Name: Dawn Batterbee Miller
Age : 79
Where are you from? Originally from Mid-Michigan, the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. Now from Florida.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc. I was born in the Mid Depression years. Lost my mother at about age 3 and lived in many different homes before I was 9 years old. Then I went to live with my father and stepmother.
Quit school and married at 16. Later took GED and went to college to become a teacher. Taught middle school for 24 years, retired and became a writer. Published world-wide in many well known magazines. Became an author, with works in both traditional and non-traditional markets. Have written 5 books including the Deep Woods series set in logging camps of the 1890s.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Just finished a small publication about the history of the Avon Park Holiness Camp. It is the story of the people who founded, built and peopled a Christian retreat and camp.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As I said before, it was after I had taught school for 24 years. I come from a writing family and I always had a flair for writing. So I took courses from the Appalachian School of Writing, from Marlene Bagnull and several others.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Well, I guess it was somewhere in the years of writing magazine articles. I remember the first article I sold. The phone rang and the caller said, “This is David C. Cook calling and we’d like to buy the article you sent.” I gathered my self-composure and finished the sale. Then I hung up the phone and realized I didn’t know to whom I had sold the piece. I still laugh about that and I’ve received prizes at conferences for the funny story.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Deep Woods Series: I was born in logging territory and I wanted to share some of that history. I wanted to write a novel because they have the capacity to transport the reader into the setting.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to write novels or stories that transport readers into another world. Magazine articles are usually stories about life and events that change a life.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I don’t really know. After struggling for some time, the title just popped into my mind. FOOTPRINTS UNDER THE PINES for the first in the series and LOST IN THE DEEP WOODS for the second. Name for the series just came naturally.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The human spirit is strong and able to face the pressures of life. We must not let the pressures of today’s trying world overrun our lives.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The intent of the series is to transport the reader into the lumber camp culture and allow them to experience life as it was lived. Thus it’s true to the culture.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The main character, Katherine, is basically yours truly, snatched from her roots and tossed into a new and different world. Other friends seem to pop up here and there.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Marlene Bagnull. She stayed by me beyond the parameters of her writing course and guided me through the first 3 chapters of FOOTPRINTS UNDER THE PINES.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
THE LEGEND OF SHEBA: RISE OF A QUEEN by Tosca Lee. Great read. It will transport you into the world of early royalty and the difficulties and pain of life lived according to the choices of others.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
As I said before, just finished camp history titled The Vision Lives On. It is the story of the people who founded and built a conservative holiness camp/retreat.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Perhaps the most support I’ve had is my Aunt Rosie’s book Pioneer Potpourri. It is a compilation of news stories she wrote about early settlement in Northern Michigan. And, as earlier stated, Marlene Bagnull who guided me through the beginning of my first novel.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not really, I’m too old to do the sales work that is required.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Of course, wouldn’t we all? But basically it reaches out to the reader and how can I complain when the most common remark about it is, “I couldn’t put it down.”
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Always aced essay assignments in college. But actually it’s in my blood. I come from a family of writers.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Should, but don’t.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Learning to write. Young new writers, there are tricks to the trade. You need to take a course or two before you get too deeply involved.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh my goodness. Do you mean about writing or about the subject matter. I learned a great deal about the logging world. As for writing, you always learn as you proceed forward but I can’t put emphasis on any one thing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
ATTEND CONFERENCES. It is there that you come in contact with the business—other writers as well as editors and publishers and speakers. Other than that, just make sure you have a good plot, be precise, and don’t fill the work with unneeded adjectives, long unnecessary description or conversations. And use specific nouns.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
When sign books, I always write, Welcome to my little corner of the Great North Woods. Other than that, Just Enjoy.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Tenderness makes my cry.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Well music, I sing in local choirs and play piano for personal benefit.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Raised 5 very fine children who are now married and have given me 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. What a life.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Book Covers attached