Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Interview with Ann Fetterman Miller and giveaway

Giveaway: Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address will receive a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity, also part of the New Smyrna Beach Series. One lucky winner will receive a free e-copy of Avra’s God.

Tell us about Avra’s God – a brief blurb.

          In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.        
          Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.

         Kallie shares her classically trained voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.

         The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipeout.  But somehow, when they're not looking, Avra’s God changes them all. 

*How did Avra’s God get started?

Often my books grow out of long-time prayer burdens. In this case I had been praying for a man to reconcile with his wife after he had strayed. Unfortunately, in real life, the marriage did not survive. But in fiction, the relationship healed. My characters are single, but the process of forgiveness and rebuilding trust are the same.

*Tell us about your research process.

I visited New Smyrna Beach, Florida where the book is set—and where I lived as a teen and young adult—to make sure I had all the locations and details correct. Because many scenes take place on the Daytona State College campus, I corresponded with several people who worked or attended the college. The marketing director even offered to read the book to catch my flubs. My other research was more mundane—having my oil changed at Walmart, camping out on Google maps to determine where all my characters lived, and quizzing musical family members on music details.

*What impact did your research have on you personally?

My high school best friend took off work and shuttled me around town. We laughed and confided in each other just like we had as teens. It was such a joy. And we have kept in much better touch since.

*How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?

Kallie’s salvation story is mine.

*While you were writing the book, do you think it mattered where the book was set?

I wanted it to be set in New Smyrna Beach because it was the one place that felt like home in my nomadic childhood. I felt like I was loved and accepted there, like I belonged.

*Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

The four main characters are mentioned in the three other books in the New Smyrna Beach series.

*Is any part of you sorry to be finished writing Avra’s God?

Of course. It’s always sad to say goodbye to characters you’ve fallen in love with. This book was even harder to let go because it allowed me to live in my happy late teen years once more.

*Where do you like to write?

I do a lot of my thinking through scenes while walking or as I drift off to sleep at night. But I write in my office because I need to protect my back by always working in my office chair.

*How do you handle distractions?

It about kills me, but I must get my day’s writing done before connecting with the internet. The internet clutters my brain and short-circuits my creativity.

*If someone else were sitting at your desk right now, what would they see?

A cup stuffed with pens reads, “Here’s to good women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” A jar of pumpkin seeds I just finished sets next to notes on chapter endings, sequel scenes, and sentence structure. The rest of my desk is strewn with random lists I’ve scribbled to myself, an unlit candle I never remember to light, and a bottle of Vitamin B-12, which is supposed to improve brain function. Ha! One could only hope.

*When you’re working on a project, how do you keep the immensity of it from getting you down?

I keep marching forward, praying through every challenge. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Every step forward is in the right direction. Even ripping out scenes is a step forward because it brings me closer to the polished novel I will end up with.

*How do you choose between ideas you’d like to write about?

When it comes time to write the next book, I’m already certain in my heart what story God is leading me to write. I feel a tremendous amount of passion about the characters and their particular crucible. A story starts with a seed in the back of my mind and grows to fruition by the time I’m ready to plot.

Bio: Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.

Twitter: @AnnLeeMiller

Giveaway: Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address will receive a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity, also part of the New Smyrna Beach Series. One lucky winner will receive a free e-copy of Avra’s God.


Jasmine A. said...

Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!
Jasmine A.
montanamade at gmail dot com

Ann Lee Miller said...

You're welcome, Jasmine. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Ann Lee Miller [& Aly Logan, one of my characters]

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