Friday, June 12, 2020

Holly Miller

Holly Miller works as a copywriter and lives in Norfolk, England.

The Sight of You is her American debut.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

My title The Sight Of You actually took quite a while to come up with. My working title for the book was As Long As It’s Love, but the publishers felt that might make the book sound more light-hearted than it actually is. (It’s not what I’d call a ‘heavy’ read – I’d say it’s actually quite uplifting – but there are parts where you might need some tissues handy, and it was felt the original title didn’t quite reflect that.) But The Sight Of You feels perfect, because the book is all about what Joel sees when he dreams, and the moment when he first sees Callie – as well as moments after that when seeing her becomes heart-rending and significant.

What's in a name?

I find it quite tricky to name characters – the ones that spring to mind always seem to belong to people I know! – but for Joel and Callie I definitely wanted names that, although they aren’t exactly unusual, would stick in the reader’s mind. I spend a long time when I’m naming all the different characters in a book making sure they all start with as many different letters as possible, and contain varying numbers of syllables – it’s quite time-consuming!

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was tiny – so I think my teenage reader self would be beside herself with joy! I don’t think she’d be surprised by the fact I’ve written a love story – they were always the books I was drawn to when I was younger, and are still the books I turn to now by default. Although my tastes have widened as I’ve got older, love stories are my mainstay!

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I’d say beginnings are tougher. I generally find the ending comes naturally, as after tens of thousands of words I’m so familiar with my characters and the journey they’re on. Although a beginning is normally not too hard to draft, it’s the refining and perfecting that I find challenging, as I’m so conscious that these will be the first words a reader flips through in a bookshop or previews on Amazon, and for that reason I want them to be exactly right. I agonize over every single word.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

Films and TV, without a doubt. I find an engaging script as exciting as any book – and I hope that being an avid film and TV fan has helped to hone my ear for dialogue over the years. Strong characterisation and a pithy script win me over every time – the genre doesn’t really matter (although I do confess I steer clear of horror and gore). I also find watching TV and films helps me to relax after a hard day’s writing – but I like to think I’m absorbing all the great dialogue, plots and premises while I’ve got my feet up!
Visit Holly Miller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue