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Interview with C.K. Miller

She lives near the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her husband and three handsome boys. Her gray tabby diva-kitty, Toph, can be found curled up at her feet while she works. While consuming copious amounts of hot chocolate, C.K. can be found writing, drawing, working in the garden, practicing martial arts, or studying natural medicine.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
A lot of people seem surprised when I share that I do martial arts and kickboxing. They always say, “It’s the quiet ones you need to watch out for.”

I’m also fluent in German.

One of my sons has autism. He’s twelve. Reading is very difficult for him, so I am trying to write a series of books just for him. Older themes but simple words.

Q.2 What inspired you to write the Roanfire series?
A. The Roanfire Series
began after I moved back from living in Germany for seven years. Between newly developing migraines, stomach problems, depression, and my family being torn apart, I found a sanctuary in the world I had created. I would write for hours and hours after school and lose track of time.

Q.3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Yes! I have at least six more books in the works right now. Two will be shorter stories about some side characters and side plots that I was unable to resolve in the Roanfire Saga. (Maybe more) One is a SciFi, and the others are children's books.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Writing males is a challenge for me. I have to keep my thoughts much more linear and categorized. I keep getting into the emotion of things, but I find that the typical male character is very action-driven and focused on completing the task at hand without distracting thoughts.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
For the first two books of the Roanfire Saga, I did not plan things out. It was fun to explore, but I would often write myself into a corner and couldn’t get the characters out of the situation without something unbelievable. Now, I do plan a bit more. I use ‘Signposts’. As in, I know what I want to have happen, and I just need to write so that my characters get there. Sometimes they don’t listen.

Q.6 How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
On average, it takes me about 2 years to finish a novel. Between being a mother, doing art commissions, serving in my church, and training in other aspects, I can’t devote the hours that I would like to writing. Ideally, I would love to release a new book every year.

Q.7 What’s your writing schedule while working?
Hmm… how do I explain this? Chaotic, I think, would be the right word. Since finishing the Roanfire Saga, I have not had a consistent writing schedule. Before the pandemic, I would sit in our local library or nearby coffee shop to write while my husband watched the kids. Or I would get my kids to bed early and write into the wee hours of the night.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oh, I think I would go insane. I would probably devote more time to art and take up playing piano and guitar. Probably go into writing music… but does that count as writing?

Q.9 Do you try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I keep thinking that I am original in what I write, and then I listen to a podcast or read an article on how to write better and find that I naturally did everything that would create a good story. It’s empowering to know that I have a natural talent for this, though there is always more I could learn.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing? Tell us about your marketing campaign?
I am still struggling with marketing. Social media is saturated with authors, and I feel like I get lost among the throng of reels. For now, I am changing up my strategy and attending local craft fairs. High schools especially, since those are my target audience. So far, I have nearly sold out of all my books every time.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
A wood nymph, possibly. To be honest, I am not super excited about elves and dragons and such. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LOTR. But I like to keep my fantasy more realistic, like living in a medieval time with a dash of magic here and there. However, I am planning on one of my books having a selkie as a main character.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your book, who would it be and why?
Easy. That would have to be Ropert Saded from my series. He is a foodie, especially for desserts and pastries. He is also the comic relief of my books. What better company to have?

Q.13 What three things can a reader expect from your books?
A. 1. Mystery and suspense
2. Heartache
3. and a heartthrob of a love interest.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
I have to say that Ropert is my favorite. Ikane is a close second, but the books wouldn’t be the same without Ropert. He is my main character's best friend. They were raised together in the army, becoming brother and sister. He’s loyal, witty, thoughtful, and always hungry.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
Oh… this may be another thing that people don’t know about me. I designed the covers. I am an artist as well as an author. I feel very fortunate in this manner. I know it can be grueling for authors to find the right cover designer. Kudos to them!

Q.16 How do you select the names of your characters?
Most of the time, it’s just what rolls off the tongue. As for my main character, Keatep, I hate it. Mostly because the more I say it, the more Egyptian it sounds, which is not the feel I was going for. But it’s too late to change it now. It’s hard for people to pronounce correctly. It’s Keah-tep. She goes by Kea. (Keah). But people keep calling her Kiia. If I could change it, I would call her Keanna. She would still have her nickname of Kea.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I don’t read them all the time, but yes, I do. For one, it helps when I can pull a quote from someone’s review for marketing purposes. As for the bad reviews, I welcome them. For one, it shows that people who have read my books are not biased. 

And second, I learned that audiobook narrators look at your reviews before accepting the job for the same reason. And third, I want to get better at my craft. I can’t do that without knowing what I did wrong. Of course, I don’t want a lot of bad reviews. As of right now, I haven’t had too many bad ones.

Q.18 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have four published right now. But if you include all the notebooks and forgotten documents on my computer, I’d say I have over twenty. My favorite is the published one.

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) you are excited about? What are you reading right now?
Oh! I am so excited for the next installment of Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series. My kids and I absolutely love them. We just started reading Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians together. My gosh. It is hilarious.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
It has been hard. Writing is not easy. There is a craft to it. I have left a trail of doubt, blood, sweat, and tears in my wake. But I have also felt so much joy and accomplishment. I keep reminding myself that I am a published author! It has been a dream since I was fifteen. I have made mistakes, lots of them. But learn from every one of them, and things are getting easier. One of my favorite quotes is, “You only fail if you give up.”

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