INTERVIEWS

SNIPPETS FROM INTERVIEWS WITH HEIDI RUBY MILLER

by Mary DeSantis for Kit N Kabookle
Tell us about some of your special experiences with readers.
Some of my first and best advocates for my books came from the lovely ladies and gents from the Girls, Guns, and Grimoires Goodreads group. I know I don't hang out as much there anymore, but I check in on them more often than they think. Thank you Claire, Yasmeen, Sunny, Soo, and Pam, especially.

And, much thanks to the wonderful authors at the SFR Brigade because they are writers that read--and the world needs lots more of those!
 
by Lisa Kastner for her Pennwriters branding workshop
1. Are there certain mediums you use to help promote yourself and your publications?
My most important social media sites for promotion are in this order:
Amazon Author Page - http://www.amazon.com/Heidi-Ruby-Miller/e/B002BM1M48
Goodreads Author Page - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/812866.Heidi_Ruby_Miller
Heidi Ruby Miller Blog - http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/heidirubymiller
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/heidirubymiller
Instagram - http://instagram.com/heidirubymiller

by Michael Keyton at The Rack (On Fiction Writing)
Which four books do you wish you had written?
Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk because that scene where the Governor is expressing his grief to Norman about Iris's death is one of the most moving pieces of prose I have ever read. When the Governor reveals his affair with Iris he does so in his native dialect, dropping the posh and arrogant tone he had used to raise himself above his childhood as a poor island boy. Brilliant and powerful. I often use this example in my classes of how to infuse emotion without the melodrama. I'm tearing up thinking about it now.
(CONTINUED)
And, click to read the awesome vignette Michael wrote to introduce me!

by D A Bale
2. Target Your Audience
Use your Amazon tags wisely. You only have two major categories and seven keyword categories. Take advantage of both your general markets and niche markets so that you can optimize the search results for your book. For instance, my latest novel Greenshift is listed in the broad main categories of Science Fiction and Space Opera, but I’ve included appropriate niche tags that are already popular like galactic empire, science fiction romance, futuristic, military science fiction, fantasy romance, science fiction adventure, and series.

by Venessa Giunta at FictionVale
If you suspect you’re writing a space opera or reading one or just saw one in the theater, here’s a handy checklist to be sure:

1. Was the story set in outer space within a huge world of exotic locales?

2. Were there many odd and wondrous creatures but still a humanoid race at the civilization’s core?

3. Was romance or an intergalactic love story at the heart of the plot?
(CONTINUED)

by Dana Faletti at Whatever Inspires
1. Tell me a little about what you do at RDSP.
I am the managing editor for RDSP's new Science Fiction Adventure imprint, Dog Star Books (launching August 2013). That means I'm in charge of title acquisitions and contracts, most content editing, and some copy editing. I also coordinate with our incredible cover artist, Bradley Sharp, and undertake some of the marketing responsibilities.

I also write for them so I have that rare opportunity to see both sides of the table, and I believe that perspective, coupled with teaching at Seton Hill and constant educational enrichment, makes me a better editor.

by Mary Clare at Love Books
What advice would you give to budding romance writers?
I would give the same advice to aspiring Romance writers that I would to any writer:

1) write every day, even if it’s just 100 words

2) outline, even if it’s just a simple overall sketch of the plot

3) join a writing community or two or three, online or in real life

4) go to at least one conference or convention every year

by Susan Abel Sullivan
If each of you were a sitcom character, who would you be and why?
HEIDI: Not sure it's considered a sit com, but I'm very much like Mika in Warehouse 13. I sometimes get caught up in the "job" and become all business. That's when I need to be reminded to relax and goof off…which sometimes gets me into trouble, but isn't that part of the fun? At least that's what they tell me.

JASON: Hmmm. Not sure Warehouse 13 is a sitcom, Heidi. Since she didn't follow the rules, I'll answer for her... She's Lindsay Bluth Fünke from Arrested Development. She knows why. "Hey, I found that canned ham that we've had forever, and I put it in a pot of boiling hot water, and guess what we're having?"

I, on the other hand, am Sterling Archer from Archer. I talk too much, enjoy a good cocktail any time of day, and I also hate it when lemurs get into the pudding cups.

HEIDI: Oh, you are so Archer sometimes! And, I admit to being more like Lindsay than anyone would ever guess.

by Charlotte at Reflections on Pages
What do you feel makes your novel stand out from others?
I believe the world of the Ambasadora-verse is unique and captivating because it's familiar enough to our own to be accessible and recognizable, but alien enough to inspire awe and provide the reader with a new perspective. It took me six years of world-building, and I add to it with each book. I swear it really exists out there somewhere beyond our solar system.

by Lee Allen Howard
Do you wish you could write more?
I decided to try my new tactic in 2012 after talking with horror writer and my co-editor of MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT, Michael A. Arnzen. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, he does focus words—words that he focuses on all year in order to make improvements in his life and career. My words were WRITE MORE, but that seemed too broad, so I decided upon WRITE FIRST.

And that’s what I’ve been doing since January 1.

by T. W. Fendley at The Writers Lens
If you could borrow one person’s zest for writing and/or life, whose and why?
I have a little article posted at my work station about actor Will Smith from an Entertainment Weekly a few years ago. In it he was asked why he thought he was so successful. His answer? He had inherited an insane work ethic from his family. He built his career on hard work and smart decisions.

That really resonated with me because I don't know of any people who work harder than my parents and brother. And not just at their jobs, but in every aspect of their lives—hobbies, the house, helping others. I was taught early on that if you work hard enough, you'll achieve your goals. As I've gotten older, I admit to my dismay that there is a certain amount of cosmic luck or a randomness that no amount of work can overcome, but you adapt.

I'm fond of the Qui-Gon Jinn philosophy of life: "Your focus determines your reality." Because it really does, for good or for bad, whether the outcome is what you expected or not, so why not focus on something good and productive?

by D. A. Bale
Which character in GREENSHIFT do you most identify with, if any, and why?
I'm a little bit of both David and Mari, though I bring something of myself to every character I write - there's no way to avoid my personal schema when I write. I'm like David in the respect that I'm always trying to be the responsible one, but am willing to break the rules for someone I care about. I'm like Mari because I love sweets and use my brain more than my muscle.

by Shawn Hopkins
Do you have other cross-genre projects in the works?
All of my stories are speculative in nature (SF, Fantasy, Horror, Magical Realism), but I have really found a happiness with SF Romance—not only the space opera style like the Ambasadora-verse books, but also contemporary Earth-based SFR like ATOMIC ZION, the start of another series which I'm hoping will be released next year. It has more of a thriller feel, though even in AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT I tend to keep the story at a fast pace.

by Hilary Lesch at Novel d'Tales
Favorite Books.
A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle, DON'T STOP THE CARNIVAL by Herman Wouk, 2010 by Arthur C. Clarke, RELIC by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, CHILDREN OF SCARABAEUS by Sara Creasy, NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman, WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks, and THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK by Jason Jack Miller.

at Inveterate Media Junkies
Who did your cover art for AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT?
The wonderful artwork and typography was done by artist Byron Winton. Byron is from my neck of the woods near Pittsburgh, PA, where he is a member of the PITTSBURGH SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS. He paints popular culture imagery from memorable movies like Star Wars and Resident Evil, but also creates mind-blowing original concepts like Mari sabotaging a hydroponics bay for GREENSHIFT.

by Claire at Claire's Book Corner
I love the character Rainer. It really shocked me what happened in AMBASADORA with him. Do you have a set plan for your characters or do they take on a life of their own and develop throughout the writing process?
Most female readers loved Rainer. I've had some fans tell me they liked him better than Sean, even at the end. There was a different ending to AMBASADORA once upon a time, which was why I had to go back through and make Rainer's responses to Sara much colder than in the original draft. I liked him a lot, too, so it was difficult making him a secondary villain. One reader told me she still looked at him as a hero because he stayed true to his message of family throughout the novel. In the next novel, readers who thought Rainer deserved a second chance will get their wish.

But I digress…To answer your question, I always know my characters inside and out before I sit down at the laptop. Lots of daydreaming and coming up with backgrounds and trying them out in many situations. But, there is always room for development and a few surprises during the process.

by Abigail at The Story Factory Reading Zone
Describe your ideal virtual world.
There was a world in the V-side that never made it into the final version of Ambasadora. It was originally meant as the ending scene, but I changed my mind on that last rewrite. The setting was like Greek ruins, all alabaster pillars and an amphitheater surrounded by rolling meadows with fluorescent green grass and purple and blue wild flowers. The interesting part was how an av entered this world—dropping as a large flower from silvery clouds in the sky, then when the flower reached the ground, it burst apart leaving the av standing in its place. You'll probably see this world in a future book….

at Tina's Book Reviews
Reconciling Science Fiction and Romance
...I predict that SF Romance will one day become as popular in the mainstream as Paranormal Romance and Fantasy Romance. Take the new wave of Steampunk Romances breaking out of obscurity. Steampunk Romance will open the gate for other kinds of Science Fiction Romance. Here's to hoping we unlock that gate soon.

by Leanna Bell at Magic of Reading
With regards to relationships in Ambasadora a lot of these are polygamous, why did you decide to make this a normal part of Ambasdora’s society?
...To me it made sense, considering we get the hint that the original worldship dwellers were a small group of refugees from Earth. As death and disease took its toll, the only way to boost population and ensure a diverse gene pool would be through multiple breeding partners. After a generation or two, this practice would become established as tradition and written as part of the History...

by Stef and Mickey at I'm a Book Shark
Okay, I HAVE to know – where in the world did you get the idea for the intra-tats from?? They sound SO cool!
Ha! My Mum asked me the same question while she was reading the book. It's all due to my inability to hide my feelings. I wear them on my sleeve (yes, cliché, but I'm off the clock right now!), even when I'm trying for a stiff upper lip. I wondered, what if there were a physical cue to show when you were agitated or sad, something you didn't want others to see, but couldn’t control? That would be infuriating, especially if the feeling you were trying to hide was arousal. (I guess we know how men feel now.) And, the idea of glowing lights below the skin, a tattoo that would never fade until you died because it was a part of you, seemed beautiful and erotic and unlike anything I’d seen before. I had already begun to picture the love scene and it made me breathe a little deeper at the thought. Thus, I had to give Sara bio-lights.

by Jon Sprunk at Fear of the Dark
As a teacher, what advice do you give your students who aspire to write science fiction?
Write the type of SF you want to write—don't write to market. My novels deal more with the social sciences rather than hard science, plus are centered around relationships. I heard from many SF insiders that there wasn't a readership for that kind of SF, yet I've found one, mostly women like me who want stories where the relationship is just as important as the adventure (to quote my own tagline!)...

by Lawrence C. Connolly at The 21st Century Scop
by Dave Zuchowski at The HeraldStandard.com
by Jaletta Clegg at The Far Edge of Normal


at Born to Write
Science Fiction Romance
I played up the emotional intensity and elevated the sensuality of the book, especially between the main protagonists, Sean and Sara. It proved to be an easy enhancement considering the society is essentially based on sex, as all societies really are. My Ambasadora-verse society is divided into an Upper and Lower Caste with sub-divisions among the Uppers. Add to that the concept of multiple partners and I couldn't help but write about how sexual relationships had a direct impact on my world.

by Jeff Ayers at The Big Thrill

by Marcie Turner at To Read or Not to Read
What do G. I. Joe, InStyle magazine, and Linkin Park have in common?
I used something from all of them in Ambasadora.

by Tamela Quijas at At Your Fingertips
How does the romance manifest?
Years of depression from mourning the loss of his father and older brother have left Sean with nothing but his ideals and a high-ranking position in the techno-militant fraggers. He knows his life is empty, but believes that’s just his fate.

Then Sara walks onto his ship, secretly sent by the Embassy to eliminate the fragger aboard. She doesn’t know it’s Sean, but he knows why she’s there, yet doesn’t care because from the moment he meets her, he experiences what his society calls an emotional fallacy, an instant attraction biased by emotions and hormones—what we call love at first sight, with a healthy dose of lust thrown in. His feelings for her heighten each time they interact, feeding not only the sexual tension between them, but also his resolve to protect her at any cost, knowing full well that Sara could still betray him in the end.

at Romance Bandits
Branding
My brand is strength through a lover, so the relationship is just as important to me as the adventure. The adventure takes many forms—space opera, thrillers, fantasy—but the coming together of one or more couples within that framework is a must for the story. I love reading emotional scenes of intimacy, and for me, they are just as exhilarating to write, so I make consummating the relationship as big of a grail as stopping the bad guy. In my mind, it’s the most satisfying ending.

by Meg Mims at Time Discovers Truth
by Rosie Ugliuzza at Pennwriters
by Adele Cosgrove-Bray


by K. Ceres Wright
If your job position was written about in a book, what important points should be captured to get a real sense of what the job is about?

initiative, practice, persistence, discipline, confidence

by Maria V. Snyder
Heidi writes about her inspiration for her story ("The Islands of Hope" in SAILS AND SORCERY)
In Japan, a 'kami' is a spirit. Some Japanese belief systems hold that everything has a kami; people, stones, trees, houses. That concept in itself is intriguing. Add to it the 'shinbashira' and I had the beginnings of a story. A 'shinbashira' is the central pillar of a pagoda, often the trunk of a cedar tree. It floats, or at least isn't anchored in the ground so that it can dampen the effect of small and sometimes very large seismic movements...