Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday
It is good to be back with you all. So this week I have the pleasure of introducing you to the incredible Rebel Miller.
Go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and sit with me while we take a peek inside Rebel’s mind.
Good Morning Rebel, thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to hang out with me.
Thank you for asking! I’m a romance author with the first two novels of my romance trilogy under my belt. I was born in the Caribbean, but have lived in Canada for most of my life. I reside in the outskirts of Toronto with my two boys and hubby, and am enjoying the exceptionally warm days of summer up here, in the North!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I’m working on the third and final book in the aforementioned romance trilogy. The three novels, Awakening, Promising and this last instalment tell the story of a young woman falling into a love triangle during a time of tremendous unrest in her futuristic society, which is called the Realm. This third novel is where Kira, the lead character, faces her past and has to make decisions on the path she will take – not only in terms of her love interest, but her career, family and peers.
What inspired you to write your first book?
For some, inspiration is a sudden occurrence. For me, however, inspiration for Awakening was a gradual thing. I had always had the idea of writing a coming-of-age romance that pushed the boundaries in terms of identity, social class, sexuality and what it means to be in love, but it was only when I was in the middle of binge-reading contemporary New Adult romances did the idea of taking my story into a new time and place occur to me. I wanted to write a love story that was set hundreds of years in the future and against an intensely dramatic backdrop, yet would still resonate with readers of the genre – whether lovers of contemporary or futuristic settings.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Pretty much everything in my novels so far are based purely from my imagination! Now that I think about it, the only thing I can say was drawn from real life experience or rather observation is how I set up the social classes or castes and political structure of the Realm. For example, the Elite caste bear traits from monarchy and the Subordinate caste from the middle classes.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Ooh, good question. Hmm. My favorite chapters in both Awakening and Promising would have to be any that include Kira and the Realm sovereign. I really enjoy the dynamic between these two women; one who has reached the height of her social position and the other who is just starting out. Despite the simmering antagonism between the two women, I believe they are very much alike, which I don’t know that Kira would ever admit because of how the sovereign has negatively impacted her life.
Of course, I also enjoy writing the scenes between Kira and her loves interests, Gannon and Tai. With Tai, I love designing the push and pull in their dynamic. As for Gannon, he’s a man who usually gets what he wants and only does things in absolutes, so it’s great to develop scenes where he’s challenged by Kira’s resistance.
How did you come up with the title?
I really wanted titles that reflected the genre mash-up of the series: that is, romance genre, New Adult, futuristic and suspense. As you can imagine, it was a challenge, but a fun one! After hours on my thesaurus app, I was able to come up with Awakening, which reflects Kira just starting out and learning so much about herself and other, and Promising, which reflects the potential she has yet to fulfill. You can probably see a trend here in the titles for this series. No doubt the third novel in the trilogy will end with ‘ing’ too!
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Ha! My toughest criticism, I have yet to get! Though I’m sure I will. LOL. The truth of the matter is all creativity is subjective. Some people just won’t like your flavor of tea! Luckily, most people who read my work seem to enjoy it so far.
The best compliment has been from a reader who said she had fallen in love with my characters and would love to see the books on screen. In addition to books, I adore movies, so that compliment pretty much did it for me!
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
I’m not sure it’s unique or quirky, but besides listening to music, I meditate for a few minutes before I write. There are so many things going on in life that I need to get focused and center on what my characters are going through so that I can hear their voices and write their story well.
Having said that, I do have a habit of acting out gestures or expressions as I write to help me describe them just the right way. Does that qualify as quirky or unique?!
What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
Strangest? Hmm. Not sure what that the theory of relativity qualifies so let’s go with the crudest thing. LOL. I recently had to look up how to spell clusterf?%k. Is it with a hyphen, without a hyphen, two separate words? The variations are endless!
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
Because the Realm puts great importance on predetermined role and positions, all the characters have last names that reflect their positions. So Kira’s two love interests are names Gannon Consul (because he’s a member of leadership) and Tai Commander (because he’s a member of what we would call the military force.)
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I work with an outline but am very fluid around it. The thing is I need starting points and milestones to hit so that I know that I’ll get where I’m going, but by the time I finish writing, the novel ends up being about 50 percent different from what I set out to write. In fact, who Kira finally ends up with in the third novel was a surprise even to me!
Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?
I’m an independent author, which means I self-publish my books, so my experience was pretty straightforward. After writing Awakening, I located a high-caliber editor to give me feedback, connected with a superstar graphic designer for my book cover and contracted a helpful eBook distributor to send the final manuscript to the virtual press! I had to rely on my own resources, but there’s so much information out there and people willing to help that the entire experience has gone pretty darn smoothly.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing Awakening in November 2014 and finished writing the first draft two months later. It was published in June 2015.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I decided to write a futuristic romance for my first novel and series because I wanted to develop a whole new world and culture where I could really push the boundaries of a lot of belief systems and create high-stakes political drama between the main characters and those around them. I plan on writing contemporary as well. Right after I finish this last book in my trilogy, in fact, I’ll start work on the standalone contemporary romantic suspense novel that my fingers have been itching to write!
Where do you get your ideas?
I love the idea of going against the status quo. The truth is, despite my name, I’m probably one of the most diplomatic, practical and orderly people you would ever meet, so the chance to challenge systems and beliefs is very appealing to me, and is a recurring theme in my writing. In my trilogy, I take on the idea of being able to love more than one person and the idea of pushing against pre-determined social position. I simply think of what’s considered the mainstream and challenge myself to create a love story that challenges it.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
That list is way too long! LOL. Truly, every author I’ve ever read has influenced me, but one of my favorite books is The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. I actually refer to it in Awakening. While the novel isn’t a romance, there’s something about the way the young male protagonist protects and cares for his childhood friend is really sweet and moving.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write because you love it. It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes, especially with all the change happening in the publishing world right now. But focus on enjoying your writing – really loving what you’re doing and everything else, whatever that may be, will fall in line. I think the same probably goes for any creative pursuit.
What is your favorite quote or saying?
I have so many, but the one that’s currently a part of my mantra is “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” Isn’t that great?!
It used to be tea, but now it’s Tim Horton’s coffee all the way! My fellow Canadians know what I’m talking about! 🙂
Definitely, salty. Fries, nachos, bacon … *sigh*
Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?
Absolutely! You can read the entire first chapter from Promising on my website, but I’ve included a clip from the first scene below. Enjoy!
“Why are you blaming yourself for your aunt’s death?”
I whirled around, surprised by the question. “What?”
Tai’s shoulders lost some of their tension as he approached me, his head hanging low to meet me eye to eye. “You’ve been sitting in that chair in the sitting room looking more repentant with each passing second,” he said.
I had opened my mouth, ready to dismiss his observation, when I realized he was right.
“I just wonder if there’s something we could have done,” I said finally, wrapping my arms
about my waist.
Tai frowned. “We did, Kira,” he said, searching my face. “We were monitoring her and her family, protecting them as best we could. Your aunt was killed while we were under attack on Septima. If you’re to blame, then you had better blame me as well.”
I knew that what he was saying was rational and the truth, but a sense of responsibility stubbornly gnawed at my mind.
“Why didn’t you tell me about Khelan?” he asked, running a palm up my arm. “I could have helped.”
I shook my head, considering him. “You could lose your rank and be imprisoned if your superiors found out that you were aware of a citizen helping the factions and chose not to report it,” I said.
He rested his palm just below my jaw, hesitating a fraction of a second before placing it there. “Helping you is my choice to make,” he said simply. I stared at him, indulging in the feel of his hand against my skin and wondering at the depths of his selflessness.
“Rhoan’s not leaving for now,” he said. “Let me take you home. You can come back tomorrow.”
I sighed, fatigue setting in. Grief and worry were taking their toll, but I had committed to staying at the farewell with my family, and I wasn’t about to change my mind.
I startled at the sound of the incoming message on my comm, and my heart skipped a beat. Grimacing an apology to Tai, I turned away to check my device.
Call me when you get home.
I smiled, and quickly replied.
His response was immediate:
My smile grew, and I ran a finger over the three words as they faded to black.
Since Septima, Gannon had become increasingly verbal about his feelings for me. In addition to leaving me breathless, however, his declarations of love left me frustrated, initiating an internal battle. The truth was, when he said or wrote things like that, I felt like I ought to respond in kind but always resisted.
I turned slowly to Tai, still lost in thought. The intensity of his expression jolted me to the present, and I dropped my wrist.
“Gannon’s been worried about me,” I said, acting on an irrational urge to explain myself. “If I don’t respond, he’ll just call.”
Tai nodded, his guarded look slipping back into place, the change in his eyes revealing more than if he had explained the shift in his demeanor with words. As a protector, Tai was trained to be in control of all things — actions, emotions and thoughts. But since he had revealed his true feelings for me, and as our lives became more intertwined due to my family’s secrets, I found it much easier to see through his protective exterior.
He pivoted and headed toward the door, his gait so stiff I knew something was off.
“Tai,” I said, stopping him. He turned to me, his face perfectly blank. “What’s wrong? Why are you acting this way?”
His eyes narrowed, but the mask he had donned stayed put. “What way?”
I searched his face, trying to put into words what I had picked up in his expression. “Angry.”
I cocked my head and gave him a questioning look.
“He doesn’t deserve you,” he said flatly.
I balked. That was why he was in a foul mood all of a sudden! “You have no right to be angry about that,” I said, disbelief nearly choking me. “You said you don’t want to be with me.”
He stepped toward me, fists clenched. “I choose not to be with you. I would never say I don’t want to be with you.”
I stood firm against the rising tide of anger that was overcoming his face. “It’s the same thing in the end,” I declared.
“Oh, there’s a difference, Kira,” he said, glowering now. “I know my limitations, while Gannon is choosing to flout his. He’s stringing you along!”
I shook my head. “He cares for me. You’ve said so yourself.”
“Yes,” he conceded, his shoulders set. “He does care for you, and more than I want to admit, so it drives me fucking insane that he’d continue with you like this. Hallowed Halls, how do you think this is going to end?”
I turned away, but he came to stand before me. I stared at the wide expanse of his chest, unwilling to look into his eyes as the walls of the room suddenly pressed in on me.
“Let’s play this out,” he said. “You and Gannon continue your affair in secrecy, managing to dodge family, friends, peers, officials and the rabid media. Then, five years from now, at the end of his father’s last term, he’s appointed high chancellor by Realm Council. Are you prepared to be his mistress? Because that’s all you’ll be.”
Every part of me begged to reject what he was saying, but my head couldn’t summon a solid argument.
“I’m not his mistress,” I whispered, studying the folds of his dark gray shirt.
“You certainly aren’t his girlfriend, and you’ll never be his partner or wife.”
I looked up at him, tears springing into my eyes, speechless at the ferocity behind his words. “I never said I wanted anything as permanent as that.” Actually, I had never allowed myself to even think so far ahead.
Tai shook his head, clearly unconvinced. “And what about when he finds out that Khelan, your father the one who’s a senator in hiding is supporting the factions?” he challenged. “What then?”
I stepped back and held a palm over my mouth, the truth of it all spreading a deep ache through my chest. I blinked back my tears, but a few still managed to fall past my lids and onto my cheeks.
“Fuck.” Tai reached for me, enfolding me in his arms. He ran a hand up my back and lowered his head so his mouth was close to my ear. “I hate that I’m hurting you, Kira, but I need to show you the truth,” he said, his lips brushing my cheek.
I didn’t want the truth, so I buried my face in his chest and inhaled the light scent of coffee and soap that lingered there. For a few moments, I let my tears flow and dampen the soft fabric of his shirt.
I had almost pulled myself together when the door slid open. I jumped and took a hasty step back, the abrupt movement causing Tai to release his hold on me. We both spun to face the door.
Ma stood, wide-eyed, at the threshold, holding a large box at her hip. “Forgive me,” she said, looking between Tai and me. “I didn’t know anyone was in here.”
After another quick glance at Tai, she entered the study and placed the box on the desk. Inside it was a collection of colorful objects. Avoiding my mother’s odd expression, I stepped closer, reached in and pulled out a small notebook that looked like a journal. It was leather-bound and had a fanciful floral pattern embroidered on the material. The box was filled with a number of other books just like it.
“They were your aunt’s,” Ma explained.
I looked up from the journal. “They’re beautiful.”
Her brown eyes, so much like my own, continued to assess me for an uncomfortable length of time. I shifted my feet and stole a quick look at Tai, who stood silent and observant just behind her.
“I’m planning to have them protected with a seal,” she said, drawing my focus. “I think Addy would like to have them one day.”
I nodded and smiled tightly as she turned to leave. Just before she did, she shot another look at Tai and disengaged the door, allowing it to slide shut behind her.
Tai sighed and came to me, running a hand over his short-cropped hair. “Kira,” he said, “please just think about everything I’ve said.”
I stiffened and glanced at him from the corner of my eye. “This is my choice, Tai,” I said, throwing his words back in his face. “You made yours. Let me make mine.”
Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Rebel Miller for letting us spend some time with her today and see inside her creative process. And a big thank you to all you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and place Author Interview in the topic space.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!