Interview with Amy Miles

Published 2018-07-11.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has opened new doors that I could not open for myself. The ability to publish once and have my books on multiple websites is fantastic. I don't have to fret over figuring out each website's rules on formatting. I don't have to jump from site to site to check sales. It simplifies the process and allows me to save time. My relationship working with Smashwords has been fabulous. I can't say enough praise for the entire Smashwords team!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always been a writer. It is in my blood. A calling that I always hoped could one day turn into something more than just a hobby. When I sat down to write my first official book nearly three years ago I knew it was a long shot. I knew there were countless people out there with talent and a story to tell...but so did I.

I write to entertain. To give people the chance to escape for a few hours from their lives and dip into a fantastical world. Isn't that why we read in the first place?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The thing I love most about writing is allowing myself to become my characters. This isn't always an easy thing to do. I have evil characters that I have had to get into their minds in the past and to be honest, it's not a very nice place to be. I experience my character's pain, struggles and successes. I fall in love, laugh and cry with them. I weep when they die, when terrible things happen to them. They are a part of me and yet each has their own voice, their own thoughts and feelings. They become real in ways that I never dreamed possible.

I do not lead my stories. My characters carve their own paths and in allowing that to happen I am much like my readers in that I am simply along for the ride. I hold on tight until the very end and pray that at least one of my favorite characters made it through with me. Experiencing each of my stories unfold has been extraordinary and has touched me deeply. I have discovered things about myself that I truly don't think I would ever have known without this journey into the written world.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are everything to me. Literally. I sacrifice sleep to chat with them. I post pics, knowing that I will make a few of them laugh. I sends cards in the mail just to say hi. I give up writing time just to show someone that I care enough to respond to an email or Facebook message instead of waiting until I have free time. I make them a priority as much as I am able to.

Fans are the lifeblood of any author but it is so much more than that. They are THE reason I write. It's not about money, a title or any other superficial thing. It's about building a relationship with people across the world who simply enjoy a character that I created. I love spinning tales with them. Exploring the what ifs of story lines that I didn't have time to deal with in a particular book. Nothing thrills me more than when I get an email for a teen who has been inspired to write their own story just because they picked up one of mine.

That is what it is all about. Inspiring another person to follow their own dreams.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My upcoming book, unHappy Camper was spawned from a desire to spend the rest of my life living like a gypsy in a camper. I love the idea of tiny living, seeing the country (with my bed in tow) and just not having any roots to hold me back. I guess that's the Navy brat in me that is always eager to move on and see something new.

Although unHappy Camper is a rom com, it also deals with a "middle aged" woman going through an identity crisis after surviving breast cancer. She's lost a physical part of herself that she used to take pride in and now she's having to look beyond skin deep beauty to rediscover her worth. It's a beautiful tale filled with lots of funny mishaps (ie rabid raccoons and a poo geyser), some very real moments of self-worth doubts and the healing power of finding that one person in the world who will love you exactly as you are.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend a great deal of time writing. Far more than I probably should. Most days it seems like my entire life revolves around my book, but when it is a passion it hardly feels like work. When I do have some downtime I like to fish with my son off our dock. I enjoy spending a few hours on a golf course or snuggling up on the couch for a dinner and movie night with my family. I like spending my weekends in state parks hiking or biking. I enjoy doing renovation work or traveling. Since I am trapped in my office for hours on end during the week I tend to prefer getting out of the house and exploring, learning something new and being active.

I rarely have time to read any more, sadly. I find that when I do have the time my mind is overloaded with my own ideas that interfere with my ability to fall in love with any new characters.
What is your writing process?
Most of my books begin with a dream or a random thought. An idea that intrigues me. I like to look at the world differently than most people. I over analyse most things. When some people might not even have a reason to care, I will spend hours wondering "what if." I notice tiny details in everything. I spin plot ideas in a few minutes that leave most people either confused or stunned. Ideas for books come to me with great ease. Having the time to write all of them is another matter.

At the present time I have well over 40 separate book ideas locked away, waiting to be used. Considering most of those are for trilogies you can imagine that I have more than enough ideas to keep me going for years to come. I also have more than 15 novels started and in various stages of development at the moment.

When a dream or idea hits me I have learned to stop and immediately write it down. Sometimes simply writing the idea is enough. Other times I have to drop everything and just write. It might only be a chapter or three. Sometimes I will lock myself away and emerge with 20k words written on a book that I might not have time to touch for two years, but none of that time is wasted.

People speak of not ignoring your muse. I think that writing is very much an intentional and planned activity but I also believe that when you are called to write something, you do it. No matter what. Deadlines can be stressful and there are times that I become sick of writing a particular book near the end, but I push through, knowing that as soon as I finish I can begin a new creation.

Writing is work. At least it should be. It is not easy nor is it frivolous. Each person has their own way of doing things. My way would probably make most people nervous. When I put my mind to it, and I have done this several times, I can write a 100k novel in one week. I don't like to do that, mostly because I am forced to ignore my poor family but I work well under pressure. I set insane deadlines on purpose knowing that it pushes me to be better. Once the deadline is met, and I never miss a deadline, I will begin the process of edits and rewrites. This is where a story truly begins.

I work hard and play hard. That is my way of writing.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a very visual writer so I usually need a cover image completed before I ever start writing the book. I need a face to go with my main character. A feeling that the cover is meant to express. Without that, I might end up shifting away from my goal halfway through the book and loose direction.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm an eclectic reader so I love to jump through multiple genres. I love anything that has fantasy mingled in with a bit of romance. Suspense is great. A little thrill or mystery is always good too.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Being real with people has been the best way to cultivate relationships with my readers. I share my life on social media. I post pics of my family and our homestead. I crack jokes to make people smile. Post silly cat memes when I see lots of drama hitting the publishing world. I just try to get to know people. Take the time to show that I care about them. I never wanted to be that author who took for granted that people spend their hard earned money on one of my books. I want them to know that I appreciate them.
Describe your desk
Oh, my. I'll be's usually a disaster. Chaotic and messy but in an organized way. I know where everything is. The problem is that throughout my day I tend to need every piece of it so it's a necessary clutter.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I was gifted a Kindle Fire for Christmas a couple of years ago, but I'm a diehard iBooks fan when reading on my phone. I tend to download ebooks on both so that I can easily read no matter where I am.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up as an only child who was also a Navy brat. We moved a lot, which meant that I lost friends every couple of years and had to start all over. Being the new kid all of the time was hard. So I turned to books. They became my friends. And they never had to leave.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

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