- Do you write as a full-time author or do you have to squeeze it in around a full-time job or looking after the children? If you don’t write as your main job what are your aims for your writing?
I have been writing more or less full-time, though I have to squeeze it around family responsibilities, as most people do. However, I will likely begin working for someone else soon and will have to reorganize my time. Now that I have a substantial body of work, I will slowly build on it, perhaps adding a book or so each year, rather than two or three.
- What inspires you to write?
Writing is, of course, a creative outlet and began as catharsis for me, driven by the need to express myself and pour my soul onto the page. I’ve never been into destructive vices like drinking or drugs. I just write, and while catharsis is still very much a part of it, it is also about having something to say and being able to say it within what is hopefully an entertaining story.
- Tell me about your writing process, when and how? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
So far, I’ve generally fit writing around my schedule, half in the morning and half either in the afternoon or evening, depending on my day. I am more a plotter than pantser, but once you start writing and the words are flowing, the inspiration might take you to a place you weren’t expecting and hadn’t plotted. That’s okay. When that happens, I just change or add to my plans to make it work.
- How much of your life experience goes into your books if at all?
Our life experiences have to influence our writing in one way or another because what we’ve lived dictates our perspectives. In a literal sense, the book that has borrowed more specifics from my real life is Mexican Summer, but only in the beginning. I really did travel to Coatepec, to the Hill of Snakes, to the two waterfalls they visit when sightseeing, etc. But the hotel is different, the subsequent settings are made up though somewhat based on reality, and naturally the story itself is pure fiction. However, I do know people who have gone through similar experiences and am combining a little of this and a little of that to create what goes on in this fictitious plot.
As for my Heart series, again it’s fiction, but the characters are mash-ups of various people I know or have known. So to answer your question, I guess a lot of my life does go into my books but more as an influence rather than a carbon copy.
- Describe your ideal writing location if money were no issue.
Oh, I suppose I’d have a house with a huge patio overlooking the red rocks of Sedona or somewhere in Utah. Israel is another dream. I’d also have an office with a picture window of the same fantastic view for when it’s too cold or rainy to write outside. Most people would probably want to write at the beach, but I’m more into crazy rock formations and cacti.
- What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Sometimes I get stuck in the middle. I know the beginning and the end, but I need ample time to plot the path in between.
- What one thing would you fix about the whole world to make it a better place?
Wow, what a question! Hate is the biggest problem. It must be human nature to hate what is different or what we don’t understand. You know, most people who hate Jews have never met one? It’s true! They are brainwashed to hate, but once they get to know real people, they realize they were wrong. It happens all the time among various groups of people. That’s where writing comes in. We can write stories and make these different people come to life and show how relatable they are. But we’re not all the same, which is why I write about our differences too so we can understand what the conflicts are about. Before you can change anything, you have to understand it.
- What is your favourite review from any of your books?
One reader wrote a long review of Holiday of the Heart, but the end of it is my favorite part because it shows that he gets me. He understands just exactly what I’m doing:
“I see an underlying philosophical issue in her writing, which is entertaining to see played out with real-life events. This is why Ms. Miller’s novels are real works of literature — there is a fun story anyone can read, but, there is also a philosophical message which adds a deeper meaning for those willing to spend the time thinking about what is taking shape in the story.
“I actually read her latest novel slowly because it will be awhile before the next novel in the series comes out, and I know the wait will be a mild form of torture. I’m not sure how this series will ultimately end, but I can’t wait to find out. If you have yet to read Ms. Miller’s books, then you really do owe it to yourself to take a chance on her —– you won’t be disappointed.”
The same reader has written incredible reviews of all my books, one of which I posted on my blog: https://dmmillerauthor.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/a-review-to-remember/
I know you asked for my favorite, but if I may, just one more for Agony of the Heart:
“A beautiful story, beautifully told. This book wrenches you apart and puts you back together again, gives you laughter and tears and everything you could hope for. It’s impossible to read it without falling in love with the protagonists. A more-than-worthy follow up to Religion of the Heart.”
- When you’re not writing, working, looking after the kids what else do you enjoy doing?
Traveling. With money and time, I would travel all over the world. Nothing beats seeing new places, experiencing different cultures and learning new things!
- Can you tell me what you’re working on now?
As a matter of fact, today is the release day of my newest book of poetry and essays entitled, Banished Thoughts! It may even be too soon to add a link on here, but if you search for the title on Amazon, you will find it. Or check out my author page: https://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Miller/e/B012RDNV76/
What is a Half-Jew?
Neither this nor that. Practically synonymous with confusion, Half-Jew is a term for people stuck in no-man’s land, not quite fitting in with Gentiles nor universally accepted as Jews.
Some say there is no such thing, denying many their legitimate heritage and innate pull toward the same culture, ancestry and religious equivalence as those with Jewish matrilineage. Those born of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother are often lost, searching for a true identity.
D.M. Miller makes a compelling case to prove the doubters wrong. In analyzing religious arguments, medical and genetic studies, history and ancestry, this intimate part-memoir tells the personal story of one woman determined to eradicate the stigma, unravel the misunderstandings and come to terms with what identity is or isn’t through her unique perspective as a Half-Jew.
After escaping an abusive marriage, Ashley stands at a crossroads. Desperate for a change, a move to Texas promises a brighter future, but she craves something more. The invitation to a Mexican vacation with Graciela and Bill comes at the perfect time.
Upon arrival, she meets Graciela’s brother Cristián. An immediate attraction blossoms, and Ashley dares to hope. But the blissful trip takes a harrowing turn with a devastating car crash. A series of shocking events follow, throwing her into a whirlwind adventure.
In a fight to survive, Ashley must face sinister forces. Who can she trust? What’s really going on beneath the surface?
And will she ever find the love she truly desires?
Catherine and Abdul come from two opposing worlds. She is raised in the West, while he calls Egypt home. Their first meeting is little more than a fleeting moment, but it sparks over a decade-long desperation and agonizing battle to be together.
Incompatible religions, distinct cultures and hot-tempered families vowing to keep them apart are the overwhelming hurdles they face, and reality hits once mysteries are solved and the fairytale beginning fades away. They are left with difficult decisions as they determine how important their respective religions are and whether or not their cultures can mesh.
Can an enduring yet taboo love conquer all when conflicting religions are duking it out, or will threatening roadblocks stand in the way?
(Read a review of The Religion of the Heart on The Times of Israel here.)
Does he still love her? That’s what Catherine wants to know, her desperate longing unanswered, as life and prior dreams fall flat. Fervently searching for what was and what should be, her downward spiral leaves Abdul scratching his head. Picking up the shattered pieces is not easy, and the man who turned his life upside down has crucial choices to make.
Throw a Muslim, a Jew, determination, disappointment, anti-Semitism and claims of Islamophobia in a pot, and the result is a steamy stew of emotional turmoil. Yet what it boils down to is one all-consuming basic need.
With shocking cultural differences, relatives foaming at the mouth and goals on opposing trajectories, the fight to keep it together is looming large. Is their love strong enough to withstand it all? And will they triumph against the formidable mountains standing in their way?
Life is full of surprises, but no one is more surprised than Catherine when a mysterious figure from her past arrives uninvited. Suddenly, deception and lies rear their ugly head when everything she thought she knew turns upside down.
Abdul’s challenges intensify, and his respect for his wife is questioned by someone new occupying her heart. Hostility and jealousy dominate while battles unfold, and the contrasting journeys of two people merge.
Religion, ethnicity, culture, nationality and above all, family, are intertwined in the search for truth when secrets slowly reveal a shocking reality. Previous perceptions transform, creating fresh loyalties…
With Catherine’s beginnings coming to light, the struggle between ancestral DNA and adopted love emerges. Is blood really thicker than water? And how is identity truly defined?
Amirah can’t wait for Christmas. Leaving her Egyptian roots to restart in New York, she salivates over the American dream. If only her parents understood.
Rajab stresses more over love than nationality when he meets an enchanting woman. But the relationship is scandalous. Terrified of his father’s disapproval and seething reaction, Rajab struggles to keep the secret. The repercussions could be disastrous.
Together, Catherine and Abdul are the magnet for the group, but an outside force threatens their marriage while fall celebrations are underway.
The holiday season is busy for most, but for this interfaith union, the festive days multiply. Can Christians, Jews and Muslims sit at the same dinner table in peace? Find out as the Shadid and DiMarco family stumbles through holiday after holiday on this interfaith journey.
DANDELION FUZZ IS A COLLECTION OF OVER 100 FREE VERSE POEMS REE VERSE POEMS.
Deep within the most guarded sections of the soul is a heartache, desperately begging for release. These poems provide that catharsis, that cleansing, essential for the greater happiness waiting around the corner with a welcoming embrace. Wring the tears out of the heart and start anew: take a dandelion, blow away the fuzz and make a wish.
Get Dandelion Fuzz on Amazon here.
BANISHED THOUGHTS (Click here)
There are thoughts we are not supposed to think, words we cannot say. The narrative has been prescribed, and opting out is a risk. But free speech is not one-sided. Poetry is not reserved for conformists, elitists or even anarchists. Banished Thoughts is a collection of free-verse poems and essays of unfiltered expression.
All books are available on Amazon. Click HERE.
Thank you, DM Miller, for a wonderful insight into your writing process.