CHRISTIANA MILLER INTERVIEW
January 3, 2012
LSF: Welcome to Limitless Sky Films, Christiana, and thanks for joining me. You're having a lot of success with your book, "Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead," but did you know that many of your fans think it's not just your incredible writing ability that attracts them to you, but also your "Pay it Forward" attitude? How do you feel about that?
CM: Awww, well thank you. I'm blushing! I've never even thought about it that way. I guess I do try to pay it forward. I seem to have a compulsion to share information the minute I get it and help other writers as much as I can. Helping other writers has always been a passion of mine. It's one of the reasons why I started the Chicago Screenwriters Network with Ed Bernero, while I was still a student at Northwestern. And also why I'm so involved with the Writers Guild and the Northwestern Entertainment Alliance. Sometimes, however, I try to do too much and wind up being spread out way too thin!
LSF: Christiana, I understand you helped pave the way for a lot of aspiring and even established authors to begin e-publishing. What is that all about? I mean, what's the big deal about e-publishing, anyway?
CM: LOL! I'm not one of the big guys, like J.A. Konrath, who's brought thousands to e-publishing, but I have been bringing it to the attention of Hollywood screenwriters and TV writers. Look, we're trained to tell stories, and all too often, our creative work is at the mercy of others for reasons that have nothing to do with content. E-publishing is a way for you to take the control back. You are in complete control of your content, and you have direct access to your audience. It's an inexpensive thing to do, you get to keep your copyright, you can still sell your film rights and best of all, you're building an audience. People are actually reading your work -- and asking for more! Your published pieces create a passive stream of income that can pay your bills, while you're busy shopping around film rights, or writing your next book.
LSF: So, tell me about how you and a group of your writer friends got together and e-published a book called "Every Witch Way But Wicked" and then decided to give all the proceeds to a children's charity.
CM: I really lucked out. I had read a writer, Barbra Annino, whose stories I loved and recommended to a film producer I was working with. At the same time, Barbra read Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead and loved it. Our writing is very similar -- humorous paranormal -- so when she was putting a paranormal anthology together for Halloween, she asked me if I wanted to contribute a story. At the same time, we were joking around on a writer's board about co-writing a story. So we decided to co-write our story for the anthology. At the time, I figured it would be fun and all the proceeds were going to a good cause, Kids Need To Read. What I didn't realize was that KNTR was Nathan Fillion's charity. And when he tweeted about the anthology, sales went wild. Then, after people read our story in the anthology, they wanted to read Tillie as well. So the sales of Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead started skyrocketing.
LSF: And what about your most recent e-book which you co-wrote, called, "A Tale of Three Witches."
CM: Now that the anthology's been out for a while, what we did was take the short story and expand it out, into a novelette. It's like a fun little bon-bon for people who are anxiously awaiting another installment on our series characters. And yes, even though I wrote Tillie as a stand-alone, everyone who's read it has asked for more, so a sequel is definitely in the works!
LSF: Can we expect any new screenplays from you in the future, or has your love of writing books left no room for it?
CM: I'm sure that's a question my manager is wondering about as well! I've had some film interest in Tillie, so I may take the finished novel and adapt her into a screenplay. Also, I read this fabulous book, "Down the Memory Hole," about a relationship between a grandfather who suffers with Alzheimers and his frustrated grandson, who concocts a wild plan to cure his grandfather, and I'm adapting that into a script. The difference between writing novels and scripts -- at least, for me -- is that novels pay the bills while scripts are like buying lottery tickets.
LSF: How about voiceovers? Some of your fans may not know that you were all the female warrior voices in Mortal Kombat II and III. That sounds like a lot of fun. Was it?
CM: It was a lot of fun. I was working at Williams Bally/Midway, writing and producing promotional videos for their Pinball Department, so I knew the Mortal Kombat guys, because we shared the studio. I loved working there. Since I was also acting in my spare time, when they needed a female voice for their characters, they asked me if I could do it. So we spent an afternoon recording "scream like you just got kicked in the head," "scream like you just got kicked in the back," etc., and all the screams had to be different! The hardest one was "scream like you just slipped on a patch of ice." I practically swallowed my own tongue on that one! LOL! After the recording session, I couldn't talk for days!
LSF: General Hospital is still one of my favorite soaps. You wrote and produced many of those episodes. Do you think you'll ever produce a television show of your own?
CM: I wrote episodes for General Hospital and General Hospital: Night Shift that were produced, but I didn't produce them. I was just the writer. I would love to produce a TV show of my own someday. Although I'm still looking for a TV writing job! So, if anyone out there is looking for a paranormal writer for their TV show, contact my manager, Leslie Conliffe at IPG. Actually, I would have LOVED to have written for Reaper. That was such a fun show!
LSF: Christiana, I know you're "married with kid," so how do you manage to work full throttle and still manage your household, and also maintain your own sanity?
CM: I choose to sacrifice cleaning. Well, something's gotta give, right? Actually, I find what helps me a lot is that I have an office separate from home. So, after I drop my daughter off at school, I go to the office and write. And I have no internet in the office, so there's no distractions. Instead, I save my internet work for when I return home.
LSF: If you could drop everything right now and go and do anything you wanted, anywhere in the world, what would that be?
CM: I would be doing exactly what I'm doing now. Although, I'd make sure I was independently wealthy so I never had to stress about bills again! And, I might pick a different "where." One of IPG's clients, who's also doing this indy publishing thing, bought himself his own private island. That sounds great to me. Or maybe I'd have homes in Chicago, Los Angeles, England, Norway, Greece and Wales and spend a couple of months in each place!
LSF: Christiana, because you write so convincingly about witches and warlocks, it's been rumored that you are actually a witch; a good one. Are you?
CM: LOL! I'd tell you, but I then I'd have to turn you into a toad. <grin>
LSF: LOL!! Thanks so much, Christiana. It's been my pleasure, and best of luck to you in the New Year and for years to come!
CM: You're very welcome! Thank you and best of luck to you, as well!
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