Friday, June 22, 2012
Welcome Guest Author - Ann Miller
Interview With Ann Lee Miller, Author of Kicking Eternity
Winner of First Place Long Contemporary in the Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, and Love Contest
Note: Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) will receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. Those who don’t want to leave an e-mail may contact Ann for their free book at AnnLeeMiller.com.
STEPH: I don't know much about Kicking Eternity. What's it about?
ANN: Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
ANN: One year.
STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the story?
ANN: My daughter has had a passion to become a foreign missionary since she was in first grade. She just completed her junior year of college and is still headed for missions, probably to an orphanage in Peru. Also a close family friend fell in love with a young man and felt strongly that God told her to marry him. When the guy broke off the engagement, she was devastated on multiple levels. In Kicking Eternity the hero has to come to terms with the same dilemma.
STEPH: What's the theme of the novel?
ANN: Kicking Eternity is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both.
STEPH: Raine is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?
ANN: Raine is utterly committed to Jesus. She’s tenacious, self-sacrificing, and humble. But she’s pigheaded once she gets stuck on a course of action. She’s lonely, and sometimes she tries too hard to fit in.
STEPH: Drew is the hero. What does he find appealing about Raine?
ANN: Drew is attracted by Raine’s faith that matches his own. She’s gorgeous and doesn’t have a clue. They work together as if they’d done it all their lives. Teasing her becomes his favorite sport because she’s so easily flustered.
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?
ANN: Drew and Raine encounter each other or their footsteps on the beach every morning when they individually seek God. Drew worships with his guitar. Raine is attracted to Drew through his worship of God.
STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the story?
ANN: I traveled to New Smyrna Beach, even though I once lived there. I took lots of pictures and asked questions wherever I went. From home I researched on the internet.
STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?
ANN: I have a Nook.
STEPH: How long have you been writing?
ANN: I wrote my first draft of my debut novel fifteen years ago, but have been writing seriously for the past 10 years.
STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?
ANN: I detest plotting, but consider it a necessary evil. I plot every scene for the whole book before I actually write the book. It takes… forever. My first two books were written without plotting. Going back through whole books to fix plot lines felt counterproductive.
STEPH: Tell us a little about the state/country you live in.
ANN: I live in Arizona where rain comes from sprinklers. This time of year all the cacti are in bloom across the desert like an army of pencil-thin porcupines with bows in their hair. In the summer the thermometer can read 117 degrees. People say it’s a dry heat, but try sticking your head in the oven at 117 and see whether it feels hot to you. Phoenix is one magnificent hot flash from Mother’s Day to Halloween. But the entire population of Canada winters here, so sunshine has its fans.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kicking-eternity-ann-lee-miller/1110908265?ean=2940014441759
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.
Fresh from college, Raine scores a teaching job at New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp. A crush on the camp rebel/art teacher threatens to derail her plans to teach orphans in Africa. The broody recreation director spots her brothers meth addiction and Raine's enabling. Raine believes she is helping her brother--until lives are threatened.
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!”
Jenny B. Jones, Author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.”
Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song, and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category