COLUMBIA — Heather Manning closes her eyes and escapes to pirate ships, ladies-in-waiting and journeys across the sea.
In her fantasy world, a woman’s only chance to separate herself from an abusive suitor is to run. Manning has turned this fantasy into a novel about a woman she calls Lady Eden Trenton, a stowaway on a pirate ship who hopes to escape the dangerous suitor before she is discovered by the crew.
Manning’s 236-page novel, “Swept to Sea,” was published when she was just 16. She has since published the sequel, “Carried Home,” and plans to have the third novel in the “Ladies of the Caribbean” trilogy finished by the end of this year.
Her books are sold on Amazon and at select Barnes & Noble stores. She has received a 4.2 out of 5 stars for “Swept to Sea” by readers on Amazon and earns 40 percent to 60 percent in royalties for each book sold. She says she has sold about 3,500 books so far.
Writing provides a place where she can “create a world that doesn’t exist now.” She bases her novels on the tenets of her faith.
“I give the honor to God because he gave me the ability,” she said.
“The Ladies of the Caribbean” series is categorized by Amazon and Goodreads as historical Christian romance, a subgenre of Christian novels.
Manning’s mother, Sandy, said the books are clean and wholesome because of it.
“Some romance novels can get raunchy, and I was glad she kept her books clean,” Manning’s mother said. “It might have been easier for her to sell something that wasn’t clean.”
Manning is a junior studying theatre at Stephens College. Her dream is to become involved in children’s theater and continue writing after she graduates.
“They say that you need a day job for acting, and they also say that about writing. So, they’ll both be my night job,” she said with a laugh.