Author Interview Maureen A. Miller Writer of Beneath

Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? No. If I went into thinking about an audiobook I might have written something resembling a screenplay versus a novel. But a strong narrator has the magic to take any tale and captivate the reader’s ears.

How did you select your narrator? I had several auditions, most with seasoned narrators. Yet, listening through the auditions one voice stood out. Brandy Skelly. The main character, Stella, is young and is thrown into a surreal and dangerous situation. Brandy Skelly delivered the drama and incredulity in that initial audition, captivating me.

How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? In this whole big country of ours, what are the odds of learning that your narrator lives in the next town? We discussed pronunciations and dialect. For the most part, all characters were from the New York/New Jersey area. Brandy nailed the Long Island accent!

Were there any real-life inspirations behind your writing? My characters always borrow upon people from my past, as remote as the connection my be. Stella Gullaksen, the main character was named after a Swedish girl I went to middle school with.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing? I’m an early morning writer. I can conquer the universe between 6am and 10am. After that my conquests taper off, until sometime around 9pm I am reduced to structured sentences that sound like “Run Spot run.”

Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? Audiobooks are the only way I can manage a long drive. If I have to travel far for a book signing or conference, I devour audiobooks along the way. And if the book is not finished by the time I get there, I will circle around a block ten or twenty times until it is complete!

Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? The opening sequence. Brandy captures the desperation of the scene perfectly.

What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”? When I was a kid our local radio station used to read a scary story every Wednesday night long after my bedtime. I would sneak the radio under my covers and stick the speaker up against my ear so that my parents wouldn’t hear. I loved hearing those Wednesday night stories! Was that cheating, or was I just enjoying being told a tale?

How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? I started the sequel! Although this book has a certain closure, there is room for more to be told.

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? With a standalone, you can pour your heart and soul into one story and not have to worry about leaving anything leftover for the next. There is as much satisfaction for the author to tie up strings as there is for the reader. However, a series lets an author hold on to characters that are near and dear to her heart.

What’s your favorite:

Food-Anything with mozzarella.

Song – Your Song by Elton John

Book – Too many to name one

Television show – Game Of Thrones

Movie – JAWS

Band – As hard to name as my favorite book.

Sports team – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

City – London

 

Beneath

From USA Today best-selling author Maureen A. Miller comes this young adult adventure that will plunge you deep into the Atlantic Ocean.

It was Stella Gullaksen's final break before starting her freshman year at college. Joining her best friend Jill and Jill's family aboard the Starkissed, Stella wakes up to a violent storm that capsizes the boat over a hundred miles off the New Jersey shore.

As the waves pull her under, Stella knows that she is going to die. Instead, an unusual current drags her deep into the underwater canyons of the Atlantic Ocean. Powerless against the raging waters, she is suddenly sucked into a ventilated cave. One by one, Jill and her family also emerge in the sunken cavern. With only a faulty diving flashlight to keep oblivion at bay, Stella and her best friend's brother Colin search the cave in hope of finding a way back to the surface. What they discover, however, is that they are not alone. There are other survivors in this subterranean grotto - survivors spanning decades of maritime disasters.

Will this discovery prove salvation, or have they all been condemned to the same fate? A grim finale at the bottom of the sea? On an alliance forged by friendship and attraction, Stella and Colin battle to escape the danger that lies beneath.