HEIDI: Hi! Like my Twitter bio says, I'm Heidi Ruby Miller -- Science Fiction Adventure & Thrillers since 2005 / editor at DOG STAR BOOKS / AMBASADORA series / writing guide MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT / IMJ Geek Girl columnist.
JASON: Writing has let me fulfill a lot of childhood fantasies. I figure I'll never be a paleontologist, or play guitar to a crowd of two thousand people, but I can write about characters that do, and thus, have found a way to insinuate myself into many of my childhood dreams. Having said that, I've been very lucky to have had some of the experiences I've had, and see writing as a way to keep those times of my life alive forever. And by the way, I'm Jason Jack Miller.
2. If each of you were a sitcom character, who would you be and why?
HEIDI: Not sure it's considered a sit com, but I'm very
much like Mika in Warehouse 13. I sometimes get caught up in the "job" and become all business. That's when I need
to be reminded to relax and goof off…which sometimes gets me into trouble, but isn't that part of the fun? At least that's what they tell me.
JASON: Hmmm. Not sure Warehouse 13 is a sitcom,
Heidi. Since she didn't follow the rules, I'll answer for her... She's Lindsay
Bluth Fünke from Arrested
Development. She knows why. "Hey,
I found that canned ham that we've had forever, and I put it in a pot of boiling
hot water, and guess what we're having?"
I, on the other hand, am Sterling Archer fromArcher. I talk too much, enjoy a good cocktail any time of day, and I also hate it when lemurs get into the pudding cups.
HEIDI: Oh, you are so Archer sometimes! And, I admit to being more like Lindsay than anyone would ever guess.
3. Is being married to another writer an occupational hazard or a fringe benefit? Do you ever have to agree
to not talk about writing when you’re together?
HEIDI: Total benefit. I've seen too many writers with
unnecessary stress because their partner doesn't have the writer's mind. Writers, and artists in general, think differently than those not inclined toward the arts. I wouldn't be able to do this on my own and be so successful if Jason didn't empathize with me. When he says he understands, I know he means it.
JASON: It's only recently that I've learned how lucky I am to be married to a writer. We had a few years where we really tried to spare each other's feelings and made sure we told each other what we both wanted to hear with regards to our writing. Now I know that her particular style of honesty is the most important trait I can have in a critique partner. We have a beautiful relationship, both in our manuscripts and outside of the writing world. But it is writing, and sharing each other's worlds that make what we have so special.
4. What are your writing habits like? Do you write
together in the same room at the same time? Or do you have separate writing spaces/offices? Do you discuss
your works-in-progress with each other?
Brainstorm together? Read each other’s work?
Collaborate on joint projects?
I ask because my husband is neither a writer nor a reader, so writing for me is rather separate from our relationship.
HEIDI: We are sitting side by side at Panera right now, listening to music and working. This is our life three evenings a week and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Then we
always see a movie Saturday afternoon and usually end up at Barnes and Noble to write a little more Saturday evening. We're a little obsessed. And, I bounce all my ideas off Jason first.
JASON: Well, she said we're a little obsessed. She's being generous. At some point we figured out that our level of success would be determined by how hard we worked. We made a decision to give it everything we had, and it's paying off. But I know I couldn't have this type of relationship with my work if I was married to somebody who didn't share my goals. We discuss our writing and our business wherever we go, so in a way, it's like we never clock out from writing. If I have an idea while I'm driving, she'll text it to me. Or, she can read me
something she'd just written and I can give immediate feedback instead of making her wait a week or two for a crit partner to email comments back.
HEIDI: We always tell each other that we're being honest because we wouldn't let the other one put something out there that might embarrass them.
5. They say opposites attract. Are your writing styles polar opposites? Or pretty similar? What about your
HEIDI: We have vastly different styles, which might make a
true collaboration a bit difficult. I like to write and read Science Fiction and Thrillers. Jason does occasionally, but he doesn't rush to those books on the shelf like I do.
JASON: Our writing styles are like zebras and guppies. We don't even like to write at the same time of day or in the same places. As for the writing, I struggle with maintaining realistic tones to my work, because I'm a big fan of realism and anything fantastic has to be rooted in reality. Heidi comes from a SF frame of mind where anything is possible which makes the scope of her storytelling different. I think our processes are pretty different as well. Heidi likes to work on several different things at once, whereas I like to pick a project and bury myself in it until it's finished. I can't even THINK of something else until I've gotten my current project on the cooling rack.
HEIDI: This is probably why he gets more done.
6. How did you two meet? Was writing or reading
HEIDI: I called him arrogant. He responded in kind and proved me right. It was all verbal, so no writing was necessary. This is why I believe in love at first sight and have no trouble having my characters fall for each other so quickly.
JASON: Well, she really let it out hang out there, huh?
Even though it took us a few months to get together, we
spent a lot of that time bouncing intellectual ideas off of each other. She was knee-deep into anthropology and I was thinking of a way to sabotage my academic career. But we had some amazing, meaningful conversations there at the front of the American Outfitters in the Uniontown Mall before we finally became a couple.
with the Wind gave us Scarlett and Rhett. Castle gave us Rick Castle and Kate Beckett. The
Muppets gave us Kermit and Miss Piggy. Do you have a favorite fictional couple?
HEIDI: Easy one -- John Crichton and Aeryn Sun from Farscape – I watch a rerun of Farscape every night on Netflix before I go to bed.
JASON: You mean other than Heidi Ruby Miller and Jason Jack Miller? Had to think long and hard on this one. I sometimes have a tendency not to like 'over the top' relationships like Buffy/Angel/Spike. (Not that I hated them, or didn't enjoy watching their ups and downs, because I loved BTVS when it was at its peak.)
I came up with Daniel Sempere and Beatriz Aguilar from Carlos Ruiz Zafón's Shadow of the Wind. It's a great book,
kind of a gothic thriller with a magical realism flavor. They are young in the story and experience some trauma together which really pushes them closer. So I think I enjoyed seeing them maintain their innocence throughout the ordeal.
8. Choice of weapon for the zombie apocalypse?
HEIDI: Retractable blade that could give me range like a pike, but I could use in close quarters like a switchblade—suppose I need to invent this before the zombies come…
Chk-chk, BOOM! Chk-chk BOOM!
HEIDI: So when my specially-designed blade doesn't work, he can still save my butt.
JASON: God forbid I don't get the last word in all the time.
HEIDI: Not true…
9. What writing or writing-related projects are you each working on at the moment?
HEIDI: I'm finishing the edits on my Thriller Atomic
Zion. It's got a lost city designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, skinwalkers, a woman who sees emotions as colors, a Navajo CodeTalker, and lots of other surprises.
JASON: I’m finishing revisions on The Revelations
of Preston Black. Katy and Preston have to figure out if what they say is true—better the devil you know than the one you don't. It's a supernatural/dark thriller that really puts Preston and Katy's relationship to the test. No witches or mountains this time. Instead, we've got snake-handlers, hoodoo, and
10. Most recent book each of you read?
HEIDI: No lie – The Haunted Housewives of
Allister, Alabama! Great read!!
SUSAN: Thank you!
JASON: The Wettest County in the World by Matt
Bondurant. Loved the book.
11. Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
HEIDI: It was because of me that Jason enrolled in Seton
Hill's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program. And we both gave the graduation speeches for our years.
JASON: I know that I'm lucky to have married my best friend. Our relationship is the thing in this world I cherish the most. Well, that, and our cat.
HEIDI: I was going to add one more thing, but I'll let him have the last word.
SUSAN: Thank you both for taking the time to give this
interview. You two make a delightful couple. And for the record, I'm a big Farscape fan, also, and adore John and Aeryn.
Heidi Ruby Miller believes the relationship is as important as the adventure so she's been writing sexy Science Fiction and Thrillers since 2005. She loves high-heeled shoes, action movies, Chanel, loud music, and video games. Heidi is the managing editor of Dog Star Books, the Science Fiction Adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press.
She also teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program the same month she appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The multi-award winning writing guide Many Genres, One Craft, which she co-edited with Michael A. Arnzen, is based on the Seton Hill program and was named #5 in The Writer magazine's Ten Most Terrific Writing Books of 2011. Heidi's first novel of the popular Ambasadora series was her thesis at Seton Hill. Heidi is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, Broad Universe, SFR Brigade, and Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA).
You can read her author interview series at http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com. She lives near Pittsburgh with her writer husband, Jason Jack Miller.
Jason Jack Miller hails from Fayette County,
Pennsylvania, as in, "Circus freaks, temptation and the Fayette County Fair," made famous by The Clarks in the song, "Cigarette."
He is a writer, photographer and musician. His first band was the un-ironically named Phist, a punk/grunge hybrid who played their first show during second period at Tri-Valley High School’s Winter Carnival. Their last show was a week later on New Year’s Eve at Friend’s Roller Rink. He worked as a whitewater raft guide on the Lower Yough in Pennsylvania and the Cheat in West Virginia, during which time he met his wife, Heidi. Shortly after getting hitched they moved to Florida and worked for a very famous mouse.
An outdoor travel guide he co-authored with his wife in 2006 jumpstarted his freelancing career; his work has since appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, online, as part of a travel guide app for mobile phones, and
in a regular column for Inveterate Media Junkies. He wrote the novels
Hellbender and All Saintsduring his graduate studies at Seton Hill University, where he is now adjunct creative writing faculty. When he isn't writing he's on his mountain bike or looking for his next favorite guitar. He is currently writing and recording the soundtracks to his novels, The Devil and
Preston Black and Hellbender, and his next novel, The Gospel of Preston Black.
Find him at http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.comand tweet him