Sunday, February 22, 2009

Interview with Author Vanessa Miller

Today I welcome author, Vanessa Miller, to Urban Christian Fiction Today. Vanessa's interview is way overdue. She's one of the authors I met in 2004 who so inspired me to get my story written.

Welcome Vanessa, introduce yourself.
I’m an author, playwright and motivational speaker. Several of my books have made the Essence Bestseller’s list and have been a part of Black Expressions Book Club. I am a dedicated member of my church, serving as administrator of our Wednesday night children’s Bible study. I have a daughter (Erin) and a grandchild (Amarrea). I also love books and would rather buy more bookshelves than get rid of the hundreds of books that I own.

Tell us about your latest release.
My third book in the Rain Series, Latter Rain just re-released as of February 2009. Here’s the synopsis: Isaac’s out of jail and has committed his life to God. But which road will he take? Will he revisit his old life of crime? Or will he embrace the respectable future as provider and protector for the woman he loves and the child they share? Sure, hustling wasn’t easy, but Isaac was a master at ruling the underworld—a self-made CEO of the streets. And then came, Nina. She dared to show him Christ’s love and her way changed all the rules. Now all Isaac wants is to live by God’s Word and win Nina back. Though when the past catches up with him, and tragedy creeps through the back door, all bets may be off... Will he prove to his enemies—and to Nina—that the lure of the streets no longer has any power over him?

The Rain Series has been very popular. Tell us why you think so.
I think the series has been popular with readers because they can relate to the characters. The emails I receive from readers consistently say something like, “Vanessa, you wrote my story.”
My readers also seem to like the spiritual aspect of the books… and that puts a smile on my face.

Who has been the most difficult character to write through the series? Do you have a character your readers love to hate? And why? Any favorites for you?
Cynda Stevens was my most difficult character to date. I knew nothing about the type of lifestyle she led or how in the world I would take her from being a down and out crack addicted prostitute who disliked the world and didn’t trust God… to receiving God’s deliverance and becoming a loving and caring person… that was hard.

My favorite character through out the rain series is Isaac Walker. He’s the bad boy in Former Rain. I like his character because he is forever growing, changing and becoming better. Isaac is also the character my readers love to hate.

You began as a self-published author. Share some advice for other independent published authors. The most important thing the author most do is get a distributor… some one who can help get the books into bookstores. Self-published authors must also find avenues to sell their books besides the bookstore. Self-publishing is a hard business, but if you work at developing an audience and continue to seek avenues to sell your books it can work.
I asked Vanessa to get personal and she shared the following answers:
Favorite Scripture?
Psalm 37:25 "For I have been young and I have been old, but I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread."
Favorite dessert? Ah, no you didn’t go there while I’m trying to lose weight. Okay, here it is. My favorite dessert is PEACH COBBLER. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Dream vacation spot? I have been out of the country on vacation numerous times, but I have never been to Paris… I need to go to Paris. Hopefully, I’ll get there within the next five years.
If you were going to a solitary location and could only take one novel that you didn’t write, what would it be and why? Redeeming Love – by Francine Rivers. That novel showed me God’s love as no other novel has before or since. When I finished reading Redeeming Love, I remember getting on my knees and praying for a double portion of the anointing Francine Rivers has. Because I don’t want to just write books, I want to write anointed books that my readers can find the secret to living God centered lives in.

If you could change one thing about your publishing journey/writing career what would it be? The thing that most frustrates me is how long it takes to grow your audience. I know that thousands of people read my books, but I want millions of readers. That may sound a little greedy, but that’s what my dreams are made of… If there was a way to just snap your fingers and instantly become a New York Times bestseller, I would have already been there. But since there’s no magic to this thing, I keep working and building my audience, one reader at a time.

You’re a member of a tour group, you still have independently published anthologies and you write stage plays. Tell us about these activities.
Anointed Authors on Tour (AAOT) is the group that I travel with. We go on tour each year in an effort to promote our books and spread the good news about Jesus Christ. If anyone is interested in knowing more about us, please visit our website:
Anthologies: I write fictional stories of faith, but I wanted provide my readers with true stories of faith so I now publish a series called Faith Anthologies. These anthologies are filled with stories of hope, triumph and victory.

As far as my stage plays go, I have written and produced (4). The last stage play was based on Abundant Rain, my second novel in the Rain series. I hope to begin touring some of my plays in the coming years.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Vanessa!

No comments: