Tuesday, November 12, 2013

VBT: It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy

tell me about yourself, and your writing.

I’m from southwest Louisiana. When I was growing up we would sit for hours on my grandmother’s porch and gossip and tell funny stories. My grandmother was the ringleader and was (and still is!) the queen of funny comebacks. So I learned a lot about writing humor growing up without even realizing that I was. My grandmother, my mom, and my aunts are all funny, sassy women who don’t mind telling you about yourself and some variation of them always shows up in the things that I write.

How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?
I wrote my first short story when I was 9. It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy is my first published book. It’s a romantic comedy.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

You know, I do write in multiple genres. I have a paranormal story that I’ll be publishing next year under another name and even an idea for something that feels like science fiction. I don’t let genre decide what I’m going to write, though. For me, it’s all about the characters and how the story is going to make a reader feel. I don’t let the fact that I don’t know certain genre conventions keep me from writing. I just ask myself what do I need to do to tell this story in a way that feels true? And I just go from there. It’s all very intuitive.

Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
Oh, God. Definitely a plotter! I tried pantsing once and the novel was the biggest mess you ever wanted to see (it’s still hiding in a drawer somewhere). So I definitely outline before I write, by chapters and scenes. I don’t necessarily follow the outline a hundred percent because sometimes characters dictate where the story needs to go once you’re actually writing, but I view the outline as sort of a road map. I may veer off course every now and then but the destination remains the same.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
If it’s a work day, I get up at 5:00 am. If it’s a weekend, I get up whenever. I write for two hours (sometimes two and a half) first thing in the morning and then I’m pretty much done for the day.

Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?
I read a lot of RL Stine and Christopher Pike growing up. And then in college I read whatever was assigned. After grad school it took me a long time to start reading for pleasure again because I was so burned out. But I’m slowly finding my way back. Recently I’ve read Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed you Made. Couldn’t put it down. Just read Gone Girl. My two favorite books are Sula and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
Honestly, I’d like to make enough of a living as a novelist to be doing it full time. I’d also love to publish the follow up to my debut and also publish my paranormal novel.

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
Getting the things from commercials to appear in my living room!

If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
A genie! (But preferably, one I wouldn’t have to keep in a bottle:)

Tell us a little about your latest release.

My latest release is called It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy. The main character, Jazzy, lives with her mother and sister in Silicon Valley and these three women can’t seem to keep themselves out of trouble! Jazzy is hilarious, endearingly flawed, and says the things that most of us want to say but don’t. She’s involved in a love triangle (well, technically it’s a love square), and when she’s not dealing with that she’s dealing with her neurotic boss, her mother who likes to spy on the neighbors, and her sister and best friend who have man problems bad enough to land them on Jerry Springer. Thus, the name; it really ain’t easy being Jazzy! The novel is a fun and entertaining read. Readers say that it’s laugh out loud funny so anybody who loves to laugh should definitely read it!

What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)

Oh, honey. I’d definitely have to say my coffee! I could be in Alaska with no means of transportation except for sled dogs and you know what? I would climb my behind out of that igloo and find the nearest Starbucks. French Roast with hazelnut creamer, please!

Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?
I’d have to say Gillian Flynn. It would definitely be some dark, twisted, psychological thriller.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
You know what? I would actually have to say Steve Harvey. He’s tremendously successful and I’d want to pick his brain about his road to success. But he’s also hilarious so we’d probably go to my hometown and have dinner with my family so I could laugh my face off all evening.
What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?
Listening to music.

If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?
Ha! Insert shameless plug: It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy, of course!
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
I wish that I could sing and dance. Oh my Goodness I’d be on a stage like Beyoncé! But unfortunately, when I sing dogs cover their ears and when I dance I get funny stares. So, yeah. So much for all that!
Favorite color? Depends on my mood. Sometimes it’s pink. Other times, I don’t think about it.

Weather: Hot or cold? Hot.

Favorite place to read?
Curled up on a nice comfy chair.

Favorite meal
My mama’s red beans and rice!
Favorite non-alcoholic drink.
If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
I got married in Hawaii so I would definitely go back there.

Jazzy secretly wants to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, Curtis, so when he calls and reveals that he’s got something important to tell her, she’s got no idea that he’s about to propose—to her first cousin and bitter rival, Mercedes.

The annual family dinner is coming up, and fearing that she will spend the evening seething while Mercedes flaunts her four carat engagement ring in her face, Jazzy asks Reggie, an Adonis she met at the mall, to accompany her. As fate would have it, not only did Reggie and Mercedes used to date; that backstabbing, leopard print wearing cow is still carrying a torch for him! Revenge. It’s never been so sweet.

But falling for Reggie? Holy crap! That wasn’t part of the plan! She’s got enough on her plate as it is; restaurant shootouts, a neurotic boss, a mother who spies on the neighbors, and a sister and best friend with man problems that could land them on Jerry Springer. Who has time to fall in love? So when Curtis comes sniffing around again—this time, with an accusation that sends her blood pressure shooting through the roof—the one good nerve that Jazzy’s got left has just about run its course.

Review Rating: 3.5 LIGHTNING BOLTS

Review: Full of sass and humor, It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy takes you on an escape from reality for awhile. Though the story is full of family dysfunction and a bit of drama, I couldn't help but laugh and smile along at some of the situations. Jazzy is a great leading heroine and I could relate to her on many situations.

Sometimes, there were too many things going on at once, and it wasn't always clear who was talking and doing what, but for the most part, the story flowed well and kept me interested. I had to know what crazy thing Jazzy would do or say next. This is a fun read!

Author Bio:

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 new 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 loves writing humorous stories about strong willed, sassy women who can’t keep themselves out of trouble. She lives in Charleston, 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 connect with her online:

Website:             www.quaniemiller.com
Blog:                      www.quanietalkswriting.com
Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/QuanieMillerAuthor
Twitter:                https://twitter.com/QuanieMiller
Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/QuanieMiller
Email:                   info@quaniemiller.com 


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