Elizabeth Chats With…Elson Miller

I’ve been talking about the Women in Publishing summit for a couple of years now. And for the past few months, I’ve been introducing some of the members of ‘the Pickle Jar’, the networking group that grew out of last year’s Women in Publishing School. This month, I want to introduce you to Elson, the baby of the group, experience-wise, and a fitting reminder that not every writer has the freedom to spend all their time being creative.

Elson Miller is a trained mental health professional and full-time stay at home mama who discovered her passion for writing when the world came to a screeching halt in 2020. During the covid lockdown, Elson converted her walk-in closet into a writing room and began to notice how much happier she was when she carved out time for herself to write. As a young person, Elson participated in local theatre productions and continued in the theatre through college. Married to a wonderfully supportive husband for nearly 16 years, together they created two children and adopted a poodle pup. Now that her children will be off to school in the fall, Elson is excited to get her first novel published. She participated in the Women in Publishing Summit, Women in Publishing School, and InkersCon and stays active in her writing group. She enjoys writing contemporary fiction, children’s fiction and psychological thrillers. Elson says of herself: “I am happiest when I create.”

Hello Elson and welcome to my blog. Let’s start by taking you way back: what is your earliest memory – and how old were you at the time?

I was four years old and I cut my own hair. My mother had recently ordered some orange handled scissors and one pair, my mother said, were for “cutting hair”. Naturally, I believed the scissors would know what to do so I put them at the base of my hairline and got to work. When my parents found me, they asked why I had cut my own hair. At the time, the musical Annie was on constant replay in our house and I was inspired to look like Albert Finney’s ‘Daddy Warbucks’.

Where is your favorite place on earth – and why?

I used to spend my summers in Boulder, Colorado with my grandparents. I was 12 when I first started visiting. I loved the smell of the Boulder air and the mountains were spectacular. I grew up in the flat Midwest so this was a visual treat.

Betty, would take me to her favorite place, the Boulder Bookstore. We used to spend hours browsing. She also took me shopping, out to fun restaurants, poetry readings, Shakespeare in the park, Russian tea rooms, ski resorts and she also visited the grocery store, daily,(Alfafa’s market was the original Whole Foods) and spent too much time (in my opinion) smelling and pinching the produce.

The spare room I slept in, had plush red carpeting that was always cool beneath my feet. It’s my happy place. Anywhere my grandmother was, was my favorite place.

If you knew you only had 24 hours left, how would you spend them?

First I would go to a karaoke bar and sing my heart out. I cannot sing, well, and it’s always been a dream of mine to ditch my inhibition and just let it all out – in song form, that is. And after I thoroughly embarrass myself singing Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, I would take to the sky and fling myself out of a plane. I want to know what it feels like to fly without the fear of the landing.

If you could meet one person from history, who would it be – and why?

Princess Diana. I have always been fascinated by this extraordinary woman. Her beauty was both a blessing and a curse and her life – tragic. I admire her strength and tenacity. She is my hero for persevering through enormous adversity. Her kind heart was a miracle considering her own miserable life.

There is a saying: to make the punishment fit the crime. Which character from fiction would you like to punish – and how?

Gillian Flynn’s Amy Dunne from Gone Girl. I read the entire book and the way it ended, I remember throwing the book at the wall. I was so disappointed that the ‘bad guy’ got away with it. Just thinking about that ending still makes me mad. I would have placed her behind in jail, never to be let out again.

Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends – which would you prefer?

This depends on my mood. To unwind I talk to friends. When I want to be productive I read. I love the theatre, but the prices are stupid. I enjoy watching films, but my life does not offer me enough time to watch one from start to finish without interruptions. I did see the new Downton Abbey and enjoyed being back in the movie theatre after a 2.5 year hiatus. But the cost of the concessions…wow.

If you could take part in one television program, which one would it be?

The Golden Girls. I’ve seen each episode at least 50 times. I love the idea of living with three best friends and eating cheesecake on the lanai.

A picture that best represents you – and why

My wedding picture captures the joy I have in my heart. My gaze skyward captures the feeling of eagerly anticipating the future. I see this photo as me finally ready for what life was about to hand me…two beautiful children and a wonderful life with an amazing partner.

Would you describe yourself as left-brain, right-brain or a mix of both?

Absolutely right-brain. I often wonder if the left side is even on.

Who helped shape you into the person you are today – and why?

My grandmother, Betty, was the only person on the planet who completely believed in me. She, an artist herself, encouraged my passion for writing, praised my finger painting calling it “brilliant”, introduced me to her writing community and placed her artist‘s seed into my heart. The one thing she did better than anyone else in my world – she listened. When I decided to get my master’s in social work, I pursued this career so I could be that one person who listened to another person who was ignored by everyone else – especially for a child. I felt completely accepted by her and she made me feel extraordinary. A piece of my heart lives in heaven now but her influence lives right here in me.

Elson, thank you so much for sparing the time to chat to us today, and I so look forward to reading that debut novel of yours. Readers, Elson doesn’t have a website just yet, although she will have soon, but in the meantime, you can find her on Facebook.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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