Friday, October 12, 2012

October Feature Author: Ann Lee Miller + Free Ebook

I'd like to introduce our feature author this month, Ann Lee Miller.

Ann has two books published, both of which I have reviewed and greatly enjoyed (see Kicking Eternity and The Art of My Life).  Her characters are intriguing and varied twenty-somethings with very real and relatable challenges.

Giveaway: Anyone who leaves a comment with their e-mail address will receive a free e-copy of prequel: Kicking Eternity. Or you may request your free copy at AnnLeeMiller.com.



How much of your real life experiences show up in your fiction?

As a writer, I’m a vulture, feeding off the carcass of my life and other peoples’. Usually, it’s just bits and pieces—an experience here, a personality trait there, a deeply etched emotion, a pivotal relationship.
 
For example?

In The Art of My Life Henna shows up as a secondary character who grows pot in the back yard and has obviously smoked one doobie too many over the years. She is a loveable, comical character who fractures clich├ęs much like my mother did in her waning years with Altzheimer’s. I use a funny story that actually happened. Mom insisted that while she was in the grocery store someone stole eighteen pair of her panties out of her laundry basket which was setting in the passenger seat of her car. And the would-be thief replaced her pristine grandmamma undies with eighteen ratty pair.

Starr, who has a more predominant role in the story is a repressed ballet teacher. I took ballet as a child to correct my inward-turning feet. I also struggle with repression. Starr and I rebelled from bohemian upbringings into conservatism. Starr’s hyper-critical attitude toward her son, however, I borrowed from my father’s personality. Both Starr and I heard from our fathers, “I’ll give you something to cry about,” when we cried.

Cal went to jail, had a love affair with marijuana. Close relatives have done the same. Aly fights my leftover Catholic guilt. Fish holds grudges like I do. Aly falls overboard like I did as a kid. Leaf and my late father were Willie Nelson look-alikes.

I, like my characters. have always inhabited the bottom rung of the middle class. We all drive beater cars my kids call POSes (Ahem, you’ll have to figure that one out yourself).

Because I am a spiritual person, my characters wrestle or refuse to wrestle with issues of faith.
 
Are there recurring themes from your life you revisit in fiction?

In The Art of My Life I focus on an adult child overcoming diminished self-esteem due to a critical parent, forgiving people who have deeply hurt us, overcoming self-condemnation when we breach our personal moral code—all issues I have dealt with.
 
The Art of My Life features a male main character. Where did you draw your insight from?

I’ve been surrounded by guys my whole life. My closest relationship growing up was with my father, toxic though it may have been. My only sibling is male. Three of my four children are guys. My husband grants me access to dive in and poke around in the male psyche. But I’m still learning. This year’s big discovery is that most guys could care less about matching—they don’t really give a flip whether they walk out the door with brown pants, brown shoes, and a coordinating shirt. Just last week my sons told me you have to “train” a beard. Who knew?
 
Tell us a little about The Art of My Life.

Here’s the back cover:

Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters.

Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed.


But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying.


For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.


The Art of My Life is available now at:

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.

AnnLeeMiller.com

Blog: http://the-art-of-my-life.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @AnnLeeMiller
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnnLeeMillerAuthor 

Thank you Ann Lee Miller for being on our blog! Don't forget, to receive a free e-copy of her first book, Kicking Eternity, all you need to do is leave a comment with your email address :)

7 comments:

  1. Hey Ladies,

    It's been such a busy beginning of the season for me! I feel like my days are spent catching up - not even maintaining! AGH!

    Needless to say, my sister series on my blog is getting a slow start but have no fear, I have plans for the two of you!

    I'd love an e-copy of Ann's book - she sounds delightful! And congratulations, Ann, on another book!

    I'll stay in touch,
    Becky

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    1. Hi Becky! It's been terribly busy around here too ... just barely keeping my head above water, so I empathise! Looking forward to your plans for us ... lol ... whenever you need us, just yell :)

      Praying you can get all caught up!

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    2. I second that Becky! My hubby's home finally from Nepal and we're about to embark on a trip for nearly a week. Feel like I can't quite catch my breath just yet either!

      Looking forward to being apart of your blog when the time is right!

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  2. Ha! See? Can't keep my head on straight to save me life!

    beckydwriter@gmail.com

    Blessings,
    Becky

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  3. Hi Becky,

    Nice to meet you. I prescribe a fascinating book to escape into. Relax, put your feet up. Enjoy! I'm just sayin' reading is good for stress.... Think I'll go take my own advice! After I send you your book. Ha!

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    1. Great interview Ann! Yes, reading is a great escape and a stress reliever!

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    2. Hi Jess,

      Hope you're having a great trip with your husband! :)

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