Hello from West Virginia to Australia, Carolyn Miller! I’m so happy to have you on my blog today, and I can’t wait to dive into the interview. Are you ready?
- First of all, what was the first story you ever wrote for pleasure? Was that when you realized you were meant to be a writer?
My first story (a contemporary) was sparked by watching the closing ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, when I saw an Australian girl walk into the closing ceremony holding hands with a US athlete, and I wondered what was their story. How did two people from different countries, time zones, and elite (and presumably different) sports ever manage to find time to sustain a relationship? I tried to find out who they were, and when I couldn’t I ‘made up’ their story, and in the process of writing it down discovered how much I love blending fact with fiction. As I further tweaked this story, and the next (another contemporary about an Aussie far from home), I felt a sense of ‘rightness’ that I never really felt with high school teaching, and I realized writing was something I wanted to further pursue.
- What ignited your interest in the Regency Era?
My mum first introduced my sister and I to the wonderful world of BBC drama back in 1995 when we watched the Pride and Prejudice miniseries (yes, the one with Colin Firth). This representation of a Jane Austen novel brought it to life in a way that studying her texts in school had never done, so I suppose we can say Colin – I mean, Mr Darcy – ignited my interest! This was further cemented when my sister later introduced me to Georgette Heyer, whose sparkling stories full of wit and history made me long to learn more about the Regency era.
- Do you have your own special writing space—perhaps with a no-disturb sign tacked to a bolted door?
Ha! I used to, but had to give my room to my eldest daughter to prevent war between her and her sister. Now I have a desk and some shelves in my youngest daughter’s bedroom, which I tend to use when she’s at school. It’s not ideal, but in this season of our family life, we’re making it work.
- What is your plot strategy?
I tend to have story ideas sparked by pieces of trivia, such as learning about the origin of the tongue twister ‘She sells sea shells by the sea shore’ was inspired by Mary Anning, a fossil collector from the Regency period, which made me wonder more about this fossil hunting world, which I explored in A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh. I tend to ruminate over these random pieces of information, and then (knowing there will always be a happily-ever-after!) wonder about how to incorporate it into a story, and what else can happen. I’m not a great plotter, so I tend to start writing with a general idea as to where things should go, and let the characters and their issues / emotions take the story where it needs to go – which must be working as readers don’t seem to complain!
- If someone gave you a free ticket to travel in a time machine, would you choose the Regency Era over 2019?
Sure! It’d be a fascinating place to visit, to see if our romanticised version of the Regency era holds much truth in real life.
- What is your inspiration?
I’m inspired by all sorts of things – the little less-explored pockets of history, how people meet, how relationships are sustained through tragedy and trials – but as a Christian who writes, I’m inspired most of all by the God-truths I’ve learned along the way, and I love incorporating that hope and aspects of real love into my stories.
- If you could only pick one, what would your favorite Jane Austen novel be?
Persuasion, for its angsty romance, followed closely by Pride and Prejudice for its wit and characters.
- Do you enjoy historical research?
Mostly – I do find it easy to get distracted by rabbit holes of information that aren’t particularly story-worthy. The challenge with historical research is trying to be accurate when you’re constantly learning new things about how things really were in the past. It’s funny that I never really enjoyed history in school, but now I’m intrigued by so many aspects of people’s lives from the past.
- What is your favorite book you ever wrote?
I still love my very first historical novel, The Elusive Miss Ellison, which is my version of a Pride and Prejudice-type story. My latest, Misleading Miss Verity, probably runs a close second. Both of these have strong characters, evocative settings (Misleading Miss Verity is set in a Scottish castle!) and lots of witty banter.
- And lastly, just for fun, do you secretly wish you lived in an English manor?
Of course! I don’t think it’s much of a secret, though… 😉
Thanks so much for joining me today, Carolyn. It’s been so much fun!
Thanks for having me!
You’re very welcome. I loved all your beautiful answers, and I can’t wait to read more of your books!
Want to learn more about Carolyn?
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.