Local writer Zoe publishes eighth book

By Mary Dennehy

KNOCKLYON mother Zoe Miller has published her eighth book, another promising, addictive read from a prolific writer whose dedication and passion saw her return to writing after raising her family in 2009.

Inspired by the mystery and escapism of British author Enid Blyton, Zoe has hit the best seller list three times, with her books, which are full of drama, intrigue and suspense, receiving high praise from writers such as Cathy Kelly.

Dedicated and passionate about her craft, Zoe released her latest book Someone New on April 7 and with some time now to spare, she took five to speak with her local paper.

LIFE Zoe Miller 

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? 

So far the best book I’ve read is Moving by Jenny Eclair, the story of Edwina selling the home she’s lived in for 50 years. I found it compelling, emotional, and beautifully written.

Out of the books you have written to date, is there any of them that you could see been made into a TV drama or film?

I think that out of all my books, the latest, Someone New, has the most potential to make the transition to the world of film. A lot of the individual scenes would easily translate to the big screen, with their visual blend of imagery and action, as well as the atmosphere they would evoke. I can even hear how the music score might sound. There are feel-good scenes, and suspenseful moments leading to a fast-paced climax, along with a ray of hope and redemption, plenty of escapism to keep you entertained!

Have you ever visualised one of your characters been played by a Hollywood leading man or lady?

When writing a book it’s useful to visualise the scene as if it’s happening in front of you and then write what you see. It brings the story to life in your head. In Someone New I visualised Grace being a 30-year-old version of Cameron Diaz but I’m not about to confess which leading men were in my head!

You’ve written a lot of characters over the past seven books, who is your favourite and why?

All of my characters stay with me in some way after I’ve finished writing the book so this is like asking a mother who her favourite child is – impossible! But say, for example, if I was to go out for a meal and could bring three of them with me, I’d pick Juliet in The Compromise, Luis in A Question of Betrayal and Grace in Someone New. They have all been vulnerable in the face of difficulties, yet have come through with warmth and dignity, and I’d say we’d have a great, late night conversation and plenty of laughter as we set the world to rights.

How do you develop characters? Do you look to people in everyday life?

I develop my characters layer by layer, entirely from my imagination. I keep away from people I know in real life, but I’m sure some attributes subconsciously find their way into the characters.

This is good, though, because the reader must be able to relate to them as real people and empathise with them.

I begin by putting together a CV of sorts, making this up as I go along. Then I give the characters strengths and flaws and a problem they have to solve.

I add in potential for conflict, internal with themselves and their own motivations, and external, from a situation or a person they’re up against.

In developing them, I usually work out where they are at the beginning of the story, the different place they’re in by the end and how they’ll get there.

LIFE Zoe Miller Someone New

You’re just about to release your eighth book, tell us a little about it?

Someone New is about the love story between Grace and Danny, how they meet, and the way he changes her life around and encourages her to follow her dreams.

Then a catastrophe happens and Grace’s whole world collapses. She has to learn to pick up the pieces just as unsettling incidents begin to happen to her.

It also features Grace’s sister Lucia, and her marriage to Robert, and how meeting the irreverent Danny forces her to re-evaluate her supposedly perfect life.

Then there’s detective Matt Slattery, his insecurities and failed relationship, and his reluctance to take Grace’s concerns seriously until it’s almost too late.

Where did the idea for Someone New come from? 

I wanted to write about the need to be true to yourself and make the most of your life, there’s only ever going to be one of you in this time and place in the world.

All the characters learn to appreciate this – eventually. At first, Grace thinks she should fall in line with other people’s expectations of her, instead of standing in her own sparkle and following her dreams.

Lucia is afraid to move outside the confines of her perfect comfort zone, and Matt feels he’s only ever second best. It takes a disaster for them to realise what’s important in life. It took me almost a year to write including the edits.

What can people expect from the book?

Entertainment, escapism, a feel-good read mixed with layers of suspense, drama and romance, time away from the reality of everyday life.

You’re a busy lady with a job and three children, how do you find the time to write – and get books out so quickly?

I have to be disciplined, and that means working weekends and in the evenings after the day job. I don’t have time for television or socialising during the week, and I miss out on some things, but when you have a finished book in your hands it makes up for everything.

Any plans for another book?

I’m working on that plan so watch this space! 

Zoe Miller launched her new book Someone New, with Hachette Ireland, on April 7. Follow Zoe on www.zoemillerauthor.com and on Facebook.

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