Interview with Shandra Miller

Please Welcome Shandra Miller to Julies Book Review. Shandra is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate and several free pieces of her writing this month on her own site and here on JBR e-copy of my novel, LETHAL OBSESSION, and e-copies of my shorts, PRIVATE DINING and ROOM SERVICE (they are parts 1 and parts 2 of a story line). Make sure you check out the rafflecopter to the right of this page! 

Welcome Shandra Miller! It is awesome that you have come to visit JBR. My readers at looking forward to hearing all about you! Let's start with, tell us a little about yourself? Besides being a wonderful author!
Well, thanks for that – I hope your readers think I’m a wonderful author! I sorta grew up in the mid-west, but I left home at 16 (don’t ask) and have lived on my own ever since. I spent some time living in Florida, though I was only there a few months out of each year. I worked with a small carnival for a few years, spent a couple of years working for a small traveling circus (no, I wasn’t talent – mostly did set-up and break-down and stood on the ground in a skimpy little outfit while the highwire people did their thing). I’m a small-town Southern office girl now, and I write at night and on weekends.

 What kinds of books to do write? I’ve played with a lot of different styles of writing, but what I’ve published so far is erotica and suspense.

 What can we expect from your books? Sex, violence, romance, gore, action, adventure?
Well, I’ve actually only published a few works since November, and all of the ones up to my latest have been almost strictly erotica. 
Your newest release?
Well, that’s different. There IS a lot of erotica in LETHAL OBSESSION – a LOT of bondage-related erotica. But the story is much, much more. It’s a thriller, a suspenseful murder-mystery tale set in a small North Carolina town. The main character, a police detective, finds herself in the middle of a BDSM-relationship, something she’s curious about but soon becomes, for lack of
better term, addicted to. Then she gets caught up in a murder investigation and it appears the man who is her, for lack of better term, bondage master may also be the killer. I wanted an erotica tale that was more than erotica, that stood up as a strong story apart from the erotica. So far I’ve gotten a fewnice reviews at Amazon and on Goodreads where people have pointed that out, so I guess I was somewhat successful in that regard.

Who is your favorite character from one of your stories? why? It would be easy to say the main character of LETHAL OBSESSION, Angela Martin. And I do like her. But I also really like Lady Sable, who runs a professional dominatrix and master home. She’s at first introduced as a peripheral character, but later in the novel her place in the story grows, and I plan to explore her more in subsequent novels. She understands her place, she knows she works in a world that’s dark and looked down on by many in society as deviant, but she also knows there is a place for her, there are people who want her services, normal, sane people who shouldn’t be looked down on. She provides those, she does it in a way that makes others feel better about themselves, and she has figured out how to turn this into a very comfortable living for herself.
Most importantly, she is an exceptionally loyal friend. Once she’s your friend, she will do anything for you. 

Would you, if possible, ever want to meet that character?
Oh yeah. Not professionally, I mean not to engage in her services, but I’d love to be her friend, to explore a little about what made her what she is.

 What book have you read that touched you deeply? And why? (yours or someone else’s)
Oh wow, that’s a tough one. I’m going to answer that as a writer rather than as a casual fan. Nightmare House by Douglas Clegg. It’s a horror novel, but when I read that, when I saw how wonderful prose could be in the hands of a truly gifted writer, that was magical for me. It’s a heck of a story – creepy and scary and engaging – but what really sets it apart is the writing. When I read that novel, I found myself stopping to reread passages just because his writing style was so lyrical, engaging. I reread the novel immediately after finishing it simply to pay more attention to his writing style. I’m far from that, and doubt I’ll ever reach that level of writing ability, but that was deeply inspiring, that made me want to learn the craft of writing like I had never before desired.

Are you currently writing anything? Can you give us any hints? I’m working on a sequel to LETHAL OBSESSION. There are definitely some unanswered questions in the novel, a couple of cliffhangers, and I hope to answer all of those in the next novel. And maybe dangle a few new unanswered questions. 

Any advice you would like to give aspiring authors? Oh, well, I don’t know. I’m still an aspiring writer. If I could give two brief pieces of advice it would be this. First, write. Don’t go for this writer’s block bs, or believe you have to be “inspired” to write. Treat it like a real job. You have to show up at work every day whether you feel like working or not, or you find yourself jobless. Treat writing the same way. Do it every day no matter what.
Second, read good work. Find writers who are truly above the field, who write beautifully and tell great stories. Read their work, try to figure out what makes it so good, then emulate them. Don’t copy – tell your own stories, in your own way – but try to elevate your writing and story-telling to their level. 

How about some fun stuff? Favorite past time activity?
I’m going to seem a little boring here, but I love lying under stars at night and just staring at the sky. I like talking long walks, particularly near evening, just to hear the sounds of the outdoors and feel the night enveloping me. I read, too.

Favorite animal? Do you have one? I like all animals. I love dogs. I like to watch out for wild animals when I’m outside, just to see them. Last fall a bear crossed the path I was walking – it was amazing! 
 I have two cats and a bearded dragon. 

Favorite food? Yes. Most everything. If I had to make a choice, maybe Mexican or Thai? Sorry, I don’t think I can choose just one.

A favorite book or one you can recommend (not your own)
Anything by Douglas Clegg or Robert Parker. But for a specific title – either Nightmare House by Clegg or The Hour Before Dark by Clegg.

 A favorite author you can recommend and why? Well, I’ve already talked about Douglas Clegg, so let me also mention Robert Parker. I’ve never seen anyone who can paint such vivid characters, be so funny, and tell so much with so few words. It’s amazing to read his work. 

What kind of music do you listen too?
All kinds. I am NOT a bluegrass fan, but I’ll listen to really, really well-done soulful bluegrass (Bleeding for a Little Peace of Mind by Blue Highway is an exquisite example). I like so-called new age music – Enigma is incredible – and I like good old rock. You know, like AC/DC. 

 Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer? Why? Probably autumn. Who doesn’t love the crisp feel of a perfect autumn afternoon? There’s something about that feeling that makes me feel alive, yet there’s also this melancholy quality to it, that autumn is wonderful yet fleeting, and soon to come the leaves will fall and the cold, dead feel of winter will set it. Autumn is so contradictory – it’s welcomed, yet dreaded because of what comes next. I like that. 

And finally where can we find your books? (please include any links you want including buy links)
Right now it’s available on Amazon.com for Kindle and at Barnes and Noble for Nook. I hope to have it up in additional formats at other retailers soon, but for now that’s it. Amazon: http://amzn.to/148DO67 Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lethal-obsession-shandra-miller/1114727993?ean=2940016377414 

Well I know I learned a lot and have added to our TBR list. I hope you all have as well. Thanks
you again Shandra for coming and talking with me here on JBR. I hope you had fun and I hope to see you again. Good Luck and wishing you lots of success! 
Julie Ramsey
Thanks so much for having me. I enjoyed the questions and it was definitely my privilege to be here.

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