Millys Altman lives in Uniontown, a small town tucked into the southwest corner of Pennsylvania at the foot of the beautiful Allegheny Mountains. The town flourished in the golden years of the late nineteenth century when coal was king and fortunes were made and is the setting for her historical mystery.
Ms. Altman writes with the wisdom gleaned from a long life. She and her architect husband raised three sons. Innocent Strangers is her second novel.
What can you tell us about yourself?
When I was born, my father was the doctor for a large coal company. We lived in a mining patch, and I could call it a "log cabin beginning," a favorite claim of politicians, but I would be stretching a point since our house had electricity and running water. One old timer told me, you lived in the row with the "rich people." From his perspective, we did. Our house bordered on the main dirt road in a line with the mine officials. As a miner, he made about a dollar a day and the company houses were shelter and not much more. My father went into private practice, and we moved into town when I was ready for school. This early beginning and my memories of my father as a country doctor formed the background for my adult novel, "Innocent Strangers
When did you first start writing?
Raising three boys with my architect husband was a full time job for me. Today, I marvel at working mothers with young children who still find time to produce books. I got my first dishwasher as soon as they came on the market, and by that time, my oldest son was five. Microwaves were unheard of. I like to think that I have a lot of valid excuses for not writing stories earlier. Only when the boys were in their teens and I had some free time did I start to write, and it was slow going at first. For years, I don't think I had written much more than my name on a check or signed a report card. Once I got into it, however, writing absorbed me, and I found that the simple act of scribbling was invigorating.
In my mind, it is unfortunate that my college degree is in Home Economics. I think I would have been ahead of the game if I had studied English literature and poetry and the classics and the other writings that you are exposed to with a liberal arts degree. Or, it certainly would have helped if I had a degree in business, sales or marketing. I am certainly not alone in wishing I could have my druthers. But I did have one advantage. I started to read books from an early age. Growing up, my sisters and I always had our noses in a book. We didn’t have televisions so that's how we filled our time. I always had books on my Santa list. I devoured the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, and I loved Elsie Dinsmore. Has anyone today every heard of Elsie Dinsmore? My boys were also readers and they brought me to John MacDonald and Ray Bradbury and other writers whose books I might not have picked up my own.
Author Millys Altman talks about her ebook, "Innocent Strangers". It is about a beautiful wealthy heiress is murdered in Mt. Hope, Pennsylvania, at the height of the golden era of the coal and coke industry.