Book signings will feature author of the Stan Turner mystery series
edited: Thursday, April 17, 2003
By William Manchee
Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2003
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By Shay Templeton , Midland Reporter-Telegram 04/12/2003
By most people's standards, Dallas attorney William Manchee is a successful man. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Janet, for 34 years. He has practiced law for 25 years, the last seven of which have been with oldest son, Jim.
His daughter Maryanna also practiced law with the firm for two years before taking a job at JPMorgan Chase Bank.
As if that is not enough, the 55-year-old, who has two other sons, Jeff and Michael, struck gold again with a second career.
Manchee is the author of the Stan Turner mystery series. On Saturday, he will be signing copies of the latest in the series, "Cash Call," 11 a.m. at Barnes & Noble and 2 p.m. at Hastings.
"I never realized that I had any writing skills," Manchee said in a phone interview from his law office in Dallas.
A self-proclaimed "movie freak," Manchee said the idea of writing a book came to him after watching the "Shawshank Redemption." He wondered if he could indeed produce his own piece of literature.
The idea of writing and the actual work proved to be a bit tougher than Manchee had anticipated. But sheer determination kept him focused and the result was "Twice Tempted."
The completion of the book, which Manchee describes as "a daunting task," brought about another challenge. The competition of would-be writers trying to get a publisher was intense, according to Manchee.
"I turned out hundreds of query letters," he said. "Finally, a Canadian company sent me a contract and I signed it and shortly thereafter, they went under," Manchee said. " It took about a year for me to get the rights to the book back."
By the time Manchee got the rights to "Undaunted," he was ready to publish his next book, "Brash Endeavor."
Since then, Manchee has been churning out a book a year and has vowed to do so for the rest of his life.
An initially surprised Janet is now a proud partner, according to Manchee.
"She's been very supportive, although it's very tough. Writing is time-consuming. But she travels the country with me (promoting the book). She's not real critical, but I can tell she's thinking by her reaction. She won't say if it's good or bad, but I can tell by her enthusiasm (if she likes or dislikes something)," Manchee said.
Those close to the author could easily say Stan Turner is Manchee's alter ego.That's because much of Stan is based on Manchee's personality, his experiences and his life.
For example, Stan is the father of three sons and a daughter. He is a successful lawyer and a bit of a softy, as seen in "Cash Call."
In the next Stan Turner Mystery, Deadly Distractions, due to be released this fall, Stan, unlike Manchee, ends up defending his close friend who is found standing with a shotgun in his hand over the corpse of an IRS agent.
Stan's trusted assistant is Jodie, who is based on a former secretary Manchee employed for 10 years.
Also taken from reality are pieces of ancient Peruvian pottery Manchee was given by a missionary he once defended.
At the conclusion of his case, "I gave him my bill and he said 'Oh, I don't have any money,' and gave me this pottery," Manchee said. "It's interesting pottery and now it sits on a bookcase in my office."
That Peruvian pottery also sits on a bookcase in Stan Turner's office. But Stan is surprised to learn it is filled with diamonds.
Manchee said that by using his life and experiences in his books, the amount of research needed is limited. Still, he says, he does enhance the stories a little for entertainment purposes.
Those enhancements make for a good laugh when Janet or his friends, clients or his children think they identify with a character, but in fact, he says, "it is usually someone else."
Manchee's third book, " Second Chair," is taken from Maryanna's real life drama. A coed is accused of murder when an anonymous call placed to the police leads to the discovery of a newborn wrapped and disposed in a trash chute.
Manchee accompanied his daughter to the trial where she was scheduled to be a witness, but before she was called to testify, the defendant pleaded guilty and Maryanna was never called.
In reality, the accused said she cried for help, but no one answered. The problem with that defense was that Maryanna was in the room next door and would have heard her pleas, according to Manchee.
Although Manchee isn't sure of the exact outcome of the real case, in "Second Chair" the woman has a better fate.
Manchee's next book "Yes, We're Open, a Guide to Small Business Under Siege," is scheduled to be released this fall. It is a non-fiction guide for small business owners who find themselves in trouble.
He discusses how owners can defend themselves against creditors, the IRS and landlords. The book contains actual cases Manchee has worked on and offers practical suggestions to different issues.