Thursday, March 16, 2017

AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller Author Interview

Photo Content from AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller

AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what that either of those words meant. (“What are you when you write books and sell them?” was the one of the first of many dangerous, life-altering questions posed to her wonderful mother, who miraculously still loves her.) By the time she abandoned a biology/pre-med track to major in English Literature and Creative Writing at Reed College in Portland, OR, she knew for sure she was headed into a new world of writerdom. Otherwise, what else could she have done with that degree?

But, first, she lived abroad for two years after graduation, traveling across Africa, Asia, and Europe with her awesome husband, Lukas, who just so happens to make the best risotto ever. She then settled with him in Alaska, where the long winters have given her plenty of time to explore the frontiers of the many worlds that exist in her head, and the glorious summers let her commercial fish every year on their boat, the Catch-22, in Bristol Bay.

While WORDLESS is supposedly her “first” novel, her very first novel had a cardboard cover and consisted of pages of unintelligible pencil scribbles that somehow recounted the story of an intrepid adventurer (too much like Indiana Jones for originality’s sake) fighting crocodiles in the Amazon. And then her second novel involved a talking cheetah in Zambia, and… so on.

AdriAnne enjoys artichokes, cooking, Argentine tango, making/consuming beer and kimchi, learning languages, other people singing (well), commercial fishing, figure drawing, hiking, and a morbid sense of humor, in no particular order.

Michael Miller - Raised off-grid in Alaska, where long winter nights were spent reading by kerosene lamp, I spent as much time in imaginary worlds as the real one. Weaned on Tolkien, Russian fairy tales and Laura Ingalls Wilder, I started scribbling adventures for a periodical newspaper my brother and I produced to keep friends informed of life in the woods. The introduction of solar power and a Macbook changed everything – his writing, and his career. He now works as an Apple Consultant and web developer. He lives in Alaska with his fabulous wife, spending part of the winter being vagabonds elsewhere on the planet.

Thanks to my incredible co-author, AdriAnne Strickland, this book is actually pretty sweet and we are now represented by the inimitable Kirsten Carlton. Our book, Shadow Run, will be published by the talented Kate Sullivan at Delacorte, all of which is much too exciting to be true.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
AdriAnne: Definitely. I had a lying problem as a young kid (5 or so years old), and was always told I was a “great storyteller” when I was found out. It was somewhere around then that I asked my mom what it was called when you made up stories as a job, and that was what I wanted to be. “An author,” she told me, which sounded a lot more honorable than “professional liar,” and so I’ve been working toward that ever since. I began “writing” books of scribbles, got a typewriter for my ninth birthday, and stayed home from parties in high school so I could write terrible, derivative novels.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Michael: Questions like these are dangerous, because I’m likely to spit back pages of prognostication. Storytelling is so important because it is it no one thing—it’s an outlet for so much of the human experience. We’re all driven to create, we’re all driven to connect with one another, and we’re all trying to figure out how to best exist. Telling stories lets us do all of that.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
AdriAnne: It’s the Pancake Rule: when making a stack of pancakes, the first one will usually be a mess and need to be pitched in the trash. Same goes for manuscripts. I’ve met so many authors who’ve been tinkering with their first novel for five or more years. I think there’s a fear that you won’t be able to complete another novel, that all of that effort will be lost, etc. But writing takes practice, like pancake making. Most of the time, you just need to trunk that first novel and dive into something new. It’s the only way you’ll learn and progress.

In your newest book, SHADOW RUN, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Michael: We wanted to tell a story inspired by all the sci-fi and fantasy stories that we love. We wanted a huge galaxy, both futuristic and ancient, and characters that were like family inside that vastness. And we wanted it to be fun.

It’s no coincidence that living in Alaska can be very similar to that. AdriAnne is a commercial fisherwoman in the summer, and I grew up on a homestead, so it was huge fun to take our experiences and put them into an adventure novel. When the publisher decided to pitch it as Firefly meets DUNE, we couldn’t have been happier.

What part of Qole did you enjoy writing the most?
AdriAnne: Well, she’s so tough as a default—she’s a starship pilot at seventeen, and had to fight and work so hard to get there, including against everyone’s expectations of her abilities or chances of survival—so it was actually those moments of vulnerability that I enjoyed writing the most, because I feel like I really got to the heart of her character.

For those who are unfamiliar with Nev, how would you introduce him?
Michael: In a way, Nev was intended to be something of a machine – he’s royalty, and has been trained from infancy to excel at all the skills that are expected of a ruler. Strategy, politics, conversation, combat, the sciences; you name it, Nev’s been doing it. But underneath all those layers of purpose and intent is a goofball who likes people and wants the best for everyone. As you might imagine, that’s not exactly the personality anyone necessarily expects or wants out of a ruler.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
AdriAnne: I would definitely want Qole to meet Lila Bard from A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. I think the two of them would get along in some ways, because they’re similar (never taking no for an answer, nor taking a back seat in driving their own lives), and they’d challenge each other in other ways. Lila’s stealing, for example, might get on Qole’s nerves, though I think she’d understand it.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
AdriAnne: We’re working on Book 2 copyedits right now, and starting Book 3. I’m also working on a solo YA dark fantasy.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Michael: Stop caring what people think of you. I’m hardly there, and most people don’t get there until they are much older, but I promise those moments where you strip the fear of judgment or the desire for praise out of your decision-making process, everything gains clarity.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
Michael: My wife. And not for the reason you might expect. I didn’t marry Margaret to get patted on the back and told I’m so very, very awesome. I married her because she will tell me the truth, and if the day is so bad that I need to call someone, it’s likely that I need advice from someone who is honest. Support isn’t about being told you’re right, support is about someone helping you figure out what is right.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Michael: AdriAnne and I wrote a letter to some of our readers just a week ago. Our handwriting was hilariously bad. I tried to write it in cursive, but was told no one can really read cursive anymore. Is that true? If so, that’s tragic.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
Michael: Alaska, actually. I moved there when I was very young. Best plane ride ever. I was enthralled by the safety manual in the seat pocket in front of me, and told the stewardess I hoped we crashed so we could enact the rubber raft protocol. She looked a little alarmed.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
Michael: I got to be a teenager right when the internet was hitting the world, so I’m pretty content with that. I feel like I fell into a sci-fi novel!

What is your greatest adventure?
AdriAnne: Commercial fishing. It’s not always fun, but between the bad weather, strange characters, risk of disaster, and lack of sleep, it’s certainly never boring!

Michael: Sooooo….this is a total cheat, I know, but for real, parenthood. Every single day brings completely new experiences, emotions, and your companions on that trip are just the best.

Where can readers find you?
AdriAnne: Twitter: @AdriAnneMS, on Instagram at adrianne.strickland, and through my website,!

Michael: is the best place. I’m terrible at writing timely responses, just ask Adri, but I love hearing from people!

"Firefly" meets DUNE in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.

Praise for SHADOW RUN

“Readers will want to join Qole's crew.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The world-building is excellent, with a convincingly unique source of cosmic energy that has the potential for extraordinary power. The writing is accomplished; the plot, though familiar, has good twists; and the pace is appropriately fast.” —School & Library Journal

You can purchase Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles #1) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ADRIANNE AND MICHAEL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles #1) 
by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller.


  1. Sounds good. I'm just guessing you forgot to attach the rafflecopter to this post. Thanks.

  2. My biggest fear is answering deeply personal questions in front of an audience of strangers. Thank you for the contest!