Interview with Martha Miller

What do you read for pleasure?
I love to read memoirs, biographies, cookbooks, books on parenting, and I'm obsessed with books about minimalism.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Personal appearances. I am usually not excited about speaking in front of a group, but talking about living in Italy has been so fun, and I get such good reactions from the audience, I've learned to love it.
Describe your desk
It's Elfa (The Container Store) driftwood shelves attached to a turquoise wall with white hardware. Very modern, no drawers to collect stuff I would soon forget about. There's a linen covered bulletin board directly above my laptop with inspiring messages like "A year from now what will you wish you had done today?" And I always have a picture of my husband and son and me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Arkansas and knew from an early age I would not stay there. I dreamed of traveling the world and living in New York and abroad. I had barely left the state when I graduated from University of Arkansas. I have traveled a lot internationally (never seems like enough) and was lucky to have jobs that allowed me to travel the U.S and visit New York numerous times. I'm thrilled to have made my dreams come true and feel compelled to write my stories for other little girls and boys who want to go places and see things and not get stuck where they are.
When did you first start writing?
I decided I wanted to be a writer in fifth grade after reading Little Women, but I didn't do anything to make that happen other than dream about it. Instead of pursuing journalism, I went for an undergrad in Business Administration with a Marketing degree which would allow for a steady paycheck and it did most of the time. I kept journals and wrote essays in college that garnered praise from my professors but I still didn't think I could actually be a real writer. That must be for more talented, smarter folks. I didn't publish anything until I was in my 40's living in Rome Italy. Realizing the dream to live abroad made other dreams seem more attainable. With persistence and dedication anything can be accomplished by anyone.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's a travel memoir about the 21 months my husband and I lived in Rome. It's titled Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy. It's a lot rolled into one: travel, study abroad, minimalism, taking chances and living life now.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I worked on Times New Roman for many years to get the stories right and to learn how to really tell a good story. At the point I was ready to publish, publishing had changed tremendously. I didn't want or need to wait another year or more for an agent or a publishing house to "pick me." And I didn't want to be told to write my memories any other way than I had. I wrote this book like I was telling my two best friends about my adventures. I love hearing, "I felt I was right there with you!" That's exactly the way I wanted the book to sound.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I just signed up with Smashwords so it's a little early to comment. I have high hopes Smashwords will help me get my story out there to inspire others to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I totally get lost in writing. I forget to watch the clock, my tummy doesn't rumble, I'm in the moment. I think this is what getting in the zone is for me. And it's exciting!
What do your fans mean to you?
When I wrote my first article about living in Rome, I received over 200 emails asking me questions, wondering if I wrote a book and telling me my story inspired them. That was and is extremely encouraging and satisfying. I would probably never have written a book without those wonderful letters, so they mean a lot to me.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm focused on letting the world know about Times New Roman. It was a challenge to finally say "it's finished." I spent 13 years getting to where I could say that. But about a week after I had the first real copy of my book in my hand, I thought, "Hmmmmm....I've always wanted to live in New York, how about a sequel and titling it, Times New York?"
Who are your favorite authors?
Nora Ephron, David Sedaris, Frank McCourt to name a few. I love when reading makes me laugh out loud. My son does it too, and I think the world of authors that can make children LOVE to read that way.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There's always a few fun things planned along with the have-tos. I'm enjoying marketing my book as much as I did writing it. Getting a Marketing degree was a good idea; marketing classes made perfect sense to me, unlike Calculus.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a full-time job and my son is a boy scout, which is like having another full-time job. :/ Also, I love to read, and putter around my house. I'm obsessed with the minimalism movement and keep trying to move more stuff out. I always seem to have a trunk full of stuff to take to Goodwill.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Goodreads, newspapers, friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first one that comes to mind was one probably in late elementary school or junior high where the teacher gave us a prompt. Mine was the color white. I remember losing myself in the story about piano keys that tormented me (I hated piano lessons) and how I would cry into the fur of my white poodle. All these ideas, emotions came out and splatted on the paper in such a surprising way. I didn't know all that was in me.
Published 2017-05-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 46,840. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » By region, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration
Times New Roman is a true account of lifelong dreams to live abroad, experience another culture, complete an education and alter two career paths. Times New Roman focuses on modern life in the Eternal City. The Millers learn how to live, eat, shop, cook and dress as the Romans do. And either through osmosis or out of necessity, they picked up some Italian behaviors they never expected.