Name: Renee Miller
Where are you from?
I grew up in Tweed, a small town in Ontario that I still live in. It’s a small community where, if you live here long enough (and I have), you end up knowing everyone.
I bitch about it a lot, but I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything. Tweed’s given me a rich stash of colourful characters and enriched my sense of humour.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently released the second book in my Fangs and Fur series, Sex, Transvestites, Angels and Assholes (comedy, in case you were wondering), and I’m preparing to release Muse, the fourth book in my “For the Love of Gods series” (which is paranormal romance).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As for why, I don’t know. I love escaping into fiction, and I enjoy entertaining people. Writing allows me to do both.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know if there was a specific time I can pinpoint first thinking “I’m a writer.”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Boredom. I wish it was something more inspiring, but it’s not. I was home with my kids and I started scribbling notes to pass the time. Eventually I had pages and pages of story. It was awful story, mind you. Very awful.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m told my style is raw, whatever that means.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For Sex, Transvestites, Angels and Assholes, I just thought, what would be funny and a little provocative?
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t take life too seriously. It ends the same for all of us, so just enjoy the ride while you’re here.
And don’t be a dick.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I’m going to assume you mean STAA. I’d say none of it is realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of the character personalities reflect people I know, but the events are absurd, so no, they don’t reflect real life.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
John Irving’s books influenced me in terms of my desire to write. I remember reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and being completely awed by Irving’s skill. Stephen King is another major inspiration. Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile will forever be among my all-time favorite books.
I think, though, that the books that directly influenced my life, particularly early on, were VC Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic series, The Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis, and later, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and her Mayfair Witches series. These books allowed me to escape my reality for a while. During my teens and early twenties, where I made some very poor decisions, it was something I desperately needed.
My mentor in terms of my own writing was, and will probably always be Carlos J. Cortes. He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself, but has never coddled me. If something sucks, he tells me so, and then he shows me how to take the suck out. He also keeps my feet on the ground, because I’m a drama queen who tends to get carried away now and then.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Ted Dekker’s Eyes Wide Open.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
So many new authors have caught my interest recently, it’s difficult narrow it down to a few.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Currently, I’m working on finishing the third (hopefully final) book in my Fangs and Fur series, as well as editing a comedy novel titled Whackadoodle.
I’m also revising an older manuscript. I’m not sure how that will pan out. Sometimes they’re stashed away for a reason.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
DeadPixel Publications. They’re a huge source of support, inspiration and encouragement. I’m lucky to have found them, even if they sometimes make me feel a little homicidal.
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?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I remember reading Stephen King (I devoured all of his books as fast as I could after reading Firestarter, and then IT) and then Flowers in the Attic, and thinking I want to make someone feel like this.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From the third Fangs and Fur novel (which is a work in progress):
Azrael sighed. “You better sit down, ma’am.”
“I’m fine standing.”
“It’s a really long story.”
Missy tapped her foot on the floor.
“Okay, so it started when Robert infected these humans with a monster virus.”
“He did what?” Missy felt a throbbing in her head.
“Well, it was three viruses. It’s all in the notes. Made them into a vampire, a zombie and a werewolf.”
“Yeah, but it was kind of funny, because the vampire was allergic to peanuts, although the allergy wasn’t fatal, just really annoying. Robert lured that guy by pretending he was the President of the United States—I feel like I should say that in a really deep voice, by the way—and he offered cures or the possibility of cures for a bunch of human frailties, like allergies. But when they infected them, they didn’t cure the problems, so they were like, monsters, but with shit going on. Poor bastards.” Azrael shook his head. “Oh! The zombie had narcolepsy. Hilarious. I guess it’s hard to appreciate the humor unless you’ve seen firsthand a zombie with narcolepsy, but moving on, the werewolf was a nympho, which kind of makes sense, because dogs hump things. That dude got horny over the weirdest things. I think he shagged a corpse one time, but that was a rumor I couldn’t confirm. Michael said—”
“Azrael?” Missy folded her hands under her chin. “Please stop.”
Azrael blushed. “Right. So anyway, Robert infected these people and then he sent them to Canada, where they infected more humans, and the viruses mutated into weird shit. I can’t even tell you.” Azrael’s eyes were wide. “But, so, as I was saying, the viruses spread like a plague through the entire country, and there was a monster apocalypse of sorts. I say of sorts because it wasn’t like, worldwide. Just Canada. So it was maybe just a plague. Is that what you would define as a plague?”
“Does it matter?”
“I guess not. Anyway, then it stopped and Robert erased it from the humans’ memories and everything was cool. Well, except that he left seven of them infected and they didn’t forget a single thing. We called it the Canadian Invasion, but we’re not very creative.”
“He said something about life lessons. Plus, Canada is Grant’s favorite, so there you go.”
Missy decided she should sit. Azrael continued speaking as she sank into her chair.
“So then this group of seven humans, who aren’t human anymore you understand, did all these things, weird things and almost heroic things. Also, they did bad things, but I think in the grand scheme, it was all for a good reason, so they’re not like demonic. They almost defeated him, only they didn’t, because Robert set them up to pretend defeat him so they’d do what he wanted.”
“I told you. Life lessons, he said.”
Missy pressed her nose. “Okay. I get the lesson part. Why would Robert do this?”
“He was getting ready to play a game with Grant.”
“Shit.” And now everything made sense to Missy. Assholes and their fucking games…
“I told you the holiday was a bad idea. Pluto is like the butthole of the universe. Even the humans can’t fathom why it exists. One minute it is a planet, then it isn’t. Can’t even get a decent signal out there. I tried to call you, but it was like wishing on farts, man. Wishing on farts is, as you know, a pointless endeavor. Wishing on anything is pointless.”
“You could’ve gone to Pluto personally.”
“Um, butthole of the universe? Besides, Grant had me running around like a crack whore in an erection factory. It was unreal.”
Missy thought she missed Azrael’s colorful personality when she’d been away. Now that she had to endure it again, she decided she must have been mistaken. “Okay, so what game were they playing?”
“Oh, I don’t think they gave it a name.”
“What were the rules? Who won?”
“No one. They’re still playing, only Grant doesn’t know it. See, the first inning… or I guess it would’ve been the first period. Half-time maybe or quarter? No, not quarter. Semester? Crap. I don’t understand sports or any of that, so I’ll move on. The first part was the monster thing, and then Grant was all ‘watch what I can do!’ and he started Armageddon. So it finished and he thought he won, but Robert’s all about the overtime. I’m pretty sure it’s in overtime, because I understand that concept.”
“Azrael, I’m losing my patience.”
“Okay, see, Grant was getting ready for another Armageddon, and Robert was all ‘You’re being a little pussy bitch,’ and ‘the humans are fine as they are,’ but Grant was all, ‘they’re ungrateful little bastards’ and ‘down with free will.’ And I’ve gotta say, it looked bad for the humans, but then we all got kind of hopeful when we realized these seven that Robert set up were actually meant to stop Armageddon.”
“Did they?” Missy hoped they did.
“No,” Azrael said. “You can’t stop that shit, ma’am. It’s written. You know that.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Endings. I hate those.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I hate picking a favorite author, because I love so many for different reasons and I pick up new favorites every day.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. Maybe in the future, but right now it’s not practical for me.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Luis Cano has designed almost all of my covers. Sweet Revenge, though, was designed by Hanna Elizabeth.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing. As I said before, I hate endings.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned I do best when I just write and forget the technicalities. They can be dealt with during editing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m still learning, so any advice I’d offer should be taken with that in mind. I guess I’d say trust your gut. During the writing process, editing, and publication (be it traditional or indie), trust your instincts and you’ll rarely go wrong.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Cinderella. It was one of the Little Golden Books. I was so enthralled with that story; it was the first I learned to read.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Family and friends.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Good question. I’ve always wanted to meet Stephen King. I think he has some interesting stories he hasn’t yet told. There are others, but I’m trying not to ramble.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“She said fuck it.”
It’s something my dad said during a conversation we had before he passed away. The phrase will tell people who know me best that I did what made me happy and I have no regrets.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Netflix. Terrible, dirty hobby.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
All of them.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Poutine, pizza, blue, and I don’t have favorite music. I listen to everything. Favorite songs include: Push by Matchbox Twenty, Fancy by Reba McIntyre, and almost anything by Maroon 5. Oh, and let’s not forget the 80s. All the 80s music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
There was no other option. Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find me at www.undergroundbookreviews.org, where I contribute a column called “Miller Time.” You can also find me on my blog (less frequently) at www.authorreneemiller.com. If you’re looking for my books, go to www.deadpixelpublications.com.