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Interview: John Anthony Miller, Author of All the King’s Soldiers


Today I’m pleased to bring you some thoughts and insights from John Anthony Miller, author of the historical novel All the King’s Soldiers. I have my copy on hand and a review will follow at some point in the future, but I wanted to introduce you to this talented individual and his very intriguing book without delay. So without further ado, I bring you John Anthony Miller!

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Interview with John Anthony Miller

What was your goal with this book?
When I started All the King’s Soldiers, I wanted to cross genres and create a WWII thriller that was also a murder mystery. Consistent with all my books (All the King’s Soldiers is my fourth), I also wanted to treat the location as a character, and set the story in a place not normally associated with WWII. I chose Lisbon, Portugal which, as a neutral city, was also a thriving hotbed for international espionage.

A common theme to my novels are ordinary people compelled to do extra-ordinary things – against the backdrop of global conflicts. For All the King’s Soldiers, I created Simon Cole, a London code analyst who’s sent to Lisbon to find the killer of a British agent, determine the identity of a double agent, and recover a stolen copy of the German invasion plans for England. Woefully unprepared and mismatched against a German master spy, he races to recover the plans, solve his colleague’s murder, and find the double agent – even if it’s the woman he loves.


What do you find more difficult, coming up with ideas or writing them down the way you want them?
Coming up with ideas is fairly easy, but finding an idea that’s interesting enough to justify the research required to support it is a bit harder. Once I have the idea, I normally frame the beginning and ending of the book, then the story becomes what happens in between. That’s where the original idea changes. Sometimes characters take on a life of their own, and tend to go in directions different from what I originally planned.

What draws you to an historical period?
I’m drawn to historical periods of conflict – or the turmoil that follows – because I’m interested in how ordinary people react – folks like you and me that often become true heroes. Examples are the WWII era, which is a clearly defined struggle of good versus evil, or WWI – a cataclysm overshadowed by WWII. I also am very interested in British history – which offers tremendous opportunities for an active imagination, from midieval times to present.

If you could travel to any fictional book world, where would you go and what would you do there?
I think I would use H.G. Wells Time Machine – and go back to Victorian England. I’m fascinated by the British Empire – especially when it was at its peak – and it would fun to experience it. My second stop would be the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age. I would join Hemingway and the ex-patriots in Paris.

[The next two questions were originally published in an interview with The Spine View; they are reprinted with the permission of the author. To view more interesting insights into John Anthony Miller, please check out the full interview available here].

Once you have a solid idea, how long does it take you do get to the final product?
It usually takes me 6 – 9 months to complete the draft that I send to my agent (which is after 4 or 5 revisions). The draft is then sent to fact-checkers and advanced readers, after which I have to reconcile all the comments – either make changes or explain why changes are not required. That usually takes another 2-3 months. Then the book is sent to the publisher – usually a year after it’s written. The publisher then takes anywhere from 2- 6 months to issue it. There are normally different editing processes during that publishing timeline, as well as cover design.

Does the writing or the editing take the longest? Why?
My first revision – just the plotline – takes me 6 to 8 weeks. Each revision after takes a little longer because more detail and description is added. After the publisher has the book, it’s not uncommon for them to take three months for an edit – then return it to me with tracking comments to disposition – but only let me have ten days to address the issues or make corrections – sometimes less.

***

For more information, visit John Anthony Miller on his website or his author page on Amazon.

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10 comments to Interview: John Anthony Miller, Author of All the King’s Soldiers

  • […] Interview: John Anthony Miller, Author of All the King’s Soldiers […]

  • Donna Shaw

    Thank you for this interview. I’ve read all 4 of his books and look forward to his future books.

    • admin

      You are most welcome Donna – and thank you for the comment, no one ever seems to leave them anymore and I occasionally wonder if I’m just throwing these posts into a vacuum… 😉 He is indeed talented – I’m definitely looking into his earlier titles. Thanks again!

  • Rosi Pinter

    Great interview! It’s always great to see what goes on behind the scenes a/k/a inside the mind, of writers and other creative people. I guess you could say, people, and what “makes them tick”, are always a source of unlimited curiosity for me!
    Thanks for doing this interview.
    Hope to see more of them in the future.
    Rosi

    • admin

      Thanks so much Rosi – I agree, I am always fascinated to see where authors come from, intellectually and ideologically. I think it adds an interesting element to the underlying story, to have a glimpse behind the curtain… I have a handful of interviews scheduled, please do come back and let me know what you think! Thanks again for taking the time to comment…

  • Hi. I’m Donna Eastman, John’s agent. I love to rep his books, because his heros are always nice guys who get caught up in intrigue, usually not of their own making. His next book is When Darkness Comes, another WWII thriller.

    • admin

      Thanks for stopping by Donna – I imagine he’s an easy one to represent, both because of his books and because he is such a pleasure to work with… I will keep my eye out for the next book – I’m really enjoying this one. Thanks again for taking the time to comment, hope to see you around again!

  • Hello, I am Lisa from The Spine View. I have enjoyed looking through your blog. Thank you using a portion of my inteview with Mr. Miller. I loved all of his books and I am super excited to read the next one. Thank again and Happy Reading!

    • admin

      Thanks Lisa – and thanks to you and John Anthony Miller for being able to share some of your excellent interview! There were some great and insightful questions in there, and I enjoyed looking through several of your other interviews as well. Perhaps we can work together in future… Take care and thank you for taking the time to comment – hope to see you around these parts again!

  • […] few weeks ago, I introduced you to author John Anthony Miller, who shared his thoughts on writing, history, and writing history. He did that by talking about the […]

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