I'm excited to host another one of my fellow authors, Maryann Miller, from the e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back. Maryann is here today as part of the '25 Years in the Rearview Mirror Blog Tour'. If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then we're sure you'll enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Get a full listing of authors, essay titles and retailers here: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/25-years-in-the-rearview-mirror-52-authors-look-back/
More about the tour later, but for now, let's talk to Maryann!
This was very interesting for me, since I discovered that Maryann and I have so many things in common. (Besides the fact that we both write.) Can you give readers a short intro to who you are and what you write?
First I want to thank you for inviting me to be your guest today. I grew up in Michigan, but I have lived in Texas long enough to be a naturalized Texan. My husband and I now live in the Piney Woods of East Texas, where I am living out my childhood dream of being a farmer. My little place is miniscule compared to a real "Texas Spread", but it suits me and my horse and my goat. My most recent novels are mysteries. The second book of The Seasons Series, Stalking Season, is coming out in November in hardcover.
Have you always wanted to be a writer, or have you come to writing after another career?
I've always wanted to be a writer. Growing up I would bore…er… enthrall my family with my stories during dinner. There were days I was the only one left at the table and I always wondered why. On my way to a career in writing, I stopped off to be a veterinarian assistant, a car hop, a wife and a mother. My earliest publications were in journalism. I was a humor columnist for many years and did freelance writing for a number of regional and national publications. However, my first writing love was always fiction, so I played around with my stories when I had time, eventually getting my first novel published in 1998.
- What is a typical writing day like for you?
In the morning I usually check mail to see if there is some business-related or family message that needs immediate attention. Then I do some surfing on Facebook, Twitter and some favorite blogs. It is too easy to get caught up in that and realize two hours have passed and I haven't done any writing. More recently, I have made myself get an hour of writing in first, then do the social media, with more writing in the afternoon.
- This is so sensible! What is the most unusual or interesting research you have done for your books?
The most unusual research would have to be my visit to a "gentleman's" club in Dallas for my latest book, Stalking Season. The murdered girl danced in a club like that, so there were things I needed to know to make the setting realistic. The most interesting research was interviewing a criminal psychologist some years ago. I still have the hours of tapes that I made as he shared information about a criminal mind. Perhaps that's why I enjoy the television show 'Criminal Minds' so much. I can watch it and almost hear this man sharing his expertise. This man was also an ordained minister in the Roman Catholic church, a Permanent Deacon, ordained the same year my husband was. I think the Deacon community would have gotten a big kick out of us sitting there drinking wine and talking about psychotic killers. (smile)
- How funny! What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing for me has to be keeping up with all the business and promoting. Like so many other authors have said, I would love for someone else to handle all that.
- I couldn't agree with you more, Maryann. If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing?
Maybe I would be running a big Texas Spread with about 100 horses. (smile)
- What other creative things do you do?
Live theatre is one of my passions. I have been the Theatre Director at our community theatre for almost ten years, and I love directing, running the Youth Drama Camp, and acting. I was thrilled last year to be able to play Martha in "Arsenic and Old Lace." That is one role I have always wanted to play, along with Daisy in "Driving Miss Daisy". Maybe Daisy will happen before I die. In addition to theatre, I love to play guitar and sing, and I have dabbled with painting. My mother is quite a talented primitive artist, even though she has never shown work or sold any. When we get together it is always time for the sketchbooks and colored pencils to come out.
- Hooray for live theatre! This is one of passions, too, and I'm also an artist. Where do your stories begin? With character or plot?
My stories start with the people. My characters have often appeared almost full blown and have been born talking. In fact, one of my books, Play it Again, Sam, opens with the protagonist talking.
Maryann Miller is an award-winning author of numerous books, screenplays and stage plays. The latest release, Stalking Season, is the second book in The Seasons Series that debuted with Open Season. The mystery series features two women homicide detectives in Dallas. Miller has a woman's novel Play It Again, Sam; a suspense, One Small Victory; a young adult novel, Friends Forever; and a short story collection, The Wisdom of Ages -- all available as e-books and paperbacks.
“ . . . gripping second mystery featuring Dallas, Tex., police detectives Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson. . . . The relationship between the women is just as absorbing as the search for the killer. Few readers will anticipate the closing twist.” Publisher's Weekly STARRED review
"Dallas detectives Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson (Open Season, 2011, etc.) return to confront a case almost as gnarly as their relationship.
So deftly plotted and paced that, although it’s certainly possible to grow impatient with the protagonists’ unwarranted impatience toward each other, they’re appealing enough to keep the pages turning." Kirkus
* * * *
Follow the '25 Years in the Rearview Mirror' Blog and Radio Tour schedule here and enter for some neat My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/25-years-in-the-rearview-mirror-blog-tour/
And don't miss the chance to join the '25 Years in the Rearview Mirror' Yahoo Group, a fun and inspirational group that discusses the past and will help you to stay on track for the future. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/25YearsRearviewMirror/