Fenella Jane Miller was born in the Isle of Man. Her father was a Yorkshire man and her mother the daughter of a Rajah. She has worked as a nanny, cleaner, field worker,hotelier,chef, secondary and primary teacher and is now a full time writer.
She has over twenty five Regency romantic adventures published plus one Jane Austen re-telling and two WW2 historical novels.
She lives in a pretty, riverside village in Essex with her husband. She has two adult children and three grandchildren.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always wanted to be a full-time, published writer and had written several novels before I had the opportunity to stop teaching in 2005. I tried writing contemporary romances but failed dismally and was told to write what I prefer to read. Therefore I switched to historical fiction and have since sold 30 books.
I love the Regency period and the bulk of my work is set in that era. However I’ve also got two World War II books published; a coming-of-age book, Barbara’s War and a historical romance, Hannah’s War. I have a third two part novel, a historical saga, called Victoria’s War, which will be published next year.
I write because I have to – I am a writer – and even if I never sold another book, I would still write.
Tell us about your writing process.
I always buy at least three new research books before I start (although I’ve got hundreds already) and read through these. I wait until the characters come to me, usually in a situation of some sort, and then take it from there. As I write mainly historical romance I usually know how the book will end. I have two books with detailed outlines written, the second part of Barbara’s War and another Jane Austen linked book, but the Regency I’m writing at the moment has no plans.
I write first thing in the morning for two or three hours and then do my social media stuff and anything else in the afternoon.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I write Regency novels without planning, but for my longer books I do a fairly detailed outline. However, I don’t always stick to it.
I don’t see my characters I hear them talking. When I first started writing I always wrote character sketches and it detailed planning and the more books and write the less you need to do that.
My characters develop as the book is written and often they lead the way with the story. I love it when my characters takeover. I think my heroes are usually based on Richard Armitage (in North and South) and Sean Bean (in Sharpe). I seem to have a fondness for redheaded heroines – but I do try to ring the changes.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write from the heart – although it’s wise to bear your market in mind – don’t let this influence the way you write or what you write.
Try and do something writing related everyday.
When your book is finished leave it for a week and get on with something else. Then go back and read it as you’re more likely to see the plot holes and discrepancies then.
Before you send it out to an agent or publisher make sure several people have read it.
If you intend to publish it yourself you must have it professionally edited and proofread and you will need a professional cover design.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I started my career e-books were a thing of the future, and the only sort of self publishing was vanity publishing. Therefore there was no other option but to go with a traditional publisher. I only began to indie publish a year ago when I got my back list back.
I think that today indie publishing is a perfectly valid option for new writers who have failed to get one of the big five, or an agent, to look at their book. I’m making more money now than I made as a full-time, top of the scale, teacher.
If you intend to publish your books yourself I think it’s a good idea to have more than one written and ready to go. (see advice above).
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m very excited about the way the digital world is developing. For the first time writers have the power to decide for themselves whether to take the traditional route or will become self publishers. E-books have an everlasting shelf life and new readers come online in their thousands every week.
I don’t see paper books disappearing completely – I always buy a hardback of my favourite authors – but I think that mass-market paperbacks will go in the next few years.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, and Beta Readers.
What genres do you write?
Historical fiction/romantic fiction/saga
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print.
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