Author updated photo


Name: Christiana Miller


Age: I’m still dancing through the decades of my life. I haven’t decided yet how old I’m going to be this year.


Where are you from: The South Side of Chicago.


A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: I’m a first generation Greek-American. I graduated from Northwestern University and completed a certificate program in screenwriting at UCLA. I have a blended family, we have three kids and two grandkids. I’m a dog person. I especially love my Dobermans. My most favourite role in the world is mom. My next favourite is writer. I briefly wrote for television and while it was super fun, seeing what actors did with my lines, I’m hooked on writing novels. I love the creative freedom and my fans are just the best. I think all writers say that, but mine really are. They’ve stuck with me, through thick and thin.




Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I just released a new book, the long-awaited sequel to Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead. It’s called Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re In Trouble! Before Mara can stop him, Gus accidentally opens a portal to hell and the Devil comes calling. It’s a very fun book, but as always, it also has its darker moments.




Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I think I was 11 when I was first published in a national horse-oriented newspaper, as part of their short story contest. But I’ve always been addicted to books, so the desire to write was a natural extension of that. I started reading when I was 2, and by the time I hit middle school, the local library had to institute a 10-book limit, or I would clear out entire shelves, checking out 40 books at a time.


I was a voracious reader, up until I became a full-time writer. Now, I have to choose between spending my time reading or spending it writing. And if writing doesn’t win, it kicks me in arse. But I always carry a book or a Kindle (or both) in my bag, just in case I get a few spare minutes. Thank goodness for Kindles. If it wasn’t for e-books, I’d have to get a second house to store all my physical books.




Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was finally able to make a living at it. When I was working as a scriptwriter, the paychecks were so sporadic and unpredictable, I still needed a day job.




Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

It was a confluence of things actually. To me, reading novels is akin to breathing air. So, I’ve always wanted to learn how to write one. But each attempt left a lot to be desired.


Then, when I was visiting my dad, while he was dying from cancer, I dreamt an entire sequence that was so surprisingly vivid, I knew I had to put it into a book. (It eventually became part of Lisette’s history in the first Tillie). At the same time, Janet Evanovich was taking a longer-than-usual time to come out with a new Stephanie Plum book, and I missed reading her uniquely fun writing style.


Since I was writing my book as a learning experience for me – or so I thought – I put all those elements together and wound up writing what one fan described as quite a gothic little tale once you get beyond the humor and light tone.




Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write in a contemporary, humorous, chick-lit style. One of my fans wrote that my writing was a combination of comedy, mystery, and borderline horror. I think that’s pretty accurate! You’ll be laughing while you’re looking over your shoulder. Another fan called me Janet Evanovich with a wand, which I found immensely flattering, since she’s one of my writing heroines.




Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

 Actually, I was on a writer’s forum, brainstorming titles and looking for better title ideas than I was coming up with. And one of the members, Mike Campbell, came up with the title. I will forever be grateful. Although I keep trying to change his last name. He’s been very patient with all the re-releases I had to do to get his name right in the acknowledgments.




Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it – and not in the way you want! Be proactive, but take responsibility for your actions and words. If you believe in magic, your life will be full of magic. If you don’t, it won’t be. You create your own reality. Use magic responsibly, so you don’t unleash a ball of consequences on everyone around you! LOL.




Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

It depends what you mean by realistic. It’s urban fantasy, so it’s got more in common with magical realism than everyday realism. However, a LOT of research goes into all the Tillie books, to give them a firmer foundation. So, in terms of the esoteric lore contained within the books, it tends to be fairly accurate.




Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Sometimes. For instance, after the first Tillie was published, I lost a lot of writing time. I was simultaneously hit by a horrible illness that took doctors eight months to diagnose, (and me an additional year to recover from), as well as an injury that put me in physical therapy for two years. So, I used those complications as a plot twist in the new book.


I did something similar when I wrote the Scorpio family reunion for General Hospital: Night Shift. The headwriter wanted me to come up with a serious enough complication from colon cancer, that it would cause Robert Scorpio’s life to hang in the balance. So, I used my dad’s experience with colon cancer, as well as a friend’s dad’s experience, to create that plot twist.


A lighter example is from when I was younger, and I got locked in a Savings & Loan after hours. No matter what I said or how many times I called, I could not convince the police to come and let me out. All they did was laugh and hang up. So, that reaction became the basis for The Thief Who Stole Midnight.


A lot of the people, places and events in my life wind up getting mashed-up, fictionalized, reformed into magickal constructs, covered over in layers of imagination and what-if’s, and recycled in my books.


While I was writing Tillie, my dad died, and that was shortly followed by the untimely death of a friend, both lost to cancer. So, I became enamored with the idea of creating a world where death is just a change in circumstances, instead of an ending. Which is why my characters have attitudes and opinions and can be a total pain in the backside, no matter which side of the (extraordinarily thin) veil they’re on.



Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

 I love genre books. Janet Evanovich, Tony Hillerman, Madeleine L’Engle, Anne Rice, Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, Dick Francis, Jilly Cooper, Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, Sara Gruen (her earlier books, although I also in awe of her later, literary fiction work, especially Water for Elephants), Douglas Adams, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Cooper, C.S. Lewis, Jim Butcher. I could be here all day, listing authors.



Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Probably Janet Evanovich and Susan Cooper. Janet taught me a lot about humor, quirky characters, pacing and how to successfully combine genres. I love her writing style. I was also influenced by Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series.


Susan has a remarkable ability to blend everyday reality with magical realism and esoteric lore. I think The Dark Is Rising is one of the best children’s series ever written. I must have read each book, half a dozen times or more. I remember wishing I could write half as well as that, when I grew up. So, I would say they both influenced my writing style, albeit in very different ways.




Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Deborah Harkness’s Discovery of Witches trilogy. Nowadays, the only time I have to read, is while I’m driving. So I started off listening to the audiobooks. But the series is just so remarkable, I have to read the written books as well. Even if it takes me a year or two!


I also just finished acquiring all of the Dresden File audiobooks, so that’s going to be next. I’ve already listened to (and read) a few of them over the years (our local library has a very limited collection), and I love them. I love the stories and the characters, and James Marsters, the narrator, is phenomenal.




Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Angela Roquet’s Reaper series is fun. I recently ran across a new author, Claire Chilton, who writes funny paranormals. I’ve just started one of her books, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it’ll turn out. Emma Mills is another English author I’ve found, who’s a sweetheart and writes paranormals. And of course, all the established indie authors in this field – Rose Pressey, J.R. Rain, Barbra Annino, Aiden James, Teri Reid, Karen Cantwell, Angie Fox, Tonya Kappes, Sibel Hodge, the list goes on and on and on.




Fiona: What are your current projects?

I’ve outlined the next book in the Tillie series and I’m writing the first draft of a book in a new series, Serendipity Sisters. I’ve also been noodling around with a humorous witchcraft etiquette book in my spare time, as part of the Tillie oeuvre.


The current work-in-progress, however, is a rewrite on a new series that I co-wrote with Griffin Ced. We have both books completed, I’m just doing another polish before they go off to the editor. I’m trying to make up for lost time, by working extra hard this year.




Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

 In terms of publishing, the most supportive entity has been Amazon: KDP, ACX/Audible and CreateSpace. None of us indies would have a career without Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Amazon changed the publishing world forever. Amazon is very dynamic company, they’re constantly thinking outside the box, they clearly value their indie authors, and they’re always giving us exciting new publishing tools. The one thing I wish though, is that Createspace would start supporting full-bleed interiors in their print books.




Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?





Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.




Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was sick as a kid, I’d send my dad to the library to pick up books for me. When I couldn’t remember titles, I’d tell him the storyline and the characters. Then he’d come home annoyed because he’d spent hours looking, and talking to Mrs. Anderson, the librarian, and getting her to look, only for both of them to realize the book hadn’t actually been written yet. It was a story I had created in my fevered imagination. After that happened a few times in a row, he started buying me Archie comics instead of doing library runs when I was sick.




Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure. This is the opening from Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re In Trouble!:


When Gus told me he was going to do the Toad Bone Ritual, I should have cremated the toad and saved us all a whole lot of misery. But it seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time. After all, Grundleshanks wasn’t just any toad. He was something special.


For people who are just tuning in, my name is Mara Stephens and I’m a witch. Not one of those fantasy witches who can wiggle her nose and turn your uncle into a carrot. An actual witch. Which means the Otherworld tends to kick my ass and laugh at me about twice as often as I get to score any wins.


The guy I’m living with currently, is my best friend, Gus. He’s a witch too. (And no, warlock is not the defacto term for male witch. A warlock is a witch who’s betrayed their oaths. To be warlocked is to be shunned and cast out. Although there is a guy in England who’s seeking to reclaim the word as a term for male witches. But that’s a whole other story).


Anyway, Gus is… Think Jack Sparrow meets Harry Potter. He’s all attitude, fashion, magick and mischief. Although lately, he’s been a huge pain in the butt. I blame the toad. Lord Grundleshanks. Or, more precisely, Lord Grundleshanks the Second. Apparently, Lord Grundleshanks the First is living with Gus’s childhood friend, Andwyn, out in Utah. Who knew? I only found out when Gus called him, asking about the odds of getting another toad out of the Grundleshanks line.


But our Grundleshanks is currently residing in the spirit world. Or, at least, he was. Until Gus got the bright idea in his head of immortalizing him through the Toad Bone Ritual. Ha!


I should have stopped him right there. Or tied him up and locked him in the attic until he got over it. But I didn’t think he could possibly get into as much trouble as he did.


I should have known better. Gus is kind of impulsive and the last time I did an impulsive ritual that sounded like a good idea, I wound up accidentally killing my Aunt Tillie, having to fight off an evil-minded ancestral spirit for control of my body and getting knocked up by a demon who had possessed my boyfriend.


I should have realized that this wasn’t going to turn out any better. But like I said, it all started out innocently enough…


And here’s the opening from Light And Dark Are Turning, which is part of the Crown of Fire series:


Every turning point in time carries a certain unique smell. Something smelled with the senses of one’s being, one’s inner nature. A smell so strong at times, it devours the air around it. And yet, we pay it no heed. Is it fear of unseen forces that has led us to forget the smell of fate? Or is it the folly of our own arrogance, choosing not to take notice?

*   *   *

It was on May eve, the Night of Witchery, that Tali found himself lost in the woods. This had never happened before. He knew the path from the village to the Manor like the back of his hand and yet, somehow, he’d managed to get himself all topsy-turvy. The narrow path he was on twisted back and forth so drastically, that even in the light of the full moon he couldn’t see far in any direction.


The sweet smell of heather and the dank, earthy smell of the forest filled his nostrils. Following around a large, lightning-struck oak tree, he came upon a fork in the path and stopped. The right path led further into the forest, the left to an upward climb. As he stood, unsure of which path to take, a cold, wet breeze slid down his back. His senses sharpened and his breath quickened.


Suddenly, everything around him fell silent.


He spun around and listened hard. The soft rustle of a leaf. The snap of a twig. Something was moving in the shadows of the trees, hunting him. He took the path leading upwards and ran for dear life. Up and up he ran, not daring to look behind. The cold night air swept through the low trees, urging him on.


As he crested the hill, he could see the flickering light of a campfire through the trees. He ran harder. He burst into the clearing and stopped, stunned to find himself in front of his employer’s wife. The Lady Mary McBain. What was she doing out here alone? At night? Especially this night? A woman in her condition?


As Mary walked over to him, Tali tried to stammer out a warning, to protect her from whatever had been chasing him. But she placed her finger across his lips.


“Hush, child. There’s nothing there.”


“But there was, I’m sure there was.”


“Was there?”


Mary made a gesture and Tali felt his heart slow down and his breathing return to normal. As if her hand had somehow smoothed out the wrinkles in his soul.


“I’ve been waiting for you,” she said, walking back to the fire.


He tried to speak but words turned to treacle in his mouth. She glowed so brightly, everything else around her dimmed. Even though she was heavy with child, Tali felt an overpowering wave of desire wash through him.


Mary poked at the embers, coaxing the fire back to life. “Come, join me.”




Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The lack of deadlines is a huge challenge for me. I’ve been trained on deadlines, and I use that pressure to jumpstart creativity and bust through writer’s block. Unfortunately, my subconscious refuses to be fooled by self-imposed deadlines. It tends to thumb its nose at me.


Thank goodness for Amazon’s pre-orders. It gives you a hard deadline, and if you miss it, you will be in a world of hurt. Meeting the pre-order deadline inspired me to sit at my computer and write, rewrite and polish a solid twelve hours a day, every day, until I was able to upload the final draft – which I turned in five hours before the deadline hit.




Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Janet Evanovich for her humor and quirky characters. Susan Cooper and Deborah Harkness for their esoteric lore. Piers Anthony and Terry Pratchett for their sense of fun and wild imaginations. Tony Hillerman for his ability to immerse readers into a different culture. Dick Francis for his pacing. Elmore Leonard for his dialogue. Anne Rice for the evocative way she uses language. J.K. Rowling for infusing the current zeitgeist with her special brand of magic and creating a new generation of readers.




Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I did some traveling for the first book. Not intentionally, but my dad had gone on a bus vacation to Northern Wisconsin, when he fell into a coma. I had to drive there with my mom to collect him from the hospital, once he regained consciousness. So, when I was writing Tillie, I set part of it in Los Angeles and the other part in Northern Wisconsin.




Fiona: Who designed the covers?

For the sequel, the cover designer is Deanna Dionne. Tara Shuler, another author, did the cover design on the first book.


Generally, the way it’s worked with the Tillie books is that I find stock art pieces that I like, buy them and send them to the cover designer, and the designer puts everything together in a cool, artistic way and creates a title treatment. On 3 Witches, my co-author, Barbra Annino, is the one who created the current cover.


The other cover designers I’ve used, who’ve created their own designs, are LFD Designs for Authors and Littera Designs.




Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

 Sitting down and writing it! As I said, I was simultaneously hit with both illness and injury, after publishing the first Tillie book. Recovery took such a big chunk of my life, that when I started writing again, I had a hard time separating my own issues from the characters.


So, I had to learn to get over myself, so I could access my characters’ humor again, and let them speak through me, instead of me speaking through them. My fans were awesome. They were very supportive and cheered me on throughout the process, encouraging me to keep going.




Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that my characters are still capable of surprising me. They’ll come up with plot twists and story complications that have me screaming with surprise at my screen. What’s very cool is when they plant seeds throughout the story – without my knowledge it seems! – and then, when I get to the end and I’m wondering how I’m going to tie things up, all the little seeds sprout and the entire piece comes together.


When I go into a story, I’ll have an overall idea of what the story is going to be. But the process of having it all come together, all the details, the dialogue and some of the secondary plots, they’re all a wonderful, joyous discovery.




Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

 You can totally be proactive and entrepreneurial with your writing career in today’s publishing world. You don’t have to spend your life waiting for someone to give you permission to be a writer. Amazon has opened up the publishing world and given all writers the opportunity to follow their dreams. Believe in yourself, work hard on learning the writing skills you’ll need and write, write, write!


Don’t sabotage yourself by putting out a book with a dreadful cover, a boring description or by placing the worst of your writing on the front page. Wait until you’re sure your material is ready, before you hit that publish button.


Always respect and cherish your fans. If you’re an indie, your fans are the sole reason you have a writing career instead of a writing hobby. So when you can do something nice for them, send them freebies, or do some kind of giveaway, do it.




Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

 You all rock! I so appreciate your support, your humor and your honesty. I have the best fans in the world.




Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes, it was about a family of honey bears. After that it was a Halloween spooky house book with little windows and pop-ups. After that, Paddington Bear and Winnie-the-Pooh. After that, oddly enough, it was Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit, The Secret Garden, Little Women and Jane Eyre. Then, when I was ten, I fell in love with The Dark Is Rising series, the Chronicles of Narnia, Dune and Piers Anthony’s Xanth, Split Infinity and Incarnations of Immortality series.




Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Swimming. Water aerobics. I love painting, but I’m not very good at it. Reading.




Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Castle, The Mysteries of Laura, The Blacklist, Once Upon A Time, True Blood, General Hospital. My all time favorite show was Reaper on CW, with the fabulous, incomparable Ray Wise. Favorite movies are Frozen, Get Shorty, Saving Grace (with Brenda Blethyn) and Murphy’s Romance.


Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?

Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water. Pizza Pot Pie from Chicago Pizza and OvenGrinders. It probably has a billion calories, but wow. Sashimi. Pretty much all vegetables and fruits. Greek food, obviously. Chocolate anything. It’s all gotten more challenging now, though, since I have to avoid gluten. I’m also supposed to avoid dairy, but I have a really hard time with that one. If I stay away from milk and ice cream, I can usually get away with other dairy products.


My favorite color is the entire blue family, from turquoise to azure. However, I’ve also gotten to really like the pink family, from dusty rose to hot pink. Especially a hot pink/black combo. (The whole pink thing is my daughter’s influence). I used to wear a lot of black when I was younger, but I have an almost physical aversion to it now that I’m getting older.


Favorite music is Adele, Pink, Katy Perry, Michael Buble, Nickelback, Kiss, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Glenn Fry, the Eagles, Rush, The Who, The Beatles, Queen. I like all sorts of music.




Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

 I originally was an actress, then an actress/director. I would probably get back into acting – but not as anything more than just a fun side thing. I’d probably focus more on directing and producing.




Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

 I do, but (other than Facebook), I don’t update them often enough. Here are my links:

My website is

My FB page is:

Twitter is @writechristiana

I also write a blog for Huffington Post: Self-Publishing on a Shoestring.

B&N Tillie Coverstatwit_ebook