Four years later, I sold my first book and took a rather scary step into the world of authorship. When I received the notification that my first book was going to be bought, the first thought that went through my mind is, “I have to tell someone!” Since the hour was late, and everyone had gone to bed, I logged online. The only one signed on was the man who is now my husband. Some people would call that ironic. I call it God. One of the biggest moments of my life, and the first person I tell is the man I would marry just 8 months later. Amazing!
Quite often, I’m asked what my writing process is like. Well, I don’t plot my stories in great detail. I begin with a basic framework and fill in the details as I go. It becomes more of an adventure for me as I journey with my characters from beginning to end and grow along with them. I’ve now written 6 books, and I could never tell you how any of them would end until I finished them.
Another question I’m often asked (as is just about any author) is where I get my ideas. That’s easy. Real life. *grins* It might seem like a pat answer, but it’s true. An idea can spark from a conversation, a TV show, a movie, an article in a paper, a book I’m reading, and so much more. There is no end to the stream of ideas and inspiration. People get ideas all the time. It’s putting those ideas down on paper and crafting a story others will want to read that takes the time and dedication and hard work.
Along those lines, for me, certain aspects of writing can be easy and others difficult. Writer’s block for me is cured by jumping to another scene and coming back to that troublesome scene once I’ve filled in spots further along in the story. Oftentimes, the act of writing something that will happen in the near future to my characters gives me the incentive and inspiration I need to jumpstart the scene that had me stuck before. I am by no means a stickler to writing a book in order. Movie and TV producers don’t film them in order. Why should I write a book from start to finish? 🙂
Writing dialogue is a breeze. I often nail my characters through their speech. The words and phrases they choose give them a unique quality all their own. And since I love to talk so much, it makes sense that I’m good at dialogue. But, description? That’s where I have a hard time. The lack of it for the surroundings and setting the scene has often caused holes in my stories. Were it not for my critique partners and a handful of readers who offer me excellent advice in this area, I’d be in a world of trouble.
Every book is usually a team effort. Rarely does an author go from start to finish to publication without a group of editors, proofreaders, critiquers and readers looking at it and making changes or suggestions. I am still far from mastering the description aspect. But every author has a pet challenge, right?
And every author gets into this business wishing they had known at the start of their career pursuit what they know now. For me, well, I am not the ‘common’ story. I was published before I turned 30 and have books released before any kids have come. So, I have already established a pattern and routine and placed a certain spotlight on my writing that will transition with the growth of my family. This means I won’t have to convince my family of the importance of my writing and my career. A good majority of authors don’t have that luxury and have to fight hard to gain the acceptance of their family so they can pursue their writing.
But if I could latch onto something I wish I had known, it would be the knowledge that starting early and being younger in this industry isn’t always better. It means I have to work twice as hard to be “accepted.” I have often encountered folks who are fifteen or twenty years older or even twice my age and more, who have treated me with the belief that because I have not passed certain rites of passage or earmarks along the way, I don’t “qualify” as one who can offer any advice to others. On the flip side, I have encountered those who have been inspired by my goals and determination and have found their own inspiration as a result. They commend me for going for what I wanted early in life, and gain a newfound desire in their own lives.
For publishing, it would be knowing just how much work has to go into marketing in order to spread the word and get yourself known. It often feels like you against everyone else, and you have to stay on top of everything in order to keep up with the competition. However, God wouldn’t have called me to this or provided the tools I need if He wasn’t going to stick with me and guide me through it. I still have a lot to learn, and I am remaining teachable, doing all I can to learn from those who have gone before me so that I might one day pass the torch as they have.
So, what’s next?
have sold 4 books with the promise of 2 more and 2 anthology collection repackagings of those 6 novels. By the end of 2009, I’ll have 7 books in print. This year, I’m working on finding an agent so I can diversify a bit more and get my foot in the door with trade-length fiction. I have 2 historical fiction novels and 2 contemporaries that I’d love to sell. Right now, I just turned in book #4 and am working on book #5, which is due in December. These two and the 3rd are part of my newest series, Michigan Brides, which is set in Detroit during the Industrial Revolution. My first three are part of Delaware Brides, which will be released as a repackaged anthology next year.
And that’s about it for me. Sorry for being so long-winded, but Christa asked for it. LOL! Kudos to those of you who have stuck it out with me and read all the way to the bottom. You deserve a reward.
I know just the thing. Leave a comment and be entered in a drawing for a FREE autographed copy of my 2nd book, Quills & Promises. If you like historical fiction and the Colonial era of America, this book is for you. It’s set during the French & Indian War, but the premise could just as easily be applied today with soldiers being separate from their loved ones. And if you want to read the first chapter, you can visit the books page of my web site (www.ambermiller.com/books.html). Christa will get in touch with me in a week or so, I guess, to let me know who won from the drawing. Good luck!
Thanks again, Christa, for having me here. It’s been fun.
Ordering link: www.ambermiller.com/books.html
Amber Miller is an author and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband in beautiful Colorado Springs. They don’t have any children yet, but they do have a vivacious puppy named Roxie, who is half Border Collie and half Flat-Haired Retriever. Already nearing 65 pounds, she keeps them on their toes. And with her penchant for rising at 6 am on the dot, Roxie is giving Amber and her husband a good taste of what it’s like to be parents.
Amber has sold four books to the Heartsong Presents line of Barbour Publishing with the promise of two more before the end of the year. She is currently pursuing an expansion into trade-length historical fiction as well. 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. 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.
Read more about her at her web site: www.ambermiller.com
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“Amber Miller skillfully carries her readers back to a time when women had little say in their lives. PROMISES, PROMISES is a story about a woman, Raelene, struggling with this perception and the man, Gustaf, that helps her. God has surely brought the two together but will Raelene accept his will? Powerful characters and an intriguing plot will keep readers mesmerized. Talented Amber Miller is an author to watch and with two more books in her Delaware Brides series to come, fans should be ecstatic.” ~ Donna Zapf (rating 4 stars), CataRomance Reviews
“PROMISES, PROMISES is a book that will keep you quickly turning pages. The story is heartfelt, and deeply emotional. The characters are realistic and entertaining. I found the story to be one that while set in 1739 could just as easily apply to today. The message of faith plays a big part of PROMISES, PROMISES and only adds to the emotional pull of the story. Ms. Miller has written a story that promises to keep you reading and engaged until the final page is turned. This is book one of Ms. Miller’s Delaware Brides series and a sure indication the next books will be a blessing and a pleasure to read. I look forward to enjoying them just as much as I did PROMISES, PROMISES. I highly recommend readers find a copy of Ms. Miller’s story today.” ~Wendy Keel (rating 4½ stars), The Romance Readers Connection