From the time my mom set me up with books on tape before I knew how to read, I was a goner. My mom says I would follow along avidly, and then start reading along out loud when I had it memorized, recognizing more words every time. I even echoed the little chime sound when I was supposed to turn the page. I still remember trips to the library and loading a bag full to the top with The Baby-Sitters Club, Nancy Drew, and Spooksville chapter books. I usually left with forty or so books at a time, and then promptly tore through them. In the early development of my stifling need to itinerize, I would hand write lists of all of my favorite book series and make check mark columns to mark the ones I had already read. I had to read them all, and I had to be organized about it.
Hayride with the family? Not without a book.
My love of being lost in a universe that is developed piece by piece, as well as following the journey of characters I’d come to think of as good friends with each new book, faded for a while as I became distracted with adolescence, boys, and hair. But then who should make her entrance to the world of literature but the amazing JK Rowling, and I was hooked again. As I finished the last Harry Potter novel, drowning in melodramatic angst that it was all there was with nothing on the horizon but film adaptations, I found the wonderfully nerdy world of fan fiction.
Here I found countless stories from hundreds of perspectives, new takes on a canon plotline, or completely new ideas, all set in the same universe of the wand choosing the wizard, chocolate frogs, and talking portraits. Best of all, the characters – my literary friends – were back in my life.
The happiest place on earth.
Wading through some truly awful writing to find a story that really captured my attention was all a part of the challenge, and I was lost in the thick of it again. Then as I read, I found myself thinking more and more that I would do that passage differently, or that bit of development was just horribly delivered.
I can do this better. So I tried it.
I wrote a novella and a few short stories. I redid draft after draft, reviewed by a beta I found online, using her suggestions to hone my craft. I received a handful of reviews, and it was a rewarding experience. I learned that I could describe a scene, develop a plotline, and create feelings in a reader with just my words. Who knew?
Banner for the novella I wrote in 2008.
Time passed as I graduated college and got a grown up job. I got married to my high school sweetheart, a man that supports my need to nerd out, and nerds out with me sometimes… a lot of times. He’s also a big nerd. I had two beautiful children. My five-year-old is now growing into the Potterhead that would have made my twenty-two year old self shed a tear. But I was too busy to think about the stories in my head, begging to be written down.
Enter Anne Miller.
From the start, we knew we shared the same nerdy taste in books. Books that took you out of reality with romance and fantasy and captivatingly complex characters. We bonded over Harry Potter, Mortal Instruments, and the Hunger Games. Are we too old for this stuff? It made us giddy and happy, so we didn’t care.
We also bonded over becoming mothers together. I met Anne at the gym. I spent my gym time riding a sit down bike and reading, keeping things low key as I was in my third trimester with my first child. Who am I kidding, I still do that, and my youngest is almost three. I looked over at the slim and tall young woman on the bike next to me reading ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, and the cliche made me smile. I told her “Nice book”, and the interruption startled her out of her reading. She then glanced over, saw my large pregnant belly, and laughed.
Baby Belly #2
She had just found out she was having a boy, also her first child. We chatted until our time was up. We seemed to click immediately. I sent her an email the next day, and the correspondence continued. Over the years we asked each other’s advice about newborn care, toddler discipline, our subsequent pregnancies, the perfect house, how many kids to have. All wonderfully normal things, and our conversations were a break from the usual daily grind of our full time jobs. We also read a lot of the same books, encouraged each other to read new ones. Five – almost six – years later, Anne tells me an idea that she’s had for two years. She has a turning thirty bucket list, and one extremely ambitious item on her list is writing a book.
I’m doubtful about writing an original book that fast. She only had a year and a handful of months at the time she told me about this. “So what’s the book about?” I ask her on March 28, 2016. The premise of Guardian Lights was born. I provide so much input and interest as we discuss it that she asks the magical words I didn’t know my sleeping inner author was dying to hear: “Do you want to co-author with me?”
And here we are.
Time to get to work.
I am a working mother of two, struggling to balance my family and work life with the stories in my head that finally have an outlet, demanding once again to be written down. I went to a midwest college, achieved a commercial single and multi-engine land certificate, an instrument rating, and a certified flight instructor certificate while clocking seven years in the movie theater business, and I now work in aeronautical data. I love reading, writing, and movies.
Nothing would compliment our journey more than if hearing a story of two busy moms realizing their own inner potential to achieve a goal leaves you with the take away that the only thing holding you back is yourself. The Darkness in all of us is Suppressing our Potential, pushing it down and keeping us from developing that little idea in the back of our minds into reality. I capitalized those words because they’re themes from our book, and once you read it, I hope that you recognize the encouragement subtly woven into the details, and are inspired to PUSH BACK.
of AA Miller
Meet Anne, the other half of AA Miller.
Find our mission statement on the Our Journey home page