It’s here! It’s here! Today is release day for Quanie Miller’s new novel, It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy. I encourage all of you to check her out at www.quaniemiller.com or her blog quanietalkswriting.com. Below is a guest post from the fabulous Quanie herself. To get an excerpt of her novel, click here.
Quanie Miller on being an Author
I noticed something when I tell people that I have a novel coming out; they look at me in awe, as if, instead of writing 80,000 or so words of a romantic comedy, I revealed that I had somehow managed to go back in time, messed with a series of events, and invented the light bulb. “You?” They say in shock, looking like they want to poke my skin to see if I’m real. “Really? You? A book?” (They say book like it’s a purple unicorn.)
“Yes, me.” The girl formally nicknamed Tanutsi by my Aunt Lee-Lee because I was so adorably chubby. Me, Quanie, who lost the spelling bee in fifth grade (first round!) by spelling complacent c-o-n-p-l-a-c-e-m-e-n-t. Quanie, who, in high school, had aspirations of being a rapping psychologist (don’t ask).
Yes. Me, Quanie Miller. Über Cool Newbie Author Extraordinaire. Je Suis Très Chic.
I’ve always been a writer. Way back when my cousins were climbing trees in my grandmother’s yard, I was holed up in the house writing my very first short story, “Sheeba the Cat,” or walking back from the library with books stacked up to my chin. Writing and books have always been my world, but to some, it’s other worldly. The question I get the most? “How do you get your ideas?”
I hesitate telling people how I get my ideas because I don’t want them to think I’m crazy. “Well, sometimes, I hear the characters talking to me—”
“So you hear voices?”
“No, that’s not what I meant. You see, sometimes, I’ll see a character very vividly—”
“Like an apparition?”
“No, not like that.” Then I sit there and struggle for the right words to explain just how inspiration works, and I’m never able to convey it to their satisfaction. They walk away shaking their heads as if I’m a lost cause. Poor Tanutsi.
But luckily for me, my family has been very supportive. But maybe that’s because they think that me writing a book will somehow result in the following:
1. Me being on the Oprah Show.
2. Tyler Perry turning one of my books into a movie.
3. Them somehow being able to quit their jobs as a result of all the money I’m going to make as an author.
People think it’s a glorious thing, this author business, but the truth is this: on top of the fact that most books don’t sell very well, it’s actually frightening to write something and let it out into the world, not knowing whether or not people will love it or hate it or use your book as a foot stool, or worse, write a review so scathing that you vow to never write anything again (not even a grocery list). It’s the stuff author nightmares are made of.
So, why do you write, Quanie?
That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked: I do it because I love writing stories that make people laugh. I figure if I can make somebody’s day by making them laugh, even just once, then maybe I’ve done something worth while.
But what about Oprah? Next question, please.