Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Q&A with Carolyn Miller about Underestimating Miss Cecilia


*Today we welcome Carolyn Miller to my blog. Its good to  have you stop by!  Tell us about your  new book – I love the cover! Can you share the blurb?

Underestimating Miss Cecilia is my new Regency romance, releasing July 23. Here’s the blurb:

Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always secretly loved Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with other women of the ton. When a near tragedy brings this prodigal son back to the neighborhood, Cecy hopes he will finally notice her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone. Prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures try to block them at every turn. Can Ned & Cecy triumph over their struggles—or will their paths permanently diverge?


*It sounds fascinating!  Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Inspiration strikes everywhere, from books I’ve read, conversation snippets, the news, sermons, TV programs, settings, places I’ve visited, photographs, even music – the challenge is to not be distracted by the phenomenal amount of story ideas out there, and be able to sift through them to find the ones that have enough muscle to be massaged into a novel.

For Underestimating Miss Cecilia, I was challenged about what would happen to the prodigal son once he returned – his father was pleased, but his older brother sure wasn’t, so how would the family (and wider community) dynamics play out? This book is also set in a time when the working classes of England were starting to revolt against the unfair parliamentary representation  of the time – some massive cities had one parliamentarian, whilst a tiny village that was literally sliding into the sea had two! This book releases two hundred years after what became known as the Peterloo Massacre, when soldiers struck down over a dozen men, women and children who had gathered to peacefully protest such things in St Peter’s Field, Manchester. And to add some lightness to these issues, I also included a country house party, including some of the games Regency house guests would have played, which was a lot of fun to research (and some of which I’ve played with my children!). 

*What's your key environment that helps you get to writing? Do you have a writer’s nook, corner, getaway? Where do you do your most productive writing?

Well, I used to have my own study, but with a daughter in senior high school years I gave that room for her, so now I share my younger daughter’s (rather larger) bedroom where I can write at my (newly reorganized desk) while she’s at school. Win win!

 *What are you saying in your book(s) that will encourage Christians today?

I’m really keen to show the mercy and grace of God, and see Christians discover that our identity is not to be found in the past, or how others have perceived us, but our identity is to be found in God and how He sees us. If we’re forgiven, then live forgiven, not as a sinner who constantly needs God’s forgiveness. Yes, we still sin, even after we’ve accepted the salvation offered by Jesus, but when God sees us He sees that Jesus has already paid that price, so we can confess our sins and know we are forgiven. If we emphasize the sinner, rather than the forgiveness, we tend to live wanting to prove ourselves to God with our good deeds. If we emphasize the forgiveness, recognizing God’s immense grace, then we tend to relate to God very differently, as humbled friends, aware of His amazing goodness and power. I hope all my books – and this book in particular – demonstrate God’s grace and His freeing power from the condemnation and guilt so many Christians live with. God loves us, His forgiveness is always there, not because of what we’ve done but because of Jesus, so let’s live lives excited by His grace and empowering freedom!

*How do you pick names for your characters?

I always want to use Regency-era appropriate names for my characters, so I have a master list I consult which includes hundreds of the most popular names of that time period, based on birth and deaths records, gravestones, and the like. As an Australian, I’m a fan of nicknames, so I do tend to like shortened versions of names, hence Cecilia becomes Cecy (pronounced ‘Sess-ee’) and Edward becomes Ned (pronounced ‘Ned’). J

*How important are reviews to you?

I love it when readers take the time to write a review – it shows they have really engaged with the book. It’s important because reviews help other readers discover a new-to-them author, and as someone who has been published since 2017 I still feel like I’m in that ‘newbie’ category. Places like Amazon have (mysterious!) algorithms that mean when a book reaches certain review number milestones it is recommended to readers. So if you read, please write a review – authors everywhere will thank you!

*Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre is your favorite? What books have you enjoyed lately?

I love reading books by all sorts of authors! Some historical authors I enjoy include Carrie Turansky, Roseanna White, Laura Frantz & Kaye Dacus; for contemporary I enjoy Becky Wade, Kara Isaac, Susan May Warren and Courtney Walsh; for YA I enjoy Aussie authors Jenny Glazebrook and Penny Jaye; for ABA I’ve enjoyed Kate Morton, Liane Moriarty and some good old fashioned Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. My favourite genre is probably a tie between historical and contemporary Christian fiction – it’s nice to read both, though I tend to read more historical when I’m writing so I can stay in the right headspace!

Recently I’ve been rereading the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson, which is fabulous romantic suspense ensuring lots of late nights!

Bio

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. 

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena's Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, and Underestimating Miss Cecilia, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc



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2 comments:

Marilyn R. said...

Congratulations Carolyn on the release of Underestimating Miss Cecilia today. Sounds like a great Regency romance to read with the strong Christian message.

Carolyn Miller said...

Thanks so much Marilyn! I do hope you'll check it out, and my other books as well. I love Regency, and I love crafting stories that speak to our hearts. Happy reading!

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