In the Spotlight: Maryann Miller

24 07 2008

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels, screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, A QUESTION OF HONOR. More recently she placed in the top 15 percent of entries in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship with the adaptation of her mystery, OPEN SEASON.  ONE SMALL VICTORY, a women’s novel, was released in June 08 from  Five Star  Publishing and PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM is a July 08 release from Uncial Press. Visit Maryann on Web at



Getting to know Maryann:

Tell us about your upcoming release and what you hope readers will enjoy about it. 

MM: Play It Again, Sam is a novel about a woman who must rebuild her life after her husband of 25 years decides he no longer loves her. The challenges are myriad. Can she build a life without him? Will her daughter always blame her? Can she ever trust a man again? And what is she going to do about sex?

         I think readers will relate to Sam’s story. Many who have read advance copies have said that they, or someone they know, has gone through similar experiences. But because this is a romance novel, there is some guarantee of the ending. That doesn’t happen in real life.



What do you like to do when you’re not working?

MM. I live out in the country on five acres and love to play farmer. There is always something to do with my critters or my gardens and being outside for a while really feeds my soul. Also, I have been very active at the local Art Centre, volunteering and directing plays.


What season is your favorite and why?

MM  I love the fall here in East Texas. We have spectacular colors when the leaves start to turn and after a long hot summer, the chill mornings are refreshing.


What would we find on your bookcase if we looked? What is one of your favorite authors?

MM. Gosh, you’d find a wide selection of books, as well as all kinds of knick knacks and do-dads. I’m somewhat of a packrat and have stones and shells from trips in little glass jars, as well as small statues and family pictures. It’s hard to pick a favorite author as I enjoy the work of so many. But high on my list are Anne Lamott, Anne Tyler, Laura Castoro, Toni Morrison,  Fayrene Preston, Jonathan Kellerman, Harlan Coben and Dennis Lahane.


What was the last book you read (e or print) and did you like it?

MM. I just finished  The Fifth Horseman  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, and I liked it. I don’t often read Patterson as I usually don’t care for his writing, but the Women’s Murder Club series is good. Maybe it’s the influence of the co-writers as I don’t find some of the annoying mistakes in these books that are in some of his others.


What makes a good book? MM: For me character and a strong plot make a good book. The people have to be engaging; otherwise I wouldn’t want to hang around to the end of the story. And the plot has to surprise me, as did part of The Fifth Horseman. I also really appreciate an author who crafts beautifully written sentences that make me pause and read them again. I love it when I discover a gem such as this one from a book I am reading right now for review,  “A sea of umbrellas burst into somber bloom as funeral attendees stepped out of cars….”


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done? MM: I had the privilege of directing one of my plays at the Art Centre here several years ago. Not sure it was the most interesting thing I’ve done, as I’ve directed a number of plays, but it was one of the biggest thrills of my life to see my story come alive on stage. I stood in the back to watch the first performance and had tears running down my face.


What was the last movie you saw (DVD or in theaters) and did you like it or not?  – MM: We are not close to movie theatres or video stores, so I don’t see a lot of movies unless they are old classics. Just watched a blast from my past, “With a Song in Her Heart”  a movie from the  50’s. Made me appreciate how far we have come in filmmaking, although I did enjoy the nostalgic trip. My mother and I went to see this when I was a little girl and I dreamed of being a famous singer for months afterward. J We go to live theatre much more often and see some pretty good productions in small theatres in the area. –


Is there a little bit of you in your characters?  

 MM: I think so. After all, they came from my subconscious. I think this is true for all writers and the trick is to go back in the second draft of a book and work at giving the characters their own lives.


Ben Affleck or Matt Damon to save the world?  

MM: Matt Damon, hands down. Prior to the release of the first “Bourne” movie I wondered about the casting, thinking he was too boyish looking to play that role, but he quickly won me over. He still has boyish good looks, but he can also kick butt.


What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

MM: I have another book, Open Season, the first book in a proposed series under consideration at Five Star – the publisher of One Small Victory, which came out just before Play it Again, Sam. I am hoping to hear something soon about that. Open Season deals with racial issues and features two women homicide detectives in Dallas, one white and one black. They are thrown together as partners under less than ideal circumstances and they have to work through a lot of problems in the first book.  I like exploring social issues in my stories and got the idea for the Season’s main characters after reading about racial issues in the Dallas Police Department a number of years ago. In fact, most of my stories, whether novels or plays, start because I am interested in what happened to a real person in a real situation, and I just let imagination take over from there. Play It Again, Sam was based on the experiences of a friend of mine, and One Small Victory was inspired by a true story.



Where are you published?

MM:  I have a number of nonfiction books with The Rosen Publishing Group in New York. One Small Victory is with Five Star Publishing, and Play It Again, Sam is with Uncial Press. I am also the Managing Editor for  and Online community magazine here in East Texas.


Thanks for coming! J