Today, I have a review, interview, and info on H.H. Miller’s debut novel, Inscription! Miller does an extraordinary job as a novelist, and a first time book author at that, with Inscription. She creates a historical world the likes of which we as readers could think is real if we didn’t know better. Possibly you might do an Internet search for the people and place if you didn’t know better type of writing. Her scenes and settings are vivid, though imaginary, and her characters are well-developed and full of emotions. We have romance, intrigue, and fantastical adventure all rolled into the place of Mainland. It reads like historical fiction, but as imaginary historical fiction, not fantasy. I know it must be sometimes so hard for readers to grasp, but there aren’t a lot of other books out there as such. She really has a deep imagination yet isn’t magical. Think of it like Game of Thrones or Outlander and add a touch of “Downton Abbey” and Jane Austen.
I loved this book. I have always loved this type of novel and not only do I applaud Miller for writing such a well-written novel, but I congratulate her on her efforts to write a unique novel and cross the hill and stand upon new territory. I hope that as some of these true historical tales are repeated over and over more novels like Miller’s will be created. As she didn’t have true subject matter, she didn’t have to do too much research but create it all from her own head. I am in awe of how difficult that must be, especially keeping everything straight! Creating an entire world of people and a place like Mainland was probably not an easy feat, but she makes it seem flawless.
Her female character of Caris was an independent and beautiful heiress and her descriptions seemed to fit what I might picture in my head of someone from this time period going through such strife. I enjoyed Tom as well and I appreciate the level and type of romance she depicted in her book. I think there was just the right amount of conflict and adventure and I was sucked up into the story and didn’t want to stop reading it last week!
I’d say this was a major success for a debut novel and I hope to read so much more from Miller in the future.
Now, learn more about the novel in this interview…….
Hi, H.H and welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We are happy to have you here today to talk about your book, Inscription, as well as getting to know the author behind the book. How has the book launch been going for you?
H.H.: Great! Publishing is a whole new world to me, so it’s definitely been an education. But I’m enjoying learning the ropes and talking to readers about Inscription.
Erin: Let’s have a seat here in this quaint bookstore coffee shop. What will you have to drink with me? Tea, coffee, fruit juice? I’ll be having a Café Mocha today, still a bit of a chill in the air here and I’ve been up late writing.
H.H.: Iced coffee for me, no matter the weather. I get a lot of funny looks at the Starbucks drive-through window when it’s snowing. Rare, of course, that it snows in Seattle, but we definitely get our share of cold, wet, dreary days. Good writing weather.
Erin: Ha! Yes, you do have some rainy days there. Iced is always good, it’s just plain yummy! Let’s get started in with the questions now. Relax and let’s have a great time.
Q: I could repost your synopsis, but in your words what is your novel, Inscription, all about? What genre of historical literature or time/place is it set in?
A: I call it a historically fictional romantic adventure, because it doesn’t fall neatly into any standard genre. The story follows a 20-year-old woman in 1851 whose life is turned upside down by people and events beyond her control: scheming relatives, vindictive soldiers, wild storms. And of course, the hero she falls in love with.
It takes place in a fictional country called Mainland. I’ve always loved historical fiction set in England, but it’s been done – and done very well – by many others. I was intrigued by the idea of imagining a world where the time period and customs were familiar, but the story was unconstrained by actual history. I was free to create places, characters, and events as I wished them to be without regard for the way things actually were.
Q: I understand that Inscription is your first novel. Where did the inspiration for your novel come from? Why did you decide to write a fictional work?
A: I’ve always been an avid reader, but I fell into a reading rut about two years ago. I just couldn’t find a book I LOVED. You know the kind . . . where you want to drop everything and spend the whole day immersed in the life and times of your favorite characters. I’d had this nugget of an idea for a story rambling around in my head, and I finally decided if I couldn’t find a book I wanted to read, I’d write one myself. I guess you could say necessity was the mother of invention.
Q: How long did it take you to write it and did you have to dive into a lot of research or was it all a tale inside your head?
A: The entire process – from the first day I slapped down a few notes in a file on my computer called “Book” to the day it was published – took one year. As far as research, that’s the great part about writing “fictional” historical fiction. You don’t need to do much beyond tapping into your own imagination. I’ve read a lot about the time period, so I had a rich base for envisioning what life might have been like. I also lived in England for a few months (many years ago).
Q: What were your biggest challenges in writing the book? What were your greatest obstacles that you overcame or greatest success so far?
A: The scene in the hayloft with Tom and Caris made me blush the entire time I was writing it. It’s pretty mild for a sex scene, and I don’t get embarrassed reading this stuff in other books, but I never knew it would make me so uncomfortable to write! I got over it eventually, but I still cringe a little when I think about my kids reading it. Also, I re-wrote the opening chapter countless times. That was probably the most difficult part to get right.
Q: You do copy writing for work, as do I sometimes, so I know that it’s a different type of writing. How do you keep the styles straight or the flow? Do you have problems with the transition or does the writing come natural?
A: I’ve always been a writer, even before I had a job as a writer. I kept a journal all through my stupid teen years. (And if you’ve ever read something as an adult that you wrote when you were 16, you know how it makes you want to reach for a blowtorch.) But writing has always been a creative outlet for me, whether personal or professional. Writing for marketing/business is definitely different than writing a novel, but the creative process is similar. In anything you write, your goal is to tell the story in the most compelling way possible, so it resonates with your audience.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers and authors now that you’ve been through the first time publishing a novel?
A: It’s a messy, protracted, sometimes agonizing but ultimately incredibly rewarding process to write and publish a novel. If you like to set challenging goals for yourself, and you’re dying to check “write a novel” off your bucket list, it’s worth the effort. And remember, an editor is your best friend. I’m a professional writer/editor, but I didn’t trust myself to edit my own book – and I’m extremely glad I didn’t.
Q: Do you feel there is a market currently for your type of book? Is it ever mentioned with Downton Abbey meets fantasy in terms of talking about its content? Who will like your book?
A: Yes, that’s tricky. When I set out to write this book, I didn’t think a lot about my “target” audience. I just wrote the story I wanted to read, figuring that other people like me would enjoy it. I think Downton Abbey fans are probably a perfect audience, as well as lovers of Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and stories like Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. I know the publishing world likes to slot novels into neat categories like historical fantasy, even when only the location is fictional, but I just don’t see Inscription in the same category with unicorns and magic.
Q: What authors do you enjoy reading? Who are your author inspirations? What are your favorite books?
A: Well, certainly the ones named above are at the top of my list. I also admire J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown for their story-telling flair, character-driven stories, and page-turning plots. And let’s not forget Charlotte Bronte . . . Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites.
Q: I read that you like to travel, yet you also have three kids….so do I and I know how that is….what new travel destination do you hope to go most?
A: Well, our kids are 10, 15, and 17 now so it’s not as hard as when they were toddlers! We’ve been to lots of places, but so far we’ve missed Italy, so I’d like to get there at some point . . . Rome and Florence. And the Cook Islands. Maybe without the kids. 🙂
Q: Where can readers connect with you?
A: You can find me at http://www.facebook.com/HHMillerBooks. I love to hear from readers!
Erin: Thank you so much, H.H., for your time with me today. I had an excellent time talking and sipping java. It was so nice to learn about your book and the woman behind it. Please stop back by anytime. I like to stay in touch with writer friends.
H.H.: Nice to chat with you too, Erin, thank you. Your blog is wonderful. I’ll come visit often. 🙂
Erin: Great to hear, I’d love to “see” you!
The year is 1851 and the Grand Guard is ravaging Mainland. Arrests. Floggings. Swift executions. Twenty-year-old Caris McKay, the beautiful heiress of Oakside Manor, is sent to live with distant relations until the danger has passed. It’s no refuge, however, as Lady Granville and her scheming son plot to get their hands on Caris’s inheritance with treachery and deceit.
Soon, alarming news arrives that the ruthless Captain James Maldoro has seized Oakside and imprisoned Caris’s beloved uncle. And now he’s after her.
Caris escapes with the help of Tom Granville, the enigmatic silver-eyed heir of Thornbridge. But when a cryptic note about a hidden fortune launches them on a perilous journey across Mainland, Caris and Tom must rely on wits, courage, and their growing love for each other if they hope to survive.
Filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance, Inscription will transport you to a historically fictional world you’ll never want to leave.
Buy the Book
Author H.H. Miller, Biography~
H. H. Miller is the author of the novel Inscription, a historically fictional romantic adventure. In real life, she’s content director at Stoke Strategy, a brand strategy firm in Seattle, Washington, where she specializes in transforming what some might call “boring” technology jargon into compelling, readable, memorable stories. Her favorite escape is Manzanita, Oregon – a place of beautiful beaches, wild storms, chilly nights around the bonfire (even in July), and time to enjoy life with her husband and three children.
For more information please visit H.H. Miller’s Facebook Page.
Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/inscriptiontour
Tour Hashtag: #InscriptionTour