Sunday, December 8, 2013

Interview with Jessica Miller Author of The Wanderers

1. Please tell us about your latest release.

My latest book, Reborn, is the second book in The Wanderers series. After Ella finally discovers what she is she still has a lot to figure out. She wants to know where exactly she fits in this world and what’s going to happen to her now. The second installment takes Ella back to the East Coast where we meet a few new characters and have an appearance here and there from a few old ones. Heartache, romance, and suspense keeps you on your toes in the next book.

2. Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

I try to find names that haven’t been used too often, but sometimes I come across a name that I really like. Usually they’re classic names and how can you go wrong with that. I do look at the meaning of names before I pick a name to go with a character. I like the name to mean something and suit the character I’m using it for. Although I like to pick names that haven’t been used a lot I will not pick a crazy name that no one can pronounce. That bugs me when other authors do that. I get being different but sometimes these names are just ridiculous.

3. What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

One of my favorite scenes from the book is when Ella meets Tristan. Ella has this standoffish attitude towards him which just makes him want her that much more. Tristan hasn’t heard the word no often so he takes Ella as a challenge. The interaction between the two of them throughout the book was probably the most fun I had writing this book.

4. Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

I found tons of things. I’ve always been interested in folk lore and different cultures so it was fun to see all their different beliefs and history. I am not a religious person, but to see where some of the stories originated from was pretty neat.

5. Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

Yes, sarcasm. I can be very sarcastic sometimes and I tend to forget with people I just meet that I have to be careful, because I always get the look, “Is she serious?” I find it funny, but not everyone else. A lot of people walk away confused which just makes me laugh harder. My stubbornness is another attribute that I put into some of my characters. I’m sure there are a few others I could find if flipped through the books.

6. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Yes. I know where I want the story to go but for some reason sometimes I’ll get stuck on a specific scene. The best way I found I can deal with that is put on my headphones and go for a walk, which works great in the summer, but in the winter when it’s cold, it doesn’t go over well. I have yet to find a way to deal with the winter blues so I usually just put the computer aside and relax for a little. Or, I’ll start a new scene and come back to that one later.

7. What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Books. No matter how broke I am, I will find a way to buy a new book. Junk food is another, but I do better at resisting that than buying new books. I have a stack on my nightstand of books to read. I panic when it gets too low and then I’m like, “OMG, I have no books!” even though there’s still 3 unread ones sitting there.

8. What can readers expect next from you?

Currently I am working on a New Adult romance. I’m excited to get this one out and see what people think. I’m also working on another young adult book called The Dark Queen. It’s a new twist on Snow White. And somewhere in between those I hopefully will be releasing the third book in The Wanderers series, Unforgiven. I have a lot on my plate right now so hopefully I can find a way to get past the winter blues and get motivated.

9. Where can readers find you on the web?

Twitter: JessicaMiller@JLMreadingrocks

10. Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Absolutely. This is one my favorite scenes where Ella meets Tristan for the first time.

“What do you want to drink?” Josie asked.
     “Um...a beer is good,” I said, trying to play it safe.
     We found a medium sized bar set up in the back, complete with bartender. The bartender was wearing tight, black spandex shorts and just a bow tie. “I definitely know I'm going to like it here,” Josie whispered in my ear.
     “What can I get you?” the bartender asked.
     “I'll have a...” Josie was ordering her drink when I started to get the strangest sensation of being watched. I looked over to my right to discover a strange young man staring at me. He had a cocky smile on his face, like he was the type of guy girls never said no to. I turned away letting him know I was not interested. I knew he didn't take the hint when I could still feel his eyes on me. I moved closer to Josie starting to feel uncomfortable under his piercing gaze. I refused to let him intimidate me so I untucked my hair from behind my ear letting it fall to create a dark brown veil to hide my reddened cheeks.
     “And what can I get you?” the bartender asked me next, grabbing my attention.
     “I'll have a beer,” I replied.
     “The beers are over there,” the bartender said, pointing behind us.
     “And I'm sure pledge Johnson would love to walk over there and get one for you,” said the strange young man who seemed to forget how impolite it is to stare.
     “No. It's okay. I can get it,” I said, wanting to get away from him.
     The bartender stood there as if waiting for a command. The creep with the staring problem nodded to him and he was off. As if that was an invitation to come talk to me he made his way over. “It's his job,” he said, leaning against the bar and looking me up and down like he was trying to envision me naked. I crossed my arms over my chest feeling a little violated as his dark blue eyes studied me. He smiled satisfied as he ran a hand through his messy black hair. Not sure what he was attempting to accomplish because it looked like he just threw some gel in it giving it that messy, ‘this is what I meant to do’ look.
     I shuffled my feet nervously waiting for the bartender to come back with my drink. I was trying to be nice and didn't know how much longer I could keep my composure with the way this guy was staring at me. When the bartender returned with my beer I said thank you and turned to walk away, but the creepy guy jumped in front of me blocking my path. When he stood straight, he was about a foot taller than me. He was wearing a green polo shirt and jeans that hung a little baggy on his slim body.
     I pushed my shoulders back preparing for whatever he was going to throw at me. He was in for a sore surprise if he thought he could woo me with his charm the way I was sure he had every other girl. He smiled cockily at me and extended his hand. “I'm Tristan,” he said.
     “Ella.” I shook his hand and he didn't seem to want to let it go. “Can I have my hand back?” I asked, annoyed.
     He smiled and pulled my hand to his lips. “Stella piu bella.”
     “I don't speak Italian,” I said, narrowing my eyes at him.
     “Enjoy the party Ella,” he winked and walked away.
     “What a creep,” I said to Josie after he left.
     “I think he's hot,” Josie said.
     “You would.”
     “And you don't?” she asked, surprised.
     “That doesn't matter. He's a player,” I said, watching him work the room and flirt with every girl he passed.
     “Ella, not all good looking guys are dicks.” Josie rolled her eyes.
     “Josie, let's not forget I've spent the last eighteen years living with the world's biggest player. I think I can spot a jerk when I see one.”
     “Well forget him then, let's mingle,” she said pulling me along.
     “Wait, where's Jack?” I asked. We've only been here ten minutes and I already lost him.
     “Bathroom...I think?” Josie shrugged, not in the least bit concerned. Josie was quick to move on when she lost interest.
     Jack showed up about fifteen minutes later confirming he was in the bathroom. “Sorry there was a long line,” he said.
     “That's okay. You want something to drink?” I asked him.
     “Sure,” he smiled. We walked over to a different bar than before and got Jack a drink.

I spent the rest of the night watching Josie socialize. I wasn't too much in the mood anymore. I kept to myself and talked to Jack most of the time. Every now and then I would catch the creep, Tristan, staring at me from across the room. No matter where we moved he was there, still staring. This was bordering on stalking. I was about to put a stop to it by telling him to drop this charade because there was no way in hell I would ever let him touch me, when Josie interrupted. “Ella this is Cadence. She's one of the sisters of Theta Kappa.”
     “Hi Ella, it’s nice to meet you. Would you like to meet some of the other sisters?” Cadence asked.
     I wanted to say no, but from the look on Josie's face I knew she wanted me to do this for her. I smiled politely and said, “Sure.”
     We followed Cadence over to the other side of the house. “Ella, Josie, this is Cassidy, Bailey, and Skylar.” Of course they were all blond and dressed like they were entering a fashion show. I put my best face forward and politely greeted each one of them. That was one of the first things my mom taught me. To always show respect and be considerate even if the person you're entertaining is an ass.
     “Don't you think they would make a perfect addition to our sorority?” Cadence said addressing the girls. Bailey smiled wide agreeing; Skylar gave me a look of distaste, not approving of Cadence's decision while Cassidy seemed to care less. I wasn't sure I so much liked the idea of being 'sisters' with these girls.
     “Ella? Hello Ella?” Josie said, snapping me back.
     “Oh, I'm sorry,” I said, getting a humorless laugh from Skylar. I fought the urge to glare at her.
     “Cadence would like us to pledge their sorority,” Josie said.
     “Oh, um, thank you but I don't think I'll be pledging this year.” I generously declined. Josie looked at me like I was crazy. “I just want to concentrate on my school work first before I get involved in anything else,” I explained.
     “I completely understand,” Bailey said. “I felt the same way you did until I met the sisters.” And here comes the sales pitch. “We always put our studies first and have a handful of sisters who are always willing to help out.”
     “Let us tell you some more of what we're about before you say no,” Cadence said, putting her arm around me, pushing Jack aside, and leading me to a couch by the wall. We sat down and Cadence went into more detail about the sorority. She explained that, yes, while they were known for their parties, they also did a lot of charity work around the community. Sisterhood was the most important thing to them and all the sisters looked after each other. She went on and on. I spaced out somewhere around the different levels of sisterhood.
        After several looks of disapproval from Josie, I made a solid attempt to make it seem like I was paying attention, but was having a hard time. I kept getting this weird feeling in my stomach. It was a strange kind of fluttering. Almost like a magnetic pull to something or someone. I looked up and noticed Tristan was making his rounds. I watched as he greeted each person he passed. A different smile for each of them. He had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand. I could see how easy it was for the naive to fall for his charm. He knew how to work the crowd. It seemed all it took was the flash of his pearly whites or a wink from those intense dark blue eyes.
     He looked over his shoulder like he could feel someone looking at him. I kept watching forgetting that someone was me. He looked directly at me and smiled, satisfied. I quickly looked away before he returned his attention to his friends. I forced myself to focus on something else. I found Josie hanging out with the other sisters having a good time and Jack, well, he looked miserable. He was just standing in the corner all by himself fidgeting uncomfortably. I guess he's not the socializing type.
     “So what do you think?” Cadence asked, bringing my attention back to her.
     “Well, you definitely gave me some things to think about. Can I get back to you on my decision?”
     “Absolutely, just don't wait too long. We're filling up quick with new pledges.”
     I smiled kindly ending the conversation. Josie came running over to me. “You said yes?” she asked, hopeful.
     “I said I'd think about it.”
     “Come on Ella. What's there to think about? They throw the coolest parties with the hottest guys. They are respected around campus, plus they do charity work...” Josie pleaded with her eyes.
     “And you know all of this how?”
     “It doesn't matter where I got the information. Just say yes.”
     “I'll think about it,” I repeated. Josie took my hand and pulled me back over to the girls. “Wait, Jack's all by himself.”
     “Let him go. It's not our fault he doesn't know how to socialize.”
     I felt bad that Josie dragged him to this party when he clearly wasn't having fun. I kept my eye on him while Josie flitted about with the sisters. That's when I started to feel that weird pull in my stomach again, but then it was gone as quick as it came. “Ladies...looking to add some new additions?” I sighed and turned around to see Tristan standing in front of me with his arms around Cassidy and Skylar.
     “Tristan, this is Ella,” Cadence said, introducing us.
     “We've already had the pleasure,” he said, smiling at me. I ignored him, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of knowing he bothered me.
     “And this is Josie.” He took her hand as he did mine earlier and kissed it causing Josie to blush. “Tristan is one of the brothers of Theta Pi, our brother fraternity.” Cadence continued. “One of his ancestors is a founding father, which makes him quite the legacy here.”
     “We all know why I'm a legacy here and it has nothing to do with my ancestry,” Tristan said, squeezing the girls tighter, making them giggle. I had to fight the urge to vomit.
     I crossed my arms tightly over my chest and tried my best not to glare at him. I knew Josie would be pissed at me if my attitude towards Tristan ended up ruining her chances with becoming friends with these girls. I had no idea why she would want to be, though. I suddenly got a small flutter in my stomach and looked up to see Tristan watching me curiously. I bit the inside of my cheek as he kept his eyes on me. Even though his hands were busy on someone else that didn’t stop him from checking other girls out, proving my earlier theory of him being a player. I looked at him appalled. I started to feel nauseous so I decided I needed to get some air. “Josie, I'll be right back. I'm just going to step outside for a bit.”
     “You okay?”
     “Yeah, I just need some air. It's getting a little crowded in here,” I said directly to Tristan hoping he'd get the hint and be gone when I returned.
     I stepped outside and took a deep breath of fresh, cool air. It burned my lungs a little. They weren't used to this cool of a climate, but I didn't care. It felt refreshing. “Hey,” Jack said coming up behind me.
     “Hey, you having fun?”
     “It's alright, like I said, parties aren't really my thing,” he shrugged.
     “Then why did you come?”
     “I guess...well,” he fidgeted.
     “Ella!” Tristan called jogging over to us.
     “God, I can't get rid of this guy,” I groaned.
     “You want me to tell him to beat it?” Jack asked.
     “No. I can handle him, but thank you. Why don't you head back? I'm going to wait for Josie.”
     “I can wait with you. I don't mind.”
     “Go back. I know Josie's not going to want to leave anytime soon. We'll be fine, I promise.”
     Jack reluctantly waved goodbye and I watched him stick his hands in his pockets as he walked off. Then I took another deep breath and turned around to face Tristan who had now closed the distance between us. I stood there with my arms crossed and eyes glaring waiting for him to tell me what he wanted.
     “Wow, I haven't seen a look of such distaste since Bailey caught me in bed with her sister.” I let out a sarcastic laugh and turned to walk away. Tristan put his hand on my arm stopping me. “I was just kidding,” he said.
     “Why do I find that hard to believe?” I said hoping my tone of voice would give him the hint that I was not interested.
     “You’ve got a bit of an attitude. I like that,” he grinned, letting me know I needed a new tactic.
     “Is there something you want?” I said, annoyed. He smiled that cocky smile and took a step closer. I put my hand on his chest stopping him and keeping him at arm's length.
     “I heard you were joining Theta Kappa and I wanted to officially welcome you.”
     “I haven't said yes, yet, and now that I know it would mean seeing more of you, I will be declining the offer,” I said, dropping my hand.
     “Don't say no on account of me. Theta Kappa is one of the most prestigious sororities on campus and can do great things for your future.”
     “Trust me. I don't need some dumb sorority to help me with my future.”
     “Ah...I see,” he said as if he just figured me out. Noticing he was losing me he laid on the charm. “Still they could use someone like you. They don't know it yet, but they'll be lucky to have you.”
     “Did they send you out here to try and convince me? Let's send Tristan, he can convince anybody. All he has to do is bat his long eyelashes and look with those dark blue eyes.” I tossed my hair mocking the sisters.
     He cracked a smile and took a step closer to me, leaving our faces only inches apart. “You think I have beautiful eyes?” he asked, his breath getting heavy.
     My heart started to quicken as I stared into his dark blue eyes. Then reality struck when the wind blew hair across my face. I took a step back. “I never said that.” My arms crossed into a hasty barrier again and I struggled to stay composed.
     He chuckled. “Why Ella, I do believe you're blushing,” he said. His cocky smile returning. I glared at him, shoving past as I walked back into the house. “Oh c'mon,” he said laughing.
     “Hey Josie, you ready?”
     “It's like only twelve.” I looked back to see Tristan was reentering the house and heading in my direction.
     “Don't mind Tristan. He's harmless,” Cadence said. “He was actually the one who suggested I extend the invite for you to join.”
     “Of course,” I said under my breath.

     “Please don't let him discourage you from your decision. You really don't have to worry about him. The most you'll see of him is at the parties. That's it. He doesn't do anything else.” I turned and looked at him over my shoulder. One of the sisters had walked by taking his hand and pulling him to the dance floor. His eyes met my own and for a second I thought I saw something different, something deeper, but then he threw me his cocky smile again and grabbed Skylar's ass, making all that fade away.

What do you do when you learn your family is the one who's holding all the secrets. Secrets that could get you killed...

Ella is looking forward to starting college in the fall with her best friend Josie. She’s looking for a place where she can get away from her overbearing parents and two older annoying brothers. Unfortunately Ella realizes that sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. 

Ella soon learns that the man who terrorizes her dreams is in fact real and coming after her. 

When one of her classmates is murdered, Ella slowly recognizes this is not some strange coincidence. Ella fears that the boy she’s falling in love with is the one who stalks her dreams and no longer knows who she can trust. 

When she finally learns the truth of her families deepest secret, Ella has to face her demons by taking out one of the people she thought she could trust…before they kill her.

Available at Amazon

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