M.G. Miller is a Southern Gothic novelist and former fiction editor for a national horror magazine.
Latest Title: Bayou Jesus Author name: M. G. Miller
1. I’m always interested in the writer’s process. How often do you write? Do you have a daily word count goal? Give me an overview (or detailed if you really want to go there) of your writing life.
Lately, I’ve hardly had time to write at all, but when I am in
the groove, it starts at 3 a.m. every day. During the week I only have a couple of hours each day which is usually spent editing what I’ve already written, but on weekends I’ll
write until I’m exhausted–or the phone starts ringing, which is one of the reasons I get up so early, to get some work done before the rest of the world wakes. I don’t have a word count goal, though, I just write until a scene is finished. An average day yields about five or six pages, a great day is ten pages or more.
2. Do you also work a full-time non-writer job or career?
Yes, I also work full-time. Keeps me living in luxury and the electric
bill paid. Ha.
3. How supportive has your family been of your writing time? Have you ever had to fight for your right to write?
Have you ever had to fight for your right to write? I’ve never lacked support from family, but I think we’ve all had to fight for our right at some point and on different levels, be it naysayers or simple interruptions.
4. How long does it take you to write (from start to finish) a novel?
It takes about a year and a half for me to write a novel while also working a full-time job. In the past I’ve been lucky enough to devote uninterrupted time to my work, and when that’s the case I can finish a novel in a year. I did, however, write one in six months once. Weirdest thing I ever did, though, and I doubt it will ever see the light of day.
5. What route to publishing did you take (agent, traditional, self-pub), and how long did it take from finish to publication?
I had an agent first, but that didn’t work out very well (neither did my second agent for that matter), so I self-published. By doing so, the books were eventually discovered and bought for traditional publication. From finished product to traditional publication was a period of nine years and a collection of 225 rejections, 109 on one book alone. I have no sympathy for writers who bemoan that they’ve received 20 or 30 rejections.
6. Is there a theme, or premise you’d really like readers to connect with in your latest book?
In regard to the ebook reissue of Bayou Jesus, the theme is racial intolerance. Its sequel, Seven Devils (release date TBA), concerns itself with organized
religion and societal structure. Other novels have dealt with revenge, redemption and matricide. (But I really do love my mom, okay?)
7. Where are you going now, are you working on a sequel, or something entirely different?
I’ve only written one sequel thus far, which was very different from the first book. No two of my novels are alike. I feel that once I’ve covered something, it’s time to take on another challenge. My current work in progress is based on a true story of a mother who killed her own children in the name of God. No sunshine and rainbows there.
For years I’ve wanted to write a novel revolving around Patty Hearst’s kidnapping, too, the twist being that she’s not actually in the book, merely her experience with the Symbionese Liberation Army used as allegory for a character in search of herself.
That may come in the next few years.
8. Where do you find inspiration for your stories and novels?
The news, books, movies, but mostly from people-watching and listening. If you create a believable character first, the story will practically tell itself.
9. With all the focus lately on authors providing a lot of their own self-promotion, what are you doing in this respect?
Be it traditional or self-publication, the majority of authors have always had to do
a great deal of their own promotion. I have a Facebook author page, I Twitter, I blog, I’ve built a website. All this is a full-time job in itself. But the most important thing one can do is simply to write the best book you possibly can and hope you get lucky.
10. Who or what would you say has been the biggest influence on you as a writer?
I’ve been most influenced by the works of Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And like K.D. McCrite said in her interview last week, the old I’ll-show-you attitude works wonders for one’s motivation.
11. Where can we find your book? Is it available in e-format as well?
The reissue of Bayou Jesus by Southern Exposures Press will be available this Christmas, exclusively on Amazon Kindle.
Thank you, Madison, for the opportunity to share.
Visit M.G. Miller’s website at http://www.mgmillerbooks.com