Interview with MJ Miller
Author of All About Annie
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 All About Annie to a new reader?
- All About Annie is a funny romantic, somewhat suspenseful tale. Nothing too steamy, though. Safe enough to accidentally leave around for your daughter to pick up and read!
What was the inspiration behind All About Annie?
- I was reading a book one day and found myself chuckling every time I came upon a "oh that's happened to me" moment. I wondered hmm, that could be a fun twist! What if you read a book and thought it was about you?
Which authors have most influenced your writing?
- I have to say that first and foremost, Jane Austen. What I love about her novels is that I can read them over and over again and each time discover a whole new angle I hadn't considered. Of course occasionally a particular author will provide a tone or theme for a story. Conan Doyle is the voice in my head when my character is embroiled in mystery, while Nora Roberts is clearly in my head when I'm in romance mode!
What locations are featured in your book?
- From New York to Northeast Ohio and back again. If I reveal anymore, it might be a spoiler!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors on choosing traditional publishing versus self publishing?
- Self Publishing for me was a choice based on, truthfully, age. I have been writing my whole life, but had another career that I focused on. When self-publishing became a way to actually achieve my dreams of seeing some of these stories in print, I jumped at the chance. Young aspiring authors have however, the chance to go for traditional publishing, with time not being a significant factor. It does take time to traditionally publish. Finding an agent or publisher to accept the work, and the editing process alone can take years. I would encourage anyone to pursue traditional, but don't dismiss the idea of self-publishing. Both can be equally rewarding, personally, if not financially. Either way, keep writing.
How do you develop your main characters? Do you base them on yourself or people you know?
- My characters always have a bit of me in them, as well as traits I admire in others around me. I try most of all to keep them relatable. I want readers to champion them and cheer them on. They have to connect to them to do that. So they are always far from perfect, but deep down always on the side of good. Perfectly flawed.
Which character in All About Annie has had the greatest impact on readers?
- Annie of course is the star of the show, and readers have let me know they identify with her! I've dubbed her the perfectly imperfect heroine, paying homage to her missteps in life as well as her accomplishments. She was created to reflect the dreamer in all of us who finally gets her wish.
Are you planning on a sequel?
- Sequels always float around in the back of my mind. So certainly it hasn't been ruled out. In fact, fans of All About Annie should probably keep an eye out for a book about her sister, Luce sometime in 2020.
How have readers responded to All About Annie?
- The reviews have been heartwarming! Readers have commented that they love the plot twists and that the story never loses momentum. My favorite review quote? "The characters are so skillfully and perceptively drawn..." This is the type of compliment every writer loves.
What are you working on now?
- I'm excited to announce an entirely new series! The first book will published soon, and it's all centered on a quirky little town where nothing is ever as it seems, and the matriarchs of the town are always up to something. Stay tuned!
When Annie dives into a hot new bestseller she suddenly sees her life story come screaming off the pages. Every embarrassing moment memorialized page after page. Add a mysterious author, a ransacked apartment, an attempt on her life and an old flame, and Annie’s life is in a free-fall.
But Annie is determined to find out if she's the muse behind a bestselling murder mystery. Is the elusive author the one guy who broke her heart into a zillion pieces? Is she finally going to get her happily ever after or at least a little revenge? When fiction meets reality, she’s about to find out… even if it kills her.