Monday, June 25, 2012
Looking Out the Window: Ann Lee Miller Talks about Her Childhood and How It Gave Her a Distinctive Voice for Her Writing / Free E-book Copies of Kicking Eternity
Ann says,"Anyone who leaves a comment will receive a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity. If you don't want to leave your e-mail address, you may request your free book at AnnLeeMiller.com."
Ann Tells about Her Childhood and Her Writing in E-mail From God
An e-mail from God showed up in my in-box last November, during a year I strained to wring out the deeper novel my literary agent was convinced I had in me. I needed to scrape out my emotions and smear them on the page. But I only knew how to shove them inside.
My Chatty Cathy doll tumbled over the stucco banister worn shiny from my family’s hands and those who had lived in the Miami apartment before us. Salty tears tickled my face. I scooped her up in chubby, six-year-old arms and pulled her string. But she who won me countless friends on a year-long Volkswagen van trip across Mexico would never talk again. “Quit your crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” my daddy said.
When I was thirteen, Mama drove me and my six-year-old brother away from Biscayne Bay and Daddy. We left the sailboat Daddy built in the back yard—where we and our belongings had been crammed into thirty-six feet that smelled of mildew and last night’s fish. Our blue Rambler braked at a house, peering owlishly through black-framed windows. Inside, cold terrazzo floors echoed our footsteps. Mama looked back at us, Jack-in-the-Box smile stitched in place. “Isn’t this a wonderful adventure?”
At nineteen I hurled myself at Jesus, Someone who didn’t think my emotions were too loud and bothersome, Someone who listened to my heart.
For three decades I locked my childhood and my emotions behind Get Smart steel grates. If I wasn’t such an Eeyore, if I had an ounce of gratitude, I would have said my childhood was okay. A lot of people suffered worse.
A flash of blond hair out a firehouse window unearthed a firefighter’s memory of a fifth-grade girl walking home from St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami. He was a sixth-grader who could never understand why his carpool whisked past me day after day as I plodded through a ramshackle, black neighborhood in the sticky heat headed for the marina.
Though we never spoke, the man googled me and e-mailed, “I always thought how sad and lonely you looked.”
I felt as though Jesus pressed three fingers into my right shoulder and said, “Yes, your childhood was sad.” The doors to my past and emotions burst open.
As a child I shut off my voice because it wouldn’t be heard or believed. Now I’m starting to come all-out with my husband, children, and friends. They listen and believe me. They embrace me. I am showing them the core of who I am. Color and intensity of feeling are shooting through my deadness. I am learning to pen pain and joy.
Ironically, in my writing people have told me for years that my unique voice is my strength. Could there be people desperate for my message, could my words be valuable?
God went out of His way to love a girl nobody listened to, to restore her voice and emotions. How can I not speak?
About Kicking Eternity
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 cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. 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?
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.
Check out Ann's links below
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022.
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Kicking-Eternity-ebook/dp/B0082GF8CE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336859346&sr=8-1