Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Richmond, Virginia and grew up in nearby Powhatan. Now my family resides in Prince George. It’s a rural county and I’m surrounded by eleven wooded acres. The great part of living in central Virginia, I’m one and one-half hours to the beach, two-hours to Washington, D.C., and two-hours to the mountains. It’s great to have so many options.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
Since I write contemporary erotic romance, I’ll tread lightly. I do believe it’s impossible to write a 25,000-word series, and it not reflect anything of its author’s personality or experiences. I’ve always been a rather open-minded person. So, I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination.
In the series, there are some locations my family enjoys. Since it’s based in Richmond, Virginia, local landmarks like the Jefferson Hotel, The Boathouse Restaurant, Lewis Ginter Botantical Gardens, Tobacco Company Restaurant, Maymont Park, are all places uniquely Richmond, and well recognized. It thrills me to leave little clues throughout my books, hoping someone may catch on to the meanings. There are however some facts readers would probably never guess. For example, Jack Loving’s life is held hostage by the Bowes Family Trust, initially set up by his farmer grandfather, Rudy Bowes. My grandfather’s last name was Bowes and he was in fact a farmer. My dad’s name is Rudy. Another example is the location where Lizzie works, and the location where she is a Madame: 111 East Main Street. In the book, I mentioned it was the former location of Moestas’s Bakery. In fact, because I am a genealogy geek, my great-grandfather immigrated from Germany, and opened Moesta’s Bakery at the exact spot on 111 East Main Street. The only difference is it’s unfortunately the only address on the block which is a parking lot. Huge disappointment for me! There are quite a few other references in the books like names, which are personal to me. My plan is to mention at least three authentic sites in each book because it’s fun and I love my city.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
It’s interesting, I oftentimes wait for the story to come to me. It’s almost like a movie playing really fast in my head. When I do brainstorm something relevant, I’m immediately met with a multitude of new ideas. So, I allow the flow to come organically because if I press too hard, I fear it will not flow. So far it’s working for me, strange but true. Then, I tend to binge-write my manuscripts. Normally, I can visualize the entire series’ beginning, middle and end. Then, I write a very loose outline of where I want to end in books one and two. Since I prefer to write in first-person, it allows me to feel the characters very intimately. I absorb myself to the point I’m so emotionally connected, I can feel a scene for days after writing it. There are certain scenes no matter how many times I read it, I cry. For example, the boardroom scene in The Good Samaritan where Jack confronts Victoria, I can’t help it. I cry every single time. The ending of book two, dominated my thoughts. I prefer to write my chapters in order, but Chapters 34 and 35 were written nearly mid-point of the book. Even though I dreaded writing those chapters, my mind almost blocked until I did. Quite a few tears were shed and I was very depressed. Since I do not share my work with anyone until my betas read it, no one could understand exactly what I was feeling. There are drawbacks in my opinion for writing first person, at least for me, but it’s that same connection that can also be extraordinary.
Book three in the series, which publishes this summer, I anticipate will be a longer book. Quite a few questions remain for multiple characters, so I need to tie everything together. I want to announce that I intend to write two standalone novels using characters from The Good Samaritan series. Even though it’s not necessary to have read the series, I believe you will appreciate it more if you do. Additionally, in book two, The Unlikely Samaritan, I laid the groundwork for my next series which publishes April, 2016. There will be a few crossover characters making appearances. So, that’s eight books in total by the end of 2016. For now, my books will center around Richmond, Virginia but may include Washington, D.C and south to the coastal areas of North Carolina.
Please tell us about your current release.
This series is definitely not your cookie-cutter romance novel. No offense to the amazing authors we all read and love, I decided to approach this series uniquely. Oftentimes, we begin a book with or without a prologue. When we do see one, I have found myself often wanting more—to know more, about the backgrounds of my favorite characters. Therefore, I intentionally designed this series with a fresh new approach. Book one, is essentially a prologue. I view it as a platform, or jumping off point for the remaining characters going into books two and three. As one reviewer stated, “so you’re getting a two for one story. What author does that?!?” I felt in order to fully explain the seasoned lives of the main characters, the reader needed to experience their lives firsthand. This series has many, many suspenseful twists and turns. Just when you think you have it figured it, there’s a twist.
Book one is about the lives of two couples: Jack and Victoria Loving, and Jeremy and Lizzie Macintyre. The book begins with a prologue detailing early lives for Jack and Victoria individually. There is a joint prologue for Jeremy and Lizzie. As I stated, the book is written in first person, and Jack, Victoria and Lizzie each have their own chapters. Jeremy has one chapter in the end. For clarity, I would suggest the readers keep in mind the names of the couples, as each chapter sub-heading clearly details the character speaking. In minimal terms, this is a story of the haves versus the have-nots. And, it ponders the age-old question: Does money really buy you happiness? Also, how far would you really go for your family? However, it’s really so much more when their lives collide in a most unexpected way. As the series unfolds, I want the reader to have those moments of shock, suspense and frustration, over missing my well-hidden clues. Just when you think you know how you feel on certain subjects, you begin to question it.
What inspired you to write this book?
Honestly, what inspired me was truly not the story at all. It was about writing with a different, unique approach, to the traditional 3-part romance series. After reading over 250 books per year, I decided the approach was off—at least for me. I think readers want more backstory, with complex-themed contemporary romance. We’re in the post-Fifty Shades world. Readers are clamoring for books that make them think. They want those moments of “I didn’t see that coming!” Once I decided to alter the concept, I thought about living near a city full of history. Knowing I wanted to showcase my city, the idea for the series came to me very quickly thereafter.
How did you come up with the title?
Oh, the title!! I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss this subject. What a HUGE mistake it has been to call it “The Good Samaritan”. Even though it perfectly represents the authenticity of the series, the problem is my genre and the word Samaritan vs. samaritan. Let me explain…when you type the word “samaritan,” every program wants to capitalize it. In the dictionary, the primary word Samaritan, refers to a group of people (from the Bible) from the area of Samaria. The alternate use of the word, means philanthropist. I’m absolutely using the alternate use of the word. You can imagine the challenges I’ve faced when Samaritan, i.e. a biblical reference is used in combination with an erotic novel…ah, no. Not well received. In the future, I will most definitely research the definitions of my book titles, considerably better.
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
Most people will dislike Victoria. I think she’s misunderstood, and by the end of book one, it’s very easy to have some compassion for her. Another character commonly disliked is Cindy Hall. I think we’ve all known a partial version of Cindy in our real lives. She’s the person that meddles in other people’s lives, gossips, and has entitlement issues. I’ll admit, Cindy was inspired by a real person.
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
Book two, The Unlikely Samaritan, Lizzie has a series of confusing dreams throughout the book. It was very important these dreams were written in a precise way. Many hours were spent strategizing and making sure the flow was exactly perfect. I don’t want to give too much away, but technically speaking the culmination of these dreams were a challenge to write in order to make the right impact.
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
In book one, Victoria’s character was named Laura. Even today, when I think of her, I still call her Laura. One of my betas suggested it could be confusing to have two “L” name female characters. After much deliberation, I agreed. I put out a request to a few friends at the last minute, to give me a list of names that sounded bitchy. I was shocked how many times it kept coming up. The decision was made just before formatting to call her Victoria, which was inspired by the television show “Revenge.” I just kept thinking about that show’s character sitting in her wingback chair.
If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
- Hillary Clinton, hands down. It doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with her politics. She’s a trailblazer for all women, and those cracks she put in that glass ceiling, will one day shatter because she made it easier for those following her.
- Now this is harder to pick, because I’d like to meet both of these women for different reasons. Nicole Edwards and Kristen Ashley are well regarded romance authors. Nicole has proven Indie authors can be successful and I’d love to pick her brain, (plus I really love her books!). Kristen has an amazing ability to draw readers in and I adore the way her characters crossover between her series. So, both of these romance authors are amazing!
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
- I love genealogy and have traced my family tree back to the early 1500’s on multiple lines.
- The common phrase around my house is, I’m a “plethora of useless knowledge.” I love learning random facts and sometimes try to dazzle my family with my brilliance. They’re unimpressed.
What would you do to support your family?
The Macintyre family faces struggles of alcoholism and severe financial hardship after having it all and losing everything. Jeremy is forced into the ranks of the long-term unemployed, destroying his family with his alcohol addiction, and leaving Lizzie Macintyre to provide for the family in a most unconventional way. Just how far is Lizzie willing to go to save her family?
Jack Loving Jr., of the Loving family, is sole heir to Richmond’s most philanthropic family’s Trust. He and wife, Victoria, work hard to honor his family’s long-standing tradition of serving the less fortunate, forcing Jack to sacrifice his lifelong dreams. Jack faces serious challenges when someone close betrays him, turning his world upside down. Can Jack create happiness for himself?
When Jack has a chance encounter with Lizzie, never could they imagine their families would eventually need one another.
“I just pray that our children ultimately learn the real joy and satisfaction you receive from having money can be very comforting, and comes when you can spend it not on yourself, but by making a real difference in someone else’s life.”
By…Jack Loving, Jr.
About the Author
Jolie Mae Miller is an independent author, living in Prince George, Virginia, with her loving husband and amazing children. Her busy home also includes a Yorkie, a Poodle, and a St. Bernard. Her favorite job is being a Mom and Meme (because she’s too young to be a “GRANDMA!”).
She grew up in Powhatan, Virginia, working in her family’s auto parts business for many years. After her sister received a life-saving transplant, she pursued and was hired by Richmond-based, non-profit, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). She enjoyed thirteen years working in the Accounting department managing various functions. Today, she has the best job, Mom.
In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching baseball. Whether it’s her husband who umpires, her son or the Orioles. Additionally, she’s an ancestry junkie, knowing quite well it’s a never ending project. Jolie Mae is incredibly blessed to have a supportive family behind her while she pursues her love and passion of complex-themed writing. She credits her amazing parents for continuing to be positive, guiding forces in her life. Her love of reading definitely came from her Mom and is constantly inspired by her Dad’s outgoing personality and knack for great storytelling.