Wendy Paine Miller writes contemporary women’s fiction, pulsing with broken characters and probing moral questions. Her works have been published in multiple anthologies and online sites. Writing helps Wendy better understand the world around her. Her passion for crafting novels wakes her up, invigorating her to explore ways to intentionally engage with her surroundings.
As a mother to three girls, Wendy uses a great deal of ingenuity when it comes to finding time to write and edit. Other hats she’s worn include soccer coach, caregiver for an aging dog, and assistant in her church’s mom’s group. She graduated with a BA in English, writing concentration. In college she earned an Honor of Distinction for her accrued knowledge of literature. Her background in marketing and communications has provided her with valuable insight as she ventures ahead in this ever-fluctuating industry.
Wendy feels most alive when she’s spending time with loved ones, speeding in a boat, reading, writing, refurbishing furniture, and trusting God.
You’re a wordsmith of the highest order, putting words together in ways others would never think of. When did your love affair with words begin?
What a fabulous question. I think as a child I discovered I wasn’t able to verbally communicate as well as I’d hoped. I expressed myself much more succinctly when I wrote my feelings down as opposed to speaking them. My journals as a child were the conduit to that love affair.
When did your penchant for crafting your tales turn into a serious pursuit of publication as a novelist?
My passion moved from nonfiction to fiction four years ago and I dabbled in the pursuit a year later. I received an immediate positive response, but I quickly ascertained I wasn’t ready yet. I spent the next three years developing my craft and growing confident in my genre, while enthusiastically building my platform. I’d say the pursuit turned serious last year at the ACFW conference when I pitched my fourth novel.
And published you have been. Where? What have your ventures into the publishing world taught you?
Four of my short stories have appeared in Christian Fiction Online. My nonfiction works have been in several anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms and Love is a Flame. And I’ve written for numerous online sites and have blogged a book worth of posts. I’ve learned it’s worth it to take risks. And I’ve learned that the process takes time…not to rush it.
I remember hearing that you’ve completed five stories and are working on a sixth. What do they have in common, and how do they differ?
Wow, would you believe I’ve completed six and I’m working on a seventh now? The common thread is that I tell the stories of raw characters dealing with complex life struggles, but I will say each of their stories is so individual for me. They don’t bleed into each other at all, other than that they’re women and they feel passionately about something.
You finaled in the Novel Matters Audience-With-An-Agent contest in 2010. Please tell us about that experience, what it meant to you, and how you reacted when you heard the exciting news.
I was greatly honored to final in that contest. I admire the writers on that blog and in many ways they’ve become like mentors to me. Honestly, I heard not long after my dad had died and it felt like rain on my parched soul. I fell to my knees and thanked God for the goodness.
Your view of the world is unlike that of anyone else. You see life in vibrant color—with no lines to constrain, confuse, or confound you. I invite you to give us a glimpse of your views on three things. Since you write women’s fiction with an inspirational aspect, I’ll use themes often explored in that particular genre.
What is your vision for family?
I cannot say enough about grace. I think because I’ve experienced it so intimately in my own life, I’ve woven grace-filled responses throughout my novels.
What is your vision for characters facing life-altering challenges?
I’m going with an all G theme with my answers and for this question I’ll say growth. I love to be surprised by what my characters learn. Believe it or not, I’ll often learn from their growth and how they come through a gut-wrenching situation. Isn’t that wild, that God could use our writing in that way?
What is your vision for those in need of a life-transforming infusion of faith?
I’ll say gradual for this one. I think as Christians sometimes we have this overnight “Are you saved?” type expectation of someone once they’ve heard the message. And the truth is I’ve been a Christian for over twenty years and I still struggle with my faith. I know God’s working in me, but it feels much more like how I feel when I work on a piece of furniture, taking my time with it, as opposed to ripping off a Band-Aid.
Let’s Learn More About Wendy
Like Wendy, I delve deeply at times. I did just that when I visited her website and blog, seeking to learn everything I can about this fascinating woman who embraces life with all the wonder of a child, ready and eager to learn all she can about herself, others, and the world around her. As I soaked in the essence of this vibrant soul, I found some unanswered questions and want to see if I can coax Wendy to explore them with us.
You have a journal containing your “bucket list.” What are some items topping that list?
I want to run a half marathon, publish four books, and go to New Zealand. Those are some biggies.
You can envision yourself as a stand-up comedian in front of an applauding crowd. What topics would you choose for your routine? Would they be funny things that have happened to others, or would you pull tidbits from the archives of your life and put your own unique spin on them?
Most likely I’d poke fun at myself. I create a wealth of material every day and I’m a natural at finding the funny in my quirkiness.
Everything in your life changed when you were fifteen? Why was that?
I understood God’s grace for the first time.
Spoons make you smile. What are some of the most memorable things you’ve done with a spoon or savored from a spoon?
This is embarrassing to admit, but I found a spoon once on the sidewalk, took it home, gave it a good wash, then hung it in my house. (I was just out of college…does this make more sense now?) I also have four spoons hanging like musical notes in my dining room now. They make me happy, what can I say? 🙂
You say that you’re an amalgamation of every place you’ve ever lived. Where have you lived? Of those places, which hold the most treasured memories?
Let’s see if I can recollect…England, Germany, CT (two locations), OH (three locations), GA, KY (two locations) & WA (two locations).
Oh, tough question. Most treasured memories would likely be from Connecticut. My time is adding up in that state, so maybe that makes it an unfair question. I also attended school in CT from first grade until I graduated and moved to college. Those are influential years.
Wendy’s Question for You
I’m weird in that I love music (LOVE it) but I cannot write with it on. But because I love it, I’m always curious what kinds of music others like.
So, I want to know…what’s your favorite song?
Where You Can Find Wendy
Visit her personal blog ~ Wendy Paine Miller ~ thoughts that move
Visit her group blog ~ The Writer’s Alley
Friend her on Facebook ~ Writer, Wendy Paine Miller
Follow her on Twitter ~ @wendypmiller