Heidi Ruby Miller stops by on her Virtual Blog Tour
First, I want to thank Heidi for stopping by and including my blog here (Goodreads) in one of her tour stops. I'm very excited to be part of this event, and I hope you all enjoy it as well. So let's jump in and learn something about the author of Ambasadora and the newly released, Greenshift. And be sure to participate in the drawing (details following interview).
So, Heidi, thank you for being here. I'm honored to have you! I guess we'll start out with the basics... Who are you, where do you come from, when and why did you start to write?
I'm Heidi Ruby Miller, lover of SF, Chanel, and action movies. I started to write seriously in 2005 when I enrolled in Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program. It was a bit of a forced transition in my life, and considering I had dabbled in writing since elementary school, I decided to give it all I had. That changed my life, and I now feel I'm doing what I was always meant to do.
Tell us about Ambasadora, where did the inspiration for it come from?
Different aspects of Ambasadora were inspired by everything from an ex-boyfriend who hated the idea that I didn’t want children to my fixation on SF movies and TV shows, like The Fifth Element and Farscape. Mostly, I followed my dreams, both those at night and all through the day.
The genre it's in, is it one that you plan to be in for a while, or do you have other cross-genre projects in the works?
All of my stories are speculative in nature (SF, Fantasy, Horror, Magical Realism), but I have really found a happiness with SF Romance—not only the space opera style like the Ambasadora-verse books, but also contemporary Earth-based SFR like Atomic Zion, the start of another series which I'm hoping will be released next year. It has more of a thriller feel, though even in Ambasadora and Greenshift I tend to keep the story at a fast pace.
If you could write about any period in human history, where would you take us? Any fascination with a particular time and its characteristics?
The future for sure. I'm drawn to the alien-ness of it, even if we never make contact with actual aliens.
How about a specific issue? If writing a non-fiction work that would go down in history as a world-changing book, what issue would you write on?
I co-edited (with Michael A. Arnzen) the writing guide, Many Genres, One Craft, which is based on Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, and though this hefty volume of 65 bestselling and award-winning contributors may not change the world, I hope it will give writers at any stage in their career that little something they need from time to time. It's coming out in an e-version this year.
Any hobbies other than writing?
I practice yoga and do cardio daily, and I rekindled my love of reading through my…Kindle! My husband and I also go to the movies regularly and hike as often as we can.
What's a normal day in the life of Heidi Ruby Miller like?
I get up at 5:30 or 6:00 AM, stretch out in a nice yoga routine, then get breakfast for my husband and me. Then I write before anything else. I adopted a new strategy this year to be more productive with my writing—WRITE FIRST. Sounds simple enough, but it was difficult not to immediately check email, FB, Twitter, and Goodreads. But since applying this new strategy, I had the most productive January of my life: 2 freelance magazine articles, a first draft of a Philip Jose Farmer short story, my Geek Girl Underground column for Inveterate Media Junkies (IMJ), 5,000 words on another book in the Ambasadora-verse, and an extra 20,000 words plus revisions on Greenshift to make it a novel instead of a novella. Plus a ton of interviews for Greenshift's launch. We'll see how long I can keep up that pace.
What advice would you offer to authors just coming out of the gate with a published book in their hands but who may be confused as to what they should be doing next?
I hate to parrot advice we've probably all heard a dozen times, but write the next book. The writing is the most important part, whether for career or strictly creative purposes. Yes, there's marketing to be done, but having more products available is the best marketing strategy out there. If you can split your time between marketing and writing, that's probably a good option.
So what's your favorite movie?
There are quite a few, but I always come back to The Fifth Element because it’s how I envision the future. It's not dirty and dystopic, but bright and shiny. That's probably why I made the Ambasadora-verse so shiny and pretty. Because I think it's always more shocking when bad things happen in a world full of beauty and smiles than in one where everyone is already wearing rags and drinking from acid rain puddles.Maybe I just like the fashion. ;)
Do you read novels alongside writing your own? Why or why not?
Yes! I'm an avid reader. It took a while for me to enjoy reading for the sake of reading again after grad school, but I'm back. I read in most genres, but particularly enjoy spec-fic and thrillers. Right now I'm finishing Grimspace by Ann Aguirre and Progeny by some guy named Shawn Hopkins. My husband and I also have a tradition where I read out loud to him in the car. We've read 20+ books this way. Right now we're in the middle of The Exile Kiss by George Alec Effinger.
Are there any particular tactics you've used in promoting your writing that has worked rather effectively?
I'm active on Twitter, FB, and Goodreads. I see spikes in my sales after I post snippets of my work and after one of my IMJ columns goes live, but nothing about this promotion stuff has been consistent. In fact, I'm slowly backing off the social media and concentrating on the writing right now.The most important thing that drives sales is a high rank on Amazon—because it's self-perpetuating as your book keeps showing up in recommendations. Trying to figure out how to maintain that high rank is really just hit or miss or pure luck. But many writers have proven that the more books you have available, the more readers are willing to give you a chance. With the way the industry is in constant flux, however, what works for one author will most likely not work exactly that way for another.
If Hollywood wanted the rights to Ambasadora and your only stipulation was that you had a say in who starred as Sara, who would it be?
I think Mila Kunis would make a great Sara. She can play tough and vulnerable, and she'd look even hotter with bio-lights pulsing up her arm.
Do you write yourself into your characters, whether intentionally or subconsciously? How closely do you relate to them?
All of my characters, whether hero or villain, are some aspect of me or some warped sense of me. I tried to pretend they weren't, especially some of the more vile antagonists, but they all came from my head. Not that I'm prone to their actions, but it's my personal schema that gave them life.
What is the one idea or message that you hope your readers take from Ambasadora?
All of my books have the theme of strength through a lover. Knowing there is one person in the entire universe that you are close to in so many ways, and it is that one person who would do anything to protect you, to make sure you're happy, to fight for you and love you. Add in a life and death situation and suddenly you're testing that strength—the emotion that comes out of that is like eating a whole box of candy and washing it down with chocolate milk.
Anything you want to tell us that hasn't been hit on yet?
If you'd like to get both Ambasadora and Greenshift at a discount, there is a bundle for $4.99. That's almost a $2.00 savings for 160,000 words!
Well, I'm enjoying Ambasadora and certainly can't wait to see how it ends. Where can people get a copy of it and all your books?
AMAZON - Ambasadora
AMAZON - Greenshift
And where can they find, follow, like, and touch base with you?
Thanks so much, Heidi! It was a pleasure getting to chat with you. Good luck on the rest of your tour!
To be in the drawing to win your choice of an e-bundle of Ambasadora/Greenshift or just Greenshift, please leave a comment letting us know what you're reading now or have read recently and if you'd like the single book or the bundle, along with your email address disguised something like this heidirubymiller AT gmail. The contest ends on Thursday, March 1, 2012. Winner will be notified on Friday, March 2, 2012.
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