Sunday, November 09, 2014

Author Interview: Renee Miller: A Life Without Laughter Is Essentially Death and Feet Are the Devil's Creation

Renee Miller lives in Tweed, Ontario, a small town she vowed to run away from, only to realize there is no escaping. She's been a waitress, a bartender, a gas station attendant, a social worker, a daycare provider, coffee-slinging drive-thru professional, an office administrator, and a freelance writer, but has always had her heart set on writing fiction.

When Renee isn't burning dinner or waiting tables in a pizza joint, she's in her glamorous office/garage cuddled up to her laptop. She believes a life without laughter is essentially death, and feet are the devil's creation.
Welcome Renee!

Your real name and pen name?

Real name and pen name are the same.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I have a lot of good memories of my childhood. I guess the best include nighttime games of soccer, capture the flag, baseball, etc. in either our backyard, or our neighbour's, where someone always ended up with a bat in the face or got stuck in the little creek between our yards. We often played Red Rover, and someone always got hurt. The worst was when my brother fell in the hedges and got a stick through his leg. I also loved every Halloween (my favorite "holiday") ... except the ones where we got egged. That sucked.

About your education

I have an education in life. And it was hard.

Just kidding. I graduated high school, as every smart individual strives to do, and then I went to college to obtain my SSW (social service worker) diploma, but my formal education doesn't go much further than that. And I did nothing with that diploma, because life happened.

What career did you plan during your education days?

I always wanted to write, but didn't view it as a career option. I also wanted to be rich, but soon realized that's not something you can just "be" without a lot of hard work and luck. So as a child, I decided I wanted a job where I was doing something meaningful. Of course, that changed from month to month. Basically, there wasn't a lot of planning during my education days, just dreaming.

What languages you can speak and write?

Only English. French is compulsory for Canadian students, but we learned only the basics, so while I can read it, my written and spoken French is atrocious.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

People. We're weird.

What hurts you most in this world?

Feet without socks. *cringes*
And I often wonder what a world without negativity and hate would be like. Those things are like viruses, spreading from one person to the next, causing all kinds of damage.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Self-doubt. Not sure I've overcome that one yet.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I don't have a favorite genre. Each has its own pros and cons. I look at the writing. Nothing beats a well-written story, no matter what the genre.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

As soon as I knew how to form letters, I wrote stories, poems, etc. The purpose of it? Pleasure. It's pure self-indulgence. If someone else enjoys it, well that's a bonus.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I've published two novels in the crime/suspense genres (The Legend of Jackson Murphy and In the Bones) and a third that is romantic suspense (Dirty Truths).

What are your forthcoming writings?

I have three books (all part of a paranormal romance series with a Greek mythology theme) contracted by Crescent Moon Press that will be published in the next year or so. Lucky is scheduled for publication in November 15, 2014, and then Mendacious and Nefarious will likely be published in 2015/2016.

Another novel, which is fantasy/satire/humor, titled Sex, Peanuts, Fangs and Fur: A Practical Guide for Invading Canada, will be published in the first part of 2015 (no definite date yet).

What genres you write in and why?

I write whatever genre the story dictates. I don't believe authors should limit themselves to the confines of genre. Write whatever must be written and worry about what shelf you'll put it on later.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?

I'm not sure. I love writing. Creating characters, plots, worlds, etc. is a release of sorts. I can't imagine not doing it.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?

Plan? Schedule? What's that?
I have terrible organizational skills. I make notes now and then, but basically just hope for the best.

What are your future plans?

I try not to think about the future. It's so vast and unpredictable. I take things as they come, because I can only control what's happening right now. I guess the only plans I have for the future are to stay above ground and be happy.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?

A book is a book, a story is a story. Doesn't matter to me if it's on a tiny screen or a sheet of paper.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

Characterization, dialogue, plot, coffee

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

Writers write what we know, whether we choose to admit it or not. While our books/stories may not include actual events or people, these things influence what and how we write. Anyone who says they don't use real life is a liar. Yes, I said it.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Is a high level of psychosis important for a serial killer? Yes. Without imagination, there is no story.

Your dream destination on Earth?

Any island in a warm climate, inhabited by me, a few select friends/family members, and many well-built, intelligent men that speak with a European accent.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

Haha. I was born in Ontario, and that's where I've stayed.

Your favorite time of the day?


Your zodiac/ sunsign?


Your favorite color and why?

I've always loved blue. I don't know why.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

Your favorite book and why?

Oh, that's hard to answer, because my favorites vary depending on the day, the weather, the phase of the moon... some constant favorites include:

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving... okay, pretty much everything Irving has ever written.
Chronicles of Narnia
Anything written by Dennis LeHane or Stephen King
Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

There are too many to mention, really. I enjoy any book that can make me forget I'm reading. The Narnia books swept me away as a child, and I've read them several times since. Acheron, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, was so gut-wrenchingly sad, I found myself totally engrossed in its pages, and I was a little disappointed when I reached the end.

My favorites also include books that have something in the writing I admire. For example, John Irving isn't a fancy writer (no purple prose or any of that nonsense), but his words, sentences, etc. have music to them. Dennis LeHane can write dialogue like nobody's business, and most of his books include at least a hint of wit and humor, even when detailing serious events, and his plotting skills just blow my mind. Stephen King, well he's Stephen King. Enough said.

Your favorite movie and why?

Dirty Dancing, because nobody puts Baby in a corner... and dancing.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

I don't have a favorite celebrity.

Your favorite food?

Bacon, poutine, butter tarts (and not always in that order)

What is the force that drives you?

I don't know, but it's a fickle bitch. Disappears for days and then comes back like it never left expecting me to just get off my ass and do whatever it wants.

Some quickies:

Sun or Moon: Moon

Laughter or Smile: Laughter

Morning or Evening: Evening

Coffee or Tea: Coffee. Always.

Mountain or Sea: Mountain.

Long Drive or Short Drive: Long

Silence or Conversation: Silence

Water or Fire: Fire

Air or Earth: Air

Mars or Jupiter: Jupiter

Tulip or Rose: Rose

Red or Blue: Blue 

Left or Right: Depends on the day.  

Glance or Stare: Stare

Fame or Money: Ooh... hard one. Money. 

Love or Passion: Passion

What three words come to your mind for each –

Technology - exciting, frustrating, complex

Life - hard, fleeting, breathtaking

God - puzzle, myth, possible

Humanity - Where to begin? 

Terrorism - unconscionable, pointless, destructive

Racism - ignorant, selfish, stupid

Love - constant, unconditional, painful

Parenting - Best. Job. Ever.

Old age - inevitable, terrifying, comforting

First thing you do in the morning after waking up?


Last thing to do before sleep?


If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?

Heh. I'd pee outside.
The last line of your autobiography would be…

And she said, "Fuck it."

The title of your autobiography would be…

Kill it with Fire

Links& other relevant details:

Twitter handle: @ReneeMJ

Any other links:

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