About Kelly Miller:
Writing has always been in my blood. Since the age of thirteen when I coauthored a cheesy romance novel in a blue, spiral bound notebook, I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career. But somewhere along the way, I lost my voice. Sure I could craft a witty email or write marketing copy for other authors, as I did in a previous job, but to write that great American novel seemed just out of reach.
As is often happens, life simply got in the way. I got married, had three children, and adopted a black Labrador. As a stay-at-home mom, I was lucky to get an hour a day to myself. And when I found those few precious minutes, they were spent reading a good book. A voracious reader, I’ve been researching the mystery and suspense genres for more than two decades.
It was in my search for my own identity after staying at home with the kids that ultimately lead me back to my love of writing. I started my journey towards publication in August 2010. The first draft only took four months to write, but was followed by an enormous amount of time rewriting, and an even longer time searching for a publisher. Determination, perseverance, and God’s blessing made my publishing dream a reality. I signed a contract with Black Rose Writing on May 18, 2012 and my first mystery novel, “Dead Like Me,” debuted in November 2012. The second installment in the Detective Kate Springer series, “Deadly Fantasies,” debuted December 19, 2013. Since that time, the book’s rights have reverted back to me and I’ve gone indie!
Guess it’s time to start thinking of my next big dream. New York Times bestselling author some day? Possibly.
What inspires you to write?
My writing is a gift from God. Sometimes I’m so in the zone I don’t even realize what I’ve written. I’m usually flabbergasted when I reread my really good sentences. It’s almost like I’m transcribing words I get from some place else because I know I couldn’t be as good as I am in my own power.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a hybrid. Because I write mysteries, I have to outline enough to know how I’m getting from A to Z. I also plot out the major landmarks along the way. But I like many of my chapters to grow organically. That’s the fun. Sitting down at the computer and seeing where the characters want to go. I’m just along for the ride taking notes on their crazy antics.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I’m writing, I see what’s happening like I’m watching a movie on the big screen. Most of the time I’m either in the zone or have my eyes closed seeing what I’m writing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Enter your novel into writing competitions. When my novel kept getting rejected, I entered the manuscript into the Florida Writers Association RPLA competition. I won second place in the Best Mystery category. Even though it won, I got back invaluable information from three judges who’d critiqued my work, pointing out the weak areas. It was an inexpensive way to get feedback on my work.
Something else happened after I won the award. I finally got the attention of agents and publishers. I changed my query letter, adding the information about the award I won and each submission was met with positive feedback. I got past the first stage with the agents and publishers, each requesting the first three chapters of my book. Eventually, I signed with Black Rose Writing. Another option to keep in mind is that many small independent publishers offer their own writing competitions. Prizes sometimes include a publishing contract.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
New authors should explore every option. Look at what you like and don’t like to do and make your decision based on that. For example, when I first started out I wasn’t comfortable holding the reigns of my own career. I decided to publish with a small press because they would handle the book formatting, cover design, and other aspects I didn’t want to worry about. However, as my career progressed, I decided to take back my rights to my two novels because I wasn’t happy with some of the decisions they made. So now I’m an indie author. With my third book, a title in a new series, I’m going to try and traditionally publish. I’m currently querying agents in the hope of landing a bigger publisher. I want my new book to reach a larger audience, and I don’t think that can happen on my own.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the field is wide open. It’s never been a better time to be an author. Great writers are finally being discovered with the advent of self publishing. However, traditional publishing is still available for those who want their book in every major bookstore in America. It seems like the power has shifted from the publisher’s hands into the author’s hand which is where it should be. Authors can now decide their own fate and traditionally publish while still have a toe in the indie water. It will be important for every author to keep an eye on how the progression of technology changes our field. In order to make money we have to be where our readers are.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Link To Kelly Miller Page On Amazon