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Welcome our next writer in the KNTR anthology….Christiana Miller!
Christiana Miller is a writer, a one-time actress, and a full-time mom.
She’s worked at Williams Bally/Midway, where I wrote, directed and shot the promotional videos for INDIANA JONES AND THE PINBALL ADVENTURE and STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION PINBALL GAME. She’s also written produced episodes of GENERAL HOSPITAL and GENERAL HOSPITAL: NIGHT SHIFT. SOMEBODY TELL AUNT TILLIE SHE’S DEAD is her first novel. In addition to LOVE AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS, she’s also participated in another anthology that benefits KNTR, EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED. She’s currently working on her next project!
R: Hello, Christiana, meow and welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
When I was a kid, my best friends were books. When I was reading, I would be so immersed in the story, it was like I had been bodily transported into the world of the book. People could come up to my face and holler at me, and I wouldn’t hear them. I was living in the world of the book.
Then, when I was sick, I would send my dad to the library to get me whatever book my fevered brain wanted – I wouldn’t have a title, but I could describe the story and characters to him in detail. Invariably, he’d come back annoyed, because the books I was telling him to find hadn’t been written yet.
So, for me, writing was a natural extension of my book obsession.
R: How did you hear about Kids Need to Read? Tell us a bit about your short in this anthology.
I participated in an anthology for Kids Need To Read a couple of years ago. (Every Witch Way But Wicked). (note from ROCCO: The Human did as well!)So, when a group of screen and TV writers approached me about creating an anthology and donating the proceeds to charity, I immediately thought of Kids Need to Read.
I have a hard time writing love stories – I always have. Even as a kid, if you told me to write a love poem, I’d come up with something dark and twisted. So, my story, Love Voodoo, is a dark and twisted story about two people who get married as a result of a voodoo spell. It’s about emotional betrayal and magical manipulation.
R: You have actress on your resume. Which profession do you prefer, actress or writer and why?
Writer. If you’re a writer, you don’t have to listen to some idiot telling you to lose weight or gain weight or get plastic surgery because your nose reminds them of their ex-wife. Actors put up with stuff like that all the time. Even on the theater circuit, directors can’t seem to get past their obsession with physical looks.
When I was an actress, I went to a call-back for one of my favorite plays. The director had me perform the scene in front of all the other actresses who had been called-back. Then he turned to them and said “If any of you can come close to doing that scene the way she just did it, you’ve got the part.”
That’s when I noticed that the room was filled with blonde, blue-eyed femmes and waifs, while I was a brunette, brown-eyed, sturdy Greek girl. That just floored me.
Acting can be a lot of fun, and there are definitely times I miss it. I used to love auditioning, of all things. But I don’t miss the body image craziness around actors. On the plus side, I think the acting training has helped me as a writer.
I love the feeling of being in charge of my own destiny that being a writer gives me. Especially in today’s world, where you’re no longer at the mercy of traditional publishing houses. I can reach my readers directly, without going through a middleman. That’s a wonderful thing.
R: You formerly wrote screenplays, and now novels. What’s the biggest difference between the two mediums?
There’s getting to be less and less of a difference. People want the same kind of attention-grabbing openers and pace from their books, that they want from their movies.
However, if I had to articulate the difference, I would say that writing a screenplay is like building a house. The structure is there, the rooms are staged, and everything is designed to entice buyers. But you need the actors, the director, the production designer, etc., to move in and turn it into a home.
Writing a book is more like creating a lived-in, well-loved home from the get-go. You are the writer, the director, the actors, the production designer. A reader can pick up a book, move into the world of your story and feel right at home.
R: What made you choose ‘quirky paranormal’ as a writing genre?
Because that’s my life! LOL. I tend to live in a quirky paranormal dramedy filled with eccentric characters. Some days more so than others.
R: What writers would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
Janet Evanovich and Jim Butcher. I love combining humor and quirky characters with the paranormal.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Silence. Or being at the office, where I don’t have any internet. I’ve had to train myself to be able to write while the world is at a dull roar around me. I prefer silence though, so I can hear the characters in my head while I’m writing.
It’s probably why I do my best writing at night, after everyone’s asleep. It’s easier to weave magic at night. And isn’t that what stories are? A glittering web of imagination, infused with magic. Words that come alive and draw in the emotions of a reader, by spinning a web of story and characters around them.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
How much time do you have? Probably when I unintentionally kidnapped faux-Ace Frehley from a KISS concert after-party. It’s a long story, and you can read all about it here: My Night With KISS
And here’s an answer from when I was younger:When I was a kid, I was in a talent show, performing a monologue. But it was boring as all get out – not only was the audience bored, I was bored. So I tossed the monologue and launched into an impromptu stand-up routine. The more people laughed, the wilder I got. One of the kids in the front row was laughing so hard, he peed his pants. Then, at the end of my routine, my shoe flew off my foot and hit one of the judges in the head.
I was awarded the booby prize – a hippo-shaped bank – but I loved that prize. I kept it for many, many years. It was one of my most treasured possessions. To me, it represented the most wonderful day in my life – when I made a roomful of strangers laugh.
R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
I have no idea. I can’t imagine not writing. I guess I’d look for a job as a TV executive so I could still be involved in the world of creating a story.
R: What’s your next project?
I’m working on the sequel to Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead. I don’t have a title yet, so may hold a contest to title the book. If anyone wants an opportunity to name a book and win some Tillie swag in the process, like my FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianaMiller.author
Also, I’ve had a lot of TV and feature writers ask me to write a book on indie-publishing, so I may do that next. But my pet project, the one closest to my heart, is a book about what I’ve learned from my daughter.
Night or Day? Night
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) LOL. “Dogs Have Owners, Cats Have Staff.” That saying is so true! I have to say, my answer is… while I love cats, my heart belongs to… dogs. (Don’t hate me, Rocco!). (note from R: We could never hate you, Christiana!)
Beach or Pool? I love hanging out at the ocean, feeling the ocean breeze, playing in the waves and watching the dolphins, whales and seals. I love watching the sunset over the ocean, or the sunrise over the lake, when I lived in Chicago. But with my knee injury, I’m pretty much stuck with the pool. And since I’m not a sun person, make that an indoor pool.
Steak or salad? Salad. Even better -- Sashimi Salad. Nothing like raw fish. I’m sure Rocco can appreciate that. :-D (R: Exactly, as a matter of fact, Midnight Louie and I were speaking of our shared love of koi just recently...)
Favorite Drink? Raw Harvest Coconut Water.
Favorite Book? The Stephanie Plum series and the Dresden Files series.
Favorite TV Series? Drop Dead Diva and Mike and Molly. My favorite cancelled series would be Everyone Loves Raymond and Sex and the City.
Favorite Movie? It’s a toss-up between Get Shorty, Murphy’s Romance and Saving Grace.
Favorite Actor: Harrison Ford
Favorite Actress: Melissa McCarthy
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada
Hawaii or Alaska? You know what’s weird? I keep setting my scripts in Alaska, even though I’ve never been there. Although my answer would be Hawaii. I love the whole island/ocean vibe.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Emma Goldman. I wrote and performed a one-woman show abut her while I was at Northwestern. Or possibly Nathan Fillion. Especially if he was naked. <grin>
If I had just one wish, it would be for everyone in my family to stay healthy so we could all live long, healthy, happy lives together!
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be _______. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else in the world. I’m completely happy being me!