HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Maryann Miller

Maryann Miller_Heidi's Pick SixMaryann Miller


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Jenny from One Small Victory is right up there at the top of the list just because of the courage it took for her to overcome the darkness of grief and become proactive about the drug problems in her small town. With her, I was able to explore such a wide range of emotions, and often she would surprise me with a reaction to a situation.

2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I can make a mean blackberry pancake sauce. And last year I got brave enough to take a major role in a play and astounded myself and the audiences. Even my friends were surprised. They kept saying, “Gosh Maryann, I didn’t even know you could act.” I resisted the urge to say, “Maybe I’ve been acting all along.”  But, seriously, I love theatre and had always directed shows, tamping down that urge to step on stage. Now I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

5. Who are you reading right now?
I’m reading a Y/A novel for review right now, Ringside 1925: Views From the Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant. It is an interesting book written in verse, and offering multiple views of the trial of a teacher who taught the theory of evolution. The Scopes trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, and Ms. Bryant has created a number of characters who have distinct opinions about the issue and distinct voices in the story. A very insightful look at an issue that is still relevant.

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
One of the toughest scenes I ever wrote was the love scene in Play It Again, Sam. It’s a real challenge in a romance novel to write the love scene with wordage that is fresh and original. I mean, how many different ways can you describe the act? But to be fair to Sam, especially because she waited through most of the story to have the courage to let Frank make love to her, I wanted the moment to be special. I don’t even remember how many days it took me to get that one scene just right. Or just right to suit me.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
My inspirations always come from real people or real incidents. One time my husband and I were taking a little road trip for our anniversary and were going down this rural highway in central Texas. I saw an old black man sitting under a Mimosa tree and I wondered what he thought of the cars that passed him. That wondering led to the beginning of a story idea, so I asked my husband if he minded if I jotted a few notes. Three hours and lots of pages later, I had a short story titled "Maybe Someday".

I got the idea for One Small Victory, when I read a short item in the newspaper about a woman who worked undercover to bring down a drug ring in a small town in Michigan. And the central character in Play it Again, Sam is based on a friend of mine who was devastated when her husband of 25 years dumped her for another woman. Of course, in both instances I fictionalized the characters, but my friend did ask me if it was possible to write her a happy ending in real life.

9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I’m a real sucker for a sad, country song. Sometimes I can be listening to one and start weaving a sequel to the story offered. I also truly love old hymns like “Amazing Grace”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, “In the Garden”, and “How Great Thou Art.” They touch my soul and are my favorites to sing at church and play on my guitar.

Unlike some writers, I can’t listen to music while I write. I am distracted by the music, even when it is just instrumental, and I can’t concentrate on the writing.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels, screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, A Question Of Honor. Her work has appeared in regional and national publications, and the Rosen Publishing Group in New York has published her non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping with Weapons and Violence In School and On Your Streets. A romantic suspense One Small Victory was released in June 08 in hardback from Five Star Publishing, and Play It Again, Sam comes out in July 08 from Uncial Press as an e-book.

Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and an editor.
She is currently the Managing Editor for WinnsboroToday.com, an Online community magazine, as well as a reviewer for ForeWord Magazine and BloggerNews.net.

Miller lives on some acreage in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her husband, one horse, two goats, two dogs, three cats, and an assortment of moles and gophers the cats have been unsuccessful at catching.

You can visit her at her Web site at: http://www.maryannwrites.com and read her blog at http://themanyfacesofgrief.blogspot.com.

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  1. Heidi,
    Thank you so much for the opportunity to be interviewed here. It is an honor.

  2. You're very welcome, Maryann. I enjoyed having you.

  3. Maryann,
    I love that you asked your husband if he would mind if you made a few notes.
    Great interview, by the way.
    All best,
    Pat Browning

  4. Pat, thanks for taking the time to come over and read the interview.


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