Today, an interview with Stefne Miller, the Indie-author of Salvaged and Rise.
GC: I've read that you began writing Salvaged after a dream, can you tell us what the dream was about, and why you knew this dream was different from all the rest?
GC: Did you use any of your teenage-experiences as part of Attie's story?
SM: Attie is very much me. She is moving into a town the summer before her senior year of high school. I did the same thing. Many of her questions for God and fears, are questions I've had or fears I've experienced. 'Rise' (the sequel) has several incidents that were actual events that happened to me my senior year. I've also completed two additional books (not related to Salvaged) and I use more of my personal stories in those books. I've lived a crazy life and experienced some great things. It's only natural that I would take advantage and give those moments to my characters.
GC: What do you hope readers, both Christian and secular, will take from Salvaged?
SM: No matter what your beliefs. No matter what your age... your sex... your background, we all experience events in life that make us question why things happen. For people of faith - those things cam make us question our faith altogether. Some of those things we bring upon ourselves and some of those things are brought on by the actions of others, yet we're left "paying the bill" for their mistakes. So, I suppose much of my message was, "you're not alone". But, if we'll push through, look for the good, and surround ourselves with people who love and support us, things can be good again. Life is worth living and it's worth enjoying. I wanted girls to walk away believing in themselves and they are worthy to be loved and they're worthy to be loved by someone who will treat them with respect. I wanted to share that experiencing suffering, making mistakes and sometimes even being total screw-ups is normal. It doesn't change the fact that we all have a purpose. And, I wanted people to walk away from Salvaged having experienced a range of emotions. I wanted them to fall in love with the friends and family in the book and I wanted them to be happy that they invested nine hours (or more) of their time in reading the story.
GC: What was the road to publication like for you?
SM: It was a difficult one. I couldn't find an agent. Agents don't tell you why they turn you down, so I'm not sure. I'm sure that part of it was my inability to write a good query. I find the process very difficult. I also believe that the book walks the line. It's almost too "secular" to be considered "Christian" and too "Christian" to be considered "secular". But, I knew from my beta readers that this was a story that people loved. I knew that it had an important message to it. So, I kept trying and ended up going with a small publisher named, Tate Publishing. Going with this indie publisher means that I have zero marketing. No help in getting word - which stinks. But, it feels good to know that every book that has sold, has sold because someone told someone else about it and shared their love of the story. I've received numerous letters from readers who have passed the book on to ten or more people. You can't beat that kind of love. The same company published the sequel and has a contract on my third novel.
GC: What's next for you as an author?
SM: I received copies of the sequel to Salvaged, Rise, the first week of April. I've personally sold five hundred copies. It releases nationally (in stores and on Amazon, etc) on June 21st. I will always sell signed copies of my books on my website (and usually for much less than stores and Amazon). In January or February of 2012, my third novel, Collision will be out. It is general YA fiction. I've also completed a fourth novel, Brave, which I have yet to submit for publication. I'm going to wait to see how the first three books do before I pursue publishing anything further. I'm currently writing a fifth novel, titled Gifted.