Tell us about yourself and your books.:
Becoming a writer wasn’t even on my bucket list. My professional life had been spent in the aviation business. I’m now 71 years old, and it astounds me how God could have blessed someone like me—one who has made so many mistakes along the way.
Our aircraft companies supported outreaches to destitute people around the world, and even sponsored a chaplaincy program in a Texas facility for troubled youth. But I became burned out after so long and decided to retire at the age of 52. That’s when the real trouble started, the beginning of a sixteen-year-long wilderness in my life.
First, we lost 80% of our retirement in the financial markets crash of the year 2000. After that, I lived in a state of depression and panic for several years. It was a type of PTSD, I realize now. I tried hard to trust God through it all, but eventually I didn’t even trust myself any longer.
Thereafter, I failed at everything I tried. After sixteen years, I was so defeated that I could no longer see any purpose for my life. I ran out of options, and the boredom coupled with failure was killing me. I reached the point of wanting God to just take me home.
Through it all, my wife Carla was a rock. She never wavered in her trust for me or for her Lord. She’s my hero. I wish I were more like she is.
After I came to the end of myself, something miraculous happened. One night, out of nowhere a story invaded my head about a US Marine pilot who . . . well you get the picture—Cody Musket, a man who has reached the point of desperation, who meets a heroic woman whose faith is unbreakable.
The story grew in my head for months, but it never occurred to me to write a book. (Doofus!) I even asked God to take this story out of my head because it was disrupting my life. Finally, after about six months, I told Carla about the story. I told her I was gonna go crazy if I didn’t at least write it down. She said, “I think you should.” That’s it. “I think you should.”
I began to write feverishly and could not stop for two years. I studied hard to learn how to write fiction. No Pit So Deep, The Cody Musket Story was released in 2016 as a stand-alone novel, and I have now expanded this saga to a four-book series with a combined 440 customer reviews from around the world, many of which reveal lives that have been impacted. The first book has been on the Kindle #1 Bestseller list twice, and has won several awards.
So, there I was just a few years ago, thinking my life was over. Feeling abandoned. But if my life had not slowed down to an agonizing crawl, I would never have written this story. If I had achieved the retirement I had always dreamed about, I might have missed a greater destiny.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Writers’ habits differ according to personality and purpose. I’m not striving to become known as an author, but I would love it if my character, Cody Musket, and his counterpart, Brandi Barnes, became household names. Their stories represent us all.
What authors have influenced you?
When I was 8 years old, I read The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley. Even though I was a kid at the time, that one still stands out. The Zorro character had honor and purpose.
At the age of 12, I read Serenade to the Big Bird, a personal memoir by Bert Stiles, a WWII US bomber pilot.
In recent years, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Fragipane both had a tremendous impact on me.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I can only advise myself, because we all have different goals. Here is my personal mantra: Write better but fewer books. I feel that many authors sell themselves short because they are rushed, thinking that the more books they write in a given amount of time, the more popular they will become. That only works if your finished product is the very BEST you can produce. Our modern culture is held hostage by time. Time can be a tyrant, ticking away like a relentless metronome in your mind, robbing you of your best creativity. Don’t be afraid to set aside your book for a few weeks, then come back to it and read what you’ve written. You will be surprised at what you see. That’s when my greatest creativity seems to kick in.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Don’t try to be just like everyone else. If you want to make a difference, set a new path.” – James Nathaniel Miller (my father)
What are you reading now?
I am reading The Ground Kisser by Lisa Worthey Smith, the riveting true story about a 12-year-old girl who escaped from Vietnam in 1979 in a small boat. She endured pirates and storms on the high seas, then nearly died from dissentary before finally achieving freedom.
What’s your biggest weakness?
My greatest weakness? I am not a geek when it comes to cybertronics. I can handle social media just fine, but I am limited in marketing techniques.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Proverbs of Solomon
What has inspired you and your writing style?
My writing style? That's difficult to answer. I like authors who keep the story moving rapidly, and I have been compared to several, but I never think about that when writing. I write what I feel, and my goal is to help the reader to experience each page the same way I feel it. I cannot name just one author who has inspired me, and I can't describe my style, except to say that I like to keep the plot moving without fillers and excess words.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am in the process of producing audiobooks for my novel series. I'm getting requests for audiobooks, and I feel this is a worthy investment. I am also mulling over ideas for a 5th book in my Cody Musket series.
What is your method for promoting your work?
I love doing guest-hosting live online, answering questions, interacting with readers. I've recently experimented with a new way to introduce my books–letting one or more of my fiction characters join me online and tell their own stories as if they were real This has been extremely well-received and highly successful. It keeps readers engaged.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Many of my readers have asked me to write a 5th book in my Cody Musket series, but I am reluctant to write again until I have another gripping and unique story with a plot that has never been told before, and one that has something to say that’s vital. I believe that is what my readers expect more than anything.
How well do you work under pressure?
I purposely do not work under pressure. I do not place time-limits on my projects, and I don't self-impose unrealistic goals. I cannot speak for everyone, but for me, pressure is a roadblock to inspiration.
How do you decide what tone to use with a particular piece of writing?
For me, the tone is situational. Fast action, romance, and humor all require different tones. My books have all three, and I love the transitions from one to another. I feel this puts more genuine feeling into a novel and keeps the reader guessing and inspired.
Author Websites and Profiles
James Nathaniel Miller II Amazon Profile
James Nathaniel Miller II’s Social Media Links
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