Today I’m joined by the lovely and talented J.E. Miller, author of the recently published The Mandevilles’ Marvelous Marvels, a Fantasy/Magical Realism tale that celebrates being different. We chat about this beautiful book of hers, as well as what she believes makes for a great story and what lies ahead for her. So, keep scrolling to learn more about the book and meet the author!
Janie Morgan is independent and a traveling loner until she meets Andrew, a like-minded dreamer with aspirations of constructing his invention. Their friendship strengthens as they team up and gig their talents for money to travel to Fimaldi Hunu, a place where each of them feel certain they’ll find optimal success and happiness.
By a serendipitous encounter on a train, they hear about auditions for a circus that pays wages and travel. And after taking inventory of Janie’s amateur aerialist skills and Andrew’s unique musicianship, they decide it’s worth a shot to try out and capitalize on the opportunity. Why not get paid and travel for free?
But this intriguing circus has some lore surrounding it, and the ringmaster runs a tight ship. Can Janie and Andrew survive the stops the circus makes in unusual towns, keep up with the seasoned performers of the troop, and manage not to get kicked out? Or worse, Janie slowly realizes… separated.
The Mandevilles’ Marvelous Marvels is J.E. Miller’s first book of a compelling series filled with adventure, culture, and genuine friendship.
Meet the Author
J.E. Miller has always had a love for the worlds created in fiction and fantasy. The stories that imprint themselves on our soul and change us forever. The ones that teach us how to grow, and serve as a measuring stick for the genuine character we aspire to have.
Pair all of that with an active imagination, and a thirst for adventure, and you get this author’s stamp of approval. Her novels are proof. The Marvelous Marvels series is just as described. Action, adventure, fantasy… with nuggets of thought provoking perspectives and ideas sprinkled throughout.
J.E. Miller is also a pediatric occupational therapist, production consultant for Miller Audio Visual, Inc., antique picker, recreational aerialist, and lover of DIYs.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, J.E. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m a quirky fun chaser with Peter Pan Syndrome. (9 words – That was hard!)
Give us an idea of how The Mandevilles’ Marvelous Marvels came to fruition.
My “day job” is a pediatric occupational therapist. Working with kids has you constantly running and as a therapist I’m hyper focused on what each kiddo needs – it’s a lot mentally and physically. I started reading more and writing as a sort of therapy for myself. I just wanted to sit still in the quiet and dream in my own little world every once in a while.
I also do aerial circus arts to unwind and flow, and have always romanticized the circus. So my writing became a way for me to run away with it. I started crafting characters and circus acts and all the interesting and mysterious locations they would stop in.
It sort of snowballed from there. I thought I would write a book and that would be cool, but then I fell in love with these characters and knew I couldn’t fit the whole story into one book.
Can you share with us something about The Mandevilles’ Marvelous Marvels that isn’t in the blurb?
This book doesn’t only center around Janie and Andrew. There are several other colorful characters we get to meet in the Marvelous Marvels who come from different backgrounds and experiences. And so, while it is an adventure seen through the eyes of our main character (Janie) it is also a story about friendship, relationships, and family… perhaps in unsuspecting places.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
I did a lot of circus research. I know a lot about the aerial arts, like what you see now in Cirque Du Soleil, but I wanted to bring in some of the past circus themes. So I had to research how on earth they transported giant animals, the financial strains of managing a circus, and other types of acts or side shows; which was fun.
What do you hope your readers take away from The Mandevilles’ Marvelous Marvels?
I hope that this story will convey a message of openness, bravery, and inclusivity… a celebration differences. I hope that it sparks real thought about our perspectives, or makes readers look at something in a different way or from a different angle. And I simply hope that, as a fantasy novel, it is a pleasant escape.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
For me, character building. Who are they? Why are they the way that they are? What is their voice?
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
It’s so hard to choose! I’m very fond of Zeke. He is effervescent and positive despite the fact that he’s been through some hard stuff. He’s just fun. He’s the kind of person everyone wants to be around. He never seemed apprehensive about the circus, he just dove in full force because he knows who he is.
What do you think makes a good story?
Relatable characters and well written emotion. Readers want to feel something; I know I do. I want to see someone who is totally different from me, has had totally different experiences, and yet find that I understand where they are coming from or can empathize. I think that’s part of the natural human desire to be connected; and we are. I just like it to be brought to my attention.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
It took a while to convince myself that my story matters and that I had something to say. I would go back and approach it with more confidence. I’ve done so with the following novels, but I could’ve saved myself some editing time if had taken the first round of writing more seriously. But with writing you can alway edit, edit, edit. Don’t we love it?
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Take a few minutes and write down all the reasons why you decided to write this book. Make a list. Keep it somewhere you can easily revisit it. Because you’ll have days where you need to remind yourself why you’re writing this and to motivate yourself to keep going. I encourage aspiring authors to see it through. You don’t have to be fast, or perfect. The more you write, the better you are at writing. Take the time you need, don’t be afraid to rewrite or revise. And whatever you do, don’t give up on your story!
Thank you again for taking the time to have a chat, J.E. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Thank you for having me on this beautiful blog. Finishing book 3 and editing book 2 are what’s on the agenda so I have a lot of work to do. But this is fun work. I can’t wait for readers to join the Marvelous Marvels on this adventure and I know that they will fall in love with this cast of characters.
I love reader feedback. So to those of you reading the blog, don’t hesitate to reach out, drop a line, or DM. There’s nothing better than hearing from readers!
That’s all I got for ya Be sure to visit J.E. on Twitter/Instagram/YouTube and say hi! You can get your copy of The Mandevilles’ Marvelous Marvels from Amazon today!