Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Chris Miller and I’m 35 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from a small town in Texas called Winnsboro.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m married a total knockout and all around wonderful woman named Aliana, have three wonderful kids, Joanna, Jack, and Sloane. I graduated high-school in 2001, and attended NorthEast Texas Community College and LeTourneau University for a time, but never got a degree. I mainly focused on English and Creative Writing classes while there. Now I work for our family-owned water well drilling and service company, C. Miller Drilling, which my dad founded the year I was born.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve got one novel, A Murder of Saints, out for sale. It’s been on the market just over a year now, and I recently released a short story, Flushed, the end of last month. Currently, I’m working to get a novella, Trespass, finished up and ready for release, which should be happening any time now, and I’m revising/rewriting my epic, two-part horror story The Damned Place every time I have a few minutes to sit down with it. That one is going to be incredible. In addition to all of this, I have another novel, The Hard Goodbye, being shopped to several publishers as we speak by my agent.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I suppose I was around ten the first time I decided to write something. I’d read the first Narnia story by CS Lewis (and ONLY the first), and I decided I needed to continue the story, despite an entire series already being out there already. I didn’t get very far, maybe ten pages, but while it was a dead end, I discovered I loved telling stories and creating new worlds. The passion was birthed at that point.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About 18 years old. I wrote my first short-story then, based on a strange event that happened to me, and it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t very good, the writing, I mean, but the story WAS good, and it later became another novella, one I’m going to be revisiting soon to prepare it for release.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was another event I witnessed. An awful event. It loomed there in my mind for nearly ten years before I started writing, but the “What if?” questions continued and continued and ended up creating characters and the story. Finally, after gestating long enough, it became A Murder of Saints.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title was originally ‘Mr. Macabre’. Of course, that was a terrible title, and put all the focus on the “bad guy” and his morbid acts. So I started looking at the bigger picture of the story, about all these so-called “Saints” who were anything BUT virtuous, and I saw them as more like lurking, dark creatures waiting to devour the weak or dying. Like crows. A group/flock of crows is called a ‘murder’, and I thought that was perfect. It captures the heart of the tale, and transcends through several aspects of the book. A Murder of Saints was a perfect title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m a suspense writer first and foremost. My pacing is, forgive me, ‘balls to the wall’. Fast, breakneck. I bring everything, the situation, the emotions, the physical distress/weakness, all of it, to a boiling point. Like a fever pitch. And then I let it explode. The most challenging thing is making sure the payoff to the suspense matches the build-up. But, so far, I’ve managed to do that. But sometimes it takes a while to get it just right.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
With A Murder of Saints, Flushed, and Silhouette (unreleased) there were aspects which were based on real-life situations I either experienced myself or I witnessed first-hand. Of course, it was only the situation which was real, the rest of it I fabricated, but yes, there has been real-life inspirations in much of my work.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. I have written while traveling before, but it isn’t an integral part of my process. Most of my stuff takes place in a 100 mile radius of my home, often in my hometown.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The first version of Saints was done by someone with the vanity press (yes, I was a naïve imbecile, please don’t EVER use one of those!), I don’t know who specifically. When I rereleased it 6 months later under my own press, I used Laura Hidalgo, who did a phenomenal job. I can’t recommend her enough. Fantastic work, especially in horror/thriller. Just great. For Flushed, my agent, Becky Narron, actually did it, and she did a great job on it. She also did the cover for Trespass. The Hard Goodbye has a promotional cover I HOPE will get used by whoever publishes it, and Brian Scutt designed that one. Also fantastic. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s always a greater moral in my work I hope people grab on to and can learn from, but I’m also not trying to preach to anyone. I want you to be entertained and enthralled. That’s my first job. But yes, there is a message in there about love, hate, justice, and right and wrong in there designed to make people think.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Oh, definitely. My favorite writer is Stephen King, cliché or not. Others I follow are Ray Garton, Dean Koontz (master of pacing), Jonathan Janz, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Clive Barker, and a thousand others. I love their ideas, and with King, I feel no one can create as wonderfully fleshed out characters as he does. The settings, the towns, the stories behind it all, just fantastic.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My friend Sam Lauzon. We grew up together, played music together, did life together for a long time. He’s always supported me, gave me great critiques, pushed me. I attribute a lot of my perseverance to him.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do, and I certainly want to get to the point I can do it full-time. I ways off from that goal as yet, but it is my goal.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. It’s easy to get 20/20 vision in hindsight, but we will never have that benefit while in the present. And that’s where you have to write, otherwise it feels forced and phony. It isn’t something I really think about.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’m always learning and growing with every word I type. Character development was a huge thing in The Damned Place, and I really focused in on that, more so than I have in the past. All my characters in all my work are nicely fleshed out, but in The Damned Place I took it to the next level. It’s a real treat I can’t wait to get into everyone’s hands.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If we’re talking about Saints, Matthew McConaughey as Harry Fletcher. Hands down. It’s set in his hometown of Longview, Texas, and he would nail it. For any of the others, I really don’t know. Lots of great actors out there.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Stay as far away from vanity presses as you can! Hook in with other writers who’ve done more than you, who are further down the path than you, and learn from them. Reach out to them and ask questions. Make connections with them and with readers. Take criticism and learn from it, don’t get defensive. Some of the time it will be useless or wrong criticism, and you can dismiss it after, but a lot of it will help you grow and make you better. And write every day, even if it’s only a sentence.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Only that I love you all, and thank you so much for checking out my work! And please, if you’re able, leave a review!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Night Life by Ray Garton. Wonderful follow up (so far, anyway), to Live Girls, my favorite vampire novel.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Aside from the Bible, it was probably some Dr. Seuss and Hardy Boys books. But the first real novel I read was The Hunt For Red October, and to this day it remains a favorite of mine.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at really dark things and really immature jokes. Can’t help it. I’m the guy in the theater during a horror movie who’s laughing and screaming, “Right in the eye!” while everyone else is covering their faces and gasping. The thing that makes me cry is injustice and the marginalized in the worldwide society. It hurts so much to see a child who’s been abused or who’s going hungry. Breaks my heart. I love to see charities who step in for those in need.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Stephen King. He’s the Rockstar of horror, and I’d love to shake his hand and chat.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a pretty decent guitarist and singer/songwriter. I do that some. Also, I love taking my children to see all the new Marvel movies when they come out. We always have a blast.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Breaking Bad, Ozark, Castle Rock, anything by Tarantino. I loved LOST, and I sometimes enjoy American Horror Story, but not always. I love dark stories, twisted stories. And I simply cannot live without suspense. It’s a must.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Sushi is my favorite thing to eat in the world. Color is probably black, followed by teal and blue. Music, Metallica. My all-time favorite band. I love classic rock as well.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d die. I can’t imagine not being able to create. What a bleak world that would be.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family and praying. Preparing myself for eternity.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He loved deeply and gave his all. Or something funny. I really don’t know, hahaha.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do have a website, still being updated, but it’s there. It’s www.authorchrismiller.com. Also, folks can follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/chrismiller1383. On Twitter and Instagram it’s @cmwordslinger. Add me on Facebook and connect with me. I love meeting readers/fans. Just don’t add me to porn pages or get all weird, lol.