First why don't you tell us a little about yourself?
I come from a sports-loving family. My two older brothers and I played every sport that was in season growing up, both organized and unorganized. When we weren't in league play, me and my brothers and kids from the neighborhood would play pick-up games of basketball, football and baseball. My wife and I have three daughters. The oldest was very athletic (basketball and softball), the middle daughter loves music and the youngest is into theater and sings and dances.
On Your Own is my first book. It is a book of short stories and vignettes about people who are lost or feel alone in the world, disconnected from anyone or anything.
What can we expect from your stories, action, drama, romance, sex, blood and guts?
I write about conflicts that everyone can relate to: marriage struggles, sibling rivalry, large and small humiliations at the workplace, the competitive nature of sports, fear of the unknown, alcoholism, and there's an absurd story about how inappropriate it is to talk about sex.
Do you have a favorite character in your stories? Who? and Why?
I like the old man in Nine Days Till Christmas because he refuses to give up on life. He loves people even as they shun him.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book:
The story about inappropriate sex talk, mentioned above, does not contain one dirty word. I use euphemisms and innuendo. The reader will know exactly what is being said.
Has there been any other authors who have inspired your work or helped you out with your stories?
My favorite writers are dead (though their work is very much alive): Hemingway, Joyce, De Maupassant, Flaubert and Turgenev.
Wendell Berry, an accomplished writer/poet from Kentucky, has read my work and offered suggestions and helpful advice.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
If they like the book they can suggest it to their friends, family and book clubs.
Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
If you want to publish independently, read the how-to books by the successful indie authors. I can't offer advice for traditional publishing because they slammed the door in my face.
Do you have a favorite author? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
Hemingway. His realism makes the reader see and feel what the character is experiencing. You don't feel as though a story is being told to you. You are living it. That's what I try to accomplish.
Can you remember one of the first things you wrote? What makes it memorable?
In the fourth grade, I wrote about a goose that saved my grandpa and his friend who were out on a boat when the engine died. My grandpa held the goose while it flapped its wings and led them to shore. It was a “true” story my grandpa liked to tell. When the teacher gave me an A, my grandpa beamed. He told his buddies it was the only time he got an A in school.
Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work?
Life. Everyday events. Nothing is off limits. If it produces an emotion in me, it's a story possibility.
And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
Since I've been discussing the inappropriate sex story, why don't I leave you with an excerpt:
MRS. DUMONT AND THE AROUSED TENANT
Mrs. Dumont entered the dining room and walked around the head of the long table just as her tenant, Woodrow Mourning, crossed at the other end. She nodded good morning then stopped, her mouth agape, as she peered at the young man’s midsection.
Her look also made him stop. She placed her hands on top of a chair and caressed the wood. The man placed his hands, one on top of the other, in front of his privates.
“Woodrow,” Mrs. Dumont chirped. “What is that projecting from your trousers? Is that an erection?”
“Ma’am?” Woodrow said, aghast. “Uh, no, ma’am. These pants, you see, have a wrinkle that …” He tried to smooth the material so that it lay flat, but to no avail.
“Woodrow, don’t you think I know the difference between a wrinkle and an erection?”
“My boy, what is stirring such an arousal? Every time you enter the parlor, I fear you’re going to knock something over.”
“Well, ma’am, it could be the cool breeze that blows in through the window or the smell of your biscuits baking in the oven.”
“Nonsense. Out with it, dear boy. What makes you so excitable? You’re a young man, sure enough, but I don’t see other young men walking about like that.”
“Ma’am, this subject is very embarrassing. I don’t wish to discuss it, if you please.”
“You’re my tenant. Perhaps there’s a problem. I could suggest a doctor, vapor therapy, a lozenge, or perhaps a cold cream.”
“No, ma’am. A doctor won’t be necessary. These things come and go.”
To read more, you can find Jonathan Miller's book On Your Own at Amazon.com.