Amber Miller’s Interview

» Posted on Jul 9, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Amber Miller’s Interview

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1. What made you start writing?

I wrote my first short story in 5th grade that was entered into a ‘Young Writers of America’ contest and placed but didn’t get selected for publication. Ever since I learned to read at age 3-1/2, I’ve been telling stories. Writing seemed to be a natural progression from the verbal.

I wrote often, but it wasn’t until I was a Senior in high school that I got the ‘bug’ to write. My English teacher saw potential, and as an author herself, she encouraged me to pursue the talent further. However, I became more focused on finishing my education and getting my degree, so my writing took up residence on the back burner.

It wasn’t until 1997 when I wrote my first fan fiction and received a lot of encouragement and feedback that I realized I might be able to make something of this ability.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

It took me another 5 years—once I’d graduated from college—and a kick in the pants from Tracie Peterson (one of my favorite authors and a great friend) before I took the step professionally to begin a career by joining a national organization called ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), then known as ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers).

I did everything I could to improve my skills and develop my craft. I bought writing books, studied a wide variety of fiction, conversed with other writers and authors, attended conferences, purchased audio recordings of workshops and presentations, and soaked up as much information as I could handle. Four years later, I sold my first book and took a rather scary step into the world of authorship.

3. How do you handle rejections?

Thanks to friend and fellow author, Linda Windsor, I view rejections as “footprints in the sand of your career. If you’re not getting them, you’re not moving forward.” Yes, when I receive one, minor depression sets in and I usually drown myself in a bowl of ice cream or sulk for a day. But, then I get right back at it and keep writing. Besides, those rejections make for great wallpaper. ☺

4. Why do you write?

Writing to me is like breathing. I can’t live without it. And like Erma Bombeck said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.” God gave me the ability to convey stories and message of hope through the written word. If I don’t use that talent for Him, I feel like I’m somehow cheating Him by misusing it.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

From an early age, I’ve always loved to read and tell stories, but I also love traveling, photography, horses, movies and music. When I’m not writing, I’m usually chatting with friends online, visiting with friends in town, watching movies or attaching my iPod to my arm and taking walks with my dog, Roxie.

6. What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m finishing up my 4th book for a July 15th deadline. It’s the first in another 3-book series, only this one is set in Detroit, Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. All 3 are scheduled to release in 2009, along with the repackaging of the first 3 books in an anthology entitled, Delaware Brides. Other than that, I have 2 full-length historical novels and 2 contemporaries that I’m attempting to sell.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

As most authors would likely say, there is a little bit of themselves in every character. For me, it’s my perception of the characters I create and how they might react in any given situation that is an extension of myself. That perception is based upon my experiences and observation of other people, and a part of me can’t help but come out in some way through my characters.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

This is the second book in a 3-book series called, Delaware Brides. Quills & Promises features the daughter from the main two characters in Promises, Promises, which is the focus of this current blog tour. Book 2 is set during the French & Indian War and deals with the heroine being left behind while the hero goes off to fight. This one is my favorite of the three because it can easily be given to spouses of military heroes today. The theme of waiting and believing in the one who’s gone off to fight transcends time.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

To quote a fellow author, “You have to read in order to write. Immerse yourself in a wide variety of writing styles, find your own voice and stick to it. Then, write, write, write.” I don’t know who it was that said that, though. Somehow, I managed to save it without jotting down the originator.

And finally, writing is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, patience, perseverance and faith. And it won’t happen overnight. You have to maintain a teachable spirit and be open to constructive criticism, no matter how far along in your writing journey you get. In the end, the rewards far outweigh all the sweat and tears you shed along the way. Most importantly, if you feel this is the path for you, never give up!

10. How important is faith in your books?

Absolutely essential. My faith has oftentimes been the only part of my life that has gotten me through the difficult circumstances I’ve endured. Had it not been for my faith, I don’t know that I’d be where I am today. I seek to share that with readers of my books, hoping that the stories I write might strengthen their faith as well, or even cause them to seek out a faith of their own.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

I don’t know that I limit myself to any particular themes. When I write, I don’t set out to convey a specific theme; rather, the themes develop as I write. Oftentimes, I don’t even know the themes when I begin a book. However, trust, faith and hope would likely top the list. If readers don’t feel uplifted by the end of one of my books, I don’t feel I’ve succeeded in writing a good one.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

It’s one that hasn’t yet been published. A full-length historical fiction with some comedic elements. I love it because it was the first book I ever wrote from start to finish, and the character to this day are still as alive to me as anyone I might meet on the street. Something about the story and the plight of the principle characters speaks to me, and I hope to one day see this book in print. Now that I’ve sold 6 books, that possibility is higher.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Well, since I also run a web design business from home, I don’t have a ‘typical’ day, per se…unless I’m on a deadline, of course! Then, almost everything else takes a back seat. However, I rise early (most days) with my husband and send him off to work by 8am, sometimes earlier. Then, I sit down at my computer and go through any email, respond and take care of business, make any updates to client web sites or work on design elements that are pressing in nature, and finally get to my writing.

My primary writing time is afternoon or later at night after supper as a way to unwind after a long day. These days are usually busy until about 8pm. It all depends on the inspiration or the motivation that strikes. On days that I remain home with nowhere to go, I try to set a page count minimum and stick to it. And I usually end up doing marketing work, watching a movie or playing a computer game to break up the day as I write. My errands, email replies and client work are usually run first thing in the morning.

Thank you, Margaret, for hosting me on your blog. I’m happy to have you part of the tour.