One Small Victory – Author Interview – Maryann Miller

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Paperback Writer is pleased to announce our author for today, Maryann Miller. Maryann is author of the Romantic Suspense Novel, One Small Victory (Five Star, June ’08). A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels, screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, “A Question of Honor”. More recently she placed in the top 15 percent of entries in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship with the adaptation of her mystery, “Open Season”

About the Book:

Life can change in just an instant. That’s the harsh reality that Jenny Jasik faces when her son, Michael, is killed in an automobile accident. She is a single mother with two other children, Scott and Alicia. Ralph, her ex-husband, left her six years ago for a younger woman. He moved to California and has all but abandoned them. He does
send child support, which, coupled with the profits from the florist shop Jenny owns, keeps them fed and sheltered in an old frame house. When Jenny sees an item in the newspaper about a special task force forming at the local police department, she goes to the station and demands to be part of that team. She stands firm in the face of
objections from Chief Gonzales. He finally agrees to let her work with them as a Confidential Informant if she passes a physical fitness test and a psychological screening. He also tells her that if she works with them it will be in the strictest confidence. She is to tell no one. Not her kids. Not her mother. Not her best friend. No even her dog. As the weeks pass and Jenny gets deeper into the drug scene, hiding what she’s doing from everyone becomes harder and harder. How many more lies
can she tell to explain why she stays out half the night? Then there’s the problem of Ralph. Scott has been dumping his frustration on his father, and Ralph threatens to start action to get the kids if Jenny doesn’t stop whatever it is she’s doing.

Further complications arise when Chico, the dealer Jenny has been buying from, disappears. The DEA agents report that unusual things are happening at the ranch where the Main Man does his business. There is concern for the safety of all involved in this sting. Jenny is offered a chance to get out, but she stays.

A plan develops to take down the Main Man, and for Jenny, that moment can’t come soon enough. All she has to do is get the details of the big buy recorded and the police can arrest the Man. That scene unravels quickly, and Jenny is forced to shoot a man who is turning a gun on her. This was not part of the plan and definitely not something that Jenny wants to tell her children or her ex-husband.

Maybe Michael will understand.



Hi, Maryann Miller,

Welcome to Paperback Writer

Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?

One Small Victory was inspired by a true story about a woman who infiltrated a drug ring and helped bring down the main distributor in a rural town. I read a short news item about her in the paper and was immediately intrigued by all that she had done, especially since she bullied her way onto a drug task force while grieving for her oldest son who was killed in a car accident. Drugs had been found at the scene, and this was the woman’s first exposure to the seriousness of the drug problem in her small town. When I read the news story, I just knew I had to write about this incredible woman.

Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

The characters come to me first, and the plot is often developed from a real incident, like with One Small Victory and Play it Again, Sam. As I am letting the characters come to life in my imagination, I do make lots of notes and do a rough outline, but it is not nearly as detailed as other writers’ outlines. I often know what needs to happen, just not how it is going to happen. Getting there is half of the fun of writing, and often the characters will dictate the means of accomplishing the goal.

Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

I have a general idea of how it should end, but, again, nothing detailed.

Do you have a process for developing your characters?

I guess it is a process of sorts. My characters usually appear and start talking to me. Somewhat like meeting someone new at a party and connecting on several levels. I’ve taken creative writing classes and read tips on how we should write full bios of our characters so we get to know them, but I have never found that process workable for me. I do keep notes on each character, so I can make sure I have back-story consistent. That also helps when trying to come up with something to make the character more three-dimensional. But, other than the notes, I don’t write a lot about the characters in advance. I just let them come and we get to know each other along the way.

It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be? It is true that there is sometimes a little bit of the author in characters. After all, they come from the author’s world view and experience. However, I think it is wise to work hard in second and third drafts to make sure the characters are more true to themselves than to us as authors.

What is your most favorite part about this book?

One of my favorite parts is the scene where Jenny and her police liaison, Steve, are at a park that hosts outdoor art shows. This scene was never planned; I just needed a place for them to meet away from town so they wouldn’t be seen. I had been to this park once and for some reason just thought it would be neat for them to meet there. In an effort to make it less typical – it has more appeal to women than men – I made it Steve’s idea to meet there and gave him the connection to the park through his deceased wife. Writing the scene was like visiting the park again, and I worked hard to make the area real for the reader. This is one of the scenes that deal with an attraction between the two characters, and again, I went against what is most typical in commercial fiction. I think what happens between them is special and meaningful, but not ordinary.

When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

I didn’t start marketing the book until I had finished the third draft.

What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

Oh, gosh. Let me count the ways…. Success in publishing is one part talent, one part tenacity, and one part luck. So many times I have been in the right place, but a second or two late. And like so many authors who are writing good books, but not something that is going to end up on the NY Times best seller list, I’m finding the markets shrinking.

What has been the best part about being published?

Hearing from readers who have enjoyed the story or article is absolutely the best part of being published. We all write for a variety of reasons and hope to make some money along the way, but the driving force for most writers is a desire to see our words in print and know that people are reading them. If we can connect on an emotional or intellectual level, then we have achieved what we set out to do.

What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

After reading One Small Victory, I hope readers will be inspired by this woman’s courage the same way I was.

Do you have plans to write another book?

I am working on the second book in a mystery series that Five Star is considering. The first book Open Season is finished, and I am about halfway through the writing of Stalking Season. The series features two women homicide detectives in Dallas. Think Lethal Weapon in Dallas.

Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

This has been a blast. It has been so much fun meeting new friends and making all these connections. This could get addictive. Wait! It is.  And the staff at Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been wonderful to work with. I am not a techno whiz and Jaime helped me with some things that were probably above and beyond the norm.

Where can readers find a copy of your book?

One Small Victory can be ordered from online bookstores, as well as standard bookstores. Five Star markets heavily to libraries, so readers can also request their local library order a copy.

Do you have a website for readers to go to?

My website is

Thank you, Maryann for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.

Thank you for hosting me here. I appreciate the opportunity to visit and talk about my book.

ONE SMALL VICTORY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on September 2, ’08 and end on September 26, ’08. You can visit Maryann’s tour stops at in September to find out more about her and her new book!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!

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3 thoughts on “One Small Victory – Author Interview – Maryann Miller”

  1. Lillie, I will have to look into Kindle to see if One Small Victory will work there. I, too, like to read on a hand-held device, but I have one that I can purchase books from a variety of sites in a variety of formats. Not as limiting as the Kindle can be. I’m pretty sure it is very proprietary.

    And thanks for your comment, Helen. I once knew a writer who was so much a part of each character that we in the critique group got tired of hearing her read. The characters talked like her, thought like her, dressed like her…. and she didn’t seem to realize it. I think that experience is what made me so cognizant of the need to be careful. 🙂

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