DIY: DIY Interviews – Maryann Miller

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One Perfect Love

Maryann Miller

Fans of ONE SMALL VICTORY can finally discover if Jenny and Steve can find true love together. They both want and need, that special someone in their lives, and the memories of the electricity that sparked between them two years ago are still strong for both of them. They couldn’t act on that chemistry because of professional boundaries that had to be respected between a police detective and a civilian working as a confidential informant, not to mention the emotional wounds they both were experiencing. But the wounds have healed, as much as deep wounds can, and they believe they are ready now. Jenny has gone back to being a mother and flower-shop owner and no longer works for the drug task force.

So what can stand in their way now?

Plenty, as it turns out.

Enter their world and see if they can finally find One Perfect Love.

DIY Interview – Maryann Miller

Name:  Maryann Miller

Email:  maryann@maryannwrites.com

Where do you live?  My home is in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas where I have some acreage. Sixteen years ago, I got to fulfill my childhood dream of living in the country where I have my own horse. I shared this piece of heaven with my husband for many years, until his death in 2013. Now I live with one horse, one goat, one sheep, one dog and four cats. Only the cats are allowed on the bed.

What were your favorite subjects in school?
History, Sociology, and Literature

Does anyone in your family write?  In what capacity?
I do have a creative family. One of my daughters has a Master’s in Humanities with a concentration on literature. She has had short stories published in literary magazines.

My middle son, who is the archivist for the city of Austin, has written a number of books and scholarly papers, as well as being a reviewer for Library Journal. No, he does not review my books. (smile)

My youngest daughter is a graphic artist, and she does the covers for most of my books that I publish as an Indie Author.

Name a famous person, living or dead, you’d like to meet.  Why?
I would love to meet Mahatma Gandhi. His spirituality and non-violent resistance to injustice has always inspired me. It would be wonderful if Martin Luther King, Jr. could join us for a meal, too. Both men taught so many people how to promote love and peace. I just wish more people had gotten the message.

What is your favorite hobby (other than writing-related)?  I love to play on stage. I have been so lucky to find two community theaters nearby where I can pretend to be someone else for a while. One of my favorite roles was as Martha in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’, but I also love playing Big Mama in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’

The actors I have worked with have been amazing, and in one scene where Big Daddy is yelling at me in ‘Cat’, it was so real I started to tremble.

Do you have any other hobbies besides acting?
I enjoy puzzles of all kinds and love to do intricate jigsaw puzzles. All my life I have loved to sketch and color, and this new wave of adult coloring books is feeding that love in a new way.

Tell us about your non-writing community activities?
My little town has a very active art center, The Winnsboro Center for the Arts, where we have concerts, exhibits, plays, classes and workshops. I have been very involved with many aspects of keeping the center open from organizing the annual ‘KidZZ on Stage’ Drama Camp, to manning the concession stand for concerts.

The center is completely run by volunteers. It has become like a second family to me.

What genre do you write?  What draws you to this genre?
Primarily I write mysteries, as that is my first choice in what I like to read. I have loved crime stories since I first read Agatha Christie, later moving toward more hard-boiled stories. As a reader, I like to see if I can figure out who the bad guy – or bad girl – is, and as a writer, I like to try to stump the reader.

When I read the ’87th Precinct’ series by Ed McBain, I developed a real interest in Police Procedural novels. About the same time, episodic television series such as ‘Hill Street Blues’ started, and that was the beginning of a love of all shows that deal with crime.

What other genres do you write?
I have written two romance stories, non-fiction, and short stories.

Why do you write?
I love this question. I write because I cannot NOT write. During periods when life, and/or health issues interfere with my normal routine of writing almost every day, I can get very snarly. A good friend of mine once said that writing was not just something he did, like a 9-5 job. Rather writing was in his blood, in his heart and in his soul 24/7.

That is true for me, too.

How many books have you written?
Which is your favorite, and why?  Lots. (smile) I have nine non-fiction books published with Rosen in New York, dealing with life issues that teens face. I also have the Images of America; Winnsboro history book, that is non-fiction.

In fiction titles, there are ten books published, and I have stories in several anthologies, as well as a few short stories published as stand-alones.

It’s hard to pick a favorite. I was just thinking how neat it was that when I decided to write ‘One Perfect Love’ this past year, the characters came back to me like old friends stopping by. Jenny and Steve were the central characters in ‘One Small Victory’, and that book was first released in 2008. For their story to so easily begin again after so many years, was such a delightful surprise, so for a moment that was my favorite.

But then when I think about Sarah and Angel from the ‘Seasons Mystery Series’, they are just as real today as they were when I was working on the first book. So they could be my favorite.

Like with my kids and grandkids, I think whoever is talking to me at the moment is my favorite.

What is the title of your current project?
“One Perfect Love”

What is the genre?
Contemporary Romance

Is this book a stand-alone or part of a series?
Part of a Series

What is the expected release date?
November 2016

How did you come up with the title?
One Perfect Love is the sequel to “One Small Victory”, and I wanted the title to tie into the previous book somehow.

Tell us about your main characters.
Jenny is a single mother and the owner of a flower shop in a small town in Texas. Steve is a detective with the local police department. Two years ago, they worked together to bring down a main drug supplier in the area, and now they are working toward a future together.

Are your characters based on people you know, including yourself?
These characters are fictional, but other characters in other stories are based on real people, with some tweaking to protect the innocent.

Have you designed your covers?
The finished design for all my books is done by an artist, but I often have an idea of what I want on the cover, as well as what type of font to use.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The hardest part of writing ‘One Perfect Love’, was getting past some health issues that limited my computer time. But that did prove to be a good thing in a way, as I learned how to compose using my phone to dictate. At first, I just dictated story notes, but after a while, I was able to actually create a scene, dialogue and all.

That made me think about all the transitions in my writing life. I started with paper and pen, or pencil, never thinking I could compose while typing. It’s amazing how we can adapt when we put our minds to it.

Please provide an excerpt.
She declined a refill when Steve offered the last of the bottle to her, so he poured it into his glass. “Should we get some coffee?” she asked. “To, you know, be okay to drive?”

“We could do that if you want.” He paused a moment then finished, “But we could just stay here until the wine buzz wears off.”

Jenny glanced around the busy restaurant. “They might want this table.”

“I didn’t mean waiting here.” The words were accompanied by a grin and a glint of mischief in his eyes. “Win-Star has a very nice hotel.”

Jenny’s eyes widened in surprise. “I couldn’t. I mean … I don’t know.”

Steve chuckled, then leaned over the table to rest his gaze on hers. “Two years ago there was no doubt what was happening between us. And we both had to back away for a lot of reasons. I understand that. But now, there’s nothing in our way. And I want you, Jenny. I really do.”

Those last few words stole her heart. But still. Was he just hot to get her into bed and then nothing? “Was this part of your plan all along?”

He shook his head. “Not a definite plan. Just a thought. Or maybe a hope.”

He settled back in his chair, apparently willing to give her all the time she needed to make up her mind. Desire warred with good sense. She’d never gone to bed with a man on a first date. Ever. Not Ralph and not Steve. But if she counted the dates with Steve from before, this wasn’t the first date. Rationalizing to be sure, but she knew in her heart that there would be something after tonight.

Do you have any other projects in the works? Tell us about them.
I am working on a book titled ‘Evelyn Evolving’, which is my mother’s life story told in fiction. She had a very challenging life, from childhood on, and I thought she was one of the strongest women I have ever known. For many years I have wanted to write about her, and celebrate her strength, but the story never came until about a year ago.

Since this is so different from anything else I have ever written, I am working with a developmental editor who is guiding me on how to take real events and incorporate them into fiction. I am about to start the third, and hopefully the last, draft of the book, and then I need to decide if I will publish it myself, or seek an agent.

Are you traditionally published?  What publisher?
My first books were published traditionally, both the fiction and non-fiction. Rosen Publishing released the non-fiction books for teens, and Five Star Cengage/Gale did the hardcover releases for the Seasons Mystery series and ‘One Small Victory’.

Are you self-published?
Assisted Self-published, Solo Self published (CreateSpace, etc.)

Why are you publishing the way you do?
The most recent books that are available, I did myself as e-books and in paperback. When Amazon Kindle first started, I thought it was great to be able to take my stories that had been published in hardback and release them for electronic readers.

Since then, I wrote a new book, ‘Boxes for Beds’, and updated ‘Doubletake’ to re-release as an Indie Author.

What I like about going the indie route is how quickly a book can come out, as well as having control over every aspect of production.

The only negative aspect is the reputation that indie publishing is getting. The market has been flooded with books that are not edited, and readers are wary of trying any book that was self-published.

Tell us about your experiences in the publishing of your work(s).
When working with the traditional publishers, I was lucky to have wonderful editors who were easy to work with and truly respected my writing and my stories. Now doing the books myself, I have found a freelance editor who is just as good as the ones I worked with before, and we have a really good working relationship.

Five Star Cengage also had terrific artists and I loved the covers of all three books they published. My daughter does most of the covers for my books now, although she was not able to do the cover for ‘One Perfect Love’.

Please list your published works, with dates, and where we can find them.
For my list of books, I will only include the most recent starting with ‘One Small Victory’, first published in June 2008. ‘Play It Again, Sam’, was published by Uncial Press as an e-book in July 2008. ‘Open Season’, the first book in the ‘Seasons Mystery Series’ was published in 2010 in hardback, and I released the e-book and the paperback in 2012. ‘Stalking Season’ was released in hardback in 2012, and I released the e-book in 2013.

‘Boxes for Beds’ was my first totally indie release in February of 2013. The revised edition of ‘Doubletake’ was released in 2014.

With the exception of ‘One Perfect Love’ and my short story, ‘The Gift’, all my titles are available in many outlets. The best place to find all the links for Nook, Amazon, etc, is on my website by clicking on the “books” tab.

Are you involved in publishing in any other capacity?
Editor, Reviewer, Coach

What books have you read recently?
I just finished reading ‘Did You Ever Have a Family’ by Bill Clegg. That was a terrific story told from multiple viewpoints that at first seemed like loose threads, but the author tied them all up neatly. One of the best books I’ve read in a while.

What book(s) are you reading now?
I am currently reading ‘Edward Unspooled’ by Craig Lancaster. This is the third book in a series featuring a 29-year-old man with Asperger’s. I have loved this series since the first book, ‘600 Hours of Edward’ came out, and the stories show a fascinating character in an interesting light.

Who are your favorite authors?  I don’t have just a few favorite authors, and I always worry when trying to list them that I will leave someone out. But here goes: Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Louise Penny, Anne Lamott, Craig Johnson, Laura Castoro, L.J. Sellers, Craig Lancaster, Toni Morrison and so many more.

Do you prefer print or digital books?
I like them both.

What is your favorite book of all times?  Why?
‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck is my all-time favorite book. It was one of the first that really touched my heart and taught me how characters can become like real people in our lives. He was a master at showing human nature in all its glory and in all its darkness.

Who is your favorite musician (solo, group, band, etc.)?
Folk artists Adler & Hearne are high on my list, but I also like a lot of country musicians. If I had to name a favorite from my past it would be Peter, Paul and Mary.

What is your favorite season of the year?
Autumn, Spring

Where is your favorite vacation destination?  The visit my husband and I made to Hawaii was a high point in my life. I would love to go back.

What’s the one thing you’d most like to accomplish in your life?  I’d love to see one of my books made into a movie.

What do you want on your tombstone?
“She made people smile.”

What was your favorite toy as a child?
Coloring books and crayons.

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Would you like to read and review Logan’s Time?
Email me at Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com
I’ll provide a free copy for an honest review.

Read a Free Chapter HERE

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BOOKS by Dayna Leigh Cheser
‘Janelle’s Time’, ‘Moria’s Time’
‘Adelle’s Time’,
Logan’s Time’
Clarissa’s Time’ – 2018

Janelle’s Time’ (2nd Edition) – 2017

 

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Comments

DIY: DIY Interviews – Maryann Miller — 2 Comments

    • Hi Maryann,
      As you probably realized, many of the questions are the same for all 3 versions, but some are different, which may suit different writers in different ways. With the 3 versions, we get a different picture.
      Thanks for participating!
      Regards,
      Julie/Dayna

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