Thursday, July 17, 2008

An Interview with Amber Miller & Book Giveaway


I welcome Amber Miller to my Authors-Helping-Writers Interview segment. Author Amber Miller keeps busy with writing, parenting her vivacious puppy named Roxie, and working as a freelance web site designer. With four books sold to Heartsong Presents line of Barbour Publishing, and the promise of two more before the end of the year, she is one up and coming author we’ll be lucky enough to enjoy stories from for quite some time. Amber is currently pursuing an expansion into trade-length historical fiction, and has an interest in romantic comedy as well.

Amber is a born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing. Other writing credits include several writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage.


You can read more about the amazing Amber Miller at her web site: http://www.ambermiller.com/.


Q: Amber, please tell us your thoughts on Writer’s Conferences?

A: I support them 100%. If you can get to one, go. You won’t regret it. Whether it’s a local or regional, or even a national. They are worth their weight in gold for advancing your career. As for criteria, I’d look at the faculty who will be presenting and the workshop topics. If I don’t find enough to make it worth my while, I’ll choose a different conference. Cost and location are also significant factors. That’s why I make a commitment to attend ACFW every year, then the local Colorado one here at home.

The networking, connections, experiences, friendship, fellowship, prayer and praise time at ACFW are beyond parallel to any other conference I’ve attended. It was at that conference in 2003 where I connected with the publishing house that is now publishing my books. It’s also there where I’ve met countless editors, agents and industry professionals, not to mention other authors and writers who have become mentors, friends and confidantes. If you write fiction and can attend this one, don’t miss it. If it’s too far, start with regional and local ones, then aim for the big national one.


Q: What or who inspired you to take up fiction writing?

A: Tracie Peterson encouraged me to join ACFW, and Linda Windsor mentored me all the way through my first novel. I don’t know that either of them inspired me to begin fiction writing though. I’ve been telling and writing stories since childhood. I’d call it a natural offshoot of my creative mind and desire to get lots in worlds I create when the real world isn’t good enough to suit me.


Q: Is there something unique or special about you or how you write that you would like to tell us about?

A: In all my years of reading, I have found one common theme in the books that make it to the top of my list. They are the ones where I can get right into the thick of things with the main characters. If I can experience everything right alongside them, I’m hooked.

So, for my books, I write in what’s called a “tight POV” or close point-of-view. This means, it has the feel of first-person while still maintaining the third-person qualities. For an example, check out the first chapters of the first 2 books on my books page. (
www.ambermiller.com/books.html)


This is so true, Amber. I loved the tight POV in Promises, Promises. Gives such an intimate feel with your characters, like you’re their best friend when you quite relate with their responses, and the character themselves when you fully relate to their reactions. It’s just wonderful!

Q: How long did you concentrate on learning the craft of fiction writing before you received your initial offer?

A: I spent about 4 years from the time I decided to pursue this as a professional career to when I received my first “sold” call.


Q: Have publishing rejections been a part of your writing life? If so, how do you handle them?

A: Rejections are a part of the experience, and just because an author gets published doesn’t mean he or she can put rejections behind him or her. On the contrary; with each and every book, the process starts all over again. I, personally, have received anywhere from 10-15 rejections on my books or my writing since I began pursuing this career. But thanks to my good friend, Linda Windsor (www.lindawindsor.com), I have a fresh outlook on them. She says, “Rejections are footsteps in your career. If you don’t get them, you’re not moving forward.” And that’s so true.

When they arrived, I admit to digging into the half-gallon of ice cream and drowning my sorrows in a bowl full of chocolate truffle or mint chocolate chip. But, that usually lasted a day or two and I was back at it. Rejections hurt. I’m not going to pretend they don’t. However, you can’t let them stop you from going for your goal. Otherwise, the rejections—and the enemy—win.


Q: What did you do to actively pursue a writing career?

A: When I made the commitment in 2002, I joined ACFW (www.acfw.com) and soaked up every morsel of instruction, teaching and coaching I could find. I joined an online critique group and am proud to say that all members but 1 of that original group are now published. And that last 1 is very close!

I didn’t set a daily word limit for myself at the time, but I did commit to writing every week. My reading habits also changed from reading for pleasure to reading for critiquing and analysis. I began picking apart successful novels to see what made them work and noting why other novels didn’t do anything for me.

But by far, the best decision I made was to attend the annual conferences of ACFW. The details of that are in a question above.


Q: How many novels did you have completed before your first sale? Do you intend to try selling all of them? Why, or why not?

A: I had 2 finished, including the 1 I sold. Now, I have 4-5 in various stages of completion and yes, I’d love to sell all of them. It just depends on the market and finding someone who will buy them. I do write for enjoyment, but I also write novels to see them in print. If I want to write something not intended for publication, I’ll stick to a short story. Writing a novel involves far too much sweat and hard work for me not to see the finished result in book form.


Q: When you first started writing, approximately how long did it take you to complete and edit a novel until you felt it was ready to be shopped around? Have you noticed a decrease in the time it takes you to complete novels to your satisfaction now?

A: Ok, some readers are going to hate me for this, but the very first novel I wrote took me 19 days. *ducks to avoid flying computer parts* But I was on a college break and not working and had nothing to do. And, it still needs a LOT of edits before it’s publishable.

For my debut novel, with research included, it took me about 1-1/2 years, but for the actual writing and editing parts, about a year. With those 2 under my belt, my next books have gone much smoother. I can generally write a 50,000-word book in about 1 month when I truly focus. Otherwise, I do about 1-2 chapters each week.

If you’re looking to balance your own writing, go with what works for you. Don’t try to imitate someone else’s pace or goals. Their writing isn’t your writing. Establish a routine that proves successful and don’t get stressed because you find some other writer or author writing more than you. Just be you and set goals that will keep you writing, not ones that will discourage you and cause you to quit.


Q: What is a typical writing day for you?

A: Well, since I run a web design business from home, I don’t have a ‘typical’ day, per se…unless I’m on a deadline, of course! Then, almost everything else takes a back seat or gets shoved to the back burner. However, I rise early (most days) with my husband and send him off to work first thing. Then, I sit down at my computer and go through any email, respond and take care of business, make any updates to client web sites or work on design elements that are pressing in nature, and finally get to my writing.

On days that I remain home with nowhere to go, I try to set a page count minimum and stick to it. And I usually end up doing marketing work, watching a movie or playing a computer game to break up the day as I write. My errands are usually run first thing in the morning.


Q: What does your publishing house expect of you with regard to self-promoting your novel(s)?

A: They promote on their web site and send out bi-annual catalogs featuring their latest releases. They also have an e-mail newsletter that goes out and a newsletter which gets included in all book club shipments. They promote what’s out this month and what’s coming next month.

On my end, they don’t really expect or demand that I do anything, but they appreciate it if I have an established online presence and do my fair share in promoting my books. They’re behind me when I need content for publicity and will do everything they can to make certain all materials are complete and accurate. If I have questions, I can ask, and I’ll get a reply usually within 24 hours or less. I love my editing/publishing team.


Q: Many new writers don’t know when to stop editing and revising. How do you decide when your manuscript is ready for your editor’s or agent’s eyes?

A: I, along with likely all authors, believe there is always work to be done on a book, even after it’s been published and printed. However, there comes a time when you must lay it aside and trust God to do the rest. No book is 100% perfect, nor will it ever be. Personally, I go with my gut. When I can’t do that, I go with the deadline. LOL!


Q: Do you have any further direction or thoughts that you care to share with weary authors-in-training?

A: Writing is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, patience, perseverance and faith. And it won’t happen overnight. You have to maintain a teachable spirit and be open to constructive criticism, no matter how far along in your writing journey you get. In the end, the rewards far outweigh all the sweat and tears you shed along the way. Most importantly, if you feel this is the path for you, never give up!

Thanks so much, Amber, for stopping by and sharing such wonderful information. For a review of Amber Miller's Promises, Promises click here, and now let's take a look at Amber Millers first two books out.


Promises, Promises
Publisher: Barbour/Heartsong Presents
Release date: February 2008 through Heartsong Presents; July 2008 to bookstores and online retailers
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Delaware Brides, book 1
ISBN: 9781597899390
Ordering link: www.ambermiller.com/books.html


Has God forsaken Raelene?

What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? When Gustaf Hanssen promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word, must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?



Quills & Promises
Publisher: Barbour/Heartsong Presents
Release date: July 2008
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Delaware Brides, book 2
ISBN: 9781602600492
Ordering link: www.ambermiller.com/books.html


Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years--

With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When he is called away to fight the French and the Indians, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to one another. Elanna has never known emotions like these before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a writer for the first newspaper in the colony questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?



For more on Amber Miller, take a gander over to the following interviews as they become available.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Shirley Connolly (July month-long feature) - http://apenforyourthoughts.blogspot.com

July 7 - Margaret Daley (bio) http://margaretdaly.blogspot.com
July 7 - Dawn Kinzer at From Dawn til Dusk, Musings of a Night Owl http://dawnkinzer.blogspot.com
July 8 - Donna Moore at Write by Faith http://writebyfaith.blogspot.comJuly 8 - Kim Woodhouse at God's Grace, Love & Forgiveness http://www.kimberleywoodhouse.com
July 9 - Margaret Daley (interview) http://margaretdaly.blogspot.com
July 9 - Amy Riley at The Friendly Book Nook http://thefriendlybooknook.com
July 10 - Jenny Blake at Come Meet AusJenny http://ausjenny.blogspot.com
July 11 - Rose McCauley http://rosemccauley.blogspot.com
July 11 - Shauna Sturge at The Coffee Stop http://shaunasturge.blogspot.com
July 12 - Carolyn Strawder at Quiet Time with Carolyn http://www.quiettimewithcarolyn.com/Serenity
July 14 - Martha Rogers at Martha Writes http://marthasbooks.blogspot.com
July 15 - Leslie Sowell at A Little Bit of Sunlight http://www.footprintsinthesand.us/blog
July 16 - Novel Journey / Novel Reviews http://noveljourney.blogspot.com / http://novelreviews.blogspot.com
July 17 - Eileen Astels at A Christian Romance Writer's Journey http://eileenastels.blogspot.com
July 17 - Cheryl Wyatt at The Squirrel's Nest http://squirrelsnest.blogspot.comJuly 18 - Cara Putman at Cara's Musings http://carasmusings.blogspot.comJuly 18 - Tyora Moody at CB Reviews http://www.faithwebbin.net/cbreviews
July 19 - Stacy Johnson at Vader's Mom http://jeffstacyandvader.blogspot.com
July 21 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs) http://christianfictionblogalliance.blogspot.comJuly 21 - Camy Tang at Camy's Loft http://camytang.blogspot.comJuly 21 - Jennifer AlLee at Musings on This, That & The Other Thing - http://jenniferallee.blogspot.com
July 22 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs) http://christianfictionblogalliance.blogspot.com
July 22 - Cindy Woodsmall at the Plain Talk Blog http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/category/plain-talk/
July 23 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs) http://christianfictionblogalliance.blogspot.comJuly 23 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (review/interview) http://themelodywithin.blogspot.com
July 24 - Margaret Chind at Creative Madness http://cherryblossommj.blogspot.com
July 25 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (guest blogger) http://themelodywithin.blogspot.comJuly 25 - Christa Allan at Fictionary http://cballan.wordpress.com
July 26 - Paula Moldenhauer at Grace Reign http://gracereign.blogspot.com


BOOK GIVEAWAY: If you would like to be entered into a drawing for Amber Miller’s newest release, Quills & Promises, please leave a pertinent comment in this post with your augmented e-mail address before Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 9:00 pm Eastern time. Good luck to everyone!

July 24th update: Congratulations to Mimi B. for winning Amber Miller's Quills & Promises. Thanks all for entering, and I wish you the best of luck in the future drawings you enter!

Blessings,

Eileen

19 comments:

windycindy said...

Fantastic interview! I think Amber is the berries. I would love to read her historical romance. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks very much!
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Writer's Paradise said...

I just keep right on bumping into Amber Miller, who I now appreciate quite a bit. I'm so looking forward to her books. Great interview, Eileen.

Lacresha Hayes
lacresha.hayes@gmail.com

Janna said...

Good interview and I just finished Promises, Promises last night - it was really good - I would love to read Quills & Promises, please enter me...

Janna
ryanx6 at msn dot com

bigguysmama said...

Thanks for this interview! I thought the info Amber shared in regards to her insights with writing was so helpful. It's nice getting to understand the writing world better. Please enter me in the contest.

Blessings,
Mimi B

mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! Would love to be entered in the drawing for this wonderful book. Thank you!

cherierj(at)yahoo.com

sphinx63 said...

Very interesting interview. I like how she takes a break from writing to watch a movie or play a computer game. Probably keeps the brain sharp!

Ausjenny said...

Please enter me.
another good interview with some great questions. thanks Amber and Eileen.
ausjenny at gmail . com

Anonymous said...

Thanks Amber for the interview. I've started writing a novel and my goal is to just finish it, whether or not I pursue publication! LOL! I'd also like to publish a few magazine articles, but my time is limited right now. Not sure I want to be an author; that will come in time I suppose. Thank you again. I read Promises, Promises and would love to win Quills and Promises.
Blessings, Kay
kayscmalbums[at]tx[dot]rr[dot]com

Frank said...

Thanks for the beautiful posting!
I Look Forward To Your Returning to your Blog and learning more from you!

luv2read said...

Enter me in the drawing. spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Stacey said...

Amber is so sweet. I adored "Promises, Promises". Please include me in the drawing for "Quills". Thanks.

stacey_dale[at]yahoo[dot]com

Jo said...

What a great interview that was. I am really looking forward to reading "Quills". Please enter m)e in the drawing.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Patty said...

How interesting to hear all the details that Amber went through to get published and her ourney that brought here there. Thanks for sharing.

pleblanc_1 [at] charter [dot] net

Doreen said...

I would love to read Amber's historical romance books! purposedrivenlife4you AT gmail DOT com

cpullum said...

I loved the interview! 19 days to write a book! Wow!! Thats an accomplishment!
cpullum@yahoo.com

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a great book. Please enter me, and thanks!
ayancey@dishmail.net

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview. Very inspiring! Please enter me, I'd love to win Quills and promises.

Gail
bookwurm70 [at] yahoo [dot] com

ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed reading this interview.
Quills and Promises sounds like a great book.
hawkes(at)citlink.net

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Congratulations, Mimi, you won Quills & Promises.

Thanks all for entering, and all the best in future Giveaways!

Blessings,

Eileen