Monday, July 27, 2020

INTERVIEW: Renee Miller

Happy fuckin' Monday, ya'll. I'm writing this on a Thursday, so you can imagine how upset I am to have to already be thinking about the M-word. 

But I have good news! Renee Miller, of the Tweed, Ontario Millers, devourer of chiseled men, puncher of noses, first of her name, has agreed to answer some questions. Read on!

You’ve written in damn-near every genre under the sun. Lately, though, you’ve been hovering in the black hole of horror. What draws you to that?

I was drawn toward darker themes all along, and when I settled into horror, it was because it allows me to continue to dabble in almost every genre. I mean, everything can be horrific. A love story can go dark. Science, no matter how amazing, can spiral into a nightmare. History, comedy, fantasy… you get the idea. There are also endless ways to unnerve or scare a reader. I like to have those options available.

Given, well, *gestures widely* it seems especially strange that horror and horror-crossover seems to be having a moment. Why do you think people want books to scare them when all they need to do is go to the grocery store?

Nothing makes us feel more alive than when we’re afraid. It’s one of the most intense emotions a person can feel. In horror fiction, you can be scared, but in a safe way. No one’s going to actually kill you or feed you your own testicles (well, almost no one). I think that’s what draws people in. Well, that and the fact that nothing is more terrifying than our reality right now, so maybe people who previously didn’t enjoy horror see it as a nice escape.

You have a new book that just came out, BLOOD LAKE MONSTER. The cover is EXCELLENT, by the way. Tell us a little about it.

I’m so in love with Unnerving’s covers. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed. For this book, when Eddie put out a call for the Rewind or Die series. When I saw “80’s/90’s slasher horror,” I knew I had to get in on it.

Blood Lake Monster is set in Tweed, where I live. It’s about a girl named Maribel, who is from a poor family in a very small town. She’s bullied right until her last breath but doesn’t let that stop her from getting revenge.

Also, I'm not great at the "tell me what your book is about" questions. 

If you wade through the blood lake that is Twitter, it seems a lot of writers are having a hard time making any creative headway in this pandemic environment. How has your writing routine changed, if at all?

Oh my god, my writing routine is shredded. I’ve been working as an assistant manager at our grocery store through it all, and it hasn’t been a good ride. Between the mental exhaustion caused by idiots who think they can act like assholes and get away with it, and the physical exhaustion caused by working more hours than I’m used to, it’s hard to find the motivation or the inspiration to write when I’m at home. I manage to get a bit in each day, but nothing like I used to. Before Covid, I could write a novella in two days. Now it takes a couple of weeks at least. I’m hoping that once things settle down, I’ll find my groove again. Until then, I’ll keep plugging away a few hundred words at a time.

What is the last great book you read? Do you find it harder or easier to fall into a story lately?

I just started reading THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones, and I think it has the potential to be the last great book at this point. He is an amazing writer. I’m jealous.

For me it’s harder to fall into a story lately for the same reasons I’m struggling with writing. I have several unfinished books laying around. What I pick up to read and how much of it I get through depends on where my head is at. I find the days where I’ve been screamed at or threatened enough that I want to cut a bitch are the days I just turn on Netflix and let my brain recharge.

You write pretty regularly for Unnerving, an indie publisher. What do you like about the indie publishing world that the Big-5 and “traditional” publishing might not offer?

I like that it’s more personal. My success truly is their success, so we’re more of a team than I think I’d be in a larger publishing house. And indie publishers (or at least many of them) work their asses off. I know Eddie Generous (Unnerving) works harder than most authors I know, so when he takes on a project of mine (or anyone’s), I know he’s going to make sure it’s the best it can be or kill me in the process. (Just kidding. He’s really great and probably wouldn’t kill me.)

I’ve also worked with indie publishers like Aphotic Realm, Broadswords and Blasters, DarkFuse, Serial Magazine, and a few more. Next year, I have a novel coming out with Bloodshot Books. All these publishers are indie, and they’ve worked extremely hard on every book they put out. Sure, I’d love a big fat contract. Who wouldn’t? At the end of the day, though, if this is as high up the food chain as I get, I’m proud of what I have achieved and to have worked with these people.

If you could give one piece of advice to our readers, be they writers or not, what would it be?

I hate giving advice because we’ve all got something to learn. No one has all the answers. If you think you do, then you definitely don’t.  I guess the best advice I could give right now is less talking, more listening.

Renee Miller lives in Tweed, Ontario. She writes in multiple genres, but prefers dark fiction with strong elements of horror, erotica and/or comedy.

1 comment:

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Great interview! I'm such a baby, scared of everything, but I'm thinking I need to take a chance on reading horror. It's literally outside my comfort zone.

Also, Kat, you have a splendid interview style. Taking notes.

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