Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased and happy to introduce you to a new novel that will make you smile, guffaw and hold your sides while covering your mouth (somehow!) to keep from disturbing other travelers during your commute. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones that can read in the comfort of your home — you will burst out laughing at various points while reading Quanie Miller’s The New Mrs. Collins.
I began reading this book today and I must say I am captivated! It is a story set in Louisiana. The characters are colorful and the mood light — at the beginning — Leena is getting married later in the day. She’s has the nerves women the world over will remember fondly and smile with Leena in commiseration. Then, the unthinkable happens. From that moment on, the story takes turns and twists that will have you turning pages, or swiping through digital pages at a fastest clip ever.
Miller’s writing style is naturally colorful and full of imagery that will comfort you and make you want to settle in for a good read. One of my favorites is “…Ronetha looked as serene as a river on Sunday morning.”
I only paused from reading to come and share with you my initial thoughts and, of course, this wonderful chat I recently had with this talented Indie authoress. Oh, and did I mention I fell in love with the cover from the first time I saw it featured in a tweet over a month ago? Take a look for yourself…
Okay, okay. I am rambling! Without further gushing, I’d like to present my chat with Quanie Miller, author of The New Mrs. Collins.
Quanie, tell us about yourself.
I’m a married mother of one. I’m from New Iberia, a small town in Southwest Louisiana that sits right on the Bayou Teche and is rich in history. I spent most of my youth reading so many books that my cousins would look at me like I was crazy. “You aren’t gonna play outside? And you’re gonna read that whole book?” Then, they would shake their heads in amazement. I love writing about strong-willed women who can’t keep themselves out of trouble and setting my stories in fictional Louisiana towns.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I’d have to say my ability to infuse humor into pretty much anything that I write. It’s not even something I try to do. It just happens.
In your own words, can you tell us about The New Mrs. Collins and can you share a little of it with us?
As you’ve already shared with your readers, my book is called The New Mrs. Collins and it is a paranormal novel. The long and the short of the story goes something like this…
In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart.
Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so Leena has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis. And it burns every time she does. But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop, or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife. It’s the strange way Adira can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet.
Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried…
Can you tell us about your main character?
Absolutely! Leena Williams is 34 years old and owns a bakery in small fictional town in Louisiana called Carolville. She’s a hardworking mother of an overactive 6 year old, loves her family, and doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. Leena’s down to earth and truly likeable—the kind of person you’d call in the middle of the night and talk to if you were having problems. But, she’s also curious. Perhaps, a tad bit too curious. And that’s what gets her into trouble in the novel. Leena suspects that her son’s new stepmother, Adira Collins, is hiding something about her past and when Leena goes digging for answers our heroine ends up tumbling down the proverbial rabbit hole—and it’s not entirely clear if Leena’s going to make it out alive!
How did you develop your plot and characters?
Lots of trial and error. My general process is this: write 5 pages, or so, to get a feel of the characters and the world they live in. Then, don’t write anymore until they’re pretty much living and breathing in my head. I don’t do characters sketches or anything like that. But, what I prefer to do is close my eyes and envision the characters in action; how they move, how they smile, how they interact with the people in their lives (and the kinds of people they surround themselves with) along with the types of things that they might say. Once I know all of that, I have a better idea of the types of things they would — or wouldn’t — do and that helps me to shape the plot. Then there are other times when I’ll wait until I have a good narrative voice. In that case, all I really have to do is try and figure out that character’s perspective of the world around her. After that, I outline extensively and then…I write.
How do you come up with new novel ideas?
In many different ways! For this particular novel, this image popped into my head of this woman standing next to a lake ringing out a towel. There was something about her eyes and the way that she moved that let me know that she had many secrets. So I wrote her to find out what those secrets were! In another instance, I was in a beauty salon when I saw a little girl run past me holding a coloring book. I saw a blur of red and blue on the page and before I knew it, the red and blue turned into a party dress in my head, and the woman wearing it was running across the room to hide the evidence of the crime she’d committed! So inspiration is everywhere. We just have to pay attention.
Would or have you considered writing in another genre?
I also write comedy. For the longest time I thought I had to choose since paranormal and comedy seem like polar opposites, but then I realized that I was putting those boundaries on myself. People who like my humorous stories may very well like my paranormal stories, and vice versa. Or, if not then, hey! C’est la vie.
How important do you think villains are in a story?
Extremely important! And I do love a good villain! My thing is this: don’t just give me a villain without a cause. Someone who does bad things “just because.” I love it when authors give us the reason why a villain makes the decisions they do. I also think the stronger the villain the better the story because the reader is going to wonder: how on earth is the main character going to persevere against these odds? It’s a great way to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Quanie, do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is to hone your craft. Do it any way you can and in multiple ways.
- Take classes on writing.
- Read books on the craft of writing.
- Study the work of writers that you admire.
- Study, study, study!
- And also, believe in yourself, even when nobody else does.
If your book became a movie, who do you see playing your main characters?
Love this question! I could totally see Taraji Henson or Jill Scott playing my main character, Leena. And of course, my bff in my head, Kerry Washington, playing the villain, Adira.
Do you have (a) muse(s)? If so, what are they like?
Ha! I imagine that my muse looks a lot like somebody’s grandmother. She’s a slick talker who’s quick on her feet with the comebacks and doesn’t take any mess! When she’s not giving me inspiration, she’s probably cooking a chicken and sausage gumbo!
Thank you for stopping by Quanie! I appreciate your keen insight into the writing life and I absolutely can’t wait to delve back into the pages of The New Mrs. Collins! But, before I do let me share where you, my dear readers, can find Quanie Miller online, and where you can pick up her most excellent book.
Where can readers find Quanie Miller…
Where can readers purchase The New Mrs. Collins…