Regency Author, Kelly Miller Visits the Creekside Café
Award-winning author Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano, singing, or walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.
Welcome Kelly Miller to Creekside Cafe. When you invited me to listen to your audiobook, Captive Hearts, I had just watched Persuasion on Netflix. At first the two were so similar it was difficult to remember what was the original and what was your interpretation. When I reached about the halfway mark I was delighted by your unique version of the story. You brought a little suspense and intrigue to the familiar tale. Do all of your books have intrigue or suspense?
Kelly: Hello, Sherri! Thank you so much for having me! I’m a big fan of suspense in books and movies! I try to add a nail-biting scene or two to all of my books. The most suspenseful of my published books is probably Accusing Mr. Darcy, with Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a close second. The least suspenseful of my books is A Consuming Love, mainly because it is a novella, and my publisher gave me a word count limit for it.
Sherri: For anyone who watched Persuasion on Netflix, and then picks up your book Captive Heart, what do you feel they will appreciate most?
Kelly: Well, if they are fans of historical fiction, then they will appreciate my adherence to language and customs appropriate to the Regency timeframe, something the Netflix movie did not do. They will also get a far better understanding of both Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth from my book, vs. the movie. And I think my storyline made for a more compelling tale.
Sherri: I agree. I believe your book gave a richer feeling of immersing us in that world.
As a reader and a lover of historical romance, I have to admit that I enjoyed the addition of suspense, I also really enjoyed your ending. I won’t give anything away but for me, you gave me a more satisfying ending than the movie. I felt all of the ends were tied up. How important is this to you as a reader, as well as a writer?
Kelly: While I can see the appeal of an ambiguous ending where readers can make their own interpretations, I would much rather read and write an ending that is both happy and satisfying.
Sherri: You describe yourself as an Anglophile, but I would also guess you are an Austenite as well. Are all of your books based on Jane Austen’s works.
Kelly: Yes, I am most definitely a big fan of Jane Austen! So far all of my writing is based on her works.
Sherri: Miss Austen was not as respected during her life as she is now. What is it about Jane Austen that still inspires authors to recreate her works all these years later?
Kelly: It’s amazing; I think her fan base continues to grow! She wrote during a time when it was not generally acceptable for women to have professions. Authors were an exception of sorts, but not really; Jane Austen published anonymously, so few people knew her to be an author. “Pride & Prejudice” is by far her most popular book, and it includes clever quotes, memorable characters, and a plot that is part social commentary and part fairy tale.
Sherri: What is the most difficult thing about recreating a classic versus writing a totally original work? What do the readers expect and what do you as an author hope to convey?
Kelly: It’s a huge responsibility to take these beloved characters and put them in new situations. Jane Austen fans have firm opinions and it is impossible to please them all. So, I write what I want to read and hope for the best. It is doubly difficult to write known characters in the Regency setting. While I write, I am constantly looking up the Etymology of words or phrases or researching customs, inventions, locations, or slang. I hope to provide a story in which Jane Austen’s characters are credibly depicted in a new and compelling plot.
Sherri: With so much happening in the world from our fears over ecology to ethnicity, where does historical fiction fit in the modern world?
Kelly: Historical fiction offers an escape to a world of the past, far away from the complications of today. Yet even back then, people had similar wants, desires, and fears, so we can relate to these characters.
Sherri: As writers, do you feel we have a responsibility to our community to represent the world we want to see or to shine a light to reflect the flaws of the one in which we live?
Kelly: I think my duty as an author is to entertain the reader; I am writing fiction and not history books. However, my MC’s reflect my personal values within the confines of what was acceptable in Regency. So, for instance, I would never have a MC who tolerates or encourages racial prejudice or animal cruelty.
Sherri: Do you have much chance to read for pleasure or are you like me, spend more time reading for duty, research or craft?
Kelly: I do a bit of reading each night. Since I have met so many wonderful authors on Twitter, I have expanded my reading so that I read most genres. While it is often pleasurable, I consider all reading to be research, because as I read, I take note of what I admire and what I would have done differently. It’s a fun exercise that helps keep my own writing fresh.
Sherri: It is difficult as an author to turn off that part of our brain and just read.
Who are some of your favorite authors, genres, or books?
Kelly: Some of my favorites include Stephen King, Daphne Du Maurier, Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.
Sherri: If you decided to write in a totally different genre, what would it be?
Kelly: Hmm, maybe horror? I don’t know. Darcy and Elizabeth have not let go of me yet!
Sherri: What is your favorite trope? To read or to write…
Kelly: I don’t have favorite or hated tropes. A good story, well-written is what I always crave.
Sherri: How difficult is it to develop characters from works already well-known, make them your own and still be true to the original?
Kelly: I believe it is harder to write a known character vs an original one. Most of my books have a combination of known and original characters. I am free to give the originals whatever tendencies I choose. But if I am writing a scene for Darcy, I strive to make him recognizable to readers who believe they “know” how Darcy would react.
Sherri: How do you start a new project? Are you a plotter, pantser or something in between?
Kelly: I’m an in-betweener; I’ve never written a full outline. Rather, I keep an idea in my head of the main idea or start of the story. I might have later scenes in my head too, but the rest fills in as I write.
Sherri: Your book, A Dutiful Son is due out anytime, tell us a little about your new release. Do you have a cover to share with us?
Kelly: Alas, no cover yet. In A Dutiful Son, my main alteration from the plot of “Pride & Prejudice” is that Darcy’s benevolent father, George Darcy is still alive. (In canon, Darcy’s father had passed away 5 years earlier, when Darcy was 22.) So, Darcy has benefitted from five years with his benevolent father and is a better-behaved person from the beginning. But a former family member’s betrayal induces Darcy’s father to alter his principles. Darcy will be torn between his father’s dictates and his growing sentiment for Elizabeth Bennet.
Sherri: If you enjoyed this interview with regency author, Kelly Miller, then follow her on social media and check out her published works. Her links are listed below. If you are an author and you’d like to visit me at Creekside Café, then email me at email@example.com
Upcoming book A Dutiful Son or Kelly’s latest Captive Hearts
A Dutiful Son is my next release. I don’t have a release date yet, but it is another Regency variation of “Pride & Prejudice.”
My five published books are:
Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic sequel with a touch of fantasy, Winner: Royal Dragonfly Book Awards and Indies Today Book Awards; Finalist: International Book Awards and Book Excellence Awards.
Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation, Recommended Read, Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.
Accusing Mr. Darcy, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic mystery, Winner: Firebird Book Awards and Queer Indie Awards-Ally Division; Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards; Finalist: Wishing Shelf Book Awards and Mystery & Mayhem-Chanticleer International Book Awards.
A Consuming Love, a Pride and Prejudice Regency novella, Winner: Royal Dragonfly Book Awards; Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.
Captive Hearts, a Persuasion Regency variation, Winner: Author Shout Cover Wars.
My Amazon Author Page:
Kelly’s blog page is found at www.kellymiller.merytonpress.com, her Twitter handle is @kellyrei007, Instagram: kelly.miller.author, TikTok: @kellymillerauthor, and she is on Facebook: www.facebook.Author.Kelly.Miller