I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mirriam Neal, a lovely young woman and talented author who I’ve known for five years. She blogs here, and her official Facebook page is here. Why should you care? Read on and you’ll find out 🙂
Her bio, in her own words: Mirriam Neal is a nineteen-year-old young woman who lives and breathes words. She loves reading, weird music, coddling her characters, blogging, and blue fingernail polish. Above all else, she hopes her writing shows people that fiction can be so much better than they expect.
Her debut novel, MONSTER, will be available through Amazon on June 15 (that’s just three days!). I read some of the novel in its early stages and loved it. Personally, I’m ecstatic to hold a copy in my own hands. What’s the book about?
The year is 2053, and the world is recovering from Morbus, a plague that swept across the globe, destroying millions of lives. Eva Stewart is a promising young WorldCure scientist assigned to a facility in Alaska where she is made a Handler and given her own human Subject for research and experimentation. What she believes to be a step up in her career becomes a nightmare when she discovers writing on her Subject’s cell wall. I still have a soul. Soon Eva is drawn into a horrific plot kept quiet by WorldCure, and as everything she once knew collapses around her, she must discover the truth behind her Subject, her beliefs, and herself.
Without further ado, the interview!
Tell us something about yourself!
Mirriam: I have what a friend dubbed ‘mermaid eyes.’ They’re either blue, gray, or green depending on the day. I used to think they were nothing special, but since they were given that name, I’m very happy with them. Also, my full name means Mistress of the Sea-Nymph-Warrior, which rather fits. I love my name.
Do you have any writer role models?
Mirriam: I have several; I’d have to say Ted Dekker, Cornelia Funke, Allison Croggin, and Patricia McKillip are some of the biggest ones.
For the curious writers out there, tell us about your optimum writing conditions.
Mirriam: My optimum writing conditions are 1. Darkness outside. It can be cloudy, rainy, nighttime, etc. but darkness is always more inspiring to my writing. I have no idea why. 2. I have to have a cup of coffee or tea for optimum conditions. Also, chocolate-covered raisins and the like don’t hurt. 3. My music must be playing.
Speaking of music, did you have a playlist for writing Monster? What are some of the songs on it?
Mirriam: Oh, I have a playlist for everything I write; lovingly handcrafted and painstakingly maintained. With Monster, the songs that spurred me through it were – ‘Monster’ by Big Bang, ‘E.R.’ by DMTN, ‘Gold’ by Owl City, ‘Love Addiction’ and ‘Bad Boy’ by Tritops, ‘Cry’ by MBLAQ, ‘I Remember’ by Bang Yong Guk, and ‘Baby I’m Sorry’ by B1A4.
Who is your favorite character in Monster? Is that a mean question to ask? 😉
Mirriam: Not mean at all. Mir. Hands down. Every time. I love him. I would happily marry him. 😄
What made you decide to self-publish?
Mirriam: I declined an offer-and-a-half before I decided to self-publish. The more I prayed and thought about it, the more I really felt God pointing me toward self-publishing. It was a huge decision on my part, but I took the plunge.
Who are some people who’ve supported you during your writing and self-publishing journey?
Mirriam: I have had SO many people encourage and support me. My parents especially, and my siblings. Ashley, Tanzy and Una were three of my especially supportive, amazing friends. But honestly, if I listed everyone here, this post would be a LOT longer.
Tell us how Monster’s cover came about.
Mirriam: I was floundering around trying to figure out exactly how I would get a professional cover when my friend Jessica burst in on my life in a dazzle of photo-shopping glory. She purchased the picture, we were given the fonts for free, and she created a cover that perfectly captures the first half of the novel.
Is there anything writing Monster has taught you, either about life or writing or whatever?
Mirriam: It didn’t necessarily teach me anything I didn’t already know, but it enforced it so much it was like I was learning it again. It really opened my eyes to how much every soul is worth; how precious people are no matter how they seem.
Can you explain what the Amazon Blitz and your giveaway are about?
Mirriam: The Amazon Blitz helps me as the author a great deal. If as many people as possible can purchase Monster through the links you’ll find on my blog on the 15th, then my ratings on Amazon go up, and so does Monster’s position. The giveaway was a collaboration between me and one of my best friends, Ashley. She created something special for this giveaway, something Monster-themed and beautiful. I can’t wait to reveal it!
What mediums will Monster be available in? Print? E-book? Hardcover? Paperback?
Mirriam: For now, Monster will only be available in paperback. Eventually I might make it available in hardcover and e-book; we’ll have to see how it does. ^.^
What are your hopes for Monster as it goes out into the world?
Mirriam: I hope it will do well. I’m not expecting a breakthrough Ted Dekker-style entry, but I would like for those who read Monster to be changed for the better.
What’s something you’d like to tell someone before they read Monster?
Mirriam: Please don’t take one look at it and think “That’s not my kind of book.” It has had several readers who told me they weren’t going to read it but are very glad they did. Spread your wings a little and give Monster a chance, even if you think it’s not for you.
Thanks so much, Mirriam!
Okay, peeps. I know you get inundated with book recommendations all the time. But I promise you that this one is worth it. On June 16th, dip into your book money funds and buy a book you won’t regret 🙂