Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Author Gracen Miller on Very Important People

Thanks bunches to Anne for having me on her blog! It's a joy and an honor to be here!

The important people in an author's life…

No, I'm not talking about my husband, or my publishing houses, or even my editor, but they are all important to my writing career. Indeed, I couldn't do any of this without them!

The "person" that altered the course of my life forever was Mrs. S, my sixth grade English teacher. She gave us a writing assignment for homework. Like everyone else in the class, I groaned and complained about having to use my imagination. I couldn't imagine the complexity of such a difficult assignment or from where I would retrieve the inspiration to write. I dragged my feet that afternoon stepping out of the car and entering my mother's workplace where I spent every afternoon in the restaurant office where she worked doing homework.

I sat down at that desk unknowing my life was about to take a dramatic turn. I took up pen and paper, thinking how much I hated English and disliked Mrs. S for issuing such a stupid assignment. I looked out the window and stared at the well-manicured Golf Course (my mother worked at the local Country Club as a waitress), with a certainty darkening my heart that I would fail this project miserably and my mother would be furious. Surprised, an idea quickly rose in my mind about Atlantis rising from the ocean and its inhabitants harnessing supernatural powers. And, of course, along with those supernatural powers the Atlantians concocted an evil plan to take over the world…what else do you do with supernatural powers, right? LOL With gusto I wrote a poorly crafted "play", but I was excited by the detail illuminating in my mind.

The next day all of our stories were read out loud in class. I fidgeted and worried to the point of nausea that everyone would laugh at my story. No one laughed, but sat as silent as church mice listening with interest as I read it. Mrs. S took a paper vote at the end of class on the three favorite stories and mine was one of the three, which meant the next day I had to pick individuals to play the parts of my characters and have my play acted out in front of the entire classroom. Wow! Not only had I enjoyed the assignment, but apparently all of my peers loved it too! Talk about mind-blowing to an 11 year old! Much like a drug, writing dug its claws into me and I was forever addicted.

That homework assignment changed my life forever. But Mrs. S was only one of the people to direct my writing.

In High School my best friend, Angie, and I were as thick as thieves. We thought alike, loved the paranormal, and spent countless hours on the weekend watching horror flicks (some of them horrid), while eating popcorn. While Mrs. S introduced me to writing, Angie, introduced me to the deeper side of writing, getting into the character's heads and becoming them. We wrote stories back and forth, like a series that commingled with one another. I still have every sheet of paper I wrote on all those characters. It started out as an innocent letter from my character to her sister, just a basic idea, and I never intended for it to go anywhere. Angie read it and to my surprise, she wrote back as if she was my character's sister. After that, it progressed and swelled into half a dozen characters. It was so much fun and it helped us escape all the teenage drama. Kept us out of a lot of trouble, too.

Mrs. S started my addiction and Angie fed it. Both of them played instrumental roles in turning me into an author. Out of everyone in my life, Angie believed in me when others didn't. When I doubted myself, she believed enough for us both. When my husband was less than reluctant to offer support, she gave me support. When my mother asked me to write something with no sex in it, Angie encouraged me to write what was in my soul. I owe my entire writing career to Angie because without her, I wouldn't be where I am today! Every author needs an "Angie" in their life!

All of us writers have a story to tell and I'm not talking about characters and plotlines. I'm talking about the people who are instrumental in helping us define and shape our lives into following our dream as a writer. What is your story? Do you have an "Angie" you'd like to thank?

Again, thank you, Anne, for letting me join you. For those of you interested in my books, Elfin Blood, is available at Noble Romance Publishing. Pandora's Box, is Book One in the Road to Hell Series and it's coming soon from Decadent Publishing. Check out my website for links or follow the ones below. Or come learn more about my character Madison in Pandora's Box before the story begins at Madison's Life Lessons on the Road to Hell.


Gracen Miller

Where does the road to Hell begin?

What happens when your son turns homicidal overnight, killing the family cat before gutting the family dog? Do you cower in fear or fight for your life? Madison Wescott fights against the odds. Distrustful of a God she doesn't believe in, she finds herself face-to-face with a demonic world she didn't know existed and discovers her own soul is darkened with demonic connections.

With good intentions?

Madison had it all…or thought she did. A husband she adored and a son that brought joy to her life. Then one morning her husband kissed her goodbye, headed off to work and disappeared. Life turned upside down, Madison grows desperate and despondent to help her bloodthirsty son after numerous attempts have failed. Only one man dares to challenge the supernatural forces manipulating them.

Or by demonic design?

Phoenix Birmingham breaches her life in a whirlwind of sarcasm and sexual appeal. A hero for the masses—and for her jaded heart—but few will ever know the sacrifices he has made or the sacrifices to come. Discovering her entire life has been influenced by multifaceted paranormal beings, Madison is determined to defeat the apocalyptic blueprint fate has decreed. Even with Phoenix's aid, can destiny be denied? Or will demonic design prevail and they pay the crucial price with their souls?

In a small, sleepy Alabama town
the battle for mankind's liberty has begun...


Gracen Miller is a writer with Decadent Publishing and Noble Romance. She is a wife, and a mother to two sons. And my personal favourite quote from her is, "Many of my creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs." Truer words may never have been spoken!

You can visit Gracen at her website or her blog, and contact her via Facebook.
Elfin Blood is available for purchase at Amazon, and you can read more about it here.


Kathleen said...

What a beautiful story, Gracen. I enjoyed learning how your interest in writing began.

I can remember sixth grade, too. I used to write poetry and short stories. I would gather my friends and put together a show, but never had a writing partner. I wish I had someone like Angie in my life.

I think my inspiration came from my Father, who would pen words of inspiration in a notebook that he always kept at his side.

Everytime I read the blurb from Pandora's Box, I enjoy it, like the first time.

Love the coffee quote!

Redameter said...

Gracen, that is very interesting about how you thought you would hate writing and ended up loving it.

I wrote a book in high school, it really wasn't bad, sort of Swiss Family Robinson with reality thrown in, but I let my friends read it at school, and never saw it again.

But the person who most influenced me in writing was my adopted father,(actually I was adopted by him, but I call him my adotpted father). He was a storyteller. And he taught me through the telling of his stories to notice people. How they acted, what they wore, how they reacted and their mannerisms. Had it not been for him, I would never have learned how to "watch" people.

When he died there was a huge crowd of people standing around trying to tell stories like he did, and none of them quite had the hang of it, but they sure appreciated him and his stories.

Gracen Miller said...

Howdy, Kathleen and Rita! ~waves~

Thanks for sharing your stories!! I think it awesome that both of you were influenced by your father! I can only hope that one day my kids will be able to say I influenced their love of writing.

Thanks to you both for leaving comments today. And thanks, Kathleen, for the positive comments about Pandora's Box's blurb. It's not been edited yet, so who knows how much it'll change. lol


Anonymous said...

Your excitement for your journey shines like your smile.

Never quit with either. :-)

Heather Bennett
Decadent Publishing

Gracen Miller said...

Aww...Thanks, Heather! I hope to never quit either!


Maureen said...

Wonderful stories, Gracen.

I don't remember a particular time when I wasn't thinking about writing, because all my family read. So writing just seemed natural. But it was a dream.

Several friends and a life coach made me think about doing instead of dreaming. Debbie, who I met giving readings at a metaphysical bookstore I worked at...she started me thinking I really could do it. A poetry instructor named Zette...between them...I started. And then I met dozens of people who encouraged.

Yeah, it's a big family!

Gracen Miller said...

Maureen, my writing family has definitely expanded since beginning with these two. Luckily, I still have Angie in my life, but a host of other inspirational folks as y'all at Decadent.

I don't remember my mother reading much growing up, although she does now, but my Granny gave me my first romance book...The Flame and the Flower. I can say without any doubt if not for Mrs. S and Angie, I don't know when I would have been bitten by the writing bug or IF I ever would have.

Thanks for sharing your story! You've got a mini-army to thank and I think it's awesome that you've had so much support!!


Sarah Ballance said...

OMG I would DIE if my teacher read my story out loud. Just ... *poof!* I'm still friends with my "old" (she loves that) 10th grade English teacher. As for the person I credit for getting me here, well, there are two. My friend Adrienne told me to write fiction and I said I couldn't do it, which made me decide to prove myself wrong. Shortly thereafter, I met my CP Carol, who has offered more guidance than I can ever repay. And the support of my fellow authors - amazing. Thank YOU for a great post, Gracen, and for your support! You gave me my second interview, you know. ;c)

Ann Mayburn said...

Great post! I love hearing how people manage to inspire each other. You never know what random moment in your life will have a long and lasting impact on anothers.

For me, it was my 2nd grade teacher reading 'Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory' aloud to the class. First book without pictures, and she made it amazingly special for us. Children have so much imagination at that age, it was amazing to realize that words could form pictures in my head. :D

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