Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview with Ann Miller Author of KICKING ETERNITY

If you've been looking for some new fiction that tells a contemporary story with an eternal message you can stop looking and start reading

Ann will be visiting with us today and Thursday, talking about her writing, her faith and her latest book. Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a conversation with Ann - then go out and grab her book. 

Thanks, Ann for your time today. We're looking forward to learning more about you, so with that in mind, here are some questions for you...

What inspired you to write this particular book?

My daughter has had a passion to become a foreign missionary since she was in first grade. She just completed her junior year of college and is still headed for missions, probably to an orphanage in Peru. Also a close family friend fell in love with a young man and felt strongly that God told her to marry him. When the guy broke off the engagement, she was devastated on multiple levels. In Kicking Eternity the hero has to come to terms with the same dilemma.

Tell us a little about yourself. (Where you grew up, how many siblings you have, when you came to know the Lord, a little about your life now, etc.)

My younger brother and I grew up in Miami, Stuart, and New Smyrna Beach, Florida. My parents’ marriage melted down throughout my childhood, culminating in their divorce when I was thirteen. All the angst in my childhood made me hungry for God. I searched for Him from age sixteen to eighteen at mass, repeating memorized prayers, writing letters to Him, teaching catechism class. My RA in college had a deep friendship with Jesus that I instinctively recognized as authentic. It was through her influence and encouragement I stepped into a life-long relationship with God.

I married a pastor and raised three sons and Her Royal Highness, 28, 25, 23, 21. We’ve lived in Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona. Two-thirds of our congregation is made up of teens and young adults, so it’s not surprising I write for I write for young women aged 15 to 30. I especially want to reach those  with unhappy, dysfunctional families like the family I grew up in. I want to give them hope that God will provide love and healing for them.

Tell us about the journey to getting published.

I wrote my first novel fifteen years ago and have been writing full-time for ten years while trying to break in to traditional publishing. Last summer my agent let all her unpublished authors, including me, go. In the midst of my despair, God nudged me to indie e-publish. So, I swallowed a hairball of pride and walked down the self-publishing road. I feel a surge of joy and gratitude that my books are finally being read. The part of me that clamors for validation still hopes for a traditional publishing contract. But how can I go wrong obeying God? 

How many books do you have published?

In addition to Kicking Eternity, The Art of My Life debuts in September, Avra’s God in December, and Tattered Innocence next March.

Tell us about your latest book.

Kicking Eternity is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both.

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 caterwaul him into his parents’ live. 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.

Favorite themes?

Forgiveness, measuring up, redemption.

What is your Writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired?

Since I started my writing career in my forties, I feel fairly obsessed to accomplish what God created me to do. Think about how the hero in Sweet Home Alabama jammed lightning rods into the sand to make his beautiful glass. He did his work before the lightning struck. I jam a lot of words onto the page before lightning strikes and makes it beautiful.

Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

Wedged in between my writing I manage to hike in the mountains with my husband, do Zumba, and go garage saling every Saturday morning with a friend. This year I mentored three teens from my youth group. I’ve guest lectured on plotting in Phoenix colleges for the past few years. Every summer you’ll find me at teen church camp—one more reason for setting Kicking Eternity at a church camp.

Thanks Ann for giving us a glimpse of your writing experience. We're looking forward to more on Thursday. 

Here's an opportunity for you to get a FREE e-copy of Ann's book, KICKING ETERNITY: Leave a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) to receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. Those who don’t want to leave an e-mail may contact Ann for their free book at AnnLeeMiller.com. 

If you've enjoyed this peek into Ann's writing life, be sure to come back Thursday when Ann tells us how faith plays a role in her writing. You won't want to miss it. 

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.

Here's how to find her:
Twitter:  @AnnLeeMiller
Facebook Author Page: Ann on Facebook
Barnes and Noble: Kicking Eternity

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