Author Spotlight: Judith Miller

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Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from the last Author Spotlight giveaway is JULIE BRUBAKER! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com with your mailing address to claim your prize.

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Welcome Judith Miller, author of The Brickmaker’s Bride, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of her book.

Nathan Ham Photography|www.whataham.comShare a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’m an empty-nester who is currently enjoying a lot of time with an eight-month-old granddaughter. When I first began writing, I worked as a legal assistant and later as a compliance analyst for the Kansas Insurance Department. After several book contracts, and the reaching a point where it was possible to retire from my position with the state, I quit working full time to devote myself to writing.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre, your areas of interest…

I love research and history so my books are all historical fiction. I’m drawn to unique settings where I can give readers a glimpse into a historical setting and a profession that is somewhat new to them. My current series, Refined by Love, takes readers to West Virginia and each book will provide readers with a different business or trade that was popular in that area of the country. In The Brickmaker’s Bride, I hope readers will be intrigued as they  learn a little about brickmaking back in the 1860’s.

How did you get started writing?

I was traveling sixty miles back and forth to work each day and during that time, a story came to me that I couldn’t get out of my head. I finally wrote it—and that was my first venture into the writing world.

Did you have a dream of being a published author?

No. Unlike many other authors, I didn’t grow up wanting to be an author. The desire came much later in life.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

Approximately two years before I signed my first contract. I know I was very blessed as many authors go far longer before signing that first contract.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

Quiet. I’m not a writer who can have music or other distractions while I work.

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write?

I always work at my desk. I’m not good moving around to different locations. I want my research books nearby and my coffee in the same spot each day. I’m a creature of habit.

How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I’m at my computer about seven hours a day, but not all of that is writing on my manuscript. Some of it is answering email, doing publicity work, and shopping on Amazon. ☺

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Back when I was first published there were only a few small writing conferences and I did attend some of those. They were helpful, so I would encourage aspiring authors to attend writers’ conferences. However, for me, the big thing has been a couple good critique partners who read my work before submission. Second would be having a few really close author friends who get together several times a year to plot, pray and play together.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

Yes. I didn’t have particular expectations about the writer’s life when I began my writing career. Since I’m a somewhat solitary person, I like being at the computer creating characters and stories. There are parts of the writing life that I didn’t understand when I first contracted, but overall I have enjoyed the journey.

What are your biggest distractions?

E-mail, internet, and research. I can go off on some very involved bunny-trails for hours when I’m researching, and unless I turn off my e-mail, I want to stop and read each one as it arrives.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

I’d say one of the best moments was when I received my first contract with Bethany House Publishers. One of the worst was when I received my first substantive edit. I didn’t realize there was such a thing when. So when I got that four-page letter telling me what I needed to change, I was in a state of shock.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?The Brickmakers Bride PR

Dislike would be deadlines. There are so many deadlines beyond the date your manuscript is due. There are deadlines for your synopsis, for substantive edits, for copy edits, for preparing proposed cover copy, for marketing promotions and so forth. It can become overwhelming, especially when you’re working on a new book and doing edits on the last one.
What I like most is the research and plotting of my books. I could research forever and that’s not a good thing when you have those deadlines I don’t like. ☺

What is the role and importance of an agent?

I didn’t use an agent for many years, but that was before the days of e-books and so many changes in the publishing world. I rely upon my agent for everything—from shopping my work to publishers to talking me through problems with a difficult plot. Every agent is different, and I think authors should thoroughly interview an agent before signing with them. Having an agent who understands you and your writing is imperative, so making the right choice is one of the most important decisions a writer makes—at least in my opinion.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Study the craft and before you submit to an agent or editor, make certain your work is ready for the close scrutiny it will receive.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

The Brickmaker’s Bride contains love, mystery, family dysfunction, history, and strong characters who will reveal the heartaches and blessings of post-civil war history in West Virginia.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I’m finishing The Potter’s Lady, the second book in the Refined by Love series, and then will begin the third book, The Artisan’s Wife.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

On the web at: judithmccoymiller.com
On Facebook at: facebook.com/authorjudithmiller
Twitter: @JudithMiller18

My books are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com and your favorite Christian bookstore.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Aprul Patterson says:

    I always look forward to get an Amish or Historical fiction email in my box.
    I love getting notified of new books to read by my favorite authors.
    I really appreciate all the time you’ve taken to research your books to make them so accurate. I sure feel like I am there in the story. I don’t need Calgon to take me away. I have books ! = – )
    Love the pictures you send from your travels and from your research.
    I can’t wait til your next books come out in this series.
    Thank you for giving me such enjoyment with your books !

    • Judy Miller says:

      Hi Aprul,
      Glad you enjoyed the pictures of my travels. Getting to visit historic sites is one of the genuine pleasures of being an author–at least it is for me. Glad to hear that books are even better than Calgon. LOL.

  2. Pat Thompson says:

    I love reading books with the setting of the Civil War. I would love to read this book too. I love your smiley beside researching on Amazon. That sounds like my day, too.

    • Judy Miller says:

      Glad you enjoyed my reference to shopping on Amazon, Pat. I truly need to stay away, but with Christmas coming…who can resist, right? Glad to know you enjoy books set around the Civil War period!

  3. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  4. Robin Bunting says:

    Love historical fiction and this was a nice interview to further understand an author. ty for the chance to get a copy of this book.

  5. Peggy Banchor says:

    I look forward to all of Judith Miller books and sometimes the wait is hard .I have enjoyed many good series from you.Please keep them coming.Thank you.

  6. Gail Hollingsworth says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! Looking forward to,reading this book.

  7. Rita Clements says:

    Judith, thank you so much for your interview. I LOVE historical fiction. Living in Southeast, Ohio puts me close to West Virginia. The history here is just awesome! I cannot wait to read this series!

    • Judy Miller says:

      Hi Rita,
      You’re right about your location being close to WV. In fact, I did some of my research for this series in that area I visited several potteries and the Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool. Lots of beautiful scenery in the area–and lots of history!

  8. Kelly O. says:

    I love when you said that you could research forever! So could I and I’m not a writer! I always enjoy historical fiction and usually end up going on rabbit trails of research myself while I am reading about that historical era! 🙂

  9. Jayne says:

    my parents grew up in West Virginia, I am a coal miners daughter!
    I welcome the chance to win this book. This is a very intriguing time period.

  10. Dola Rotter says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of your books & look forward to reading this one

  11. kim amundsen says:

    Looks like another great book from another great author. Interesting how some almost don’t become one but glad that this gal did.

  12. Rhonda Ryser says:

    I have read many of your books, but I think my favorite so far is the Postcards from Pullman series. I would love to read some more.

  13. Carol Kelley says:

    Looking forward to reading Judith’s new series! Sounds like a great book.

  14. Karen C. says:

    This sounds like a great book! Can’t wait to start the new series!

  15. Emma says:

    I am looking forward to reading The Brickmaker’s Bride.

  16. Nancy Farley says:

    I have read some of Judith’s books and really enjoy them. This new series sounds like another winner. I love historical fiction as well as reading about the Amish. Thanks for this great chance to win Judith’s new book.

  17. Sharon McLeod says:

    I love to read Amish books, so would love to receive one.

  18. Debbie Rhoades says:

    I adore historical fiction and I look forward to reading Judith’s books.

  19. Shirley Bottoms says:

    Thanks for a chance to win Judith’s new book. Have read one of hers before and liked it.

  20. Britney Adams says:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely interview and giveaway! I adore historical fiction and am eager to read The Brickmaker’s Bride!

  21. Linda McFarland says:

    Would love to win The Brickmaker’s Bride. Thanks for the opportunity to win! Linda

  22. Karen G says:

    Thank you for the nice interview. Would love to read The Brickmaker’s Bride. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  23. Connie R. says:

    I’d enjoy reading this book. Thank you for the giveaway.

  24. Carissa says:

    Would love to win and read this new author (to me) 🙂

  25. Sunnie says:

    Would love to win a copy of this great read!

  26. Renee says:

    Great interview! I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  27. Brenda Ayers says:

    I enjoy reading your books. I have a lot of them in my library. Will look forward to this new series that you are writing. I enjoyed your interview and look forward to your new books. This sounds like a very interesting series. I love to read historical fiction.

  28. Ellen Wycuff says:

    I really enjoyed reading the author spotlight on Judith Miller this month. Found it interesting she didn’t grow up wanting to be an author