Friday, July 18, 2008

Debut Author Amber Miller

Today we're joined by my friend and fellow Heartsong Presents debut author, Amber Miller. I met Amber at the first ACFW conference I attended in Nashville in 2005. You never know who you'll meet when you volunteer in the bookstore :-) Without further ado, here's the interview and some about her books...

You've chosen a time period for your book back in the 1700s. What attracted you to this time period?

It was likely the discovery of several significant events during Colonial times where Delaware was a key factor. And since the purpose is to spotlight the history of the state, it only made sense to begin at the beginning. Of course, that would have required going back to the 1670's, but I chose the 1700's because they were a bit more familiar, yet not overdone in books today.

I'd love to continue this series into the 1800's and then 1900's with a present-day novel utilizing the same house that was featured in all 3 of this first series. It was established in 1740 and still stands today. But, we'll have to see where my writing takes me.

Promises, Promises is set in Delaware. How did you pick that state?

I spent about 25 years of my life living there. Throughout that time, I learned a lot about the significance of that little state. Too often, Delaware gets skipped in history books. Everyone knows about Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Valley Forge. But, not many know how critical Delaware was during the early start of the United States. I wanted to bring that out in a series of books. Plus, when I pitched the idea to Jim Peterson, he said in all 12 years (at the time) of the Heartsong Presents book club, no one had submitted a proposal with a Delaware setting. I knew I had a unique location, and I capitalized on that.

What kind of research did you have to do to make the setting and time come alive?

This required quite a bit. I had to dig into archives of letters and newspaper articles to get a feel for the voice and speech patterns. I also had to study the clothing and the everyday activities of the farming person along with the more elite members of society. Drawing the reader into the setting and making them feel lost in the past is important to me. It's why certain historical novels make my favorites list, so I try to do that for the ones I write as well.

This is your first book. What was it like getting the email from JoAnne? Who was the first person you told?

When I received the notification that my first book was actually going to be bought, I can't begin to describe the elation and the excitement. It was only a week before Christmas that year too. I can't think of a better gift. The first thought that went through my mind is, "I have to tell someone!" Since the hour was late, and everyone had gone to bed, I logged online. The only one signed on was the man who is now my husband. We weren't even engaged at that time. Some people would call that ironic. I call it God. One of the biggest moments of my life, and the first person I tell is the man I would marry just 8 months later. Amazing!

This is the first book in a series. What are the other two about? Are they in the same setting? Any connections between the three?

Book 2 picks up with the daughter in the next generation, enduring the struggles of the French & Indian War and battling emotions for Major Madison, while a local writer for the colony's first newspaper casts doubts on Madison's character.

Book 3 goes to the next generation with Margret meeting a British soldier who is actually a spy for the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War. She gets involved in the secret-keeping aspects of his duties, and when her parents find out, her father forbids her to see him.

Through each book, you see the progression and early beginnings of what becomes the United States and witness the significance of present-day Delaware during a time when its 3 counties belonged to Pennsylvania. I reference key historical figures and events, but the main focus is the everyday individual and how they deal with the harsh realities of life during these times.

I usually learn something as I'm writing a book. Usually it's as a character struggles with an issue. What did you learn?

For me, it was the patience, steadfastness and fortitude of the hero. He made a promise and stuck to it. No matter what Raelene did to him, he stayed until his promise was fulfilled. From what reviewers have been saying, it reminded them of God, pursuing us and not giving up until we finally realize how much He loves us and wants the best for us. I didn't see that when I was writing, but I love that parallel.

Now for some fun... If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would you take?

Hmm, I could go with the traditional and likely predictable answer of Hawaii, but how about Australia, or Scotland or Alaska instead? Would love to get to Europe at some point in my life and the land down-under seems fascinating. As for who I'd take? Obviously, my husband. :) Wouldn't be as much fun without sharing it with him.

Promises, Promises

Has God forsaken Raelene?

What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? When Gustaf Hanssen promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word, must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?

Quills & Promises

Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years--

With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When he is called away to fight the French and the Indians, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to one another. Elanna has never known emotions like these before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a writer for the first newspaper in the colony questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?


Shirley Connolly (July month-long feature) -

July 7 - Margaret Daley (bio)
July 7 - Dawn Kinzer at From Dawn til Dusk, Musings of a Night Owl
July 8 - Donna Moore at Write by Faith
July 8 - Kim Woodhouse at God's Grace, Love & Forgiveness
July 9 - Margaret Daley (interview)
July 9 - Amy Riley at The Friendly Book Nook
July 10 - Jenny Blake at Come Meet AusJenny
July 11 - Rose McCauley
July 11 - Shauna Sturge at The Coffee Stop; Long and Short Reviews
July 12 - Carolyn Strawder at Quiet Time with Carolyn
July 14-19 - CAN! blog spotlight
July 14 - Martha Rogers at Martha Writes
July 15 - Leslie Sowell at A Little Bit of Sunlight
July 16 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs)
July 16 - Novel Journey / Novel Reviews /
July 17 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs)
July 17 - Eileen Astels at A Christian Romance Writer's Journey
July 17 - Cheryl Wyatt at Squirrel's Treehouse
July 18 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs)
July 18 - Cara Putman at Cara's Musings
July 18 - Tyora Moody at CB Reviews
July 19 - Stacy Johnson at Vader's Mom
July 21 - Camy Tang at Camy's Loft
July 21 - Jennifer AlLee at Musings on This, That & The Other Thing -
July 21 - Trish Perry (interview) at Reading, Writing and the Stuff In-Between
July 22 - Cindy Woodsmall at the Plain Talk Blog
July 23 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (review/interview)
July 24 - Margaret Chind at Creative Madness
July 25 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (guest blogger)
July 25 - Christa Allan at Fictionary
July 26 - Paula Moldenhauer at Grace Reign


Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Thanks for spotlighting me, Cara. The interview was a lot of fun. Very creative questions.

So great to share this debut-tante spot with you and Heartsong. :)

And you're right. Just never know who'll you meet hanging out in the bookstore.

Ausjenny said...

tiff I hope you get to Australia some time.
Nice interview cant wait to read the second book.


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