Monday, October 10, 2022

Interview With Co-Authors Actress-turned-Screenwriter Jenny McClain Miller and Former MLB Player Gregory John Miller


AGE OF ATHERIA will debut on November 1st, 2022! The book’s co-authors sat down with us for the interview featured here:  

1. What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into this book?  

Jenny: This was a lofty goal of mine, as an actress in LA, I always wanted to create work for myself. I was writing on other projects, creating TV series concepts and pitches, from scripted drama to comedy. I had many goals in mind, but one of them was to write the work I wanted to act in, create the story I wanted to tell. I was just coming off of one project that landed a distribution deal, and then fell through. I had worked so hard on that project and put all my eggs in one basket, but after it was over, I knew I could do it again. So I got right back to work on a new project. I was going through an incredibly hard chapter in my life during that time, both professionally and personally. I felt completely broken down – the most ground zero of my life. And I knew I needed to rebuild, but how? I took my dog and myself up North to a town called Litter River, California and focused on doing what I love. Writing. I started writing in my journal. My feelings. My thoughts. A hawk flew over me and Skylar while we were sitting along the ocean. And I felt it as a sign. I have always been intrigued by signs of nature. And sure enough the hawk represented new beginnings. And I knew I was on the right track (and that he had to be a part of the story). 

Looking back, I can still remember how raw everything felt – my own emotions and feelings. How vulnerable and almost naked it can feel to be starting a brand-new project that has no limits. I still remember seeing characters in my head, clear as day, however they were nameless on those beaches in Little River. I remember the overwhelming feeling of excitement, anxiousness, contemplation, the digging deep to find what I was looking for and what story I wanted to tell. 

Many of the experiences in the book directly mirror experiences I have personally had in my own life – be it spiritually, with others, and with myself. They also reflect experiences humanity endures, good and bad. I knew then and there, I wanted to write a story about environmental, societal, and even political impacts we all experience, and what our characters would be experiencing in the future from the choices we make today. I knew that I wanted to write a story based in the future destruction of our present-day world. And I got to work. For three years, writing and developing the story as a television series pitch. I am team minded, and I always knew I would finish this story with someone else, but I didn’t know who that would be. 

Greg: After my professional baseball career, I knew that I needed to rebuild into a new identity. And that consisted of my heart telling me I needed to go out to California and find out who that was. I moved to Los Angeles and got into entertainment, acting, and commercials. I was working with a producer who brought me into a chemistry read for a scripted comedy and it was there I met Jenny. We were to read lines and see if we had chemistry on screen to play opposite each other. History has proved we had chemistry on screen and in real life. We started dating shortly after, and Jenny introduced me to this story, the TV series pitch she had been working on and developing. I loved it. It revealed to me a side I had already experienced within my own battles of Light vs Dark. And we started working on it together. I was grateful to come in on something that was so near and dear to her heart, that she opened the door for me to come into her sacred space of this story. 

We eventually decided we should write this as a novel and share this story as a book series first. So we started transcribing the countless scripts for the series we had into the form of a manuscript. We expanded on some regions of the world and developed even more characters together. And now we have completed book one of the series! And currently are working on book two! Full circle, we would still love to get back to the beginning and pitch it as a television series.  

2. What is it about and who is it for? AGE OF ATHERIA is a Young Adult Fantasy that has elements of magical realism within a dystopian/post-apocalyptic world. It is set in the future after a Great War, governments and societies rebuild and have a chance to do so in a better way. They do not take that opportunity and societies re-emerge being ruled with an iron fist. A spiritual Council steps in, attempting to save humanity from itself by anointing individuals across the world to come together in hopes of unifying one another and bringing more Light to this world. However, brewing in its own darkness is an evil force, the Erlick Federation, who have been banned behind a gateway, but are about to be unleashed across Earth. The Council knows of this and is attempting to prepare mankind for the ultimate war to come.

Here is another quick breakdown:

After a Great War, one bold girl must escape her tyrannical Republic and travel to a hidden realm, where ancient beings have been preparing for her arrival and the ultimate war to come—a war against the Republic and the dark forces that guide them.

When Ady learns that she is an anointed one, called to rise against the oppressive Republic, she finds herself stripped from everything she’s known and loved. But on the Edenic islands of Atheria, she learns to harness the mystical gifts she didn’t know she possessed, such as prophetic visions. But there isn’t much time: the dark forces that have corrupted humanity are almost free from their ethereal prison. Can she unite the resistance in time? 

3. What takeaways might the reader will be left with after reading it?

We hope our readers feel inspired to find and ignite their own eternal/internal flame. We all have one, and if yours feels dimmed or not burning at all – we hope our books inspire yours to ignite. If our readers feel as though they have been through tough times, and need to rebuild, we hope this journey helps you feel not alone, and that you can do it too. Our characters are all experiencing different journeys, and we hope our readers can find one to relate to. All while being on a fictional ride that allows you to escape to a new world. Even though it is set on Earth, Atheria has always been here, waiting for us to find it. There are some really cool elements threaded throughout the story that we hope our readers can pick up on – if they so choose to find it. In doing so, seeking knowledge, seeking truth, understanding that their own choices have a ripple effect across all of humanity. But also, to enjoy the ride and dive into the Age of Atheria. 

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design? The title felt right as this is book one of the series, and we have in total four to five books that will complete the story. And within the storyline, there is so much growth into a new era for humanity, what it would take to rebuild and create a world that mankind was meant to live in – one of peace and harmony. One like that of Atheria. So it came naturally that the series be called AGE OF ATHERIA. To experience the new age of the future world our characters are fighting for. 

Our cover was thought over, meticulously planned, and every element has a reason for being a part of our book. The main image is of a hawk, who has a large purpose across the story. He is a part of Ady’s journey and symbolizes so much. We decided to have the contrast of Light and Dark on the cover where the background is black and the hawk is coming through the darkness as light in his own cloud gradient. The clouds surrounding the hawk represent him coming through the clouds out of Atheria and into the world. In his heart space is Atheria, the palace on the main island. We love the look he is giving, it is almost like, “It’s go time. We’re coming for you. And it starts now.” The black along the whole cover and back not only represent darkness, but space and time. The universe. And throughout the back cover there are faint blue glimmers of light and those represent the stars. The title AGE OF ATHERIA has clouds within the text and that also represents that Atheria has been hidden for so long. And the hawk coming through the center represents the divine prophecy and anointing has begun. The story begins. 

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? To just start! You’ve got to just start writing and putting pen to paper, or your fingers to the keys. We like to call it molding the clay, and when you are just getting started – you are literally starting with a raw ball of clay that you can start forming it into anything that you want to. And you can keep re-working it and re-forming it. But you have got to just start. I worked on this story for eight years before it was published, and Greg for almost five years. It has taken so much time to work out exactly how we wanted to tell this story; drafting, writing and re-writing, editing. Among life happening – we have two sons, toddlers, so we have been incredibly busy being parents! We got married! We would work on our story and then life would have other priorities, so we would take a step back from writing and be living our lives. And that is okay! With a debut, it’s important to give yourself grace and know that if you are passionate about the project, the story, your characters – you will be back for it. And you will finish it if you just keep going! Just start. And just keep going!  

6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? We love the trends we are seeing in the book world – we are reading more stories surrounding inclusivity, and more representation of authors from all walks of life, and cultures, and ethnic backgrounds. I love that any fictional book can take readers on a journey, and that we have access to dive into whatever world is calling to us, and learn; seek knowledge, and gain deeper understandings. Books have the ability to unify people and we are proud to be in an industry doing so. 

Publishing, what a journey it has been! We feel that publishing is heading in a great direction! As Indie authors, we have a due diligence to ensure what we put our names on we truly stand behind, and the story we are sharing with the world. And it is important to build a great team surrounding you, as the possibilities are endless with what you can do within the publishing world now. And as a businesswoman, I like those opportunities. I think this offers the freedom for more artists/creatives/writers to tell their story. Saying yes to yourself and that you are putting a great story out into the world. To me, it’s like the film industry or music industry – there are some great Indie artists releasing their creative works into the world, I love that the publishing industry offers the same opportunity. And just like those industries – they are permeable in that if a great film or song or book catches wind and takes off, the possibilities for its expansion exists and can really continue to shape your career. At the end of the day, it is about our artistry, right? I think that the world and industries are ever evolving and it’s important to keep up and see what you can do within them. 

7. What challenges did you overcome to write this book? So many. Let’s start with self-doubt. I think that no matter what you are doing or working on, it is a natural human occurrence to experience those feelings and thoughts of, “Will our readers enjoy this story?” “Will they want to know what happens in book two, and three, and four?” “Will we build a readership?” “Where is the story going?” “Do we have enough story to tell?” 

One of the biggest green lights we have had for ourselves, is that the storyline continues to develop and deepen. When we finished book one, we knew exactly where we were going in book two and that story just continued to blossom within us, and we were able to outline it rather quickly. We take that as a huge sign that we are on the right path, that we have much more of the story to unravel and tell. We used to get nervous about where we would take the story and if we were “telling it correctly” in other words, how we think we want to tell it. What we have found, is that as we keep going, so do our characters and there is so much life within them. The story finds itself. And it will continue, as almost a need, to be told. 

The gates of the publishing industry have also been a challenge, but there aren’t many challenges that we are afraid to take on. We embraced it and kept going, kept moving. Staying stagnant in any part of your life, or in the writing, or the moves it takes to help your story see the world can be challenging, so stay flexible, stay flowing, continue learning and know that with any mistake, you can learn from them. Take the lesson and keep moving. 

8. How would you describe your writing style?

We are of course narrative and descriptive, but Jenny is more lyrical, she is almost poetic with her words and how to evoke emotions. She writes most of Atheria, and Ady’s journey. She is on the airships with the crew. Where I am in the wasteland and in the Republic’s Army, I am with the brotherhood. Our writing styles make for a good partnership because we reflect so much of who we are and what we are writing about. And then of course, we have an amazing editor, Ciera McElroy, who makes sure we are cohesive to where you feel like you are not reading two different books, but you are reading the same book told by two different people. 

We have a style we like to call the “Soul Work” – where we research, we talk about our experiences, we have deep philosophical talks together, we throw the ball of clay, we see what sticks, and then we keep digging deep to really land on what it is we want to share. 

We outline the story in a journal. Then we put the entire book’s outline on notecards on a bulletin board and lay out the framework. And if we need to move anything around, we do so this way. Then we use that bulletin to write notes on the cards and check off what has been written and it’s a nice overview of the book and where we are. We write the chapters on our computers and share back and forth constantly. We discuss and re-work as needed. We really enjoy our process! 

9. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? We would be so honored to be the book of choice for their week or month! We hope you choose to read our story because it not only takes you on a journey as a reader, it also has been written to help you think, to be inspired, and has exciting elements from our own world and history, Greek mythology, philosophy, astrology, spirituality, and its own sector of magical realism that is the place of Atheria. It includes characters such as: a maniacal desert rogue and his rebellion of raiders, 800-year-old Atherians, a ragtag airship crew, an authoritarian Chancellor, an underground secret society, a band of brothers, love gained, and love lost. A whimsical story set in a dystopian world.

About The Authors: Jenny and Gregory met at a chemistry read for a television series pilot. The chemistry was there on screen and in real life. Jenny grew up in Iowa and spent over ten years working in Los Angeles as a content creator, writer, producer, and actress. She holds four degrees. She continues to work as an author and screenwriter. Gregory is a former professional baseball player originally from South Jersey. He was drafted out of Seton Hall University as a pitcher in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB draft. While documenting his journey after baseball, he discovered a passion for writing. He is currently working on a motivational book to help others unlock their potential. Jenny and Gregory are married and have two young boys. They enjoy traveling, the ocean, being in nature, and spending time together as a family. Age of Atheria is the first in the series and the couple’s debut novel together. For more information, please see:

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:

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