As a bright, shiny new year begins, I’d like to bring Maryann Miller to your attention. She writes not only heartfelt and thrilling suspense but also stories with an underlying message that encourages you to go out and do what you can to make the world a better place.
Growing up in Texas, she would sometimes go to the library with her girlfriend and take out a stack of books. Then they would ride their bikes to a little woods, where they had a “reading room” made up. They had a couple of old car seats—the bench type that were in cars of that era—and they would lie there and read for hours. Other times, she would play baseball, skate, climb trees, or fight with the boys in the neighborhood.
In her later years—or dottering years, as she likes to call them—Ms. Miller discovered that she likes to act, is pretty good at it, and often gets leading roles. As a result, she looks for opportunities to be on stage in community theater whenever she can.
She also collects cats—she would take in every stray that wanders by if she could—and she’s passionate about her family. They are very close, and her kids are her best friends.
Some of her favorite things include…well…let”s let her tell you in her own unique way: “If I can steal a few lines from Rodgers and Hammerstein: ‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ….. Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels …. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, Silver white winters that melt into springs, These are a few of my favorite things.’ Thought of that because of my love of cats and horses. I also love gardening, puzzles, movies, and, of course, books. Lots of books.”
On Writing, In Maryann Miller’s Own Words:
Before I answer the questions, I want to thank you for having me here today, Margaret. And I also want to publicly thank you for the wonderful review you did for One Small Victory.
What or who inspires you to write?
I am usually compelled to write about some social issue. Or I read a news story about something or someone—much like I did for One Small Victory—and a story starts forming. Also, I think most writers, consciously or unconsciously, find writing a way to work through issues that they may be conflicted about. For instance, in my latest book, Open Season, I deal with racial issues and question whether we ever are totally bias free. I thought I was until talking with an African American friend, and we both discovered that we still act of the programming of our heritage. That was so interesting to me that I decided to make a relationship between two women who have to work together difficult because they are on opposite sides of an ethnic line.
Why did you begin writing?
My girlfriend and I decided that we wanted to write books like those that enthralled us when we were kids. I remember the day I closed a book and told her I wanted to write books like that. She said, “Okay. Let’s do it.” We both started writing then, at about age 10, and I won my first writing award at age 12. It was a horse story. Big surprise.
Which author inspires you?
Many authors inspire me with the quality of their writing. When I read a really well-crafted book, it reminds me that I owe it to readers to try to do as well. Some of my favorites are Anne Tyler, Anne Lamott, Craig Johnson, Dennis Lehane, Toni Morrison, Raymond L. Atkins, Slim Randles, Laura Castoro, and….. Gosh, it would take pages to name all the authors I enjoy.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
There are two things that thrill me about writing. One is the rush when the writing is going well and the words are just flying onto the screen. The characters are usually in control then, driving the story, and I’m just along for the ride. I also love to hear back from readers and know that they really “got” the story and it touched them somehow. And, of course, getting reviews such as the one you did for One Small Victory is very rewarding. I am still smiling over that one.
Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?
I have never really had writer’s block. Maybe all the years I spent as a journalist, where writer’s block isn’t allowed when you are on a deadline, gave me a permanent cure. I do sometimes get stuck on a scene or trying to figure out the next plot point—I don’t outline before I write—but I will write around that stuck point and eventually something pops up to fix whatever problem I was having. I think the key is to just always keep writing. It sort of primes the creative pump.
When is your next book due out, and what’s it about?
Open Season, the first in a mystery series, was released mid-December for library sales and is now available for general purchase. It is published by the same publisher that brought One Small Victory out in hardback in 2008. It features two female homicide detectives in Dallas—one white and one black—who are tracking a serial killer while trying to decide if they can be partners. This is part of what Publisher’s Weekly has to say about Open Season: “Miller spins a tight tale that’s a cut above the average police procedural in this first of a new series introducing Dallas police detective Sarah Kingsly. … Readers will want to see more of these engaging female cops.”
I also have a young adult novel, Friends Forever, that was just re-released as an e-book and will come out in paperback this month. A paperback version of my romance novel, Play It Again, Sam, will come out in February, and I hope to have a paperback version of One Small Victory out soon. There are a lot of people who like to read e-books, but there are still plenty who prefer the paperback. I’m trying to reach both audiences.
Please pay this wonderful author a visit at MaryannWrites.com, and then read my review of One Small Victory.