Every day, Suffolk AME members work hard to provide the programs and services that our friends, neighbors, and loved ones depend on. In addition to this incredible altruism, many of our members work hard to pursue their passions, from creative endeavors to volunteerism, we never cease to be amazed by the versatility and talent that lives amongst our ranks.

Recently, Suffolk AME member Catherine Manett, a Family Services Caseworker and the Captain of the Suffolk AME Forget-Me-Nots published her first book in her Run Away Home Series, Run Away Home: Tempered, to rave reviews. While Catherine's expertise and commitment shine bright in her professional role, we are equally excited to delve into the world of her creative endeavors and explore the significance of celebrating the accomplishments of our members, both on and off the clock. We had the opportunity to speak with Catherine about her book, what inspired her, and some advice for her AME siblings.

I see that you studied Creative Writing at Hofstra, what inspired you to start writing? Do you have a favorite author or an author who inspires your work?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Imagination has always been something I valued, and it wasn’t until college that I realized that it could be a potential career path! I had the idea for this series back in 2012, and wrote the first few chapters for my creative writing professor.  He’s now my editor!

My work is dark, and very much inspired by the style of AS I LAY DYING by Faulkner. Although this is true, I compare the content of my work to another of my favorite books, YOU by Caroline Kepnes.

What inspired you to write the Run Away Home series?

I wanted to write a story that not only entertained its audience but also educated them about social issues right here on Long Island. The main characters face addiction, unaffordable housing, and mental illness. These themes follow throughout the series. Although the book is fictional, these issues are very real.

You have already released Run Away Home: Tempered to rave reviews from all who have read it- have you started work on the next two installments in the series? Did you always plan on it being a series?

I’m writing the second book, SHATTERED, now. I completed TEMPERED in 2020 during the shutdown (I had a lot of extra time on my hands!) This story and these characters have been with me for a very long time. The book is very “slice of life,” and reads like a soap opera. I knew RUN AWAY HOME would either be one extremely long book or multiple shorter books. Eventually, I chose multiple shorter books. I picture each book as a season of a TV show.

Is there anything you would like people to take away from your book?

Absolutely. I’m very interested in social issues that impact our community. I would like my readers to finish the series with an awareness of how difficult life can be, especially on Long Island in our current economy. I would also like to send a message about human nature in general, but I don’t want to say too much and give away the plot of the book!

I see that you have done some Author signings and events- do you have any on the horizon that we can share with members?

I recently had events at Barnes and Noble in Riverhead, Tiny Racoon in Sayville, and Barrier Beach Company on Fire Island. As of right now, my next event is on October 7th. It’s the Chapter’s Rap Network Gala to honor both youth and adults for their contribution to their community at large. More information and tickets are available online at chaptersnetwork.org.

Do you have any advice for your AME siblings who may be interested in starting their own creative journey? Alternatively, What advice would you give to your younger self?

All creatives seem to suffer from imposter syndrome. This is a sort of self-doubt in your own skills and accomplishments. My advice would be to write the first draft. No matter how terrible you think it may be, get your work down on the page. You can’t edit a blank Word doc.

Interested in reading Run Away Home: Tempered? You can get your copy here! Suffolk AME again offers our congratulations to Catherine upon this incredible accomplishment, and we thank Catherine for taking the time to share her thoughts.