If you been hanging around Nerd Fest over the past couple of months there’s no doubt you’ve seen Miracle Austin, an artist who great talent is only surpassed by her incredible personality. Today we’re putting this talented woman in the spotlight. Check out her great interview and feel free to drop a question or comment of your own.
James Chisum: Miracle I have to admit I very excited to interview you today. For the handful of Nerd Fans that don’t know you how would you best describe yourself?
Miracle Austin: First of all, James, I want to thank you so much for giving me this amazing opportunity. Means more than you’ll ever know.
Okay, back to your question…
I’m a giver with boundaries and love empowering others.
By day, I work as a medical social worker; I work with non-dementia and dementia residents/families in a rehab long-term care facility.
I’m passionate about teen dating violence, anti-bullying, and suicide awareness issues.
As for most of my nights and weekends, I place on my author hat and break out my laptop—I’ll sometimes interweave my passions into my stories or free-verse poems.
Furthermore, I love attending teen book festivals and comic conventions (as much as I can—Dream: to attend San Diego Comic Con, one day, with hubby). I’m definitely a Marvel/DC/Horror Fan-Girl.
JC: You got an interesting series of books called Doll which deals with some magic and is set in Louisiana (like all good southern magic stories). Tell us more about this series, its characters and what inspired it.
MA: James, I’m so glad you asked this question. My mom told me a story years ago. Her story inspired me to write Doll, which was never meant to become a novel, only a short story for adults, possibly under 10K words. However, those darn characters kept evolving and started doing things. The once up a time short story grew into my first novel, Doll. I had to change my preliminary thoughts about the entire story. Then, Doll 2: The Revealing, grew from Doll.
Doll is a coming of age young adult/paranormal story, which is told from my teen male protagonist’s point of view, Tomie Dupuy (Toh-me Du-pwee) about three outcasts, including Tomie, who’ve been tormented by a mean/rich girl, Pepper Fox, since junior high.
During their junior year in high school, the outcasts take a little trip down to Louisiana to meet Tomie’s powerful witch cousin, Lisette Laveau, a descendant of the very powerful voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau, of Louisiana many years ago.
It’s a story about bullying, love, identity struggles, making bad/good choices, and revenge with twists and turns. I give my readers an alternate ending too, plus a bonus short story that has nothing to do with primary story.
JC: Lets talk a little about Boundless as well. What can readers expect from this story?
MA: Now, Boundless was supposed to be my first release, but things didn’t work out with a small publisher and my rights were restored back to me, which was a blessing in disguise. I had control over the cover and everything about the stories inside of Boundless.
Boundless is an eclectic collection of short stories and free-verse poems with mini stories. I give you horror/paranormal, supernatural, drama, suspense, fantasy, and romance—a gumbo of stories. You don’t know what you’re getting, until you read the next story. Think of each as an unexpected surprise about to be read. One of my most vulnerable works to date.
A little secret about Boundless is that I almost deleted the entire file because I had so many rejections from publishers and agents, over 300. My hubby encouraged me not to, and I listened to him.
When I read through Boundless again over a few nights, it hit me how much this collection meant to me. I wanted others to read this work. James, I wrote a lot of these works when I faced an extremely dark time in my life a few years ago.
I must confess that writing Boundless saved my life, and I thought if it could do that for me, then it may touch someone else’s life too. In the back of Boundless, I have a list of various helpful numbers for anyone who may need to reach out to a professional to talk to.
JC: Now Miracle I’ve noticed both Doll and Boundless are stories centered around young adults. What is it about these groups that appeals to you as a writer.
MA: James, I never imagined that I would write stories for young adults. In the beginning, my mind was focused on adults.
In fact, I have a little novelette of short stories and few free-verse poems titled, Decayed Secrets, that’s been on the back burner for over five years. I plan to release in 2019, hopefully, which is geared towards 21 and up because of some of the themes discussed.
Getting back to your question, another promising publisher in the past told me that the majority of my stories would fall into the young adult arena, so I thought about what he told me and realized that he was right; therefore, young and new adult became my arenas of primary focus.
Plus, I absolutely love to reflect back on my teen years/struggles and/or read/hear/watch teen stories, which is why I enjoy writing young adult.
JC: Should we be expecting anything new from Miracle Austin in the future?
MA: I’m currently working on the last book in the Doll series, Doll 3: The Hunting (subtitle subject to change). Plan to release Doll 3 in early 2019. I’ll also be working on a new book in 2019, which will have a short excerpt, at the end of Doll 3.
I continue to love to write short stories and free-verse poems with mini-stories and will continue to submit to diverse anthologies.
JC: I’ve been reading your bio and you talk about one of your college professors who was really tough on you as a writer. Tell us a little about this experience.
MA: Oh, James, you’ve really taken me back with this question. It was my freshman English class professor who devastated me for a short time.
We’ll call her Professor D. She was an amazing writer, and she called me to her office one day after class. Professor D told me at mid-semester to prepare myself for a possible “C,” if that, for her class because my writing wasn’t improving.
Feeling so defeated after that meeting in her office, I walked back to my dorm room in tears. I didn’t go out dancing that weekend, something that I loved to do, especially at the Lambda Chi House.
I did some serious self-reflecting and a little voice inside of me kept telling me, “Don’t you dare take that. Do something!” So, I did. I spent more time at the campus library to research three more papers that were left for the semester and reviewed chapters about writing.
My writing improved and my professor stopped me one day after class and told me. I was even invited to the end of the semester “Good Papers Reading Event,” where I read an excerpt from one of my research papers to a group of peers and professors.
In the end, I scored an A-! I was so happy. So, that lesson taught me not to believe what someone else may tell you about yourself. It’s up to you to believe what you wish about yourself and sometimes you have to do something different…
JC: Often times as artists we have a tendencies to be very protective of our work. Do you feel its important to an artist’s development to have someone who truly pushes them? What advice would you give to someone who struggles with taking feedback?
MA: I think feedback is great. Of course, not all feedback will feel good, so you need to be prepared. I’m definitely open to feedback. I also think it’s vital to have a small group of true/positive cheerleaders—those who support you unconditionally and are safe to talk to about anything—in your corner.
We’re all human and negativity can bruise us mentally and emotionally. This is where our cheerleaders come in to assist us. If cheerleaders aren’t available, then seek out positive affirmations or whatever tends to make you laugh or smile to build you up. There’s so much out here that can knock us or let us down, which is why positive outlets are vital for any artist.
JC: In your bio you talk a lot about personal struggles and how they help shape a writer. Why do you believe this is so important?
MA: I so believe that any personal struggle can be the building foundation to give a writer immediate or future tools and/or ideas for breathing life into a work you never knew existed inside of you. Once you share that work with the world, it may empower someone in ways you’ve never imagined.
JC: Miracle what are you passionate about when you’re not writing?
Music… It’s my natural therapy, James. I love listening to all kinds of music with the 80s being my favorite, especially love and soft rock songs, but I love everything! In fact, I cannot separate the two when I write. I must have both.
JC: I’m fairly certain most of our Nerd Fans have noticed you’re a very social person. How did you develop that confidence?
MA: I used to be a really shy person, James, especially in late elementary and junior high school. Can you believe that? I believe my college years, Professor D , and various personal experiences allowed me to crawl out of my shyness cocoon, which helped me to develop my confidence cape, it’s hot pink by the way—wink wink…
My various work experiences have also boosted my confidence, as well. I love interacting with people, and I always try to add an inspirational message whenever I sign a book for someone.
You never know what that person may be dealing with in his or her life, and a few words can really impact someone’s well-being.
JC: You seem to genuinely love the Comic Con scene, beyond just doing business. What is it that appeals to you so much?
MA: I absolutely love to watch all the cosplayers walk pass me. I find their costumes just mesmerizing and their energy, simply… magical. I believe people need to escape from their realities for a little bit and be whoever they desire to be. Comic cons allow them to do just that.
I’ve seen this magic many times before with my sweet hubby when he cosplays. It’s as if once the cosplayer takes on his or her character, then he or she can escape into that unique dimension and share it with others.
Plus, I think cosplaying boosts self-esteem for some, especially when others are watching that cosplayer and requesting to take selfies. Cosplayers are celebrities, and you never know who you may bump into…
JC: We all know you’re a proud Texas girl who’s traveled all over. Here in Texas we love our food. When it comes to food what do we have here in Texas that’s better than any place else?
MA: Definitely, the barbecue and Tex-Mex. Love both.
JC: What are you currently watching, reading and listening too?
MA:Reading: R.L. Stine’s “Vampire Breath,” Carolyn Ellis’ “The Body,” and “Falling Hard,” collection of one hundred love poems by teens
Watching: Castle Rock (Hulu), Freakish (Hulu), The Worst Witch (Netflix) Supernatural (Netflix), and Buffy the Vampire Series (Netflix)
Just finished watching Insatiable (Netflix comedy series) and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (YA movie on Netflix)
When I’ve reached a specific word count, I usually reward myself by watching one of these shows or movies.
Listening to: Heart, Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin, Enrique Iglesias, and Richard Marx…
JC: What’s something every Nerd Fan should try once?
MA:Take a trip to Las Vegas, go on a cruise, and/or to attend a Broadway show… Better yet, do the one thing that you’ve put off time and time again. Life is so short and unpredictable, live it to your fullest and with the ones that truly care and love you.
JC: Where can people find you?
MA:Facebook: Miracle Austin Author
JC: Miracle I have really enjoyed getting to know you as I hope other Nerd Fans have been as well. Thank you so much for joining us is there anything you’d like to say to the Nerd Fans before we go?
MA:Thank you again, James for taking the time to interview me. You’re so amazing, and I look forward to the day we meet. I feel so blessed to be part of this fantastic group. Great questions!
Just in case no one knew, I’m a huge Wonder Woman and Stranger Things fan! Love to collect t-shirts, mostly horror and comic book related; I have a nice little collection…
Finally, never allow anyone to tell you that you cannot do something or you’re not good enough because guess what… You can, you’re Awesomeness, and Soar! BOOM!!