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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

What Does Spirituality Have To Do With A Fast-Paced Novel About Advertising In New York City?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Image courtesy of La Luz

Guest Post and Interview From Suddenly Books:

I usually write blog posts at www.robertmanni.com about the top layers of my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE.  There is a wealth of topics to draw from -love, sex, power, and money to name a few. The story has a muscular plot that pulls the action along like a strong, steady undertow. For most readers-especially those interested in how men think-there is enough to keep readers engaged. But beneath the surface burbles a quiet subtext about morality, compassion, and an essence of spirituality.  To highlight this, one of the secondary characters, Alejandro Trebilcock, is a Reiki Master, teacher and a holistic energy practitioner. Alejandro works as a moral compass to the story in a fun, non-intrusive way. Yet, his contribution is noteworthy. He knows how to slow down his world, quiet the noise, and become mindful and present. That’s how he learns and lives better. That’s what I strive to do too, because it really helps me. When I drift from my energy practice, I fall into an all-too-familiar reactive pattern of living.

How Can We Use Energy To Improve Our Lives?

Having been certified in Reiki, hypnosis, and the Jose Silva method and after pouring through countless books on spirituality and holistic practices, I found a thread of consistency throughout the teachings. The process of growth, enlightenment, and healing begins from the inside. And to get inside the subconscious mind, we need to quiet our conscious minds. It’s that simple. Meditation, yoga, running, reading, breathing, and walking are just a few forms of quieting the mind and simply being. When we are quiet, we open up, and when we are open we can access a universal consciousness. It’s not so serious. It’s just about slowing our minds down a bit.

Am I enlightened? Far from it, but I am aware of what I am doing and the patterns I repeat. Self-knowledge is a great first step.

So What Does This Have To Do With A Novel That Is A Sexy Romp Through Manhattan?

Two things. First all of the principal characters in THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE evolve in some way over the course of the story. This author believes that personal growth can occur. And in each case, the characters have some form of circumspection about their actions. Even Roger, our on-point womanizer, knows what he is lacking emotionally, so he has taken that first step to possible redemption. Throughout the book-whether it comes from Max Hallyday’s men’s column for women, Alejandro’s Reiki and energy practice, or the many scenes involving epiphanies and points of self-awareness-the core characters are on a journey towards potential self-realization. Some make it. Others…well you have to read the story to find out.

Is this subtext possible in a fast-paced rom-com? Yes, it is.

Am I Walking The Walk?

Like all of us, I’m a work in progress. However, I would not have had the energy to face down the endless challenges this story faced over the five years that led to publication without my energy practices and beliefs in place. It would have been too easy to set the story aside. I’m not Dr, Phil. I’m a guy’s guy, but I can assure you that working with energy is a gift that all of us can access.

Do You Have The Discipline It Takes To Quiet Your Mind And Get The Most Out Of Life?


SUDDENLY BOOKS QUESTIONS- ROBERT MANNI- THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in River Edge, New Jersey, graduated Villanova University and earned an MBA at Pace University in Manhattan. I am currently President of Agent16, an advertising agency in New York. For the past two decades I have played and experienced success in Madison Avenue’s relentlessly changing game. I’m a true devotee of New York City, inspired by its diverse array of people, its pulsating energy, no-nonsense attitude, and romantic backdrop.

I’m a world traveler, a Reiki Master and teacher, certified advanced clinical Master Hypnotist and graduate of the Jose Silva Method and Life System. I’ve run three marathons and am a bona fide “Guy’s Guy who somehow managed to survive over twenty years of single life in the big city.

What kind of story or topic do you write about in your book?

THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE is a sexy romp through the fast-moving, high-stakes word of Madison Avenue. It is a story that appeals to both women wanting to get an inside look into the world of today’s man, and for men to finally have a book that articulates their point of view.

The story itself is about two men competing for love, sex, power, and money in the city that never sleeps. Ultimately the book is about love and how men and women spend a lot of time analyzing one another without taking the time to understand that we all need love and we all need to give love. Along the way in the story there is a lot of frothy action and insights into how men think.

What is the first line?

The book begins right in the middle of a scene when Max Hallyday, the main character, receives a text message. 

The line is, Buzz-

Who is your favorite character in the book? Is he similar to you?

I try not to have a favorite character because they are all equally important in telling the story. However, Roger Fox, the archetype of a modern womanizer seems to have struck a chord with readers. Roger is engaging, seductive, and self-serving but he is also likeable and a scene-stealer. His character arc is critical to the storyline and what happens to his best friend, Max. 
None of the characters are me, but I can relate to Max, Roger, and Alejandro, the Reiki Master and surfing champion. They represent three very different sides of modern men- the everyday guy’s guy, the sexual male, and the spiritual essence. You could say that the difference between one man and the next is how he manages his “inner Roger”.

How did you come up with the title?

I actually had the title, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, before starting to write the book. I was inspired by the growing chasm between men and women in today’s society and thought that is was about time that a regular guy gives women a peak under the tent into a world that they need to know better. It’s not pretty, but it is not so bad either. And, it’s an authentic and honest perspective that will help women figure out guys and their quirks.
I think it’s unique and provocative, and a bit of a tongue twister, which makes it fun and something that needs to be stated twice the first time people see it. That’s good advertising.

What town or city does your main character live in? Does he like living there?

All of the characters live in New York City, yet none of them come from Manhattan. That’s pretty typical and I enjoyed the melting pot aspect of their world as a metaphor for the world we live in. New York can be that way. I also take them to the beaches of the Jersey Shore, sans Snooki, for a change of scenery.

Does religion play a part in your story?

Great question. Can a story about love, sex, power and money in the heart of New York City include religion? You bet! The book is about something beyond being, “the man’s successor to Sex and the City” which is how Dan Wakefield, author of The Highjacking of Jesus and New York in the Fifties, refers to it.  I included a character, Alejandro, who is a Reiki Master and teacher and holistic healer as moral compass to the story and I feel very strongly about his character and his message. I really wanted to write a book that is ultimately uplifting and from our feedback, readers are having a great time with the story and the surprising ending that ties all of the pieces together in a very unique and satisfying way.



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What People Are Saying

"THE GUYS' GUY'S GUIDE TO LOVE is the man's successor to Sex And The City
~ Dan Wakefield, author of Going All The Way
"GREAT book, fun read, very 'real'"
~ Janis Spindel, founder of Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking, Inc.
"Prepare to man up and hunker down for this exuberant guided tour of the male sexual psyche."
~ Ian Kerner, NY Times best-selling author of She Comes First
"A contemporary look at "Mad Men". Very compelling, almost addictive. Manni knows too much about women."
~Judy Wald, "the master manipulator and undisputed leader in the ad placement scene for forty years," according to New York Magazine
"Manni astutely captures the mindset of guys when it comes to dating and relationships. A well-written parable of lust, greed, and ego."
~Brad Berkowitz, author of The 21st Century Guide To Bachelorhood
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