Name : John Anthony Miller
Where are you from: Woodbury, NJ, USA, which is about 10 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc : My first novel, To Parts Unknown, has just been issued by publisher Taylor and Seale. I am a nuclear engineer, divorced with three children, and have always written as a hobby. I recently obtained an agent, and shortly thereafter, she sold my first novel.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My first novel, To Parts Unknown, has just been issued by publisher Taylor and Seale. It’s a WWII thriller set in Singapore and Indonesia.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written, mainly as a hobby, but started to write every day a few years ago.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I found a literary agent who was willing to represent me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to tell a story about ordinary people who are compelled to do extraordinary things because of what they must confront.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
To Parts Unknown is written in first person, but my subsequent efforts are third person.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The novel is really about journeys – the journey that the three main characters take as they flee the Japanese, and their personal journeys to overcome obstacles and shortcomings, striving to be the people they always hoped to be but never were. The title hints that, in either case, they’re not quite sure where they’re going.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, the message would be that we are all capable of being exceptional in some way. We all have a talent or gift; we can all make a contribution to mankind, even if in some small way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The timeline and military events involving the fall of Singapore and Java and Sumatra are real. The characters and their actions are fiction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No – they all live in my imagination.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I’m a huge fan of Ken Follett and Sebastian Faulks, as well as the classics- Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dickens.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ken Follett. I have tremendous admiration for him.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have just started Ken Follett’s Edge of Eternity, the last volume of his Century series.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
None that come to mind
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My literary agent has just started to present my second novel to publishers. It’s titled, When Darkness Comes, and is set in WWII Paris. The main characters smuggle Jews out of the city, rescuing them from the Nazis.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My agent, Donna Eastman of Parkeast Literary. She has provided unfailing support in my writing, and is a constant source of inspiration.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do, probably after the sale of When Darkness Comes.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have made Lady Jane Carrington Smythe, one of the lead characters, play a larger role.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I got interested in writing in grammar school. Our teacher directed us to write a story. I started writing about a little boy in Italy and found that, once I got started, I couldn’t stop!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
To Parts Unknown is about a British war correspondent who loses his wife in a traffic accident during WWII. His editor sends him to Singapore to help him escape his haunting memories. While there he meets Thomas Montclair, a French spy, and Lady Jane Carrington Smythe, an English aristocrat, who are fleeing demons of their own. Together they escape from the Japanese, chasing their dreams and eluding nightmares.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The challenge for me is starting – finding that time period or character or plot that will keep me coming to the computer every day.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Ken Follett. He always has interesting characters, and he’s very good at moving a story along. I’m a frequent visitor to his website, and I admire his discipline. He has a very detailed, methodic approach to his writing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do travel, although Europe is my favorite destination. I’m especially fond of the UK – and sometimes feel like I fit better there than the US.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publisher designed three covers from stock photos I provided. Everyone liked the selected cover the best.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The initial concept. I have lists of books to write – time periods, or characters, or plots, but I normally have a few false starts when I begin a book. I find that a particular idea doesn’t quite interest me enough to do all the research required to bring it to life.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I seem to learn continuously, which I suppose is a good thing. I think my biggest weakness is a tendency to repeat things. I am getting better at it, and realize that readers don’t need to be constantly reminded of an event or thing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Although I wrote as a hobby for many years, my writing didn’t improve to a saleable level until I started to write every day. I know that’s difficult given jobs, and kids, and events, etc, but if you miss a day at the computer, at least keep your mind working on what you will do when your fingers again hit the keyboard.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes – for those that enjoy To Parts Unknown, two WW2 thrillers follow it: When Darkness Comes, set in Paris, and the novel I’m currently writing: In Satan’s Shadow, set in Berlin. I would like to know what other time periods my readers might be interested in.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes – my first book, and the one that got me hooked on reading and writing, was from the Hardy Boys series and was titled the Viking Symbol Mystery.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I like to laugh – especially at myself. I also laugh at little children. They’re very entertaining – a thirst for knowledge and a genuine innocence. I cry easily – normally during a sentimental movie.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’m a great admirer of Winston Churchill. I think he provided the inspiration for the Allies to win the Second World War.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I never really thought about it. How about – “Those that knew him will never forgot him.” That statement would at least show that I made a mark on mankind.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Yes- I’m an avid amateur songwriter and musician. I play the piano and the guitar.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My absolute favorite movie is Love Actually, followed by the Pink Panther. I also like epics – like Dr. Zhivago.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Favorite foods – Seafood and Brussel Sprouts. Favorite colors – purple and blue. Favorite music: the Beatles
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would like to be a songwriter.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a website on Publisher’s Marketplace:
And a blog on Goodreads:
TO PARTS UNKNOWN
Author: John Anthony Miller, Woodbury, NJ. Johnanthonymiller@verizon.net
(H) 856-848-4383; ( C) 772-631-5337
Publisher: Taylor and Seale
Literary Agent: Donna Eastman, Parkeast Literary
Available at Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.
London, January 1942. War correspondent for the London Times, George Adams, is a broken man, devastated by the death of his fiancé and rejected by all branches of the military. His life has come to a dead stop. In an effort to save his career, George’s editor sends him to Singapore to cover its defense against an inevitable Japanese invasion.
George’s life is thrown into chaos, starting with a near-fatal air raid minutes after his arrival, and propelling him into non-stop danger. Injured and hiding in the underground, George meets Thomas Montclair, a crafty French spy, and Lady Jane Carrington Smythe, an English aristocrat, who are destined to share George’s adventures.
When a Japanese general is murdered in occupied Singapore, Lady Jane becomes the prime suspect and target of an enemy manhunt that spans the islands of the southwest Pacific and the darkest days of World War II.
The trio struggle to escape the Japanese, facing combat and catastrophe, and to forget their own haunting pasts, chasing dreams and eluding nightmares, while wrapped in unexpected love interests filled with conflict and passion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kendell Rea
To Parts Unknown
by John Anthony Miller
WAR-ERA THRILLER CHRONICLES JAPANESE ATTACK ON SINGAPORE DURING WORLD WAR II
Set amid the bleak backdrop of World War II, To Parts Unknown by author John Anthony Miller tells the story of an unlikely trio of characters – a London reporter, a titled Englishwoman from India, and a French spy – as they struggle to escape the Japanese…and their own personal demons.
Devastated by the death of his wife and rejected by all branches of the military, George Adams, a war correspondent for the London Times, is a broken man whose life has come to a dead stop.
In an effort to save his career, George’s editor sends him to Singapore to cover its defense against an inevitable Japanese invasion. Starting with a near-fatal air raid minutes after his arrival, George’s life is immediately thrown into chaos, propelling him into non-stop danger.
Injured and hiding, George meets Thomas Montclair, a crafty French spy, and Lady Jane Carrington Smythe, a British aristocrat, who are destined to share his adventures. When a Japanese general is murdered, Lady Jane becomes the prime suspect and target of an enemy manhunt that spans the islands of the southwest Pacific and the darkest days of World War II. The trio struggle to escape the Japanese and forget their own haunting pasts, chasing dreams and eluding nightmares, while navigating unexpected love interests filled with conflict and passion.
“To Parts Unknown is a series of interwoven journeys,” says Miller. “The physical journey the characters take as they race through Indonesia to elude the Japanese, the mental journey they each take to confront their fears and limitations, and their individual journeys: to overcome grief, to reach freedom, and to become the people they always wanted to be, but never were.”
Historically-important and interesting themes found in To Parts Unknown include:
- The clearly-defined battle of good vs. evil that characterized World War II.
- How ordinary people can do extraordinary things when faced with what seems to be insurmountable odds.
- The ways in which people combat and confront catastrophe – overcoming their own limitations – to survive.
- A character study of the entire social spectrum of the time: from a London reporter to a woman of British royalty to a French spy.
- How history repeats itself over and over again.
John Anthony Miller has combined his life-long loves of travel, history and writing to create historical fiction thrillers set in exotic locations during eras of global conflict. In addition to being the debut author of To Parts Unknown and a long-time musician, Miller – a proud father of three – is a nuclear engineer currently residing in Southern New Jersey. His two additional projects currently in development, When Darkness Comes and In Satan’s Shadow, will be available next year.
REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST