, find a quiet place or a space that you can stay focused…
Where can we find you online? Are you on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media?
Sure! “ T. Denise Manning “ on all social media outlets.
Connect with the author
Books available for sale on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com