It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy
Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering new authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She loves writing humorous stories about strong willed, sassy women who can’t keep themselves out of trouble. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel. To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress visit quanietalkswriting.com.
Quanie Miller chats about being an Author
“Yes, me.” The girl formally nicknamed Tanutsi by my Aunt Lee-Lee because I was so adorably chubby. Me, Quanie, who lost the spelling bee in fifth grade (first round!) by spelling complacent c-o-n-p-l-a-c-e-m-e-n-t. Quanie, who, in high school, had aspirations of being a rapping psychologist (don’t ask).
Yes. Me, Quanie Miller. Über Cool Newbie Author Extraordinaire. Je Suis Très Chic.
I’ve always been a writer. Way back when my cousins were climbing trees in my grandmother’s yard, I was holed up in the house writing my very first short story, "Sheeba the Cat,” or walking back from the library with books stacked up to my chin.
Writing and books have always been my world, but to some, it’s other worldly. The question I get the most? “How do you get your ideas?”
I hesitate telling people how I get my ideas because I don’t want them to think I’m crazy.
“Well, sometimes, I hear the characters talking to me—”
“So you hear voices?”
“No, that’s not what I meant. You see, sometimes, I’ll see a character very vividly—”
“Like an apparition?”
“No, not like that.”
Then I sit there and struggle for the right words to explain just how inspiration works, and I’m never able to convey it to their satisfaction. They walk away shaking their heads as if I’m a lost cause. Poor Tanutsi.
But luckily for me, my family has been very supportive. But maybe that’s because they think that me writing a book will somehow result in the following:
1. Me being on the Oprah Show.
2. Tyler Perry turning one of my books into a movie.
3. Them somehow being able to quit their jobs as a result of all the money I’m going to make as an author.
People think it’s a glorious thing, this author business, but the truth is this: on top of the fact that most books don’t sell very well, it’s actually frightening to write something and let it out into the world, not knowing whether or not people will love it or hate it or use your book as a foot stool, or worse, write a review so scathing that you vow to never write anything again (not even a grocery list). It’s the stuff author nightmares are made of.
So, why do you write, Quanie?
That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked: I do it because I love writing stories that make people laugh. I figure if I can make somebody’s day by making them laugh, even just once, then maybe I’ve done something worth while.
But what about Oprah? Next question, please.
Jazzy secretly wants to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, Curtis, so when he calls and reveals that he’s got something important to tell her, she’s got no idea that he’s about to propose—to her first cousin and bitter rival, Mercedes.
The annual family dinner is coming up, and fearing that she will spend the evening seething while Mercedes flaunts her four carat engagement ring in her face, Jazzy asks Reggie, an Adonis she met at the mall, to accompany her. As fate would have it, not only did Reggie and Mercedes used to date; that backstabbing, leopard print wearing cow is still carrying a torch for him! Revenge. It’s never been so sweet.
But falling for Reggie? Holy crap! That wasn’t part of the plan! She’s got enough on her plate as it is; restaurant shootouts, a neurotic boss, a mother who spies on the neighbors, and a sister and best friend with man problems that could land them on Jerry Springer.
Who has time to fall in love? So when Curtis comes sniffing around again—this time, with an accusation that sends her blood pressure shooting through the roof—the one good nerve that Jazzy’s got left has just about run its course.