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Interview with Christiana Miller, author of The Thief Who Stole Midnight

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Tell us about The Thief Who Stole Midnight

It’s a farcical romp about Mike and Maddie, a young married couple with a new baby. They’re rushing home to prepare for their first family New Year’s Eve party. When they arrive, however, they’re shocked to find their apartment has been robbed. Even worse, the burglar is still there — sound asleep on their bed!

But it’s New Year’s Eve in Chicago, which means that they’re on a wait list for the cops and Maddie’s city-phobic, meddling, old-fashioned Greek parents are due to arrive any minute. So Mike and Maddie tie up the burglar and try to fake their way through the party until midnight.

When Mike’s born-again Wiccan grandmother unexpectedly shows up with her new boy-toy husband, things go from weird to wacky. Then, when the cops arrive right before midnight and arrest Mike and Maddie for unlawful detainment and kidnapping, things go from wacky to worse.

Soon, Mike, Maddie and Maddie’s best friend, Rio, are down at the police station, each pleading their view of events, about the New Year’s Eve party that none of them will ever forget.

What genre is it?
It’s listed in both Humor and Comic Fiction on Amazon. And really, those genres fit it perfectly.

What kind of readers do you expect it to appeal to?
Readers who like quirky characters and wacky situations.

Complete this sentence for us: If you like ­­­­­­­­­­___________, you’ll love The Thief Who Stole Midnight.
If you like Janet Evanovich or Carl Hiaasen, you’ll probably like The Thief Who Stole Midnight. They’re two of my favourite writers. They write quirky characters. And I love quirky and funny. If you like sitcom series like Mad About You or Up All Night, you’ll love The Thief Who Stole Midnight.

The idea of a thief falling asleep on the job is really funny because it is so far-fetched, but you say it is based on a true story?
Actually, I originally wrote it as a totally fictional script. But when I showed it to my boss at NBC, he told me that he once had a friend in school, whose cousin actually was a narcoleptic burglar in New York. He’d get stoned, rob people and fall asleep on the job. He didn’t last long as a burglar — the cops kept picking him up.

We would have loved to have read this book on New Year’s eve, but fortunately funny is funny all year long. What is the secret to being consistently funny in writing? 
Thank you! That is a great question. I’ve always considered my life to be a dramedy, and that’s informed my outlook on everything. I’m always looking for the humorous side to any situation. And it has a habit of finding me. Like the time when I was working for an S&L, and got locked in after hours. Trying to get the cops to help me break out of the bank didn’t go well, but it certainly gave them a laugh.

I think, when it comes to situation, what creates comedy is that, for the characters, the stakes are huge. It may be a hangnail to us, but to them, that torn hangnail could be opening the door to some unknown deadly infection and now they’re pretty sure it’s turned into the hangnail that’s going to kill them, but no one’s taking them seriously.

As far as dialogue goes, my characters are funnier than I am. They’re quippy in my head when they’re talking to each other. I honestly don’t know how to quantify humor in dialogue as an objective thing. I would say, keep the conflict elevated between characters, give them unexpected reactions, and the humor will sneak in on its own.

I don’t know if that fully answers the question though. That’s a tough one.

Can you tell us a bit about your other books? Which one would you recommend we read next? 
Read Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead. It’s a full-length novel that’s a combination of humor and paranormal. Stubborn witches, a homicidal ghost, a magickal toad and a dash of voodoo. I like my spookiness served with a side of laughter. However, this is a book for adults, not kids. It has adult themes and there’s a smattering of sex in it. The scenes aren’t overly graphic, but they’re also not your typical sexual situations.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Oh, gosh. LOL! I think this is the toughest question! I’m a first-generation Greek-American. I spend a lot of time helping other writers. During my senior year at Northwestern, I co-founded the Chicago Screenwriters Network. I used to write for TV, and I still work a lot with both the Writers Guild of America and Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance to put together educational events for writers. And, when I have time, I teach classes on E-Publishing.

I tend to get into the most unusual situations. I’ve had my DNA shot into space, as part of a Writers in Space program. I always tell people that I’m currently cohabiting with Stephen Colbert and Stephen Hawking, in a drawer on the International Space Station. I’ve been serenaded by Klingons on my birthday and I’ve walked on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. At one point on the ship, you don’t even know you’re on a soundstage anymore, because all you see is the interior of the ship, in all directions. I had quite an adventure with KISS, after I won tickets to the Detroit Rock City premiere. But you can read all about that on my website.

Let’s see… what else? I’m the voice of all the female warriors in the Mortal Kombat II and III games. Before I went to Northwestern, I used to work for Williams Bally/Midway making promotional videos for their pinball machines (I was surprised to find my videos for Indiana Jones and the Pinball Adventure and Star Trek: The Next Generation Pinball on YouTube), and I shared a studio with the Mortal Kombat guys. So, when they needed to record a female voice, they asked me. I couldn’t talk for two days after the recording session, but it was fun.

I’m also a mom, a step-mom, a step-grandma and a pet owner. We just got two enormous Bengal kittens over the summer. I love Dobermans, and I look forward to getting another one. At one time, I used to be able to speak five languages — Greek, French, Spanish, Russian and English — but I can’t do that anymore. Now I pretty much stick with English and Greek. Although I keep thinking I should get my old textbooks out and re-learn the ones I’ve forgotten.

Wow, the female voice on Mortal Kombat? Now, that’s very cool. Do you have a website or blog where we can learn even more about you? How can we follow you on Facebook and/or Twitter?
I do. And of all of them, I’m much more chatty on Facebook. But I also have a website and a Twitter account. Here are the links:
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/ChristianaMiller.author
Twitter — @writechristiana
Website — www.christianamiller.com
And, you can sign up for my New Release Subscription List by emailing me at christiana_miller(at)aol(dot)com.

Where can we buy The Thief Who Stole Midnight? 
Right now, it’s only on Amazon, but it’s in every Amazon store in the world (US, UK, Germany). However, it should be available at all the other outlets by spring.

What’s next?
There’s a new book in the works. I have The Gospel of Ruth: Cerridwen’s Cauldron with an editor. I’m hoping to publish it next month. While it’s not as funny as the stories I normally write, (it’s more literary and gothic), it’s still got its share of quirky characters. I co-wrote it with Griffin Ced. Griffin brought the gothic elements, I brought the quirk.

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Already read The Thief Who Stole Midnight? Then check out A Charming Crime by Tonya Kappes.

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  1. Pingback: Interview with Ingrid Reinke, author of Dead End Job | Indie Author Land

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