From South Cornwall, UK, Reiki Master Tina Marie Miller is the author of the contemporary women’s fiction series, the Hamptons and joins me today.
Can you explain who or what the Hamptons are?
The fictional villages of Hampton Ash and Hampton Waters are known locally as the Hamptons and are where my series is set. The two villages nestle on the edge of the beguiling Cotswold countryside. Each book in the series introduces a cast of colourful characters whose lives are far from ordinary.
Who would the ideal reader of the series be?
I have received some wonderful and totally unexpected feedback from both male and female readers about my books, which has delighted me, so I wouldn’t say that there is an ideal reader as such. My books can be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 16 who enjoys emerging themselves in tales of village life with a cast of colourful characters and a rollercoaster of emotions.
So when you’re not writing about colourful country life, what can you be found doing?
I am a qualified Reiki Master and take time to meditate and self heal each day. I’m also blessed to live in an area that is surrounded with breathtaking scenery, so I try to get out and explore as much as possible. Of course, I enjoy nothing more than curling up with a good book, or two!
Have you lived in Cornwall all your life?
No, I was brought up in the historic village of Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I am the youngest of four siblings. I enjoyed an incredible childhood growing up in such glorious surroundings and relished experiencing every aspect of village life with my friends. Long, hot summers were spent down by the local river or walking through the many green, leafy lanes that lead onto one of the two brooks that can be found in the village. My friends and I would share a picnic or various treats that we’d snaffled from our homes and sit with our bare feet in the water, trying to catch tadpoles in empty glass jam-jars.
What would you say was your favourite memory from your childhood?
My father was a milkman and one of my first jobs as a teenager was assisting him on his rounds at the weekends and during the school holidays. Oh, those early mornings! But there is something quite unique about being out and about in the early hours when everyone else is sleeping soundly in their beds. You notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise hone in on, such as when the birds begin singing their dawn chorus or watching the sun rise. You soon begin to notice subtle changes in the air that anticipate rain about to sweep in or the beginnings of a really hot day. These are nature’s gifts and, looking back, I am so very thankful for the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us each and every day.
How do you go about your writing?
I am a planner! I create a storyboard for each book and develop the characters before I begin writing. For my series, The Hamptons, I have created a whole fictional county! I have a map of Hampton Waters and Hampton Ash showing where each of my characters live that I continually refer to. I create extensive notes that detail the plot and story outline so that by the time I begin writing I am completely focused. However, with each of my books thus far, there are some storylines that have just naturally developed – and no amount of planning can prepare for those!
Writing is my favourite part of the process. No matter how carefully I plan out my storylines, I never cease to be amazed at how ideas come to fruition during this process and help to further enhance the story.
The third book in the series came out on 31st October 2018. Can you tell me all about it?
It’s called Fame and Fortune and whilst we return to the light-heartedness of village life, the novel explores the phenomenon of Ghosting – the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation. I have attempted to tackle this serious issue from different perspectives. It’s a tale of family conflict, deceit, broken hearts and redemption.
There is a uniqueness with this book in so much as when I created the Majorette storyline, I needed a song that the Fortunettes could perform their routine to. Having come across Daz Rice’s debut album, Precious Times – and listening to it over and over! – I was immediately drawn to one of these songs. I was thrilled when he gave his permission for me to include him and his music in my story. I played it in the background as I wrote the relevant scenes and it all fitted together perfectly!
Daz is a talented musician, singer, songwriter and recording artist. If you haven’t listened to any of his music, I urge you to do so. You can find out more about Daz and also purchase a copy of his debut album from his website http://www.dazrice.co.uk.
Like myself, you self publish your work. What is the biggest challenge you face?
Getting my work into retail outlets, which is still very much a work in progress.
I love the covers of your books. How involved were you in the process?
Thank you! I really enjoy the whole cover design process but it is not something that I could achieve on my own. My book covers are custom made and I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with some talented designers, the most recent being Eeva Lancaster and her friendly and professional team at The Book Khaleesi. Eeva had quite a task given that she not only had to design a cover that would fit in with the previous two books in the Hamptons series, but one that also befitted the story within. Other than giving Eeva a synopsis of the story, I totally left the design up to her and I was thrilled at the result.
You can find out more about Eeva and the services that she offers at www.thebookkhaleesi.com.
Thank you again Tina for taking the time to talk with me today. I wish you every success with the series and all your future writing. All three of Tina’s books in the series are available to buy from Amazon now and you can keep in touch with Tina’s journey either through her website or via Twitter.
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