Hello all, Katy Lee here with Ann Lee Miller. Ann is offering a FREE e-book to anyone who leaves an e-mail address in a comment or requests a book at AnnLeeMiller.com. Yippee!
And not just any book but the 1st Place win in Long Contemporary, 2009 RWA Faith, Hope, & Love Contest!
But don’t just come for the book. Stay and get to know Ann. Her writing tidbits just might help you, starting with how she battles that pesky doubt monster…
Thanks, Scribes for having me today! Like any writer, I fight the doubt monster every day. But I always come back to the fact that God called me to write, gave me the passion to do it, and the opportunity. A life without writing is a purposeless life for me. I must write. I pretty much never feel like the book is golden. I get to a point where I feel like it is finished, however. Publishing feels like throwing the novel on the table and saying, “It may not be much, but it’s the best I can do.”
Thank you, Ann for saying that. I battle within myself on when the book is finished all the time. There’s always something I can do or change.
Can you tell us the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?
Indie publishing! After trying to publish traditionally for ten years, I hit bottom. I think God needed me there so He could redirect me. Trust me, I had to swallow a giant hairball of pride to indie publish. But I’m chewing on hope, and it tastes a lot better than despair.
What a visual! Ha-Ha!
Alright, they say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?
The first novel I wrote was Tattered Innocence. It was truly dreadful because I wrote it before I knew what I was doing. I have a BA in creative writing, but my university didn’t offer any classes on novel writing. I applied to enter the masters in fine arts program at Arizona State University, but ultimately pieced together my own education by plowing through a tall stack of fiction craft books, participating in critique groups, and attending writers’ conferences. Ten years after Karen Ball rejected the first draft of Tattered Innocence, I thanked her at a writing conference for sparing me the mortification of seeing it in print. Even now, literally 37 rewrites later, I feel like the novel is my red-headed step child. My best friend prefers an earlier version. I am sending it out for an extensive edit with a freelance editor before it debuts March 1, 2013. Now, I’m sure everyone who reads this blog is going to ex the book off their list. Note to self: don’t trash your own book. Ha!
I don’t think they will ex it off their list. I think we all have that book that we don’t want to give up on. Good for you!
Can you tell us how you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?
Writers are vultures, we scavenge with abandon. No event or person is safe around me. However, usually I use the experience or personality as a nugget for my imagination to expand upon. Rather than knocking people off, I tend to “help” them make better choices in fiction than they did in real life. It’s the mom in me, I guess.
I like that. I’m the same way. I want my characters to learn from their mistakes, too.
So tell us, what’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?
When I was a teen, I once jumped off a bridge in Jupiter, Florida. It was one of those all-my-friends-were-doing-it experiences. I think that’s where I got my fear of heights from!
Yikes, risky is right! But it also answers the old question, “If your friends jump off a bridge, are you going to follow?”
But in the end when it came to following your path, you did it, Ann! So please tell us all about where that path took you.
Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would send him caterwauling into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
For anyone who’s ever wrestled with their dreams.
Cal looked up from the easel and caught her staring.
Her gaze darted toward the window, her cheeks burning. When she looked back at Cal, she saw a small smile playing at the edges of his mouth and eyes. It reminded her of one she’d seen and dismissed earlier.
“Why are you quizzing me on prayer?”
“You think I have an ulterior motive?”
“You tell me.”
He sat on the table top behind him. “You were sitting there like you were afraid of your own skin. I wanted to paint your fire. Pretty much a no-brainer to get you going on a topic that lights your passion.” He shrugged and grinned at her.
Raine turned her face toward the bulletin board covered with crosses her elementary students had colored. Stupidity for having fallen for Cal’s manipulation warred against something entirely different. Cal saw something she didn’t see in herself—passion.
A board creaked nearby, and Cal squatted down in front of her. His hand cupped her face. “You moved.” He brought her head back into position. His palm stayed on her cheek a heartbeat too long, his fingers trailing down to her chin almost in a caress before he broke the contact.
She met his steady gaze. “What button are you trying to push now?”
Cal stood. “The one that turns your cheeks pink like they were a few minutes ago.”
Cal wasn’t the only one who could manipulate. “Let’s talk about obeying God.”
“Talk about whatever you want. I’m going to work on your shirt now.”
Sounds great! Ann, tell us how readers can get in contact with you.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022
Fresh from college, Raine scores a teaching job at New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp. A crush on the camp rebel/art teacher threatens to derail her plans to teach orphans in Africa. The broody recreation director spots her brothers meth addiction and Raine’s enabling. Raine believes she is helping her brother–until lives are threatened.
Bio: Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who’ll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won’t want to miss Kicking Eternity!”
Jenny B. Jones, Author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.”
Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song, and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category