Author Spotlight: Nancy E. Miller

Name: Nancy E. Miller

Latest Release: Desperate Overtures

Genre: Suspense, Romantic Suspense


The Interview

Has writing always been a passion of yours?

Not really. Imagination wasn’t something my mother believed in. So I daydreamed my stories. She couldn’t control what went on inside my head.

At what age did you begin to write seriously?

About age 30. I had one of those rough patches in life and my therapist suggested writing things down. My first nonfiction, Daffodils, which is yet to be released, was written.  My first romantic suspense novel, Crystal Unicorns, came after that.

What is your favorite genre to write and does that differ from the genre you like to read?

I love suspense. With each book, I find the romance taking a back seat to the suspense.  In Desperate Overtures, the romance is present but it isn’t what is driving the story.

Where does your inspiration to write come from?

Inspiration is everywhere. Just the other day my husband and I were at a local mom and pop restaurant.  I’d been having a hard time starting my next Alice Gentry novel, Morbid Curiosity. Sitting in our booth, I overheard the mixture of genealogy and gossip so popular in a small town. I had my scene.

How does the generation you belong to impact your writing style, or does it?

I still keep putting two spaces after a period, as a young whippersnapper told me was ‘old school’. I love old movies. I grew up watching them and my early daydreaming was much like a movie running in my head. I still envision my stories that way. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s…a very colorful time but we didn’t have the electronic conveniences of today. While I now utilize them, I still do things the old fashioned, paper and pen, way. Pens! Did someone say Pens!  I LOVE PENS!

What does your writing schedule look like in a typical week?

It varies. When I am on a roll then I can be on the computer for hours each day. When I have to do marketing…I hate marketing, it is the reason I hired my wonderful PA Tabatha Robinson, I can procrastinate better than anyone I know.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Both. I tend to start pantsing it until I reach a point where I wonder where I am going. Then I do a rough plot by scenes. Then I go back and take the ideas I wrote down and let loose but trying to stay on the track I’ve chosen.

Can you name an event in your life that has made the biggest impact on where you are today?

An ultimate betrayal by a so-called friend. I came through it but it dredged up horrors from my past so I went into therapy to find the person I wanted to be. The writing started there. It is the basis of my first book, Crystal Unicorns, highly fictionalized, of course.

 Do you think writers have better luck going the traditional or the self-publishing route?

If you can get an established publisher, that’s great. Problem is everybody and their brother is claiming to be a publisher these days. Going the self-publishing route is an exercise in futility BUT at least you have total control and some do quite well.

What is your favorite story you’ve written/read? Tell us about it.  

Crystal Unicorns will always be my first child. Even with its editing errors, it is a story told from my soul.

What three things must you have on hand to write?

Coffee or tea (have to do decaf now), my dogs (not like I could get away from them), and may the universe bless you if you leave gummy bears within my reach (I quit smoking in 1990 but the oral thing continues).

What are you working on right now?

My second Alice Gentry novel, Morbid Curiosity, which picks up a few weeks after Desperate Overtures.  The relationships deepen, the murders are stacking up, and Alice is pulled in to find the killer.

I plan on finishing Morbid Curiosity then working on formatting Daffodils. In the meantime, there will be a freebie Christmas story and a play released just for fun.

What do you find are the most effective means of promotion?

I wish I knew. At times I get so discouraged. I know folks like my books but finding the yellow brick road to OZ is crazy difficult, especially for someone with limited financial resources. I have a street team, please feel free to join Millers Mysterious Mavericks on Facebook.  Many authors are blaming the drought on end of summer and less people reading as they prepare for school. I don’t know. It would be wonderful to find that one person with a magic wand to make my dreams come true. LOL.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning his or her journey into writing?

Write for yourself. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism and don’t take it personally. We all started writing as a bumbling novice. We improved with practice, research, and listening to other writers. Never ever listen to anyone who tells you that you shouldn’t write. There are cruel people out there trolling the hopeful, don’t listen to them.  They get their jollies by shooting people down. Find a new tribe if you need to. Carry a notebook at ALL times, even in the bathroom. Keep your senses sharp and drink in the sights, sounds, smells, feelings to use in your writing. Don’t give up.

Everyone has a dream mate. What’s yours look like? Do you ever expect to find him/her?

I’ve been married going on 34 years so we are pretty much on the same wavelength. But like most women, I have a bad boy in my past. (Read Crystal Unicorns) that brings up the what if’s.  He is now almost seventy but in my mind he is still in his early thirties. That mental image I created is my dream and comes out in my books.

If you could be anything other than what you are, what occupation would you choose?

I would love to run a bookstore where I could also teach young people to get their GED. They, in turn, would help out with shelving and such. (mobility challenged).

What piece of fiction has made the biggest impact in your writing career and why?

I always refer to Jane Eyre because I love the story and how it captures her transition.  But reading the series of books by Anna Salter helped me understand blending psychology into a deeper level of understanding the characters. I love her writing and wish she had continued with fiction but her nonfiction is also fascinating.

If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be, and why?  

Mark Twain aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens. I would love to just sit and hear him go on about anything he chose to talk about.

What final thoughts would you leave potential readers with?

Read…even if it is not my books, Read!  The imagination is the one thing you have totally to yourself. Reading takes you to new worlds.

About the Author

Nancy E. Miller lives near Alton, Illinois near the St. Louis, Missouri greater Metropolitan area with her husband of thirty-three years and four spoiled rescued dogs.  She holds a degree in Psychology and Sociology. She served as an educator of troubled teens and community educator for American Red Cross. She worked in mental health as a case manager, counselor, and crisis counselor. She is the author of romantic suspense novels, Crystal Unicorns and Shark Bait. She is currently writing her nonfiction book, Daffodils, and the next in the Alice Gentry novel, Morbid Curiosity.

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About the Book

Desperate Overtures: An Alice Gentry Novel by Nancy E. Miller

Release Date: July 21, 2018

Dr. Alice Gentry is holding back. There is more to the story than the hunter is now the hunted. FBI’s Chris Jensen’s job is to clear up the facts before she ends up dead. He soon learns she is more than he ever imagined…much more.  Sam Richardson thinks she is in over her head but he will defend her to the death. That’s what you do for the woman you love. A tidal wave of emotion threatens to engulf her. Fear, guilt, and shame work to cripple her. Anger and a need for revenge drive her on. She remembers a quote by Nietzsche. “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…for when you gaze long into the abyss…the abyss gazes also into you.”

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