Interview with Maan Gabriel, Author of Twelve Hours in Manhattan
19 Apr 2023
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Twelve Hours in Manhattan?
Twelve Hours in Manhattan is an amalgamation of different influences. I wrote this at the beginning of the pandemic when the world was in shock, hurting, and in sheer panic. I always write to escape – but at the same time, I also write to express some of the emotions embedded within me. So, yes, this is not a light read, far from it, and the themes are somewhat dark and heavy. It is a reflection of the fear the pandemic brought me, the people I love, and the world.
I also discovered during the pandemic that I love the storytelling approach of Korean dramas as a genre. It captured me and fired up my creative imagination. Because of this, I tried to encapsulate the beauty and the dizzying roller coaster of emotions in Kdramas in Twelve Hours in Manhattan. The male lead was also inspired by a famous South Korean actor.
Twelve Hours in Manhattan is a ride that is both messy and beautiful – centering on hope that leads to a path of a grand happy ending.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Twelve Hours in Manhattan, what would they be?
Playlist: • Universe by Cold Play • Unstoppable by Sia • Turbulence by Pink • Shine Ya Light by Rita Ora • Happiest Girl by Black Pink • Happiness by Taylor Swift • Maroon by Taylor Swift • Crash Landing on You Theme by Joe Jenkins • Here I am Again by Yerin Baek
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I’m a mood reader, so apart from gory horror, I read them all. But when I’m at the bookstore, the first place I go to is literary fiction with a focus on women stories, and then of course, romance.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
• It Ends With Us and It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid • Tomorrow and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas • The Brilliance of Stars by J’nell Ciesielski • Tanked by Mia Hopkins • The Boy with a Bookstore by Sarah Smith
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
There was a scene where Bianca, my MC, finally sold her home to newlyweds and the goal was to show the contrast between what Bianca and the new couple were feeling. It was so hard to write it, but I enjoyed the challenge of showing happiness and sadness at the exact same moment.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Depending on my mood, I actually play with text fonts at the beginning of writing. Weird, right?
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Believe. Love. Inspire.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
Hope, and the significance of loving once self to be truly free.
Maan Gabriel is the author of the new book Twelve Hours in Manhattan
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