Saturday, December 19, 2015

Words With an Author | Lindsay Marie Miller

Hey guys! Welcome to another Words With an Author. Today we get to interview Lindsay Marie Miller, author of Emerald Green and Me & Mr. Jones, let's get into it! 

1. How did you get into writing? When did you first start writing?

When I was sixteen, Twilight had taken over the world, and I had never seen anything like it. The saga was exciting, romantic, thrilling, and addictive. I couldn’t put any of the books down, and when the first film came out in November of 2008, I went to see it at the theatre three times, and I never re-watch movies at the theatre. Ultimately, Bella and Edward’s story had such a profound effect on me that I came up with the crazy idea of writing a novel of my own. That winter, I put pen to paper and the story that resulted was my debut novel, Emerald Green.

2. Where did you come up with the ideas for your books? Who/ what is your inspiration?

With Emerald Green, I expanded a short story that I had written for an assignment in one of my previous English classes and thought nothing of. Essentially, that story developed into the meet cute for my two main characters — Tom, the mysterious, yet alluring new student, and Addie, the seventeen-year-old high school junior who would claim his affection.
In the case of Me & Mr. Jones, I was inspired by the prospect of a forbidden romance, because it was a dynamic that I had yet to conquer in fiction. For the main protagonist, Finley O’Connell, it is the new college professor (Cabel Jones), rather than the new high school student who keeps her pulse racing. The illicit nature of their relationship sets an entirely different tone than that of Tom and Addie’s, and I always like bringing in new elements with each new story and respective list of characters. Romance remains, just a different kind of romance. 

3. Are any of your characters based on people you actually know, if so which ones?

Typically, I don’t visualize characters as anyone I actually know in my own life, because that would make it very difficult to differentiate the pieces of truth from the pieces of fiction. However, I am a very intense movie-watcher, always paying attention to actors and actresses, as well as keeping up with their biographies and current film projects. My male leads tend to be inspired by whichever Hollywood heartthrob I am infatuated with at the time, though that is not always the case. The closest thing I can compare it to is dream casting. If you could choose any of your favorite actors to fall in love with in this fantasy world we call fiction, then who would it be? Usually, I never have to ask myself this question though, because I already have someone in mind.

4. If you had to pick only five books from your bookshelf you could keep, what would they be?

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

5. How long did the writing process take for each of your books?

Emerald Green probably took me about one year to write in high school. After college graduation, I rewrote the original 50,000 word manuscript and expanded it to about 82,000 words. The first time, as a teenager, I was just having fun with a new hobby. But the second time around, I had already completed five other novels, so the rewriting process was much more focused on literary elements. I added more characters, cut unnecessary scenes, and restructured most of the plot. Although, most of the main events in the book have remained.

Me & Mr. Jones was a novel that I completed in college, but later rewrote, simply because my style, skill set, and knowledge had developed into a much different voice by the time I was ready to publish it. In the case of these two books, there was an initial writing period and then a later rewriting period. While those are exceptions, my writing process still does involve a lot of rewriting, though I won’t always go so far as to rewrite the entire book. I’m definitely the type of writer who is always scratching through words and drawing arrows on the page to add new ones. As far as the amount of time it takes to write each book, it depends on the length, but I can typically finish each manuscript in about 2-3 months. As a novelist, I think you get faster with each book, simply because your years of experience increase and you get much more comfortable with the process; it becomes second nature.

6. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Nicholas Sparks, Stephanie Meyer, S.E. Hinton, Paulo Coehlo, Maggie Stiefvater, Veronica Roth, Anna Godbersen, Amanda Hocking, Jamie McGuire.

7. What actors/ actresses could you see playing the characters of your book?

For Emerald Green, Steven Strait has always been the Tom Sutton that I see in my head. I envision Dylan O’Brien as Ricky, Al Pacino as DeMilo, Colton Haynes or Scott Eastwood as Hugh, and Hal Holbrook as Daniel. As far as the female characters are concerned, I’ve thought of Lily Collins for Jeanine and Emma Roberts for Nicki. The toughest question of all would be who to cast as the main protagonist, our heroine, Addie Smith. My honest answer? I have no idea…

8. How did you come up with the title and cover of each of your books? Did they morph as you wrote the book, or were they constant?

Emerald Green was one of those titles that just popped into my head with no prior warning. For the cover, I wanted to evoke the main emotions felt by the characters in the story: romance, suspense, intrigue, and darkness. That’s why Tom and Addie are centered on a long canopy road in a dark, mysterious forest. Once I thought of the title, it stuck, but the cover art certainly morphed up until the release.
The cover art process was basically the same for Me & Mr. Jones, as far as the overall concept of an evolving prototype is concerned. The title, however, was inspired by an old R&B song, called “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul. The song depicts an adulterous affair between a married woman and her lover. I wondered what it would be like to reverse the roles and remove the extramarital subtext. In Me & Mr. Jones, Finley and Cabel are both single, unmarried, and interested. Only, Cabel is Finley’s professor. The illicit nature remains, but there is no third-party spouse who is being cheated as a result. Simply put, the main obstacle for Cabel and Finley is a rule that, if broken, could put them both in jeopardy.   

9. Are you planning to write any other books?

Absolutely! There are three more books coming in the Emerald Green series, and I have a sequel planned for Me & Mr. Jones. In addition, I have various other writing projects that will be releasing in the near future.

10. Have you had to do any outside research or a book you've written?

Not really. Sometimes, there may be words or terms that are not entirely clear to me that I would like to include. Other than that, neither book has required much outside research, because I rely so heavily on my imagination.

11. Where is your ideal writing location?

Locked in my bedroom with the shades drawn. While that may not sound very glamorous, it is the most ideal to me, because it is where I can concentrate the best and really focus on my characters. 

12. What would your advice be to someone who's aspiring to be a writer? 

If you write, you are a writer. Don’t let anyone ever convince you otherwise. The more you write, the better you will become. So just keep at it and write as many stories as you have in you. You’ll be surprised where they may lead.

13. Finally, just to wrap things up, what's your favorite color and why? 

Well, my birthstone is emerald, which probably has more to do with my debut title, Emerald Green, than I’ve ever realized before, so green. Green leaves, green tea, green eyes. I bumped into Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Hale in Twilight. I know, it always goes back to Twilight…) the other day, and he has the most striking green eyes I have ever seen. What can I say? Green is just a beautiful color. 

Connect with Lindsay using the following links: 
Twitter: @Lindsay_MMiller