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USA Today Bestselling Author, Julie Miller Answers Questions!

5 Questions People Often Ask Me

 First, thank you to Petit Fours & Hot Tamales for inviting me to blog with you today! I was flattered to be asked and am always excited to meet new readers. I hope you’ll get to know me a little better by picking up a copy of my brand new release, KANSAS CITY COWBOY, or by checking out one of my backlist titles. You can read about all my books, see my monthly newsletter, enter book giveaways and more at my website at www.juliemiller.org.

As the published author of nearly 50 books, I get invited to present workshops at conferences, speak at book clubs, etc. I get fan mail and reader e-mail. I socialize on Facebook and Twitter. I blog on the Intrigue Authors blog http://intrigue-authors.blogspot.com, post regularly on the http://community.harlequin.com  boards, and post a monthly newsletter on my website. Plus, I grocery shop, attend my son’s music and school events, work with the community theater and treasure time with my family and friends. In other words, there is plenty of opportunity for people to ask me about my writing.

Some questions make me laugh out loud; others make me wrinkle my brow and wonder what planet that person just transported from. A few comments touch my heart. As any shy person (like me) out there knows, it’s easier to jump into a conversation when someone asks me a question, and so I’m grateful to all the queries I’ve been asked over the years. I’ve started some wonderful friendships from just one little question.

Today I thought I’d share some of those questions that I’ve heard more than once over the years. And I’ll give you a bit of my responses as well. Enjoy!

1. Is that you and your husband on the cover?

Yes. Look at the cover of AT YOUR COMMAND. I’m a tall, willowy blonde with a slammin’body, and my hubby is a 6’4” lean, mean, muscle-packed Marine who goes through his daily life without a shirt. Okay, that’s sarcasm. Wishful thinking. I’m married to the Marine’s comic sidekick. I’m leaning toward middle age and have a sedentary job. The only thing “slammin” about my body is when I trip down the stairs. But I appreciate anyone who thinks we resemble the heroes and heroines on my covers. Really. Thanks!

2. Your characters feel so real. You’ve lived through those experiences, right?

I write romantic suspense, folks. Happily, I’ve never been a serial killer. And while yes, I’ve been the victim of crime, I’m far less brave than my fictional counterparts. In my other life as a teacher and IMPROV trainer and processor, I’ve been fortunate to work with trauma nurses, DEA agents, undercover cops, detectives, rape counselors, doctors, attorneys, ranchers, firefighters, computer techs, reporters, business executives and more. I’m lucky that I’m a great observer of people. I’m luckier that these people enjoy my company and are willing to answer my questions. Plus, I’m an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, a television watcher and movie fan. I immerse myself in how others portray the characters and situations I’m interested in—then I internalize those real feelings and responses and bring them out in my own unique characters. It’s an acting technique I learned in the theater that also works well in writing fiction.

3. I have a great idea for a story, will you write it for me? (and split the money, of course)

Um, no. I have far too many stories of my own playing inside my head—stories I’m anxious and excited to tell. It seems that with each story I write, new characters and situations pop into my head—a supporting character who calls to me to be featured in his/her own story, a plot-line that I’d like to try with a different character or setting to see how it would play out, etc.

4. Are your characters real people? Where is this precinct/bar/school/hospital/etc. where your characters work and hang out so I can meet them?

 Again, I’m writing fiction, folks. While I try to make my characters as realistic as possible, they’re all figments of my imagination. My Precinct books for Intrigue are set in Kansas City, Missouri—a very real, diverse, rife-with-potential-settings, city. However, while I pepper in the name of a highway or art museum, historic landmarks, etc., in my stories to give it an accurate sense of place, the homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, etc. are created by yours truly to meet the fictional needs of each particular story. One fun thing I do for my family and friends is to drop in the mention of something real from our lives into a story—only the family member or friend will get the reference, but it’s a fun way to personalize a book without the readers never knowing. For example, almost all the pet names I’ve used in my books are the names of pets I’ve had or have, or the names of friends’ pets. So, there are some real inspirations in my books, but they’re truly works of fiction.

5. Where do you get your ideas?

The short answer? Everywhere. Observations of life. Favorite tv shows, movies, fictional characters. Travel. Learning history. News. Reading other books. Writing my own books. My imagination. As a shy kid growing up, I spent a lot of time inside my head, creating stories to entertain myself so that I was never bored. It’s a habit that has continued my entire life.

So, do you have any questions you’d like to ask? These, of course, were on the more humorous side of things, but I’m happy to talk more seriously, too, if you have questions about my books, about writing your own stories, the publishing market or whatever. I’ll give away a copy of KANSAS CITY COWBOY to someone who posts a question or comment.

Best wishes, Julie Miller

USA TODAY Bestselling Author

Breathtaking Romantic Suspense

Julie Miller and her Daphne du Maurier Award!

To connect with Julie, you can go here:website: www.juliemiller.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Miller/25063057967

Twitter:  #JulieMillerAuth

 

Jane - August 8, 2012 - 12:47 am

Congrats on the new release, Julie. It must be interesting and fun to field questions from family and friends who are wondering if a certain characters was modeled after them.

Mary Preston - August 8, 2012 - 5:02 am

I had a great laugh at the questions and answers. You must hear certain questions many times over I’m sure.

Marilyn Baron - August 8, 2012 - 5:41 am

These questions are so funny, especially the one about whether you or your husband were featured on the cover. The funniest question I got was from a neighbor at my mailbox in the old days when you had to mail off your manuscript. I was mailing a query or maybe a partial and she seriously wanted to know whether the book would be out the next week as if it took a week to mail off a package, get a request, send the manuscript, get it accepted and published and distributed. You have a great sense of humor and it’s actually a compliment that people believe your characters are real enough to ask those questions. Thanks for blogging with us.

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 9:49 am

Thanks, Jane! I do enjoy talking about writing. I’m a teacher in my other life (apologies for a couple of grammar goofs I just caught–see the importance of editing? Even reading it 3-4 times, apparently I missed something- :-P ) so it’s second nature to answer questions and explain things. And I get some really good, intelligent questions, too–but these are more fun to blog about.

Every now and then I will throw in a friend’s name as a supporting character, but the looks and personality will be different, or vice versa. I’ve also combined people I know to create characters, or have taken elements of the real people and incorporated them into someone on the page.

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 9:50 am

I do, Mary. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 9:51 am

Glad to be here, Marilyn, thanks!

I know what you mean. Non-writers often have a very skewed idea of how the writing world works. They often think we can write a book in a day, too.

Debbie Kaufman - August 8, 2012 - 10:12 am

Hi Julie! I get that one about “I have a great story idea…” all the time. They are always so surprised I don’t jump right on it, LOL. I give a similar explanation. Love the idea of dropping pet names, etc. into a story.

Kathy Brown - August 8, 2012 - 10:32 am

Hi Julie,

I’d like to start by saying that guy on the cover of At Your Command is just too delicious for words!!! My DH and DS are both former Marines, but neither of them ever looked like that! :-( The book is fabulous, too. It is on my keeper shelf. I don’t have any questions for you. I’m quite happy to stay a reader and do not have any desire to become a writer. I always tell people that since I went to catholic school in the 50’s and 60’s creativity was not nurtured, so I’m very comfortable inside my little box.

I so enjoy your books, and I’m off today in search of Kansas City Cowboy. I could just download it to my Kindle, but sometimes I just like to read a REAL book and smell the pages!! :dance:

Sia Huff - August 8, 2012 - 10:55 am

Hi Julie,
I’m intrigued – your books sound great. Do you still write for Blaze too? I look forward to reading you soon.
The questions people think when they find out you write romance are hilarious. People tend to look at me in a different light, like they can’t quite match it up.
Congrats on your Rita award.

Kathryn Jane - August 8, 2012 - 11:11 am

Great post Julie, thanks for sharing.

I was once introduced to a couple at a friends house as ‘an aspiring writer’. The woman promptly turned and walked away, muttering that she didn’t want to be in anybody’s book.
I was gobsmacked and searched her out later to say that I wrote romance. She quickly assumed I wrote Historical and I didn’t disabuse her of the idea.

Oddly, I’ve used her bizarre reaction in a story because it was just so funny to me.

Also, I always have animals in my books and I often use my own critters or some from my past as models.

Pamela Hamblin - August 8, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Julie! I have had mentioned it in 2novels just for me mentioned about my love of unicorn’s!! Only ” I” knew the author wrote it in just for me. One was a unicorn tapestry on a wall and I was like ohhh my gosh, she included it! I was so happy! I just about jumped off the couch when I read it I was that excited. How many books have you wrote so far? As you know Jenny and I enjoy them and can’t wait to read the next new one.

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 1:25 pm

Hey, Debbie–thanks for stopping by. I’m sure you’ve got some quirky questions you’ve heard, too. ;)

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 1:29 pm

You’re funny, Kathy–maybe you should write something humorous if you ever overcome that Catholic training and get the urge to create something. ;)

And a big thank you to your husband and son for serving their country! I’m the daughter and sister of a Marine, so I’m kind of partial to that branch of the military.

Have fun with your decision to go print or ebook. It’s tough to decide for me, too. I think I relax more when I’m holding an actual book. But I love my Kindle for traveling.

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 1:31 pm

Hey, SIA–thanks for stopping by!

I have a standing invitation to write another Blaze for my editor there, but right now Intrigue and special projects are keeping me pretty busy. 8-) I’d love to write more sexy military heroes, but we’ll see.

Oh, and a minor correction–I won the Daphne du Maurier Award, not the RITA. One day, maybe. But thanks!

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 1:36 pm

That IS an odd reaction, Kathryn. Cool that you used it in a book, though. See? Ideas come from all over. ;)

And I love to include a pet in my stories whenever I can. I’m a dog-lover. But I’ve used horses from a friend who raises them (author Sherry James), cats we used to own (I’m severely allergic, so when I was diagnosed with asthma they had to go live with cousins in the country :cry: ), and so on. My hubby had this “goldfish” that turned out to be a giant koi (sp?) that I’d love to use in a story one day.

Kathy Brown - August 8, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Well, I think KC Cowboy will have to be an e-book. WalMart still had the July books on the shelf (what’s up with that??). I’m not a regular WalMart shopper, so I’ve made my one try for the month.

BTW, Julie, I did think of a question: Will you be writing any more Blazes in the future? I love those that you have written just as much as the Intrigues. :-)

Kathy Brown - August 8, 2012 - 1:45 pm

OOOPPPSSS! I should have read all the comments before I asked about the Blaze books. If and when, I’ll have my money out and ready to buy it!!

Carol Burnside - August 8, 2012 - 4:36 pm

Nice list of questions, Julie. I especially like the one asking where you get your ideas. I see that a lot in other author interviews and have even been asked that. I’m like, really? Really? You don’t see possibilities everywhere? LOL

Maybe we just think differently than non-writers.

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 6:35 pm

I think you’re right, Carol. Writers’ brains are wired a little differently from most people’s. ;)

Julie Miller - August 8, 2012 - 6:36 pm

Not a problem, Kathy. I appreciate the enthusiasm! 8-) Trust me, I’ll have it plastered on my website when or if I get the chance to write another Blaze.

Thanks for asking!

Laura AKA Loves 2 Read Romance - August 8, 2012 - 9:54 pm

Hi Julie! I love the questions you shared with us. I read a book one time where a secondary character had the same first and middle name that I have. I am facebook friends with the author but I have no idea if my name was her inspiration or not but I was thrilled when I came across it. I can’t wait to read KC Cowboy. If walmart would change the intrigues to August I could go get a copy. Say Hi to Maggie for me!!

Maxine - August 9, 2012 - 5:37 am

Hi Julie, I did leave a msg yesterday, but my laptop was “flickering” so I guess it was lost. I love your book covers and I will have a copy of Kansas City Cowboy very soon to read. Thank you so much for visiting PF&HT.

Marilyn Baron - August 9, 2012 - 6:16 am

My sister prefaces every telephone call with, “Now, don’t you put this in your book or your blog.”

Julie Miller - August 9, 2012 - 10:08 am

Hey, Pam–good to “see” you here! How fun that your conversation got mentioned in a book! That’s cool to have your own inside link to a story.

KANSAS CITY COWBOY is my 46th book. I’m currently editing #48 and will start on #49 next week!

Julie Miller - August 9, 2012 - 10:12 am

Hey, Laura–I’ll be sure to mention you to Maggie. Whenever someone asks me to say ‘hi’ to her, I do so by giving her an extra tummy rub or treat. No wonder she’s such a social dog. 8-)

I know! Our Wal-Mart hasn’t put up the August books yet, either. I’ve had several local friends ask me when the books would hit the shelves. Soon, I hope! Otherwise, all I can do is direct them to online stores. We don’t have a bookstore in our town anymore (really miss Waldenbooks!). Well, we have one, but it’s more about games and DVD’s and CD’s and collectibles. And it’s not very romance friendly. Pooh!

Julie Miller - August 9, 2012 - 10:14 am

Oh, no, Maxine–the dreaded flickering laptop… :shock: Glad you came back to post again.

I’m glad to be here. It’s nice to meet new reading and writing friends!

Julie Miller - August 9, 2012 - 10:14 am

Too funny, Marilyn!

Tami Brothers - August 9, 2012 - 12:05 pm

These are great Julie! Love them all and your answers. I’ve been asked many of these as well. Most recently I had a frenemy (yes, she was demoted after the question) tell me her life would make a really great story and that since she had just read my book, she felt I needed some better ideas. She was more than happy to split the profits with me, her 70% me 30%.

All I could do was blink and say she might want to try writing it herself because she could probably tell it so much better having experienced it. She promptly said she just didn’t have the time right now with young kids, work, school and family activities. All I could do was thank her for the offer. Of course, she knows me so she knows I have the same darn obstacles… But hey, she’s helping me thicken my skin, so no worries. :)

Thanks for sharing these with us. I do love your books and will be grabbing Kansas City Cowboy. Love those!!!

Tami

Julie Miller - August 9, 2012 - 3:36 pm

Oy, Tami–I can understand the frenemy status with a comment like that. Sounds as though you gave a calm, smart answer. :-)

I know, sometimes I’m amazed at some people who have no concept of the time and effort and sacrifices it takes to write a book. Some must think we’re sitting around drinking tea and eating bon-bons all day. It’s a great job, but it’s still a job! It’s hard work and time consuming as many of you here know. Like many working mothers, we have a lot to juggle in our schedules to get the job done.

Good luck staying on top of everything! And I hope you enjoy KANSAS CITY COWBOY.

Julie Miller - August 9, 2012 - 3:42 pm

And the winner is… Laura (aka Loves 2 Read Romance)!

(Sorry for the delay in posting, folks–school started this morning + I’ve got a deadline this week–I’m a little behind on stuff :dazed:

At any rate, Laura, I consulted with Maggie, and she picked you as the winner. If you send me an email with your snail mail address, I’ll get a copy of KANSAS CITY COWBOY out to you ASAP. Or, if you prefer a Kindle copy, let me know.

And thanks to everyone for stopping by. Another big thank you to my gracious hosts at Petit Fours & Hot Tamales–this was fun!

Laura AKA Loves 2 Read Romance - August 9, 2012 - 8:13 pm

Thanks Julie & Maggie!! I sent you an e-mail with my office snail mail. Good luck with your deadline! :-D

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