Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Annie Miles. She is the author of Misled.
Annie Miles, Author
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Annie Miles is the pseudonym for the real woman portrayed in Misled. In real life, she writes a mystery series and is the mother of two sons and the legal guardian of her mother, who gives her new material daily. Annie is a firm believer in the saying, "People are put into your life as either a blessing or a lesson." You will find both in the characters of Misled. It is the lessons that fuel the book and the blessings that fuel Annie. She lives in the South where she enjoys reading, writing, baking, and photography. She welcomes correspondence, particularly from women who are suffering through trying times.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Misled. What do you have on the drawing board next? Do you plan on writing another novel under your pseudonym?
Thank you, James, it's nice to finally have it out there. I'm currently writing the sequel to Misled, which will be titled Mistreated: The Year of Ugly. It picks up where Misled left off, and the reader experiences more trials and tribulations with Annie, her mother, and Daniel. There are some big changes in these characters lives in this second book.
You do a lot of book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances. When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
As Annie, I actually don't do personal appearances because I have to keep my identity a secret. Misled is fiction, but it's based on a true story--my story--and because of the delicate nature of the book, I need to remain anonymous. I hope to do more interviews online, and I try to be active on social media. To be honest, though, I don't do many personal appearances under my real name either. It's hard to get past the self-published stereotype. The local bookstores won't give me the time of day. So I just stick to online interviews.
You have a great cover. How did your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach?
Thank you! I bought the image online and adapted it, and I used EM Tippets Book Designs to help me with the layout
(http://www.emtippettsbookdesigns.com/). This is the only cover I’ve done mostly by myself, but I'm happy with it.
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I don't belong to any groups at the moment, but I belonged to
thenextbigwriter.com when I was writing Misled, and it was a huge help. I would not have been able to write the book without the advice and support I got on that site.
How did you start your book launch process for Misled? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?
I try to solicit as many reviews and interviews online as I can. There are a lot of writer sites out there, and it's time consuming to contact them, but they're the best way to reach readers, I think. As far as steps, I hire an editor and a proofreader. Once all the corrections are made, I send it to EM Tippets Book Designs. They format the manuscript for ebooks and paperback, and Emily usually helps me with the final layout of the cover art. While I'm waiting for all that to be done, I start contacting bloggers for reviews and interviews.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I'm just beginning to build a reader list. My book is too new and too undiscovered at this point, but I try to post on social media and gain readers that way too.
I enjoyed your interview with Reade & Write. Is it difficult to maintain two writer identities; one as a Mystery writer and the other as a Women’s Fiction writer? Does it get in the way of your marketing effort?
It would be much easier if I could publish under one name. My mystery books have done much better than Misled has so far, and it would be wonderful to tap into the readership of the mystery books, but as I said, that's just not possible. It's also been harder to get bloggers to host me or review the book, since Annie Miles is an unknown author. Publishing under two names means twice the work as far as marketing. You really do have to be two separate authors, and that's hard to do because God only gives you 24 hours in a day whether you're one or two people!
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
I mainly solicit bloggers for reviews. I'm happy to send anyone a free e-copy for an honest review, but I haven't sought professional reviews mainly because I don't want to spend the money so many of them charge.
You are published under different names and genres. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre did you enjoy writing the most?
Changing hats creates a time crunch problem! I could save so much time if I wrote and marketed under one name. I think my ADD helps in that respect though! I typically hop from one thing to the next, so going from one persona to another isn't really hard, it's just time consuming. Writing Misled was therapeutic for me, but it was also hard to relive so many painful memories. That's how I got started writing the mystery novels--I needed to escape real life. Those two motivations hold fast today. When I write under Annie Miles, I purge all my demons. It's very therapeutic to write about your problems, at least it is for me. But when life gets to be too hard, it's wonderful to retreat to another fictional world. I can't really say I have a favorite. Both serve their own purposes. I just love to write.
Author's Book List
- Inspired by a true story of love, betrayal, and forgiveness
When Diana, a lonely housewife, falls for Daniel--her daughter Annie's teenage crush—she will stop at nothing to ensure he stays in her life. In Machiavellian style, Diana betrays her daughter, secretively designing, controlling, and planning Annie’s future. It isn’t until years later, when Annie discovers letters exchanged by her mother and Daniel, that she learns the truth and sees the manipulation and lies that led her to a doomed marriage.
Twenty years later, when Diana is diagnosed with dementia and Annie is forced to be her mother's caretaker, she must come to terms with her mother’s betrayal, her husband’s deceit, and her own desire for love and happiness, all the while managing to maintain her sanity and sense of humor. Based on a true story, this book will shock, entertain, and astound you.
Excerpt - Misled
Chapter 1, Anger Management
Through gritted teeth, with her finger pointed straight at me and hate in her eyes, my mother said, “You have betrayed me, and I will never forgive you for this.”
The wounded child in me silently said, And you are an expert in the field of betrayal, aren’t you, Mother? You want to talk about betrayal? Let’s talk about 1979. Let’s talk the letters. Let’s talk about my marriage...
But the adult me wearily said out loud, “I wish you could see I’m doing this for you and not to you.”
Many years before, my mother had given me power of attorney, and today I was invoking it because her mental and physical health had deteriorated to a point where she could no longer live alone. Anybody and everybody who knew her could see it was the right thing to do. But dementia had taken every cell of rational thinking from my mother’s brain, and she was vehemently opposed to leaving her house and not shy about giving us a piece of her mind, if you’ll pardon the expression.
I’d tried to broach the subject of her moving for weeks, but she immediately shut me down each time. I tried to talk to her about getting home health care, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She was falling daily, and in fact just a week before had fallen and hurt her leg so badly she was bedridden for days. This was after she threw up in her kitchen and lay in her vomit for hours before she had enough strength to crawl down the long hallway to her bed. And she didn’t see anything wrong with that.
But it was her inability to see that she’d been conned out of $4,000 that finally bought her a one-way ticket to assisted living. She had hired a man to do some yard work, and he had quickly assessed her situation: wealthy older woman, living alone, diminished mental faculties. Ripe for the picking. He showed up daily, knocked on her door, told her she owed him $770, and she wrote him a check, no questions asked.
She not only wouldn’t believe the man was cheating her, she was furious with me when I called the Crimes Against the Elderly unit. It wasn’t until the detective showed her the man’s mug shot that she finally conceded that maybe the yardman hadn’t been completely honest with her. But she still failed to see the gravity of the situation.
“So I lost some money. Big deal. I don’t see what everybody’s so upset about.”
So there I was, with two employees from the assisted living facility, standing in my mother’s bedroom for over an hour, trying to convince her she needed help. Appealing to her vanity, they managed to get her a hair appointment at SeniorHome and that was when she finally—reluctantly—agreed to go “for a few days.” Don’t pack lightly, Mom...
But even with all of the turmoil of the day, one word kept running through my mind: betrayal. How dare she accuse me of that after what she had done to me. How dare she!
For over a year, from the time she was diagnosed with vascular dementia to that moment in her bedroom, I had been forced to spend more and more time with my mother. We’d finally gotten her to stop driving (for which I should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, if I do say so myself), but that meant I had to drive her everywhere she needed to go. All of this Mommy and me time had brought the past back to the forefront of my mind. The words she’d written thirty years ago, never dreaming I would see, kept running through my mind:
“I’m the greatest and most fantastic? It occurs to me that you make me feel great and fantastic...”
“You give me a thrill by your mere presence...”
Burned into my psyche was the knowledge that she’d so artfully deceived me, competed with me, hated me—then and now. So much had happened over the last thirty years, but one thing was the same: her duplicity. She never stopped pretending to love me.
No matter how hard I tried to forget, her words of love for the man who would be my husband mingled in my brain with the sentiment of her hate for me:
“She’s kind of on my “little shit” list right now. I’m sure I’ll get over it, but right now I just don’t much care one way or another about her.”
And now she was accusing me of betrayal? She would never forgive me?
“...that pea-brained little jerk of a daughter...”
I felt like I was teetering on the edge of a cliff, and one slight breeze might push me over.
Being her caretaker wasn’t the only thing wrong with my life. Front and center was my dysfunctional marriage. I was living a life she designed for me. And it sucked.
When I’d found out the truth, eighteen years before, I locked it away in the back of my mind. I forgave and thought I forgot what she’d done to me. But her illness and being forced to spend so much time with her brought it all back in a constant rush of torrential feelings.
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Amy Metz is a Author of Mystery & Thrillers as well as a blogger and book editor.
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