An interview with Carrie D. Miller

Carrie D. Miller
The White Raven  -  April 1, 2017

Ms. Miller,

Thank you for taking your time for me ~

Who are your influences?

My writing influences have varied greatly over the decades.  From Piers Anthony and C.S. Lewis, to Anne McCaffrey and Robert Asprin, to James Rollins and J.K. Rowling.  I'm all over the place!  My tastes change all the time and I take away a little something from every author I read.  Who has affected me more recently is Paula Brackston (The Silver Witch, The Witch's Daughter).  Her writing style is like a song in my head.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing little stories when I was in my pre-teens.  I dabbled in poetry in high school where I won a couple of awards.  In my professional career, I wrote a lot of marketing content and user software documentation.  Off and on for many years, I tried to get a book out of my head but life kept getting in the way.  That's my excuse, anyway.  But once the stars aligned, I quit my job as an executive at a software company to follow my dream of becoming an author.  It's been an amazing adventure, to say the least.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc.?

A great deal of my ideas come out of nowhere.  I'll be walking the dog or taking a shower and bam!  Or, I'll see something or hear something that sparks an idea.  That happened recently at the gym.  I saw a millisecond flash of an image on the TV and out of that grew my next project—a 3 book series.  I love my brain!

I let the story dictate its point of view; it tells me how it wants to be told.  My first novel, The White Raven, needed to be told in mostly first person, but the series will be third person, probably.  Characters and their names spring out of my mind along with the story.  Sometimes I have to google if I'm looking for names from specific countries, but fantasy names are so easy and fun to invent.

If you could actually meet one of your characters, who would it be? Why?

I would love to meet Jo Riddle, a key supporting character in The White Raven.  She's always positive and has a wicked sense of humor, plus a bawdy side.  She could be my mother and best friend all rolled into one.  Quick witted, snarky, and she likes a good whisky.

Do you work from an outline?

You bet I do.  I make that outline as long and as detailed as I can.  My outline for TWR was 18 pages.  But I don't treat it as gospel.  It's a guideline only.  If my story veers off into another direction, I go with it to see where it will lead.  I scraped many pages of my TWR outline and very happy I did.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel(s).

I absolutely love the past life ritual in TWR.  The incantation Jo recites, the imagery of the energy flowing from nature and the moon into the main character, Aven, and the resulting vision into the past is so vivid and rich.  I had an amazing time writing it.  I saved it to almost the last because I knew it was going to be difficult.  It took me days to just write the incantation.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?

I hear so many people say "I would love to write a book but..."  I let those "but"s hold me back for years.  If there was an excuse to be had, I used it.  My philosophy now is shut up and write.  Self-doubt be damned, excuses be gone.  Write down everything you have in your head; organize it later.  Just don't not write.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?

My first novel is contemporary fantasy/magical realism, but I have high fantasy and science fiction stories on deck.  Maybe one day I'll resurrect the high fantasy I started 15+ years ago.  I even created a world map.  It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?

During the beta reading phase of The White Raven, I had a male friend of mine tell me he couldn't read the sex scenes because he kept picturing me!

Do you listen to music as you write?

I must listen to music when I write. I use Pandora and created my own stations of composers like Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman, but also of artists Lindsey Stirling and Loreena McKennitt. Here's also some Gregorian Chant and Techno. I mostly listen to Hans, Danny, and Loreena while writing.

On the behalf of my reader's, I thank you again Carrie for your time.

Would you like to add anything Carrie?

The creation of this book sprang out of frustration.  At the time, years ago, I couldn't find any books featuring witches that weren't annoyingly cliche or that didn't perpetuate the Hollywood or Christian stereotype.  I wanted to write the kind of book that I wanted read.  Since then, I've discovered several authors that pen wonderful stories featuring witches and magick that I just love, so I'm very happy with the shift that's taken place over the years.

What I think will resonate most with readers of The White Raven, particularly women, is the strong female protagonist.  I mean truly strong—not whiny and unsure of her powers, afraid or unwilling to use them, or scared of the consequences.  If something needs to be handled, Aven will handle it (but sometimes not well).  And it's also a story of acceptance, about the need to be yourself and having friends love you for who you are.  Even though Aven's case is a bit extreme, it's a struggle that many, many people can identify with.

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About the author  ~

Carrie D. Miller

Connect with Carrie

Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on Halloween 1970.  She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby.  Carrie had always dreamed of being a published author and gave it a few attempts over the decades.  But too much of life interfered each time so it wasn’t until her mid-forties did she take the high-dive plunge.  Carrie quit her executive job to become a full-time writer.

In a former life, Carrie D. Miller was an executive in the software industry for many years.  Her career in the technology world included software product management, website design, training, and technical writing just to name a few.  Although she’s written a great deal over the decades which has been read by thousands of people, software documentation allows for as much creativity as pouring cement.  At the age of 45, she decided to chuck it all to become an author which had been a life-long dream.

Inspired as a child by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Carrie has a deep love of all things magickal and mystical.  Her parents introduced her to the silliness and humor of Robert Asprin and Piers Anthony, and then her teenage years led her to the haunting and disturbing V.C. Andrews, and of course, Stephen King.

Carrie lives in a suburb of Dallas with a man who can put up with her, a cat who hates everyone except Carrie (but only sometimes), and a derpy German Shepherd.

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