Virtual Interview: Author Erica Miner
One of the last places on earth you'd expect a murder to occur would be in the hallowed halls, or orchestra pit as it were, of the Metropolitan opera. Author Erica Miner weaves elements from the world of opera and a well-crafted mystery with a dash of romance and several spoonfuls of intrigue. She pulls from her extensive experience in the orchestra pit of one of the worlds most renowned opera houses and couples it with her exquisite writing style. You'll wend your way around twists and turns in plot, get to know who's really behind the mask and most of all, be right there when the author reveals whodunit.
In this interview, Erica shares information about herself, her writer self, and her book.
"Murder In The Pit shines an unforgiving light on the jealousies, rivalries, backstabbing intrigues and neurotic machinations behind the scenes of a prestigious opera house ..." Erica Miner, book synopsis.
Did you have any particular preparation for being a writer and how long have you been at it?
When I was about seven years old I was placed in an after school program for Creative Writing. So that was some pretty early preparation. I loved the process of creating characters and plots and weaving them together to tell stories. I have ever since. Music took precedence after that, but since retiring from my position as a violinist at the Metropolitan Opera, I've gone back to writing as my creative outlet. Networking with other writers does inspire me to keep going, and my hubby is my greatest fan and supporter. As for inspiration, I have more stories to tell than I will have years left in which to write them. I consider myself to have been writing professionally since my first novel came out 10 years ago, but especially now that I have a pretty constant presence as an arts writer on several different websites.
What habits or routines do you find you must follow to be able to write?
I admit to not always having a clear work space on my desk, although I find that is most conducive to having a clear head for writing. I like to have my little 'feng shui' things on my desk, e.g. A little nine-tiered pagoda, small mirrors facing behind me, pyramids, crystals et al. Mostly I just need QUIET - it's almost impossible to create words on a blank screen if there's noise going on around me. A cup of decaf green tea in the a.m. is a must. Yoga pants and sweatshirt I find most comfortable for writing. Or if I need to feel less comfort in order to create (well, it happens), I'll wear my tightest jeans. (What can I say? You have to be at least a little bit crazy to be a writer.)
Does your day-to-day life affect your writing at all?
More than I'd like to admit. If I'm upset I have a harder time concentrating. That said, if I can distance myself from day-to-day issues, the writing saves me from any troubles, physical or otherwise, that may be going on.
Is there anything you do to balance the demands writing places on you?
Exercise is an important part of my daily routine. In fact I don't 'allow' myself to sit down and write in the a.m. until I have put in about 1 hour of exercise, either yoga or lifting free weights. Once I've exhausted my creative juices for the day, in the late afternoon I try to do 25 minutes on the stationary bike and/or a short walk to clear my head. When my husband isn't traveling I also like to create meals in the kitchen for him.
How do you keep yourself motivated to write?
Writing is my passion; there's nothing else I love to do quite as much. So motivation is not usually a problem. I just have all these stories to tell. Why wait?
Where do you think you are in your writing career? Where do you want to be?
I think I've made great headway in my arts writing music reviews, interviews, reporting. I'd like to be further advanced as a novelist and screenwriter; to publish many more novels in any number of genres, and to see at least one of my screenplays be produced. I've really worked hard at these last two, but they seem to be eluding me just the same.
What is the hardest review or criticism you have had about your writing and how did you deal with it?
Someone wrote a nasty review of 'Murder In The Pit' on my Amazon page, and spoiled all of the great reviews there something like, I wasn't qualified or knowledgeable enough to write about opera. Seriously, years working days, nights and weekends in the orchestra pit of the Metropolitan Opera? That really burned me. I still get agitated thinking about it. I calm myself by going instead to my Barnes & Noble page, where people seemed much more cognizant of my expertise. Enough said.
Are you an independently published writer or a traditionally published writer? What do you write?
I have been both independently and traditionally published. Aside from my arts writing, I have published three novels: romance, coming-of-age, and mystery/thriller, all in hard copy and the latter in every other form (fortunately my publisher is very in tune with book marketing technology).
How did you decide on the title?
It just came to me when I was in one of my writing classes. I created the plot around it.
Which one of your publications will you be sharing and why this one?
Notwithstanding the above, I'm most proud of 'Murder In The Pit.' It reflects my experiences in the place that was my second home for many years, mind-blowing experiences that most people cannot even conceive of, in the world's most prestigious opera house (and portrayed with GREAT expertise and authenticity, I might add).
Feel free to comment at the end of the hub about the author, the book, or anything related to the hub.
Synopsis excerpt provided by Author Erica Minor and used with her permission. See the full synopsis and bio on my WordPress blog.
A Bit About the Author
Violinist turned author ERICA MINER has had a multi-faceted career as an award-winning author, screenwriter, arts writer and lecturer ... See the full bio here...
Erica, do any of your characters reflect anyone you know?
Pretty much all of them do (but only the author knows which ones)! Though oftentimes a character will be a combination of characteristics of several different people.
Bio excerpt provided by Author Erica Minor and used with her permission. See the full synopsis and bio on my WordPress blog.
The Book: A Synopsis
On the night of her first performance at the Metropolitan Opera, prodigious young violinist Julia accepts two gifts from her mentor, Maestro Abel Trudeau: a jeweled violin pin and a song dedicated to her. Then her world comes crashing down around her when an assassin's bullet strikes down Abel on the podium, and Julia's close friend and colleague Sidney is accused of the murder ... Read the full synopsis and bio on my WordPress Blog.
Erica, talk to us about your cover.
I really love what my publisher did with this. The images embody the title so aptly: 'Murder In The Pit' - a conductor, a musical excerpt. It says it all, and quite elegantly I think.
Synopsis excerpt provided by Author Erica Minor and used with her permission.
Buy the Book
Erica Miner: On A Personal Note
Now that we know about Erica as a writer and about her background, let's learn a few things about her as a person.
Where do you live?
Do you have children, a significant other, or pets?
My children are both grown and living out of state but fortunately on the same coast. My husband lives with me %u2013 when he's not traveling for work.
What kind of music do you prefer?
Almost entirely classical, especially chamber music, symphony, and opera. I was a musician for most of my life; now I write and lecture about music, and listening to it helps inspire me.
What's your fave food, beverage, and/or restaurant?
I have numerous food allergies, so I don't often get to indulge my food faves. The ones I can have are mangoes, berries of all kinds, and nuts, which are my true addiction. Likewise, for restaurants, Japanese is the only safe bet. Not too exciting, right?
Thank you Erica. It would seem we have writing, music preference, mangoes and Japanese food in common.
Thanks, Erica, for sharing with us.
Just one final question for Erica:
Erica, who is your favorite character in the novel?
The protagonist, Julia, represents myself as a young violinist in many ways, both in background and personality. That said, I'm quite fond of the villain - whom I'm not naming because I'd like everyone to read the book ;-)
In Grand Style: The Glory of the Metropolitan Opera
The perfect coffee-table book to spark conversation at your next dinner party.
So What Do You Know About the Book and the Met?view quiz statistics
The Metropolitan Opera
When you're in New York, be sure to stop by the Met.
Read the Full Bio and Synopsis
Please take a moment to comment below. And, don't forget to visit my WordPress blog for the complete bio and synopsis.
© 2014 Tanya Jones