Ann Miller is back at the Scribes! And anyone who leaves a comment with their (safe) e-mail address will receive a free e-copy of prequel: Kicking Eternity. Or you may request your free copy at www.AnnLeeMiller.com
Ann, how did you get interested in sailing?
My dad built a 40-foot yawl (sailboat) in our Miami, Florida, back yard that we ended up living aboard for a few years when I was an adolescent.
Wow! What an adventure for a teen. What were some highlights from living aboard?
[Laughing] I always say the Annie Lee (named after yours truly) was an aquaculture for mold and dysfunction. A psychologist would have a heyday with that, no doubt. My folks’ marriage had descended into its swan song during those years. But it’s pretty hard to knock shedding your Catholic school uniform everyday, shimmying into a bathing suit, and jumping overboard. My kid brother rode his tricycle off the end of our pier twice before my dad left the trike at the bottom of the bay. We rescued an injured turtle the size of a car tire and nursed it back to health in our cockpit. Not yet a proficient swimmer, my brother had to wear a Styrofoam football on a belt around his waist. Every so often my father would saw off a hunk until my brother only had the belt left. Since he’s still alive, I guess Dad’s method of drown-proofing worked.
Was there a down side to living aboard a sailboat?
Probably not for a the-cup-is-half-full person, but for a writer with excess angst, even at twelve, there were fish bones in the spaghetti, ubiquitous and hideous zinc oxide we smeared on our noses and cheeks and shoulders to ward off sunburn, a spider the size of my palm and spare palmetto bugs that shared the aft cabin with me, hippies passed out on park benches on my walk to school. Ultimately, my mother said living on a boat was too much togetherness, then she filed for divorce.
Did you incorporate any real-life boat experiences into The Art of My Life?
I have a shrimping scene that was inspired by a night on Pier 1 at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove (Miami) when the shrimp were running. All the people who lived aboard gathered nets and lights and scooped shrimp into buckets late into the night.
After living on a boat did you need to do additional research for The Art of My Life?
My friends, Tim and Jan Solomon, who own and operate Key Sailing, http://keysailingsarasota.com/, in Sarasota, Florida, have fielded thousands of sailboat and charter sailing questions. There would be no book without their help. In fact, I plunked their forty-one-foot Catalina right into my book. However, don’t blame them if I got something wrong. I love it when readers catch mistakes. In this digital age, my flubs can be fixed in future copies.
Are there any funny boat stories you wish you’d included in the book?
My dad built a dinghy in our living room before he built our sailboat. But he had to take it apart to get it out the door—funny only in retrospect. Later, my folks sent me to a sailing club near the marina for pram sailing lessons. My most prized accomplishment was capsizing. I loved the confidence that once I got the small sailboat to tip over, I had the power and know-how to right it by standing on the centerboard. The several times I’ve shared this feat with friends, they failed to share my delight.
I think I might be one of them. But impressed you know how to handle the situation.
Thank you, Ann for sharing more about yourself with our readers!
And Readers, here is more about Ann’s latest book! And don’t forget to leave a comment.
The Art of my Life
Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed.
But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying.
For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.
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 SuperstitionMountains with her pastor husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.
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