Miller, Author of the Fallen Guardian Saga!
1. What inspired you to start writing?
I think that writing is just an extension of who I am. My grandmother lived with me for the past 5 years. We were very close and she was my biggest supporter in life. She always told me I was a gifted story-teller. I remember sitting by her bedside wondering how I could let her know how much I appreciated her always believing in me. I decided the best way to show her how grateful I was would be to write. I did that day after day, while sitting in her room and read each chapter to her as I went. Sadly, she didn't live long enough to hear the end of my story but there are traces of her in it from beginning to end. My Grandmother inspired me to be my best and I am doing just that.
2. What gave you the idea to write Descended, and how long did you take to write the first draft?
The idea for Descended came to me when my Grandmother was in the hospital. I was told that her time here was about to expire. I found myself wondering about what comes next. Each night when I left the hospital I would drive home imagining life beyond this world. My thoughts quickly turned to conversations between characters created in my mind. Before I knew it, there was a story developing and I needed to let it out. To an old school notebook the ink flowed onto the pages and 3 months later I had 94,000 words and a first draft.
Well that's hard to say? Vie is a teenager and my teenage years are far behind me now. I do believe that many young girls can/will relate to her and I wrote Descended specifically with young teens in mind. With that being said, I do relate to Vie in many ways. No matter what the age, I think we all struggle with finding our place in this world. I have learned to listen to that voice inside of me and let it be my guide. Hence I wrote Descended.
4. Do you have a specific genre you like to read?
I'm not genre specific. I read a wide array of books that cross over many genres. That's the wonderful thing about books, you read for the story. What I've noticed lately is that if I read a book and I love it, I tend to search for others in that genre hoping to continue that high! If I had to pick one it would probably be fantasy. I love to journey to worlds that only exist in our imagination.
5. What are some of your favorite books?
Admittedly, I loved "Twilight!" Please don't judge :) But growing up my favorites were Agatha Christie books. I devoured them! My influences are definitely Jane Austin & Margaret Mitchell. I love books that are witty and wise and all around classic treasures.
6. Do you have somewhere specific you like to write?
Anywhere and everywhere is the answer to that question. With a husband, three kids and a dog at home, quiet corners are difficult to find. I write mostly late at night when everyone has gone to bed and all is quite. It when my imagination is unleashed. All I need now to write is my laptop. It's like my purse. It carries all of the things that are most important to me and irreplaceable. My imagination lives inside of this device!
7. If you will, tell us about your journey in self-publishing!
The hardest part for me was the "what comes next." Siphoning through so many "how to publish," "how to query," "how to find a literary agent" was crazy. Having no formal training as a writer, I took the "Indie" plunge and self-published with Amazon. The problem was I didn't look before I leaped and soon after I realized I was about to pay the price for that leap in reviews. "Descended" was edited by my husband, a 5th grade teacher and it was a mistake to think that I didn't need a professional editor. I also made the very popular "indie" mistake of not understanding how to use Social Media before I published to create a buzz about myself and my debut novel. So I guess you could say I learned things the hard way about the industry and my place in it. The way I look at it is that this is what life is about learning as you go and passing along your wisdom of experiences to others.
8. Who is the character that you're most proud of creating, if any?
Descended was created with one of my all time favorite movies in mind...Disney's "Tangled." At is core, Descended is tale very similar with Violet featured as a modern day Rapunzel and Carter as Flynn Rider. What is lovely about the character, Violet, is that she maintains her inherited innocence and sweetness and yet represents the independent spirit and ingenuity of a modern heroine. It is a story of self discovery, flight from the nest, and coming of age – it’s also a novel that speaks to anyone who has faced, or is facing, the trials and tribulations of growing up.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Yes, if you have a story to tell just write it! You've heard people say, "Dance like no one is watching." I say, "Write like you are the only one reading." You have to write your story for yourself not for an audience. I think people make the mistake of trying to write stories like ones that have inspired them. You must develop you own unique voice and writing style and be happy with it in order to achieve success. The best advice is to never underestimate the power of social media! It is a monster tool for any self-pubber.
Thank you Debra for your time! Hope you all enjoyed. (: