Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or “meddling in her kids’ lives.”
Welcome back to my blog, Ann. Please tell us about your new book, Avra's God.
, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.
Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.
Kallie shares her classically trained voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar. The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipeout. But somehow, when they're not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.
Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
Often my books grow out of long-time prayer burdens. In this case I had been praying for a man to reconcile with his wife after he had strayed. Unfortunately, in real life, the marriage did not survive. But in fiction, the relationship healed. My characters are single, but the process of forgiveness and rebuilding trust are the same.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I visited New Smyrna Beach, Florida where the book is set—and where I lived as a teen and young adult—to make sure I had all the locations and details correct. Because many scenes take place on the Daytona State College campus, I corresponded with several people who worked at or attended the college. The marketing director even offered to read the book to catch my flubs. My other research was more mundane—having my oil changed at Walmart, camping out on Google maps to determine where all my characters lived, and quizzing musical family members on music details.
I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?
This contains many of my experiences as a teen and young adult, though altered for the purposes of the story.
Thank you, Ann, for a lovely interview. Your book sounds like one that will help the youth make better choices in their lives. To learn more about Ann, visit her website at: www.AnnLeeMiller.com