Juliette Miller is an incurable romantic and an acute sufferer of wanderlust. She began writing romance soon after she met the man of her dreams in a smoky bar on a Greek Island. Born in Minnesota, Juliette has lived in New York, London, Washington DC and Paris. She and her husband and two children divide their time between New Zealand and Vermont.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been a romantic – and a voracious reader. I wrote stories throughout high school and college but without serious goals in mind. During my junior year in college, I was lucky enough to study for a semester in Paris. I spent the entire six months exploring the museums, restaurants and cafes, writing ideas in little notebooks, and generally having an incredible time. During spring break of that semester, I went with some friends to Greece, where I met a rugged New Zealander. It was love at first sight and completely changed my life. I was inspired to write a book about it, and did. My first novel was very much that: a first attempt. It’s still gathering dust in my drawer. After that, I got a little sidetracked with marriage (to the rugged New Zealander I met in the smoky bar, of course), getting a Masters degree, working as a teacher and having two beautiful children.
A few years went by. My kids were at school, my husband was a successful winemaker, and I was able to work at my job as an academic writer and editor from home, allowing me a few extra hours in the day to write. I wrote another novel. And another. Over time and with a lot of effort, I sent out queries, got an agent and finally, a book deal.
Everything I’ve ever written is in some way romantic. To me, the love story is the most engaging part of any book I read or any movie I watch.
What’s next in the CLAN MACKENZIE series?
The second book in the series after HIGHLANDER CLAIMED is titled HIGHLANDER TAKEN. It’s the story of the youngest Mackenzie brother, Kade, and his arranged marriage to Stella Morrison. It picks up where the first book left off. The book is narrated by Stella, who’s less than pleased that she’s forced to wed the reputedly savage warrior Kade Mackenzie. He’s huge, dripping with weaponry, and she’s utterly terrified of him, for good reason. But, over time and behind closed doors, Kade proves himself stealthily seductive. Little by little, he’s able to break down Stella’s apprehensions one by one until … sparks begin to fly.
The third book of the series is Knox’s story and is titled HIGHLANDER MINE. Laird Knox Mackenzie lost his wife and son several years ago due to complications during childbirth. He’s a staunch soldier and a respected leader of one of the largest and most formidable armies in all the Highlands, but underneath it all, he’s damaged by the profound heartbreak of losing his family. Meanwhile, Amelia Taylor is on the run from a ganglord who owns a controlling share of her family’s failing gaming club – and who therefore feels entitled to ownership of Amelia herself. Streetsmart and feisty, Amelia flees Edinburgh with her young nephew to seek refuge in the most faraway, vast, and secluded place she can think of: the Highlands. When Amelia shows up at Kinloch as the (falsely qualified but very convincingly portrayed) new teacher, the combined effects of her red hair, her fiery spark and her complete disobedience is the very last thing Knox is expecting.
Stay tuned for updates on the next book in the series … coming soon!
Why did you decide to write a historical romance novel in the first person narrative?
I get asked this question a lot. I wrote the CLAN MACKENZIE series in the first person narrative because it’s the POV I feel most comfortable writing in. Many of my favorite romance, YA, literary and/or historical fiction books are either written in the first person or incorporate it. The first person POV felt more realistic for me, since it’s how we heroines actually view our romances! We’re trying to figure out how our hero feels, what he’s thinking, and we’re processing his words and actions within the framework of our own interpretations. That appealed to me and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to write a book from the heroine’s perspective. It's a departure from the norm, but I’ve had a lot of people writing to me and saying that’s exactly why they loved the book: they liked that it was different, and they liked the immediacy that the first person narrative provides. So it wasn’t really a conscious decision to sidestep the formula but more about just following what felt natural to me at the time.
Are you planning on writing any other books?
Yes! I’m currently working on a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel, and another historical. Watch this space! I tend to work on more than one project at a time – unless I’m in a groove or on a deadline, in which case I work night and day, completely immersed in the story I’m writing.
What’s your work schedule like?
I generally work every day but my word count varies. I try to write between 1000 and 3000 words a day – sometimes I struggle to get that much down but other days the words flow much more easily. The most I’ve written in one day is around 30 pages. Discipline is key! I turn off the Internet when I write, otherwise I’d never get any work done.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books?
I read a lot and across a wide variety of genres, including literary, women’s fiction including chick lit, all types of romance, and some YA. Some of my favorite writers are Jane Austen (the inventor of the literary romance genre deserves a pedestal all her own), Diana Gabaldon (who doesn’t love OUTLANDER?), Paullina Simons’s THE BRONZE HORSEMAN series, Lisa Kleypas (especially her contemporary Texas trilogy, which provided me with a lot of inspiration, including the inspiration to query the agent she acknowledges in several of her books, who eventually became my own agent), Hemingway (I practically memorized A MOVEABLE FEAST during my days in Paris), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY, and I devoured the big 3 of YA (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games trilogy and the Twilight Saga). Yes, it’s a very mixed bag. And there are tributes to all of the above in my books.
The three best books I’ve read on writing are Betsy Lerner’s THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, Stephen King’s ON WRITING and Donald Maass’s THE BREAKOUT NOVELIST.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep going. As Stephen King said it best, the only different between a professional writer and an amateur is perseverance. I’ll say it again: keep going. Don’t worry about making it perfect to begin with. Get words down. Keep going. Get more words down. Set yourself a realistic goal and stick to it. One page a day is one book a year. If you can write 500 words a day, you’ll have a book-length manuscript within five months. Let your first draft simmer for a few weeks. Then get it out again and begin to revise. Writing a book is work. But it should be fun. If you’re not having fun with your writing then your reader probably won’t either. Have fun with it – and keep going!
Advice about the querying process:
From 2010 to 2012, between my day job, writing, and wrangling kids, I worked as a reader for an established NY literary agency, reading query letters and manuscripts. This experience was incredibly enlightening as a writer. It really highlighted the difference between what works and what doesn’t, especially in the first ten pages. It’s a harsh reality but if you don’t hook your reader from the very first page – and keep them hooked – you’ll have difficulty getting an agent. The premise is important: make sure it has inherent conflict. The quality of the writing is, of course, important. And hooking the reader is the most important element of all. Querying the right agent is also important. Do your research, which is incredibly easy these days, given the wealth of information on the Internet. One of the most important details of all – and the easiest, by far, to remedy – is the “cleanness” of your query letter and first pages. Take the time to learn the basics of query-letter writing. Include the information the agent requests on their submissions guidelines page. If there are mistakes in grammar, spelling and/or punctuation in your letter or pages – or if you’ve addressed the agent incorrectly – you’ll probably get rejected. Agents are busy people who get many, many query letters each day. If you come across as lazy, sloppy or unprepared, they simply won’t feel compelled to read further. If you can’t be bothered to take your work seriously, why should they? By far the most valuable resource for researching agents, agencies, editors and publishing deals in general is www.publishersmarketplace.com. The small subscription fee is well worth it.
Visit my PublishersMarketplace member page here: www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/JulietteMiller