Minnie, first I have to say that it’s an honor and a privilege to interview you. I love your handle, Marvelously mature author. Where did it come from?
Minnie: Actually, I ‘borrowed’ Marvelously Mature from Evelyn Palfrey’s online group. Love it that Evelyn and members are not a bit shy about discussing age freely.
Dyanne: I belong to Evelyn’s group also. I love it and especially the stimulating conversations. It’s different than any other group I belong to. I’m sorry for straying, Minnie. Let me get back to you. Tell us about your journey because I already know that like most of us you didn’t take the straight path to this career. So go ahead and chat, what got you here?
Minnie: What got me angry, off my fanny and into writing were the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings. So that others will understand what I’m referring to, I offer the following.
In October 1991 Anita Hill charges of sexual harassment against a former employer, Clarence Thomas, were made public on the eve of his confirmation as a Supreme Court justice. The Senate Judiciary Committee, about the graphic details of the allegation and about her personal life, grilled Hill. It continues. “In the end, the U.S. House and Senate chose to dismiss her allegations, and as a result, Thomas was given a seat on the highest court in the nation. Her testimony, and the committee’s reaction to it, has since been credited with revitalizing feminism...” The hearing woke up my feminism muse in a powerful way. At the same time, I had been recently “laid off” from my middle-management job, I believe, because I refused sexual advances by my immediate boss and his wife—you read right, and his wife—at the company Christmas Party. Anyway, protesting Congress’ treatment of Ms. Hill on national TV, I wrote many letters-to-the-editors of newspapers and others. What happened after that experience was priceless. I started writing my first novel, “Blue Lady Rising” (originally named Precious Angel) in 1991. The first edit was necessary, but I disagreed with the second, became discouraged in 2004 and put the manuscript in my files where it sits today.
A little about “Blue Lady Rising,” Priscilla is taught as a child that happiness will come if you pray and trust in God. Growing up, her grandparents shield her from the sleazy side of life. Yet, she grows up before the age of eighteen and travels many roads before reaching middle age. Stepping outside of safety, into the world and finding self in a dangerous situation, she asks God for help; however, Priscilla learns she must help God help her. Believing that He does not hear her, much later her God-given wisdom kicks in. As a result of much suffering and confusion, the misguided youth travels a cruel, hard road to womanhood.
Dyanne: As I suspected your journey into writing was not the norm. But isn’t it interesting that we can take all of the things that happen in our lives and weave them into a story. You’ve told us about your first book; now tell us a bit about all of your babies. And again remember I know about the baby that you want to see come out. Here’s a chance to tell us about it. You never know whose listening.
Minnie: I’m presently working on “Whispers From the Mirror,” a mainstream commercial novel with a touch of paranormal. Brianna Deville is a middle-aged feminist fighting for African American women’s rights in politics and later becomes assistant director of The Woman’s Foundation for Business Owners. Her mother, Belle Deville, is a lawyer, writer and news commentator. She never marries Brianna’s father and rarely talks to her daughter about him. In her glory days, Belle fought against sexual discrimination and for civil rights. She thoroughly instructed her only child to be independent and courageous. Brianna Deville and Rowena Seabrook are friends of the same age. Brianna works long hours getting her nominated as U.S. Representative from Illinois. Beau Bradford, whom Brianna falls in love with, has not been entirely truthful with her. She learns the hard way of Beau’s deception from the newspapers and the Mirror/Lady. The Mirror/Lady appears in Brianna’s bathroom mirror at will, sent by Brianna’s deceased mother to guide her through life. She is spirit inherent in the breath by a deity—she has no body. “The Supreme Being created me,” she says. After Beau, Brianna builds an imaginary wall blocking out love. As a result of an accident, her lonely life flashes before her, confusing her core values. Yet, another man comes into her life and tries to open her heart.
Dyanne, I haven’t figured out the ending to this story or how I’ll publish it. Ha!
“The Seduction of Mr. Bradley” was self-published November 2006. It’s also mainstream fiction. It’s not a typical down-low story. Yes, it does deal with the elephant in the room—an obvious truth that’s being ignored. Bill Bradley is bisexual. Ted Grassley, CEO of Grassley Advertising with deep pockets, is also bisexual. Despite the fact that Ted is happily married to an elegant socialite, he and Bill (Ted will only call him William) carry on a nearly 15-year love affair emotionally and physically satisfying to them both. Bill takes on a new client in his public relations agency, the beautiful and sensitive novelist Jina Cook, sparks begin to flicker and a genuine love affair begins. But when the courtship is consummated, Bill is torn between the duality of his heart. After much soul-searching and heartfelt conversations with female college friend Samara, he decides to do the only thing he knows how. Be honest. Although Ted is almost coldly accepting, Jina is devastated by Bill’s revelation. The dilemma: how does a genuine, non-cheating, committed-oriented bisexual convince his woman that he will be true even though a great part of who he is entails a natural attraction toward men?
“Forever, My Love” was a fun write and something I needed to do to keep my muse happy. It’s an Amazon Short for $0.49—you can’t beat that with a hammer. “Forever, My Love” is a love story of the Vampire Lucien and the Mortal Christine. Lucien is lonely. He knows that despite his immortality, he needs love and searches the world to find it. He discovers Christine at the opera that he often frequents and unleashes his psychic power to touch her mind. He knows that establishing the soul connection of an empowered love can come from more than mere physicality. She experiences Lucien’s physical love through a mental experience that she responds to yet can’t understand. Even so, tempted, Christine is unaware of the consequences of accepting the love of a vampire.
“Catharsis” is my first baby also self-published in March 2003. It’s a collection of three short stories written in the paranormal/fantasy range. The stories focus on freedom from the restrictions of life, unconditional and boundless love.
Story one, "Run, Baby, Run!" is about Sarah, a young slave trying to escape from a plantation with her sickly mother. As they run toward freedom, she has to accept that her mother is not going to make it. When mom dies, Sarah is lost and frightened. Vampire Damon finds her in the woods and comes to her aid. He offers her protection, immortality, power and an education—things she's never known or ever heard of. She sees freedom in his words and most of all an opportunity to perpetrate revenge on her plantation owner (who is also her white father) and to help other to escape the cruelty of slavery.
Story two, "An Unusual Love Affair" introduces the evil Vampire Martin, who is not satisfied with his position in the coven. He wants more power, threatens Damon and attempts to take over the undead kingdom ruled by him. Damon's love and newest creation is Ashley. The story is a teaspoon of class—they first meet at an opera performance of “Tosca”—and a tablespoon of politics and activism, much like today’s world. (Guess you know I’m an opera fan, Ha!) Ashley longs to be a different kind of vampire, to remain independent and live by her own rules. Damon tells her that she is immortal and cannot turn back. The evil Vampire Martin sets Damon on fire as he tries to protect his love.
Story three, “Connecting” is about a contemporary love affair between mortals Priscilla and Don. It’s love at first sight when they meet at a mutual friend’s house and the sparks fly between them. Both have been through bad marriages, as a result both are hesitant to commit to a relationship but clearly want to be in each other’s lives. Priscilla approaches Don about living together without benefit of marriage and he refuses, embarrasses her and causes their break up. Don does not disclose the true reason for refusing her offer. During many spiritual visits, he constantly confesses his love, which drives her to distraction. Soon, Don falls ill and Priscilla learns that he has a debilitating disease that can take his life. Yet, death stalking cannot sever their connection.
Dyanne: Your stories are so diverse that I believe I know the answer to my next question. But since this is an interview I will ask and let you answer. What made you take the self published route and are you happy with your decision?
Minnie: I had heard many stories from other writers about waiting months and, in some cases, years for a publishing house to accept, edit and publish their manuscript. I decided that I couldn’t wait that long. I read all the books I could find on self-publishing, reviewed all the steps necessary to get your book in the market and decided I can do that. Man! I really didn’t understand the enormity of the task, although it was before me in black and white. Nevertheless, I’ve survived with a few extra gray hairs and the threat of becoming an alcoholic. I’m somewhat happy with my decision. I say somewhat because I would have loved to be offered a contract by a publisher somewhere along the line. I look into the face of reality without flinching, knowing I’m old. Ha!
Dyanne: First off you’re not old, you’re marvelously mature. And just a reminder: You have to submit to a publisher in order to be offered a contract. I think you like being in control of your own destiny and that’s a good thing. But I do want to ask you, Minnie, do you participate in any of the conferences held just for the self-published authors?
Minnie: I have not to date. Perhaps it would have helped several years ago when I was struggling to get my books published, but...
Dyanne: I’m going to give you some info on a conference I think you might like. Think of it like this. Conferences keep your juices revved up by your interacting with people who are doing the exact thing that you’re doing. Minnie, we’re going to switch gears a little bit. You have so much energy. You’re in several group that I’m in and you’re always promoting other authors ( thank you, by the way) Could you please tell me where the heck you get the time and more importantly the energy?
Minnie: I love helping other authors. I learn by talking and interviewing them. So many I’ve come in contact with have helped my career tremendously. I knew very little about the publishing industry. Folks in my many groups educated me. I must “pay it forward.” Time is about all I have being retired and on Social Security. Energy. I receive energy from the people I help.
Dyanne: Then I must need to do more helping because I don’t have your energy. Okay, back to a serious mode. I know that you have an Amazon short. How do you like the shorts? Are you getting much feedback?
Minnie: I’m not pleased with Amazon Shorts and getting very little feedback from my first, and probably my last submission. Submitting that tiny manuscript goes through the same scrutiny, rules and requires a contract same as a big publishing houses. That’s asking a lot for a small percentage of 49-cents!
Dyanne: .19 cents. It had seemed like such a good idea when I first heard about it. Still, I think it give an author an opportunity for promo with the blog. And I wouldn’t say your vampire didn’t get any notice because he did. Adam Omega has requested that I ask you in a public forum to have Lucien give him a call. Do you think that can be arranged?
Minnie: I would love to have Lucien contact Adam Omega. They both understand the need for love. But I caution Adam to be gentle with Lucien, please. I believe he is stronger than the Vampire Lucien. Maybe Adam can teach him a thing or two about surviving in the contemporary world.
Dyanne: LOL. Adam is seldom gentle but he does feel a kinship to Lucien so I think they’ll be fine. I want to thank you for visiting. I wish you continued success. Feel free to drop by anytime. Now give me some info for reader to be able to reach you.
Minnie: Dyanne, I enjoyed my visit and apologize for the length of this interview but as I said before, I’m old. When you reach my age, your interviews will be double mine. Ha!
“The Seduction of Mr. Bradley” and “Catharsis” can be purchased from me on my web site at www.millerscribs.com (Catharsis is no longer online). Mr. Bradley can be purchased from me and Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Seduction-Mr-Bradley-Minnie-Miller/dp/0972201327/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218118233&sr=1-1
Forever, My Love is available at Amazon Shorts
Again, thank you, Dyanne for having me.