9.16.2007

The Secret Life of the Real Becky Miller

There are a series of books about a fictional character named Becky Miller. Written by talented author, Sharon Hinck, these stories tell the adventures of a woman lost in a world of fantasy.

In the Grand Blogging Universe, however, there is another story being written about a different Becky Miller, a real live woman this time, who also happens to dwell in the world of fantasy. This tale unfolds on a daily basis in the land of cyberspace, in an interlinked set of Web sites visited often by faithful readers. These sites cater to those who enjoy their speculative fiction with a unique twist: an element of faith.

For the next several days, we will be interviewing the real Becky Miller, otherwise known as Rebecca Luella Miller, and, faithful Alien Dream readers will get to read a portion of one of her novels on Thursday.



QUESTIONS:
MD: Can you give us a brief bio?

RLM: The thumbnail sketch is, I grew up in a Christian home, became a teacher for thirty years, then changed professions and became a writer. Of course, that leaves out my summer attending school in Mexico City, my year in Tanzania, my three years teaching in Guatemala, but you can’t get much on a thumbnail.

MD: I know you were a teacher. Can you give us your credentials?

RLM: I was a Literature major in college and taught some level of English for twenty-nine of my thirty years in the classroom. As a teacher, I wrote. One year it was a play for a summer school class. Another year it was a short story for a speech unit. Off and on I wrote poems as examples for our poetry unit. And regularly I wrote countless worksheets and other curriculum aids.

Six years ago, I decided to write full time. A year later I became a stringer for the San Gabriel Newspaper Group, covering local high school and college sports. I also began doing some freelance editing, most prominently for AMG Publishing (three of the Dragon in Our Midst books and Eye of the Oracle). I’ve also published two short stories and have an article coming out in Victorian Homes magazine.

MD: Tell us about your blogs. How and why and when did all that get started?

RLM: My personal blog is A Christian Worldview of Fiction. I began that in February 2006 because a writer friend of mine told me about a contest called Everyday Hogwash. It was for blog posts ranting about the ineptitude of some business. I ranted about bookstores. I’d wanted to start a blog to begin building a “platform,” so this contest was the nudge that got me started.

The following summer, I teamed with a group of authors to create Speculative Faith, a blog focused on a Christian view of speculative literature.

That same summer we also started the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour. Some months later one of our members created the CSFF blog site where she posts, among other things, my emails to the group.

MD: What results have you seen from all of this?

RLM: Because I’m not selling anything, I don’t have a good measuring stick for “results,” but I definitely have a web presence now. I’ve seen growth in the number of people who stop by my blog, and the e-mail list for CSFF is nearing 100.

The most exciting thing, of course, is that publishers are expanding their list of speculative titles, but I have no way of knowing if any of our grassroots efforts factored into this development.

MD: What is your vision for future of speculative fiction?


RLM: I started writing fantasy because, in my view, it is the perfect genre to tell the whole story—because of the good versus evil motif, it is a natural fit to include a spiritual dimension.

In addition, I do not see fantasy as a niche genre.

The books I love are the same ones that thousands upon hundreds of thousands of other readers love: Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Watership Down. These are books that people of all ages have read, that sold in shocking numbers, and created a stir in the populace at large.

Quite honestly, I don’t understand how fantasy ended up in the niche closet, given its history.

My hope for the Christian arm of the genre is to see it again reach the general public. Harry Potter certainly did. Why not CBA fantasy? Or another ABA fantasy written from a Christian worldview.

Without a doubt the Phillip Pullmans of writing have discovered fantasy as an avenue to distort the truth. It seems imperative, from my perspective, that Christians counter with fantasy that tells the truth.

MD: Thank you, Becky, for the first of our two-part interview! I hope our readers stay tuned for the second half of the interview tomorrow. Plus, an excerpt from one of Becky's novels on Wednesday.

And if any of you want to see what this CSSF blog tour is all about, today is great day to go surfing. Austin Boyd's Sci-Fi thriller, The Return, is the featured book.

9 comments:

chrisd said...

That was an excellent segue to Austin's book.

I hope to read a review of it in the next couple of days.

Eve said...

Love it! I always wanted to know more about our Becky. :)

Sharon Hinck said...

Becky Miller (the real one) IS a super hero, and deserves her own red cape for her tireless support of Christians writing speculative fiction.

Great interview!!!!

Merrie Destefano said...

Chris and Eve,
Thanks so much for stopping by! Yeah, it is good to get to know more about Becky!

Sharon,
You are the one with the inside scoop on super heroes--you even created your very own Becky Miller!

I agree. We should give the REAL Becky a cape. Great idea. And make her wear it at conferences. Ha. Love the concept!

:)
Merrie

Chawna Schroeder said...

Good first half! You have chosen a wonderful woman to interview and you have come up some excellent questions--something I struggle with. So keep up the good work!

Becky said...

All I can say is, it's a good thing she didn't ask questions like, How often do you dust and vacuum or how often do you change your sheets. ;-)

I agree that Merrie's questions were great. Made the interview fun.

So if I wear a cape at the next conference I attend, do I get corresponding superpowers??? I could go for that!

Thanks all for your kind comments.

Becky

Merrie Destefano said...

Chawna,
Hi! I agree, it's much easier to choose a cool person to interview than to figure out what in the world to ask! So, I'm glad you like the first part!

Becky,
Of course, superpowers come with a cape!

And I will never ask a fellow writer about dusting.

Housework is evil and should be avoided at all costs. Anybody out there wondering which is more fun, housework or writing, the answer is: Writing! (And this is coming from someone who gets writer's block on a semi-regular basis.)

:)

Part Two coming up . . .

Becca Johnson said...

Becky-
I'm expecting to see that cape at the next Mount Hermon Conference! :D

Merrie-
Great interview! I can't wait to read more. :D

Becca Johnson

Merrie Destefano said...

Becca,
Sometimes the cyber-wolves eat my posts. My own posts. Those dratted cyber-wolves. They're almost as bad as pirate-aliens.

So, I did write a comment earlier and it got lost. So this comment is a very poor substitute for how witty and compassionate I was before.

:)

Yes, I can see the cape now...it's purple velvet with embroidery and a silver elvish clasp. Perfect attire for a Mount Hermon conference!

Thanks for the visit, Becca of the Writers Sword fame!