Tuesday, July 17, 2012

KICKING ETERNITY - Ann Lee Miller - Lots of Free Books


Bio: Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.

Note: Anyone who would like to receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity may request one on the contact page at www.AnnLeeMiller.com.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Some heroines include parts of me, but writers are vultures. We circle our lives and pick the flesh off everyone around us.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I can’t take credit for this, but my father spent several years building a forty-foot sailboat in our backyard. We launched it in the Miami River and lived aboard at Dinner Key Marina when I was eleven until I turned thirteen. At the time I didn’t realize how unusual it was to live on a boat and ride my bicycle down the dock each morning to attend school. All my friends at the marina did the same. After school every day, I tossed my books onto my bunk, shimmied into a swimsuit, and jumped overboard. Sailboats show up in all my books thus far.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I always say I became a writer the year I discovered Sister Sheila had hair. I was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Thanks to Sister’s encouragement, I went on to earn a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University. I’ve been writing novels for the past fifteen years.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I especially enjoy reading romance and coming of age stories. My favorite authors are Charles Martin, Francine Rivers, Anne Rivers Siddon, and Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I start my day by spending time with God. That’s the easy part. The hard part is having the self discipline to stay off the internet until I have accomplished the day’s writing. If I check my e-mail or plug into Facebook, my brain gets cluttered and short circuits. I can’t focus and end up frustrated, unproductive. I’ve always been nosey. I think that’s why the internet is such a temptation. But I need a peaceful well to write from.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I use a stack of baby books. Names are difficult to choose and hugely important. Sometimes I will change a character’s name after the book is written, but I don’t recommend this.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of completing four books. Writing them was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. When I won a swimming race or graduated from college, I didn’t feel the sense of satisfaction I felt typing The End. In addition to Kicking Eternity, The Art of My Life debuts in September, Avra’s God in December, and Tattered Innocence next March.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A monkey. They look like they’re having fun swinging around. I would go crazy lying around like my dog does all day!

What is your favorite food?
Cheesecake.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I detest plotting, but consider it a necessary evil. I plot every scene for the whole book before I actually write the book. It takes… forever. My first two books were written without plotting. Going back through whole books to fix plot lines felt counterproductive. I tried Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method of plotting for my third book and Karen Wiesner’s First Draft In 30 Days for my most recent book. I also use Jack Bickham’s Scene and Structure as I build scenes. To me, it feels so much easier to make changes to the book’s skeleton than to rewrite large portions.

Tell us about the featured book.
Kicking Eternity is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both.

Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would send him caterwauling into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.

Raine's brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it's too late?

For anyone who's ever wrestled with their dreams.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Raine pushed the beads on her African bracelet back and forth like the balls on an abacus. Her stomach kneaded, gurgled. She could almost feel sweat dampen her upper lip.

Drew’s forehead creased as he stared at her. Fluorescent tubes hummed overhead in the night air. Shouts and back-slapping ricocheted around the Canteen porch in the sticky-sweet scent of orange blossoms. If she wasn’t fighting to keep her dinner down, she’d tell him where they’d met.

His frown melted into a smile of recognition. “Rainey. Hey. Welcome to Triple S Camp.”

She bristled at the nickname her brothers used to irritate her. “It’s Raine.

 “I remember you as Rainey from the skit you did in junior high youth group. You cried all over the place—a pun on your name.”

“That was my total acting career… and ancient history. Better off forgotten. Please.”

“Sure, Rainey, whatever you say.”

“Drew!”

“You remember my name.”

“You weren’t exactly low profile either.” She, like every girl in the youth group, had spent way too much time mooning at the high-school-Drew hunched over his guitar.

Jesse, the camp director, gave a shrill blast on his whistle. “Welcome to New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp orientation.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter @AnnLeeMiller

Thank you, Ann, for sharing your life and book with us.

Please leave a comment, and Ann will interact with you on the blog. Be sure to come to the actual blog to leave the comments. That's where Ann will be reading and replying to the comments.

If you're reading this on Facebook, Feedblitz, or my Amazon Author page, here's the link to the actual blog: http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

13 comments:

Ann Lee Miller said...

Lena,

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! I'm looking forward to chatting with your readers. I'm starting out this morning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and will catch up with you in Ashland, Ohio. Later this week, I'll return home to Phoenix. :)

Anonymous said...

would love to win.
angela from KY

JoyAnne said...

Thanks for the giveaway, can't wait to read it!

Marianne said...

Already downloaded it. Review coming soon...i hope

Ann Lee Miller said...

Angela and JoyAnne,

Don't forget to grab your free book at AnnLeeMiller.com! :)

Thanks, Marianne! I'd love a review.

scottsgal said...

definitely a book I'd enjoy. I grew up boating too - we lived on ours on the weekend - great memories
msboatgal at aol.com

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Scott's Gal,

Yay, another boater! This book only has one boat scene, but The Art of My Life, launching Sept.1, and Tattered Innocence, launching March 1, 2013, are both set on sailboats. I think you'll enjoy the ocean setting in Kicking Eternity, though.

Helen W said...

Hi Ann! So nice to see you here on Lena's blog :)

I finished reading Kicking Eternity a couple of days ago. As soon as I started it I couldn't put it down! It was a great read. I'll be putting a review up on my blog soon, will let you know :)

Looking forward to your next book! I love the age group you have written about. I am wanting to write about the same, but my current YA starts with 16 year olds. I plan on following them through to their early 20s :)

Ann Lee Miller said...

Cool, Helen! I'm thrilled that you liked Kicking Eternity. :) Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review.

Wishing you success with your YA books!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

California

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Ann Lee Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda! Your book is on its way. :)

Amy Campbell said...

Great post! Ann's book sounds great!
Amy Campbell
Southwest VA

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.