Ann became a writer the year she discovered Sister Sheila had hair. She was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Thanks to Sister’s jump-start, Ann went on to earn a BA in Creative Writing from Ashland University, Ohio. Kicking Eternity won First Place, Long Contemporary in the 2009 Romance Writers of America Touched By Love Contest.
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!”- Jenny B. Jones, Author
Hello Ann! Author Lynn Rush said, “I've lost hours of sleep reading Ann Lee Miller's work due to her uncanny ability to yank me into a story with authentic, lovable, yet challenging characters.” I’m excited to hear more about your book.
Kicking Eternity is all about chasing dreams—our dreams, God’s dreams, and the mixed-up tangle of both. Here’s a blurb about the book: Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheekbones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ lives. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex. Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
You’ve got my interest! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
A close family friend fell in love with a young man and felt strongly that God told her to marry him. When the guy broke off the engagement, she was devastated on multiple levels. In Kicking Eternity the hero has to come to terms with the same dilemma. My friend healed over the course of a couple of years and later married. She is now a happy new mother.
Wow! What a dilemma! What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?
Much of this novel is born out of growing up on the east coast of Florida and thirty plus years of summer camp. I studied meth addiction, regulations on campfires on the beach, attended an African children’s choir concert, visited New Smyrna Beach and took pictures of every scene setting in the book.
I love hearing about an author’s research. Thanks. What does your family think about your writing?
My husband, Jim, once sold the family minivan to send me to a writers’ conference, works two jobs so I can write full-time, reads me, edits me, believes in me, and loves me. My daughter reads all my books and helps me brainstorm when I get stuck. My three sons are always dreaming up marketing ideas for me.
Now that’s what I call real family support. Wow! Selling your minivan so you could get a bit more education? That’s so awesome. That’s dedicated love! Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
My father spent several years building a forty-foot sailboat in our backyard in Miami, Florida. We launched it in the Miami River and lived aboard at Dinner Key Marina when I was eleven. At the time I didn’t realize how unusual it was to live on a boat and ride my bicycle down the dock each morning to attend school. All my friends at the marina did the same. After school every day, I tossed my books onto my bunk, shimmied into a swimsuit, and jumped overboard. Sailboats show up in all my books thus far. In addition to Kicking Eternity, The Art of My Life debuts in September, Avra’s God in December, and Tattered Innocence next March.
Thank you, Ann, for this wonderful interview. Now we know the real you! The author who has sailboats in her blood, because of living in one while growing up!