Manteca High graduate and author Kristin Miller is now a bona fide national best-selling author. Her latest book made it to the New York Times Bestseller list this week.
The young wife, mother and high school English teacher is in good company. The six women who share the honor with her are writers of that caliber. They are USA Bestselling as well as national and international best-selling authors as well.
The seven women are the authors of a boxed set of books listed on amazon.com as Lucky 7 Bad Boys Contemporary Romance. Miller’s contribution to the set is “Crazy in Love,” the story of a historical inn owner and a rock star playboy. The setting of the story is a fictionalized old historic town in the Sierra foothills called Blue Lake, much like Murphys, Miller explained.
The other authors in the Lucky 7 boxed set are Charity Pinheiro, Sohia Knightly, Tawny Weber, Nina Bruhns, and Virna DePaul. Their book set is an Amazon Top 50 Bestseller, the Top 50 Bestseller in Romance, and the #1 Bestseller in Hot New Releases. All seven authors are also in the Amazon Top 50 Most Popular Romance Authors list. One of them –DePaul – is a former criminal prosecutor. Two of them are from Sacramento and Davis, and another author is from Concord in the Bay Area. The rest are from other parts of the country.
Like the others, Kristin has written for several publishing companies like Avon, Entangled, and Harlequin in the romantic suspense, paranormal, and contemporary genre.
For now, the boxed set listed on Amazon is a Kindle edition especially priced at $0.99 for a limited introductory time. Miller does not have an exact date when the book set will be available in print.
On both New York Times & USA Today bestsellers list
What she knows for sure is that Lucky 7 made it to the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists in the last few days. It made the New York Times list on Thursday.
“You have to sell a certain number to hit the list. We hit #41 on the USA Today list. On the New York list, we landed on #16,” Miller said.
The book set actually had more than 10,000 sold “within the week” on the Amazon website.
“Crazy in Love,” the story of a young couple’s “journey through falling in love,” is Miller’s 14th published book. Her first book, “Dark Tide Rising,” was published in February 2011 by “a small publisher.” That was followed by three books published by Avon Books, four books with Harlequin, and then a couple with Entangled. All publishers specialize in the romance genre.
Like many authors today, she has gone indie as far as publishing – which is the case with the Lucky 7 boxed set – but is still writing for Entangled.
“My next book for them comes out this summer,” she said.
As a young girl growing up in Manteca and attending Golden West Elementary School, Miller didn’t start out dreaming about becoming a published writer. She wanted to be a teacher, which she did for about three years until she had children and became a stay-at-home mom until the writing bug bit her three years ago. She and her husband Justin and their two children live in Manteca.
While being a published author was not in her professional horizon growing up, “I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher. I always liked English and I like reading. And I always loved writing,” Miller said. When she was younger, she loved reading suspense novels and thrillers. As she got older, she started reading romance books “and I just fell in love with them.” Among her favorite authors are Dean Koontz, JR Ward, and Nora Roberts.
Decided to stay home and raise the kids
After graduating from Manteca High, she went to California State University, Humboldt where she majored in psychology with English as her minor. She received her master’s degree on cross-cultural education from National University in Stockton. She taught English at Tokay High in Lodi for two years, and taught for a year at El Portal Middle School in Escalon. Then she decided to stay at home “to raise the kids,” and now divides her time shuffling the children to and from school, feathering the domestic nest, and writing during her free time in the morning and in the afternoon.
“I take the kids to school and then I write.”
Why romance novels? Miller explained, “I feel like there is nothing greater than starting a story with two characters who are broken or heartbroken or lost, or even characters who feel like they have everything in their life but are missing something in their life which is love. I really enjoy creating a story of two people who find true love” in the end.
Miller started writing to fill the time when she stopped teaching. It was her husband who initially suggested that she got back to what she really loved to do - writing. She was skeptical at first. “Oh, seriously,” she said to her husband with a laugh. But he simply told her, “Why don’t you write it (the book) and see how far it goes.” She finally succumbed to her husband’s urging and encouragement.
“So it was as simple as that, and the first book was written in three months. It was bad but I learned what you could do to make it better. I got rid of that book and started my next one. Then I started noticing that I really enjoy writing and the process of it, and it’s probably one of the hardest yet one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done,” Miller now admits.
Her husband has read only about a couple of her books, but not for lack of interest or encouragement.
“He doesn’t read them because during the writing process I ask him a lot of questions, bounce off ideas with him. When I’m stuck with a scene, I ask him, ‘what do you think will happen?’ By the time the book is done, he knows what’s happened,” Miller said.
Now that she’s an established author, Miller said, “I kind of put pressure on myself” to complete a book at a regular pace.
“I know that I should be writing a book about every three months – every two or three. The publisher usually tells me when a book is due. Sometimes it gets really tight.”
Becoming an independent publisher, she discovered, has relieved her of that deadline pressure somewhat. But what she enjoys the most about self-publishing is having “more freedom and control” in what she is doing, she said.
Her books are available at amazon.com, barnes&nobles.com, and itunes.