Tell me three interesting facts about yourself!
1. I trip getting inside of my own car
2. I’m probably the only person on the planet who actually failed at taking a selfie
3. While growing up, one of my aspirations was to be a rapping psychologist.
Summarize your book in one line.
When Leena Williams suspects that there’s something other worldly about her son’s new stepmother, she goes digging for answers and discovers a little too late that some secrets are better left buried.
Tell me something cool/crazy/quirky about the book – it can be anything!
When I sat down to write the first draft of The New Mrs. Collins, a funny voice took over and it turned into a comedy! I was going to tell the story from the point of view of a nanny who discovers that her boss’ new wife is a sinister woman with mystic powers. This is how the story was going to go: the nanny, because of a flat tire, would get stranded in an affluent neighborhood without a cellphone, end up knocking on a random door, mistaken for an interviewee, and land the nanny job by mistake. But when I put the character on the page, this humorous voice took over, and the nanny-to-be never made it into the house. That character ended up being Jasmine T. Peacock, the protagonist of my first novel, a romantic comedy called It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy.
After that, I had doubts about whether or not I could even write a paranormal novel but then I asked myself: what kind of story do you want to see? I knew I wanted to write about a main character I could relate to, from my neck of the woods (Southwest Louisiana!) who discovers that there is a bit of magic in the world. So I re-evaluated the The New Mrs. Collins(whole new plot, page one rewrite), set it in a fictional town in Louisiana called “Carolville,” and it was full speed ahead. It took some time, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it because writing it proved to me that if you push through fear and doubt, you can accomplish exactly what you put your mind to.
Why did you decide to write this particular book?
I wanted to explore what would happen when a woman pulls the veil back on the seemingly normal world she lives in. The main character, Leena, has lived her whole life in this small Louisiana town, never once suspecting that there are people in the world with mystic powers, and all of a sudden, not only does one such woman come into her life, but the woman is beautiful, has stolen her fiancé, and is now the stepmother to her son! In an attempt to solve the mystery of who this woman is, Leena ends up going down the proverbial rabbit hole. I was intrigued by how I might get her out of it.
Best part of the writing process?
I think it’s the feeling you get when the story in your head (finally!) matches what you put on paper.
Share one thing you learned writing this book.
I learned that you don’t know what you’re capable of until you try. I had a lot of doubt while writing this book, wondering if I could even write something paranormal, but I’m glad that I pushed through the doubt and proved to myself that if I put my mind to something, I can do it—even when it looks like it’s not going to be easy.
Tell me about one strange experience you’ve had. Again, it can be anything!
I commissioned someone to do the cover for my first novel and during the process, started to get the feeling that he’d run off with my money since my emails to him went unanswered. One night, I had a dream about a redheaded woman with glasses waving to me from her front porch.
The next day, I googled the cover artist and one of the first links that popped up was a cautionary blog post saying why you shouldn’t hire that particular artist. The strange part? There was a picture of the woman who wrote the post. She had red hair and glasses and looked eerily similar to the woman from my dream. Yikes!
Name one fictional place you’d love to visit.
I’ll just go ahead and say Oz (I would say Wonderland but that Mad Hatter might just be a tad bit too loony for me).
Name one real place you’d love to visit.
Share one sentence/mini-excerpt from the book!
It took her twenty minutes to walk back to the house on the lake, and all she could think about was finding something to chop off that bitch’s head. She would do it and God would just have to forgive her. What could she use? She looked at all the trash in front of the house that she’d hauled from the shed. The wheelbarrow. Boxes. Lumber. The pruning saw. The blade was sharp. And over ten inches long.
She picked it up by the handle and walked into the house.
In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart.
Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so she has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis.
And it burns every time she does.
But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife—it’s the strange way she can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet.
Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried.
Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She is the author of The New Mrs. Collins, a southern paranormal novel, and It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy, a romantic comedy. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel. To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress visit quanietalkswriting.com.
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