In the midst of the continuing coronavirus event, I am grateful for writers, readers, and books. This month I’ve invited a YA fantasy writer to sit in the virtual writer’s chair. I met Cas Miller at the Marion Public Library in 2019 during their ReadLocal Author Fair. She was gracious enough to accept my invitation to share her writing journey with us.
Janet Irvin: Greetings, Cas. Let’s get started with a brief overview of you background and how you came to this writing gig.
Cas Miller: My major in college was in Mathematics and Systems Management. However, I always loved Creative Writing in elementary school and junior high school.
I started writing when I had a fifty-hour a week job. It was my way to de-stress when I got home. When I changed jobs, I decided to try to publish my book. It was quite a process.
J.E.: There are so many avenues to publication these days. What made you decide to self-publish?
C.M.: I had no idea what I was doing. My partner at the time was interested in going that route. We did research and decided to self-publish with Create Space and KDP. Since he has left, I am starting to research other options.
J.I.: What comprises a typical writing day for you?
C.M.: After work, I would read what I had just written. That would get the “juices” flowing, and I could write for hours. I usually write on my computer using Google Docs so that I can share it with my sister.
I also have a journal in which I have another story started. That story hasn’t progressed very far, but it might turn out to be really good.
J.I.: How much research goes into your novels?
C.M.: A lot! I like to put historical facts into my books to make them more “alive.” If you look up my “history” for Wyandot Indians or the Gas Boom in Indiana, you will find most of the facts to be real. Even the name of the town of Fort Ferree was a real place. (A lot of my “locals” have never read the sign on the courthouse lawn.)
J.I.: What is the most difficult part of this whole writing process?
C.M.: Editing. By the time I published my first book, I had hated my characters. I hated the town. I wanted to kill them all off! And it’s a Young Adult love story/mystery. There are a lot of mistakes in the book that I am trying to correct.
J.I.: We met at the Marion Public Library Local Author Fair. Do you attend many of these types of events? What do you like about them?
C.M.: I have usually done three to four of these events every year since I published. I like meeting new readers who may like my books. I also like to meet other authors and find out about their publishing stories. I have created some real friendships through these meetings.
J.I.: Tell us about your books that are currently available.
C.M.: The First Day of Summer is a Young Adult Fantasy Mystery. Even though Lexie and Kevin have just met, they find that they have a combined destiny. They must research the past to save the future.
The Lochlake Diaries: Wen’s Diary is also a YA Fantasy that is written in diary form. A group of new kids moves into the small town of Lochlake, Indiana. When suddenly, things start to explode, literally! Will Wen figure out what is happening before Musa is pulled from her world?
J.I.: Do you have works in progress you are willing to tell us about?
C.M.: I have started on the second book of “The Seasons of Fort Ferree” series.
And I always have at least six books started or mostly finished. I actually have about three that could be an adult series. We’ll see.
J.I.: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
C.M.: I am really, really, really hoping that I will have most of the above books published. Here’s hoping that my life calms down. LOL.
J.I.: Just for fun, who is your favorite novelist?
C.M.: The thirties and sixties Nancy Drew. One summer, I read all of the sixties Nancy Drew books. My mom finally had to tell me that I could only read one book a day. 🙁 Then when I was older, I found almost all of the thirties Nancy Drew books at a flea market. It was AWESOME! Do you know that even though the thirties and sixties books have the same titles, the stories are not the same? Who knew!
J.I.: What is your favorite way to de-stress?
C.M.: I read and listen to audiobooks to relax. I usually read about 120 books a year. Right now on Goodreads, I have read thirty books so far this year. (I think it is more, but who knows!)