- Guest Author -
Today I interview and feature the life of another author from Memphis - Annette Miller.
Welcome, Annette ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I’m originally from Baltimore, MD. I got married a year out of high school to an Air Force man. Our last base was McGuire AFB in New Jersey. We have two great boys, now in their 20’s, and are currently living in Memphis, TN.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I always liked writing and telling stories, so I think I always was a writer. I didn’t seriously think about trying to get published until 2000. Then I joined the Romance Writers of America and the local chapter in New Jersey. I had a lot to learn and took courses through the Institute of Children’s Literature and learned a lot from them. After a lot of rejections, I finally found a home at The Wild Rose Press.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I’m what they call a “pantser” meaning I write spontaneously. Every time I try to outline, it always goes in a completely different direction. I usually have a particular scene in mind and go from there.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love creating the world my characters live in. I get absorbed in the story and think “someone is going to read this.” I want to make my world a place the reader can get lost in.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Definitely marketing. I’m still so new to social media, it’s all a bit overwhelming. Writing the rough draft and editing is the easy part. The business end takes a lot more knowledge and patience.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was a stay at home mom. I did some seasonal retail work, but my kids were, and still are, my life. I’m still in retail (two jobs as a matter of fact).
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Being asked by my editor for a proposal for a series. It’s not very often a new writer is asked for a series proposal. This tells me I’m on track for great things.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
The rough draft for book three. The first one is available on Amazon and from The Wild Rose Press. Book two is currently in edits and revisions.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Certain smooth jazz artists. (Love Jim Brickman), superhero movies, romantic comedies, favourite authors, and believe or not, pro wrestling.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write paranormal romance. Not vampires or anything like that. I write superhero romance. My series is called Angel Haven.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Don’t give up! It took me fourteen years to get my first book out there. Take every rejection as a learning experience. Learn the craft. Find your weaknesses and strengths. And always edit with an objective eye. I’ve cut so many favourite scenes because when I went back, it wasn’t clean writing. Join a chapter, meet with other writers. Do what you have to to get that book out there!
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Sometimes. When it hits, I’ll work on another rough draft or cross stitch or something to free up my mind. Sometimes, I play video games on my tablet or read in a different genre than I write. It knocks ideas loose and then I get back to work.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I would love to just write all day, but the reality is I grab time when I can. I mentioned before I work two retail jobs. I don’t have the luxury of setting a schedule. It’s usually when I get in from work or on my days off.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I have my own office and that’s where I write. I know when I’m in there, I’m there to work. I have a small stereo and all my reference books in there, so I don’t have to leave for anything. Except food. J
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Knowing that I’ve turned out a story that may help ease someone’s stress after a long day. I’ve told a story with true love and a happy ending. Who wouldn’t find joy in creating something like that?
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
This is a tough one. I have so many. I think I’ll stick with romance and say Joanna Lindsey. I have every single one of her books. She creates colourful characters and you can see the places she describes. Her Mallory family books are awesome and I’ve read them all about ten times.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
A reader wrote that she couldn’t put it down because she just had to know what happened next.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
It needed more substance. I can live with that and I’m going to see if I can fix that in the rest of the series.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Not really. I have an extremely overactive imagination so my brain plays what it all the time. I don’t have any “life experiences” in my books because my characters go through way worse things than me.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love hanging with my family. I also cross stitch and watch movies.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
I worked with a critique partner who was a published writer and writing instructor. We worked together after my course ended. It was because of what I learned from her that I got published.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Not having to go to work and staying in my office all day.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Oscar Wilde. He was so smart and had such insights into humanity as a whole. He was funny and serious and always had something to say about any situation he was in.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Learn to co-operate and get over this petty crap that seems to crop up at the most inopportune time. There’s no need for half the situations the world is in so learn to share your toys and grow up.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I plan on being out of retail and having my own SyFy Channel original series. It could happen. Kelly Armstrong took one of my bookmarks at a recent convention and she has her own series. I’m keeping the faith on that one.
26. WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
Bible, dictionary, Shakespear’s complete work, Arthur Conan Doyle’s complete works, Poe’s complete works
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
In a few, yes.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Not yet. I’m still really new, though. So far, I’ve had the good fortune to work with really amazing people.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
At one point, I did. It was before I joined the Institute for Children’s Literature. I had gotten rejected again and I just didn’t know how to fix it. Soon, I was enrolled and began learning the technical aspect of writing.
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
The second one. That was actually the first book I wrote and finished. I was in love with my hero the whole time and the story just flowed. It didn’t even seem like work. No writer’s block, no problems, nothing. It was just something that came out of me.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Saying you are going to write a book and then write it. Not giving up when people don’t believe you and reject you. Getting a contract and getting paid is a really great perk.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I hope they walk away knowing that things will always work out in the end. I hope they feel satisfied with the way story comes out.
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
I try and look for artists whose style matches what I have in mind. I describe what I want and after that, it’s pretty much out of my hands.
34. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be a full time writer and have enough money to be comfortable and not have to worry every second. A car that doesn’t need constant repair would be nice too.
35. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I find marketing to be a bit of a challenge. I have an author’s page on Facebook. It’s called Angel Haven. I try and get the word out. A friend of mine has featured me on her website. My own website is still being worked on. I also have posted links on LinkedIn.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
No. I’m with The Wild Rose Press. They’re a smaller publishing house but they are willing to work with new authors. They’ve got a great staff there.
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Optimistic, funny, helpful, snarky, opinionated
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
People who suffer from “poor me” syndrome. A lot of problems would cease if we would quit pandering to the minority who find offense in everything. They’re never going to be happy and “poor me” syndrome is terminal.
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
True Strength by Kevin Sorbo. It’s his autobiography and how he almost died from clots in his arm and a stroke. It was truly amazing what he overcame to keep acting. I would recommend this book to everyone. When the small problems and make you wonder how you’ll ever deal with them, read this book and you’ll find the strength you need.
40. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
They lived happily ever after because I believe in happy endings and I wish everyone in the world could have one. That’s why I write, read, and watch romance. You’re guaranteed a happy ending. The world needs more of those.
41. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Being able to stay home and write full time and having enough money to not have to worry. Right now, we’re still living paycheck to paycheck, but I’ve got the faith that things will get better. After all, I’ve been blessed with the talent to write. It can only get better.
42. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
To all the new writers out there. You don’t need a degree to write. There are no credentials needed to make it as an author. I have a high school diploma. That’s all. All you really need is a love of the written word and the drive to get them all down on paper. Good things will happen as long as you’re willing to put in the time. And a little bit of faith in your talent doesn’t hurt either. J
Clancy's comment: Go, Annette! I love and admire your passion. Keep writing and enjoying what you do. It will pay off eventually.
Think about this!