Today I have the privilege of interviewing award-winning author, Kelly Miller. We’ll discuss her newest book, Deadly Fantasies, but we’ll touch on a few other subjects as well.
Q: What is your #mystery novel, “Deadly Fantasies,” about?
A: A ringing phone at 1:17 AM is never a good thing, but Homicide Detective Kate Springer doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring the call. On the other end of the line, a confessor admits to murdering her husband. Dr. Nina Grace needs help, and Kate knows it’s time to repay a debt. No matter the consequences, Kate must fight to keep the investigation from focusing solely on her friend.
Jonathan Grace controls the people in his life like he does his business—with a chokehold. His insatiable appetite for living life on the edge leads him to a club where he’s encouraged to act out his darkest desires. But what happens when one man’s fantasy becomes another person’s nightmare?
Did Dr. Nina Grace kill her husband or did Jonathan’s secret life lead to his death? Detective Springer believes that no matter what her friend admitted, she couldn’t be capable of the horrific torture and murder of her husband. But will Kate’s blind loyalty be her downfall?
Q: Do you have any other books published?
A: Yes. “Deadly Fantasies” is actually the second book in the Detective Kate Springer Series. The first book, “Dead Like Me,” was all about the protagonist. It’s her story and in it, the reader finds out what makes Kate tick, why she makes the decisions she does. In this second book, “Deadly Fantasies,” I wanted to develop the secondary characters and explore Kate’s relationship with them. But even though the two books build off each other, it’s not necessary to have read the first novel, to enjoy the second.
Q: Can you give us an insight into your main character?
A: Homicide Detective Kate Springer is a flawed woman. When you first meet her, you may not like her—she seems a bit cold and bristly. It’s just her way of keeping everyone at arm’s length. She’s lived too much life in her thirty-eight years and she struggles with issues of trying to control the people and the circumstances in her life. Yet once you get deeper into the story you realize she’s trying to become a better person. She knows her faults and she wants to overcome them. But just like all of us, she makes mistakes on the path to becoming the woman she wants to be.
Q: How would you describe your writing style?
A: I’m the “Law & Order: SVU” of books. My stories deal with dark adult themes, but they would still only get a NC-17 rating.
Q. Why did you decide to write in the genre of mystery/crime fiction?
A. You’ve heard the saying, “I didn’t pick the genre, it picked me.” For me, this is true. Before I started my writing career, I was a voracious reader. I still love to read, but now my schedule is so full it’s difficult to find time to finish reading a book. At the bookstore, I’ll pick up a variety of genres. My favorites are mysteries, suspense, thriller, and paranormal novels. The way my voice comes through in a book perfectly matches the crime fiction genre. So for now, I’m sticking with what works.
Q. What advice would you give to writers trying to get a book published?
A. 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. In addition to winning the award, 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.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned when first started out in the business?
A: I always thought, “If you write it, they will come.” That’s a laughable thought now, but I really thought if I wrote a great book, I’d easily hook an agent. But I started querying when the economy was sour, and I couldn’t get a bite. The same thought goes for readers. Just because I published a book, doesn’t mean everyone wants to read it. It takes a lot of work to get attention in such a crowded marketplace.
Q: Do you enjoy watching movies or TV shows?
A: When I’m not reading during my downtime, I’m watching television. I have to admit, I’m a reality TV junkie. In fact, when I was trying to sell my first book to an agent/publisher I created a comical animated movie on what a reality show based on writers would look like. You can check it out on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM4FRGTMogw. In my wild imagination, I envisioned the video going viral and eventually getting an agent out of the whole deal. Did I mention I’m a dreamer! Anyway, I’m a real sucker for all the reality shows where the average Joe gets a shot at making his dream come true. I love Project Runway, Top Chef, Face Off, and The Voice to name just a few. It’s amazing I ever find time to write!
Q: What should readers walk away from your books knowing? How should they feel?
A: I write mysteries with a sexual element. And not the 50 Shades of Grey kind. I shine a light on sexual taboo topics like in the case of Dead Like Me, childhood sexual abuse. But not in a preachy way. In the first book in the series, readers see one example of a girl who’s lived through horrible childhood trauma and the path she took because of it. I also want to make sure my readers get a satisfying ending. You know the type of story where you exhale. Readers have invested days, sometimes weeks into reading my book. They’ve immersed themselves in my characters, they’ve followed them through thick and thin, and when that final resolution happens, I want readers to close the book, hug it to their chest, and exhale. As a reader and author, it can’t get much better than that.
Bio for Kelly Miller
Kelly Miller lives in Tampa, Florida where her novel is set. She’s married, has three children, and a black Labrador named Gracie. Kelly is a proud member of the Florida Writers Association.
Deadly Fantasies is the second book in the Detective Kate Springer series. The first book, Dead Like Me, won second place in the best mystery category of the 2011 FWA Royal Palm Literary Awards competition. It was also named a semi-finalist in the mystery category of The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Books Awards competition.
REVIEW OF DEADLY FANTASIES
Detective Kate Springer is back! And this time, she has to save her friend, Dr. Nina Grace.
What do you do when the phone rings at one in the morning? If you’re Detective Kate Springer you answer it. And what do you do when your friend is on the line confessing to murdering her husband? Kate never hesitates: she plunges into a dark world to find the real killer before Dr. Grace winds up in prison.
The thing I like about Kate is her loyalty; misguided perhaps, but always there. It is her strongest asset and her greatest liability as she races into situations most of us would turn away from.
Author Kelly Miller weaves the past and the present together, creating a tangled web for her characters. In this second book, Ms. Miller deepens some of the supporting characters from Dead Like Me, Book 1 of the Springer Series. Not only do we get a different perspective on Dr. Grace, but we see another side to Detective Patrick Jessup, Mr. Quiet himself. To tell the truth, I was a bit shocked at how he acted this time, but when I understood why, well…I had to forgive the guy.
One of the things I enjoy about Ms. Miller’s work is the way she uses the past events to illuminate the actions of her characters in the present. It is part of what makes her characters real: the stress of personal issues tangles with the need to follow the facts and trips Kate up, time and time again. Still, she isn’t a quitter.
A good, solid story.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kelly-miller?store=allproducts&keyword=kelly+miller
Social Media Links
Author Website: www.kellymillerauthor.com
Author Blog: http://apps.kellymillerauthor.com/blog
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kelly-Miller/218746298149725
Twitter: @MillerMystery https://twitter.com/MillerMystery
This rafflecopter is a giveaway to one person for two signed paperback copies of each title in the Detective Kate Springer series, “Dead Like Me” and “Deadly Fantasies.”
I hope you enjoyed reading about Author Kelly Miller as much as I enjoyed speaking with her. Would LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS!
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