Interview with Sandra Ann Miller

Who are your favorite authors?
Dr. Seuss. Irvine Welsh. Dorothy Parker. Stephen King. Joan Didion. Gillian Flynn.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The alarm clock. I think writers are part vampire. A good portion of us are up late writing, so greeting the day does not come naturally. I respect those authors who are up before dawn doing it. I'm not cut from that cloth. Thank God for coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Writing is very isolating, so I try to spend my non-writing time with friends. Going to brunch, seeing movies, making dinner at each other's homes, or meeting at a bar to seriously catch up. It's wonderful to have a group of people who understand when you disappear and are also there to pull you out when you've been in the writing cave too long.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually, friends will recommend, or I'll see a blog post or get an email from a platform or publisher to pique my interest. Right now, I have a Kindle full of unread books I'm trying to chip away at.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I sort of do. I think it was in the first grade and it was about a squirrel. Which might say something about my attention span. Squirrel!
What is your writing process?
The process is to do it. Like many writers, I still have a day job, so it's writing before work, after work, late at night, on the weekends, through the holidays, any spare moment that can be found. However, there are days I don't write while I'm writing, if that makes any sense. I think it's important to take a break and let the story brew in my mind before hitting the page again (but I don't let more than three days go by). I think it was Sorkin who said that sometimes writing looks a whole lot like lying on the sofa watching TV. There is something to that.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Honestly, it was ONE FISH, TWO FISH, RED FISH, BLUE FISH. It was my favorite book when I was first learning to read. It just made me happy. Then, it was on to Judy Blume and meeting characters that had similar thoughts or experiences. When I read TRAINSPOTTING, written in phonetic Scottish slang, it was such an adventure.
How do you approach cover design?
I am blessed to have a dear friend who is an amazingly talented graphic artist who can take whatever is bubbling in my brain and makes it better than I ever could have hoped. Usually, the cover idea comes to me early, the mood of it. But I let it evolve while I'm writing and then, when I'm sure, I'll let her know the ideas I have, then she makes something amazing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
ONE FISH, TWO FISH, RED FISH, BLUE FISH - It just made me happy.
TRAINSPOTTING - Phonetic Scottish slang truly is something to behold as a reader, and Welsh takes you to another world.
THE RULES DO NOT APPLY - A brave, poignant memoir without self-pity.
BRIDGET JONES' DIARY - I think she was the first modern anti-hero who spoke to our inner hot mess and made us laugh.
DIFFERENT SEASONS - There were so many amazing stories in that collection of "novellas", it was just inspiring.

Of course there are many others but these, for what they brought out in their genres, really had an impact.
What do you read for pleasure?
I prefer memoirs and biographies. A little fact is good when you write a lot of fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle Fire when I'm at home and my iPhone when I'm out and about.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am a terrible promoter. I write it, edit it, have it proofed and publish it so I can go on to the next book (notice how there's no marketing involved in that at all?). I need to slow that down, have a group of Beta readers have at it first, send it out for reviews and promote before it's released. That's the plan for my third novel. Wish me luck on that. So, my most effective marketing technique is how my wonderful friends push it onto their friends. They are kind of good at it, thank goodness.
Describe your desk
It's a wood and metal laptop stand that I can move about the room with an ample array of Post-It notes of ideas for new books and songs I want to put on a playlist, and the book's designated notebook nearby to jot down character history, details and plot points.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a suburb north of Los Angeles that I refer to as Stepford. It had a lot of beige stucco and similar floor plans. I didn't quite fit in, and didn't quite want to. My characters have a little of that in them.
When did you first start writing?
We are forced to start writing in school, and that's where we discover that we like it and might be good at it. While I always wrote, I didn't become a writer until I went to film school. It was an expensive private art school that I was paying for on my own. I couldn't afford to make a film because tuition was so high and my advisor told me to make a video (this was pre-digital). I smugly answered, "I did not come to *film* school to make a *video*. If I can't make the movie I want to on film, I'll just write it." I wrote my first two screenplays there, have written many more (a few got thisclose to being made), and when the indie market became clogged, I moved on to writing books.
What's the story behind your latest book?
TEMPORARY talks a bit about how failure can affect friendships. It puts stress on everyone. No one really knows how to deal with it well, especially if it's prolonged. On the flip side, when the friend who's failed starts to succeed, it's interesting to see how friends respond to that. Dynamics in some relationships are fragile and not as malleable as we might hope or expect. I wanted to examine some of those dynamics.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote my first book, A SASSY LITTLE GUIDE TO GETTING OVER HIM - 10 Steps to Heal Your Heart After an Unhappy Ending, kind of on accident. I wrote it fast and wanted it out before that next Valentine's Day. This was back in 2006, before indie press was as viable as it is now, when it was still considered "vanity press". But, I started my own imprint, found the POD company that did it for the majors and was able to get that little pink book into stores (Barnes & Noble and Virgin I said, 2006) in a matter of weeks after I finished it. If I were to go with a traditional publisher, it wouldn't have been out for at least a year, queued up in their line of releases. Then, I learned how little publishers now do in terms of press and promotion, that it's now mostly on the shoulders of the author. With all that in mind, I would rather go my own way, write what I want to write and get it out there. Granted, there are a lot of us out there now than there were in 2006. The challenge now is to reach readers and connect with them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Connecting with readers. When your writing touches someone enough for them to take the time to reach out to you, it's really amazing. That's something I truly treasure.
What are you working on next?
Right now (as of February 2018), I'm working on my first suspense/thriller. Be on the lookout for it this summer.
Published 2018-02-03.
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Books by This Author

Chain-Smoking Vegetarians and Other Annoyances in L.A.
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 114,370. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
Can anyone find a happy ending in L.A., even if they work in the movies? El Patterson is trying to produce hers.
Temporary: a novel
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 92,640. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
Helen Clark is one unlucky lucky lady—who won the lottery then lost everything—working to put her life back together by taking a job heading permanent placement at a temporary agency. Through success and failure, love and heartbreak, one lesson Helen has learned is to savor the good and let the bad pass because, at the end of the day, everything is temporary. Or is it?