Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) will 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.
Welcome to My Father's Oldsmobile, Ann. Tell us about yourself.
I write full-time in Phoenix, but left my heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where I grew up. I love speaking to young adults and guest lecture on writing at several Arizona colleges. When I’m not writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find me hiking in the Superstition Mountains with my husband or meddling in my kids’ lives.
Tell us about your new book? (If this is part of a series then include a bit about that too)
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.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Kicking Eternity’s sequel, The Art of My Life, comes out September 1. The New Smyrna Beach Series concludes with Avra’s God December 1 and Tattered Innocence March 1, 2013.
What inspired this story?
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.
Is there an underlying theme?
Kicking Eternity is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both.
What's your favorite scene/character?
I love the rebel, Cal. Like a lot of bad boys, he exudes magnetism.
What do you hope the reader takes away from reading your book?
So many people wrestle with their dreams and God’s dreams for their lives. I wanted to give them hope, the courage to trust God with their future.
How did you get started as a writer?
When I earned my BA in creative writing in 1980 only six universities in the United States offered the degree, and my program did not offer a single novel-writing class. I had to read a stack of writing craft books, participate in critique groups, and attend writing conferences to learn the skills I needed to write a book.
Do you have any particular method to your writing, any quirks that help you along in the creative process?
I make notes on every scene before I write the book.
What are some of your favorite books?
Charles Martin’s books are an epicurean feast. I’ll always be a little bit in love with Joe in Francine River’s The Atonement Child. New favorites are Anne Rivers Siddon’s Off Season and Anne Brashares’ The Last Summer.
What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to this genre?
I write coming-of-age/romance novels because I had a lot of childhood baggage to work through and am blessed with a very romantic husband who cherishes me.
What was your journey to publication like?
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?
What might surprise readers about you?
I lived on a sailboat as a child. My father was often mistaken for Willie Nelson. I and my three sons are color blind.
What do you think of the ebook explosion, pros and cons, and what do you think will happen with print books?
Of course, I’m delighted I and other languishing authors now have a chance to publish. Operating outside the traditional publishing’s gate-keeping, we need to develop new ways to rank books so indie readers don’t have to wade through a flotsam of poorly written books to find a gem. I see the teens around me clinging tightly to paper books. Maybe paper will stick around for a while.
Three favorite things: movie, place and food?
While You Were Sleeping. Oxford, England. Cheesecake.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022
Fresh from college, Raine scores a teaching job at New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp. A crush on the camp rebel/art teacher threatens to derail her plans to teach orphans in Africa. The broody recreation director spots her brothers meth addiction and Raine's enabling. Raine believes she is helping her brother--until lives are threatened.
Endorsements for Kicking Eternity:
Kicking Eternity won First Place Long Contemporary in the 2009 Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, and Love Contest.
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.”
Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song, and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!”
Jenny B. Jones, Author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson
"I've lost hours of sleep reading Ann Lee Miller's work due to her uncanny ability to yank me into a story with authentic, lovable, yet challenging characters."
Lynn Rush, author of Wasteland, Awaited, and Prelude to Darkness from Crescent Moon Press.
Ann became a writer the year she discovered Sister Sheila had hair. She was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Thanks to Sister’s jump-start, Ann went on to earn a BA in Creative Writing from Ashland University (OH).
Ann writes fiction full-time. Tattered Innocence made it into the 2nd round of the 2012Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest. Kicking Eternity won First Place, Long Contemporary in the 2009 Romance Writers of America Touched By Love Contest. She is plotting her fifth novel. Ann's work appears in magazines, newspapers, and a literary magazine. She founded Broads and Novels writers' group in Gilbert, Arizona. Working in public relations for Ashland University, she wrote press releases, features, and produced staff newspapers. She is a constant student of writing craft books and has attended numerous writers' conferences.
Ann speaks in venues including national conventions, churches, and countless teen groups. She guest lectures on writing and life issues to undergraduates in four Phoenix colleges each semester.