By JC Miller
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Buckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation--that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deception, isn't who he appears to be. As their bond grows, Kit's desire blinds her to the truth-- a shocking discovery shatters her faith and ultimately tests her integrity.
From the first blush of fall quarter to the final breath of spring, hard lessons will be learned. To "graduate" into an uncertain future, Jonathan and Kit must first embrace the present--including the injustices, ambiguities and absolute beauty of their lives.
Beneath the ever-changing Humboldt skies they forge ahead; they stumble and sometimes fall.
Heliotrope, a coming-of age story for the ages.
Me: Tell me about your journey toward becoming an author?
JC: I’ve always loved telling stories, but for most of my adult life concentrated on academic writing, being a full time teacher and a parent. When my son left for college, I decided it was time—now or never—to follow my passion.
Me: What inspired this latest book idea?
JC: The word “Heliotrope” kept rattling around in my brain. The setting and characters unfolded.
Me: When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
JC: I have an idea about who they are, but they’re always surprising me. Transformation is an ongoing theme within all of my books.
Me: Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one do you feel you relate to the most?
JC: I identify with Ruth in Believing in Bigfoot, as I’m a bit snarky, though not as cynical as she. The opening scene is based loosely on my own “real” Bigfoot encounter. Kit, in Heliotrope is the kind of college student I would have been, if only I’d been driven, focused and unafraid to be a writer!
Me: What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about being an author?
JC: When “in the zone” writing with fluid momentum, the creative process is exhilarating. On the flip side, getting stuck is torturous. As an introvert, marketing is an ongoing struggle.
Me: Where is your favorite place to write?
JC: At my home, quite early in the morning when it’s especially quiet.
Me: What other hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
JC: I’m a huge fan of table tennis (aka ping pong). I also love hiking, traveling, reading. I’m crazy about my pets.
Me: What projects can we look forward to in the near future?
JC: I’m planning to re-release my first novel, On the Brink, originally published in 2009. Look for a Heliotrope sequel.
JC (Jeanne) Miller, M.A., is an avid reader, aspiring traveler and table tennis enthusiast. She resides in Northern California.
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