Saturday, August 24, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Judith Miller

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Judith McCoy Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels.

Judith started writing her first book while commuting sixty miles to work each day. When the book was completed, it was tucked away. Judith was introduced to Tracie Peterson who worked down the hall from her and Tracie gave her some pointers about what to do with the finished manuscript. Together they co-authored several bestselling novels, in addition to the many novels they have penned individually.

When time permits, Judy enjoys traveling, visiting historical settings, and scrapbooking the photographs from her travel expeditions.

The following is an August 2013 interview with Judith.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of one of Judith's novels - winner's choice - two copies to be won

Contest open to entrants worldwide.

Contest runs from 19-25 August NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself.

Judith (Judy to those who know her) is an author with Bethany House Publishers. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved to Kansas at the age of seventeen and now considers the Sunflower State her home. She is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five novels and novellas, and many of her books have appeared on the CBA bestseller list.

She is the mother of four adult children. Her daughter, Michelle, and her husband, Jim, are waiting for her in heaven. Judy writes historical fiction and credits her late husband with sparking her deep love of history. For his birthday and Christmas, he would always request books and magazines with historical content. Being a reader at heart, it didn’t take him long to convince her to start reading some of those books. Soon, her love of history was a match for his! She particularly enjoys writing books that showcase unique settings and careers and discovers true enjoyment when she can take readers to distinctive locations and reveal some of the occupations that helped create this country.

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How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

For years I worked as a legal assistant. I loved my work and never aspired to any other profession, but God—in His infinite wisdom—had other plans for me. I had changed jobs and was required to travel sixty miles to and from the workplace. Needless to say, this permitted my mind to wander into the world of “what ifs.” It was during those quiet journeys along Interstate 70 that I plotted my first novel. God was at work with His plan and a short time later I met Tracie Peterson who worked only a few doors away in the same building. God placed her in my path, she gave me some advice regarding my manuscript, and a year later that first book was published. Since those early days of writing, Tracie and I have co-authored several series while both of us have continued with our solo careers, as well. The rest, as they say, is history.

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What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction permits me to tell my stories with a Christian worldview. I consider my writing a God-given gift and it is my intention to point readers to Christ. I want readers who pick up one of my books to know it is a story that isn’t going to shock their sensibilities and is safe for their daughters. In addition, I’ve learned that many of my readers home school and have begun using my books as a learning tool for their history lessons. Using the fictional books, they have their student/children read the book, do a report and then search out what is true and what is fiction regarding the time and setting of the books. I am pleased parents feel comfortable using Christian fiction as a learning tool and wouldn’t want to betray that trust.


How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

I want them to feel they've read an extremely satisfying story while learning something new about the history of our country and God’s love and mercy.


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

When readers tell me their faith has been strengthened by one of my books or that one of my books has provided them with a bit of solace during a time of sadness or grief in their life.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

My relationship with the Lord has grown stronger through my writing. My characters journey through problems that take me into the Word to search for answers. I’ve discovered that seeking answers to their problems has strengthened my own beliefs and resolve. 

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Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 
Well, I'm no spring chicken as we say here in America, so my basic goals are to work to make each book better; to draw closer to the Lord and have my life better reflect Him each day; to continue writing for Him for as long as he opens the doors to publication; and to travel when possible.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to travel, read books, drink coffee and after many years away from the pastime, I've recently begun knitting again. I find that if my hands are busy I’m less apt to run to the refrigerator for a snack!


What can you tell us about your latest novels?

My latest novels have been set in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. Both the Daughters of Amana series and the Home to Amana series are considered independent series. While each book is set in one of the Amana Colonies, the characters and villages are unique to each book. Each book is a story unto itself which permits the books to be read in any order.

The Amana Colonies are divided into seven villages and it was my desire to showcase each village in one of my books. I believe this is a bonus for readers because they need not be concerned about reading a book out of sequence. What a joy it has been to research and write these books about these people who fled Europe during the time of religious persecution. They are such innovative, strong people, and writing about their history has truly been a blessing. Although they no longer live in a communal setting, the villages remain much the same as they did back in the mid-1800’s, and they have maintained wonderful archives of their history—a great joy to any writer!

Several years ago, God provided me with an opportunity to travel with a group of Amana descendents who traced their roots through portions of Europe. Talk about amazing—I stand in awe of the blessings He has provided. The fifth novel in the Home to Amana series just released in July and is set in Middle Amana. A recent review of A Simple Change in Romantic Times says: "The second book in the Home to Amana series has an excellent balance of amazing characters and careful research. The 1880s Amana Colonies come to life in this romance."

I’ve also had the pleasure of writing a Christmas novella set in the Amana Colonies with two other authors. That book is titled A Patchwork Christmas, and two of my earlier novellas have been recently released in The Immigrant Brides collection.


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A Hidden Truth

In the closed communities of the Amana Colonies, hidden truths are about to change everything for two young women....

East Amana, Iowa, 1892

When Karlina Richter discovers that a new shepherd will be sent to her village, she fears she'll no longer be allowed to help her father with the sheep. She'll be relegated back to kitchen work, stuck inside all day. Her fears increase when the new shepherd shows little interest in the flock--or in divulging why he's suddenly been sent to East. Is he keeping secrets that will impact Karlina's family?

Dovie Cates visits the Amana Colonies to learn more about the place where her mother grew up. But when Dovie begins to ask questions about her mother's past, no one seems willing to reveal anything, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will the answers she finds spell disaster for her future plans and the longings of her heart?




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A Simple Change

She never imagined a simple change could be so complicated...

Middle Amana, Iowa, 1881

When her parents decide to sell their home and move to the Amana Colonies, Jancey Rhoder must make a difficult decision. Should she give up her beloved teaching job and her carefree life in Kansas City to go with them?

Her suitor, Nathan Woodward, doesn't want her to go, but Jancey feels she must give this new life a try. Her mother is sick, and these next few months may be the last Jancey gets to spend with her. 



But will this move spell the end of her relationship with Nathan? And when life in Amana is far more mysterious and challenging than Jancey expected, will she choose to return to the city, or will she make this unique place her forever home?


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A Shining Light

A Peek inside a Fascinating Bonnet Community
When Andrea Wilson receives the devastating news that her husband has been lost at sea, she decides to return home to Iowa with her young son. But what she finds there is equally terrible: the family farm has burned and her father has died, leaving Andrea with few options. 



Relying on the kindness of the members of the Amana Colonies, she accepts their offer to live among them until she can make plans for her future. Andrea discovers so much goodness and contentment among the Amana people that she doesn't want to leave, especially since the strong, kind tinsmith, a man named Dirk, has captured her heart. 


But is this cloistered life what she wants for her and her son's future? Is she prepared to give up the comforts and freedom of the outside world? And when yet another wave of shocking news comes her way, will Andrea ever find the serenity and hope that have eluded her for so long?


The Carousel Painter
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

Somewhere to Belong (Daughters of Amana #1)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

More Than Words (Daughters of Amana #2)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

A Bond Never Broken (Daughters of Amana #3)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

To Have and to Hold (Bridal Veil Island #1)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

To Love and to Cherish (Bridal Veil Island #2)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

To Honor and Trust (Bridal Veil Island #3)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

A Hidden Truth (Home to Amana #1)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

A Simple Change (Home to Amana #2)
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

A Shining Light (Home to Amana #3)
[Pre-Order:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle The Book Depository]

A Patchwork Christmas Collection
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle The Book Depository]

The Immigrant Brides Collection
[Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

The final book in the Home to Amana series will release in early 2014 and is titled A Shining Light.

After that, fans can expect something totally different from me. I’m going to be writing a series that will be set shortly after the Civil War in the eastern portion of the United States. I’m excited about this new series as I’m incorporating a bit of my own family history. Some of the characters will be Scots-Irish and settle in the region of my own Scots-Irish ancestors. Researching for this series has provided me with great joy and untold blessings. I hope it will do the same for my readers.


What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

Much the same as I would to my readers here in the States or in any other country. I hope my books provide you with at least as much pleasure as I’ve had writing them, and thank you for all of your kind words. Writing is a lonely profession so we love to receive emails from our readers. I thank you for taking time to communicate with me!


Do you have any parting words?

Hugs and blessings to each of you. I pray God will touch your life in a meaningful way, and that you will use your gifts to glorify Him.


Buy Judith's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of one of Judith's novels - winner's choice - two copies to be won

Contest open to entrants worldwide.

Contest runs from 19-25 August NZDT


Please comment about the interview or leave a message for Judith when making a blog post comment - simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the book do not qualify as valid entries in the draw.


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