Vanessa Miller is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. She started writing as a child, spending countless hours either reading or writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels. Vanessa’s creative endeavors took on new meaning in1994 when she became a Christian. Since then, her writing has been centered on themes of redemption, often focusing on characters facing multi-dimensional struggles.
Vanessa’s novels have received rave reviews, with several appearing on Essence Magazine’s Bestseller’s List. Miller’s work has receiving numerous awards, including “Best Christian Fiction Mahogany Award” and the “Red Rose Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction.” Miller graduated from Capital University with a degree in Organizational Communication. She is an ordained minister in her church, explaining, “God has called me to minister to readers and to help them rediscover their place with the Lord.”
She is currently working on a For Your Love trilogy for Kimani Romance. Books in the For Your Love series are: Her Good Thing, Better For Us and The Best of All. She is working on a historical set in the Gospel Era for Abingdon Press. First book in Gospel Series, How Sweet the Sound releases in 2014, and a My Soul to Keep series for Whitaker House.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I’ve known that I wanted to write since I was eight or nine years old. But I didn’t realize that there was a calling on my life to write until I was about twenty eight years old. I truly love being able to write stories that help readers understand the grace, mercy and love of God.
The thing that most frustrates me about writing, has nothing to do with the writing of the book — it is the marketing of the book once I’m finished. I’m always wondering what else I can do to get the word out about a new book I have out.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
At this point I have 50 published novels. My first book was Former Rain and there are 9 books in the Rain series. I have numerous other series and a few stand alone books like Long Time Coming or How Sweet the Sound. My newest book is titled Forever and it is the first book in the Let’s Stay Together Series. Readers can find out more about me on my website: www.vanessamiller.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Vanessamiller01
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the Let’s Stay Together series. It is Christian romance. So, I get the privilege of putting romance on the page and allowing readers to see God’s grace, His love and mercy. I truly loved writing the first book in this series, Forever, and can’t wait to write the next two books in the series.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
My books have made several bestsellers lists. I have sold hundreds of thousands of copies of my books through the years. But I still believe that the greatest accomplishment in my writing career is that I get to minister to readers about the love of God. I once had a reader write to me and say, “I haven’t been to church in years, but after reading your books, I’m going back to church.” Reading those words made me feel like I’ve done the job God has assigned me.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
I started out in this business as a self-published author because I had waited so long to finish my first book that I didn’t want to wait to get a book deal. The readers seemed to receive my books right away, so when I sent out proposals and they didn’t get accepted — and all I received was a form letter rejection, I didn’t take it to heart, because I knew God called me to write.
Once I was able to work with my agent (Natasha Kern), she taught me how to put proposals together that would get the interested of editors. So, I was able to work with four different publishers before ebooks became a thing and I decided to self-publish again. My agent and I are now working with publishers to get a deal on some Christian women’s fiction I want to do. I have received some rejections, but I’m not discouraged because I truly believe that if I do my part, God will take care of the rest.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
Once I’m into a story I write whenever a scene hits me, so that could be all day long. But my normal routine is to sit at my desk from 10am – 5pm. I write for hours, then I work on other projects like marketing, or answering emails, then I write until I at least reach my goal of 2,000 words written per day. Some days I’m able to write 3,000-4,000 words, but my goal is 2,000. I can usual write a book in two to three months.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Not at all! The reader isn’t interested in how old the writer is, they just want a good story. So, if a writer comes up with a breakout story, no mater his or her age this can be done.
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I have always loved to read. I was a much more avid reader before my grandkids came along. When I’m done writing for the day they usual rope me into this or that and I love it. They’ll be grown and off to college before I know it, so I love spending time with them. But I still read, I do more ebooks and audio books theses days.
The first book that really, I mean really touched me was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I have never been able to forget that book that’s just how special it was. As a matter-of-fact, when I finished reading that book I got on my knees and prayed for a double portion of what she has as a writer. Because of how many emotions I experienced along with seeing the love of God in a whole new way, Francine Rivers became my favorite author.
Right now I am reading books by two of my friends, Pat Simmons’, Here For You and Vanessa Riley’s The Duke, a Baby and the Lady.
9) How has the current state of the world affected your writing? Because writing is an isolated practice, do you find it easier to deal with quarantine? Has it stifled your creativity or has it made you even more driven to get things done?
Honestly, I’ve gotten more done with my writing than I have in a long time. So, no, I don’t want the pandemic to linger, I want it to go far, far away and never return. But I am thankful for the writing accomplishments that have occurred during this time.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Wow! This is a really deep question. I think I’ll answer it backward. I have never written to be empowered in and of myself. I want God’s grace, mercy and love to shine through every story that I write. So, I guess I’m writing to empower my readers to see God for who He is. To help them realize that He loved us, and still love us even before we ever decide to truly love Him.
I’ve know that I was a writer since I a kid, but I did not know the purpose of my writing until I gave my life to Christ. So, while I try my best to write very engaging stories, because I want the reader to enjoy the journey — I also write to reveal my authentic self as well. And that person is just a woman who fell in love with Jesus and realized it was the best thing I’d ever done. I want others to know the beauty of that special journey with God as well, so I pray my books pull them in just a bit closer.