Saturday, 6 April 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: Zoe Miller

Today I'm delighted to welcome Zoë Miller, one of the authors I'd featured in my Irish Fiction feature month last month, to the blog for a bit of a chat.  As well as agreeing to the interview Zoë has also offered one lucky reader the chance to win a signed copy of her latest book, The Compromise

Can you tell us a little bit about The Compromise?
The Compromise spans forty years, from the early 1970’s to present day. It’s about a group of friends and the secrets and lies, intrigue and passions that have shaped their lives, until a crisis helps them to realise what’s the most important of all. It starts off in the present day, when Juliet, one of the main protagonists, finds herself trapped at the bottom of a cliff, clinging to life, and scenes from her past flash in front of her as she tries to work out if she fell or was pushed…

Which came first, the characters or the plot?
The characters came first, I had the idea of three friends who were teenagers back in the early 70’s when things were so much different for women in Ireland. Quite by chance, and during a colourful moment in Irish history, rebellious Juliet met shy, reserved Rose and her sister, the loyal and loveable Rebecca. After that fateful encounter, their lives spun in an unforeseen direction and for each of them, there were plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the path!

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, from the time I was seven or eight! I spent my childhood scribbling in copy books when I should have been doing my homework.

Have you ever had writer’s block?
There are days when I’m less inclined than others to open the laptop, but you just have to get on with it and keep working away.

If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
I actually have a day job, in a training environment, and I work 3-4 days a week. I can’t imagine life if I wasn’t writing – but I guess I’d be reading a lot more! And maybe getting more exercise, and meals with friends, and shopping, nights out, and movies… all the things that I now have to push to one side.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you’re in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hindrance?
It’s both. It’s great to connect with other writers, and blogs, as well as readers on social media, and share gossip and advice (like the office water cooler or a coffee break!) so you’re not too alone. The danger is allowing yourself to get sucked in when you should be writing. I have to be very firm with myself and log off!

How long did it take you to get your first book published?

It took me a couple of years. It wasn’t until I went to weekend workshops and learned how to polish, refine and generally tidy up my draft and present it properly, that I finally got the magic invitation to send in ‘the rest of my manuscript’. After that, it was over a year before it hit the shelves.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I write most evenings after work, where possible. I like to start early on my days off, including weekends, because I’m freshest in the mornings. I usually have a target word count I like to hit, depending on how many hours I have available to write. That’s what it boils down to, after all, putting one word in front of another.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

The answer to the question above – keep putting one word in front of another until you have a book written. There is no mystique or magic formula. Give yourself at least a year, cut down on telly and surfing the net, and it’s amazing the way the words/ scenes / chapters begin to add up.

Would you say that any of your characters are like you? If so, which one(s)?
I write about people with intriguing, passionate and glitzy lives, but I’m sorry to say I don’t quite tick all those boxes! I certainly empathise with the emotional lives of my characters and all the love and heartbreak that colours their lives, and I dig deep into my own emotions to get theirs onto the page. I become so involved with them that I find I’m hurting when bad things are happening to them and I had to walk away from the laptop a couple of times during the writing of The Compromise.

If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I’d consider a ghost /supernatural story. I’m afraid of the dark and things that creak in the night, because my imagination runs riot. Only problem is, I might be too scared to write the really creepy scenes! But never say never…

Do you prefer to read physical copies of books or e-books?
I far prefer the physical book, I love the feel of it in my hands, and it is easier on the eyes. There is something solid and reassuring about a book, and having your favourite books lined up on a shelf. However I can see the benefits of e-books for travel.

Are there any books you’ve read that you wish you’d written?

1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – the first adult book I read that made me hunger to write.
2. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher – I’ve read this three or four times over the years since it came out in 1989 and got something different and enriching from this classic tale every time.
3. Me before You by Jojo Moyes – need I say more?? Thought not!

If you could invite any three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party who would you choose and why?
The three authors above! (To pick their brains!)

If you were going to be stuck on a desert island and could only take 3 books with you, which ones would you choose?

The three books above!

When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?

Yes, a good massage to undo all the knots in my neck and shoulders from leaning over the laptop, followed by a glass of bubby, then more bubbly when I get the thumbs up from my editor!

Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
I’m lucky to have a writing room with a nice view, but I’d love a retreat somewhere near the sea. The most important thing is to have little or no interruptions!

Can you describe The Compromise in 20 words or less?
The Compromise is about the secrets and lies of a group of friends caught up in political drama, forbidden passion, and love.

Thank you Sharon, for giving me the opportunity to feature on your book blog!

Zoë xx

PS: Zoë Miller loves to hear from readers, you can connect with her as follows:

Facebook: Zoe Miller Author
Twitter: @zoemillerauthor

If you enjoy any of her books, she’d really appreciate a review on Amazon.  Read on for details of the book that you could win...

Childhood friends Juliet, Rebecca, Rose and Matthew grew up in a small village outside Dublin. Now, privileged, wealthy and powerful, they appear to have it all. But when Juliet is involved in a suspicious accident and lies trapped between life and death at the bottom of a cliff, a secret, hidden for years, threatens the seemingly perfect lives of the close-knit group.

For the beautiful, fragile Rose, Juliet’s accident brings unwanted attention on the sins of the past. For her husband, the ruthlessly ambitious Matthew, it removes a critical obstacle from the path of his political career. And as Rebecca discovers more about the night of the incident, she begins to wonder if she ever knew the real Juliet Jordan.

Rebecca’s troubled young daughter Danielle, hiding out in Rome, knows a truth that can shed light on what happened. But as secrets are revealed, the childhood friends are about to discover that, sometimes, old friends are the ones you know the least.

Love the sound of this book then make sure you enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below, entries will close at midnight on 13th April.  I'll then contact the winner to get their postal address to pass to Zoë to enable her to post the book to them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm reading A Family Scandal at the moment and am loving it ;0)

  2. This book sounds fabulous, haven't come across Zoe in my reads before but will from now on :-)

  3. I don't have a favorite yet. That's just sad.

  4. I haven't read any...YET :)

  5. Great to hear from Zoe Miller :) And I agree - if I were an author I would have loved to have written Me Before You...such a powerful and emotional book!

    The Compromise sounds like a great read :) I'm currently part-way through A Family Scandal and really enjoying it so far :)

    Thank you Shaz for such a great post!! <3 LOVED reading this and learning a bit more about Zoe :)

    Megan xxxx

  6. I have read all Zoe Miller's books..
    Love every one of them..
    Maybe A family Scandal was my favourite, but i have loved them all.
    Would love to win a signed copy of her new book.
    The interview is great.
    Carmel Moore..

    1. Got A Family Scandal in my TBR pile. Make sure you enter for the chance to win a copy of The Compromise as that one sounds like it coule be her best yet.

  7. I love zoe Millers books i have to agree A Family Scandal is the best book, the thing I love about her books as they are slow to begin with but then he story gets you lost in the book and thats when I can't put the book down.

    1. Got A Family Scandal in my TBR pile. Make sure you enter for the chance to win a copy of The Compromise as that one sounds like it coule be her best yet.

  8. Rival Passions was wonderful, dragged me directly into the plot, keep writing Zoe :)

  9. A Family Scandal is my favourite. It had me hooked from the beginning and everything else could wait until I finished it. That to me is the sign of an excellent book.