Dineen Miller is an Amazon bestselling and award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, but only recently discovered she has a sublime addiction to writing and reading romantic comedies. In addition to these, she’s been known to write romantic suspense and has dabbled with thrillers and fantasy under her pen name, Neena Roth.
Needing additional outlets for her creativity, she’s designed several coloring books under her own name and under Hue Manatee Art and has crocheted too many afghans to count. No, she does not have cats, but she is a dog-mom to two furry rescues that answer to wiggle butt and snuggle boy. And she’s married to a puny guy, who thinks she’s unique. Meet Dineen..
You’re an author, but is it your day job? I pretty much split my time between being an author and a graphic designer. I hope to one day be able to focus completely on writing and marketing my books, and I’m slowly getting there. But I also love graphic design, so I love using those skills in creating graphics to market my books and design some of my own book covers.
Did you always want to be an author? I started writing stories in fourth grade, so I guess that would be a yes. LOL! Even though I didn’t write my first full book until 2004, I would write short stories, poems, or even life-style pieces. I would say words have always been a very important part of how I view the world.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? Bloomed to Be Messy is about a young woman named Amanda, who inherits her aunt’s flower shop after her unexpected death. The caveat is Amanda must run it for a year before she can sell it. The problems there are many. Such as, she must move back to her hometown and leave her hopes for her current career behind, and the shop has fallen into some disrepair.
The inspiration came from my daughter’s best friend. I was getting ready to plan a new romcom series, and when my daughter told me about her friend, who took over her grandmother’s flower shop in a small town and turned into a hub that’s become very special in this small population, I knew I had to talk to her. I wound up putting a video interview together with her, because she is an amazing young woman!
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? As you get to know Amanda, you find out her dream to succeed in her career in New York has ties to her past, specifically to her mother. Her dream took shape based upon those circumstances. But as so many of us have experienced, life shifted and made her change direction. She learns (a bit dramatically sometimes) that dreams can change, and wind up even better than we planned. But that means we must let go of expectations.
The story also touches on grief and loss. So, my hope is that these messages will in some way inspire and encourage readers that life can be anything we want it to. And that most often includes the relationships we build along the way.
What are you most excited about with this book? I feel like I discovered a new way of writing that gives me so much joy! Such a surprise! Kind of like that dream thing, I always dreamed of being an author. I never thought I’d wind up writing in first person, as opposed to third, which I’ve always done in the past. I didn’t know I could do it, but I knew I loved writing romantic comedy and most of the books are written in first person. So, I tried it (shift in dream expectation) and discovered I loved it even more (dream come true but even better than expected)! I’m already working on book two, Rescued to Be Messy, and feeling so blessed and grateful for this journey.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? One, find your lane and stay in it. Two, take your time. Three, don’t try to do all the things. That’s a sure path to burnout. Speaking from experience on all three here. LOL!
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Setbacks…well, I’m only human. I’ll grouse a bit and then get back to work. There have been times that I felt like giving up, but as I’ve told my husband, I’m either extremely tenacious or stupid. Let’s go with the first one. LOL! And criticism I try to look at through the lens of the circumstances. Can it help me do something better? Is it worth my time and consideration? And if it doesn’t fit, I disregard it and move on.
Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers? This falls into that category of there always being more to do than time. I’ve paid attention to authors I know and trust about picking and choosing the things I like to do. For instance, I really like doing my newsletter and that is where I spend most of my effort in cultivating connections to my readers. If I have time, I will do some social media, but I don’t spend a lot of time there.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? I think I was born with an internal dictator that tells me what to do. She’s a little overbearing at times, so I’m learning that it’s okay to take time to take care of myself. The reality has finally settled in that I am one person, and I can do just so much. And I’m okay with that now. (Plus, I bribe the dictator with chocolate sometimes.)
How do you structure your day and make time for writing? It’s taken a few tries to figure out what works for me, but I finally landed on a schedule that fits. I write Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays after I work out. If there’s time for other things later in the day, I’ll do whatever else is clamoring for attention, like my design and marketing work. I’m also a graphic designer and schedule my client work for Tuesdays and Thursdays. This has really helped me feel freer on my writing days and helped increase my word count, rather than trying to have the same schedule every day. And as you can imagine, I really look forward to my writing days.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? Hearing from a reader that something they read resonated and helped them. I always love hearing things like that. Something different happened recently. I designed the chapter pages in my latest book, Bloomed to Be Messy, with a floral design that suited the story. One of my readers sent me a picture of her book with the design colored in, like an adult coloring book. That just made me so happy because I chose that image out of my own love for creating coloring books. How cool is that?!?
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? I love connecting through my newsletter! For all the deets, silliness, and a free book, sign up via my website.
Images courtesy of Dineen Miller