Interview with MJ Miller

Author of Phantom of Execution Rocks

I have a passion for cozy mysteries with plot twists and humor, a touch of romance and always a happy ending. I love reading them and I love writing them! Life’s tough enough, and while great works of literature are a necessary part of the human experience, so is a little mind vacation to recharge. That’s what you’ll find in the pages of my books. A bit of distraction from the ordinary.

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How would you describe Phantom of Execution Rocks to a new reader?
  • Phantom is a blend of American history, romance, and haunting mystery. It takes the reader on a journey of discovery into the tangled web of a one-sided story that is only now becoming unraveled.
What was the inspiration behind Phantom of Execution Rocks?
  • As a little girl, I could see the little island with the lighthouse from the nearby shores and wondered. Who buiilt it. Why? Most of all, why is it called execution rocks? Nobody knows for sure, so I decided to dive in and tell my version of the tale.
Is Phantom a stand alone novel?
  • Actually, yes, it can certainly be read as a stand alone although the characters are from my previous novel, All About Annie, it’s not required reading to enjoy this book.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
  • The fictional town of Port Newton is based on the towns and villages located along Long Island’s North Shore coastline. Often referred to as the Gold Coast with its old money and bloodlines that go back centuries. Many believe this locale was the inspiration for F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • Write for yourself first and foremost. Tell the story you have inside of you. Then, and only then, do you go back and polish it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Writing should be exhilarating, not a chore.
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In the middle of the Long Island Sound stands the lighthouse at Execution Rocks. What happened there is the stuff of myths and legends. It is said that every so often residents can see the image of an abandoned ship, sails billowing, silently gliding past the lighthouse. A ghost ship some say.

Setting out to uncover the truth, Luce Porter teams up with the annoyingly attractive Detective who seems to conveniently pop into her life when least expected. Is it destiny? It's a question they both face when they discover they share a childhood vision, along with disturbing family secrets. Tales of slavery and horror. Tales of abolitionists and saviors. Tales of patriots and traitors.

As romance blossoms, the two grapple with the blurred lines of American History while they challenge the demons from their own past.