One Small Victory by Maryann Miller

Hardcover: 293 pages
Publisher: Five Star (ME) (June 18, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594146993
ISBN-13: 978-1594146992

Book Synopsis:

Life can change in just an instant. That's the harsh reality that Jenny Jasik faces when her son is killed in an automobile accident, but never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect to be working undercover as a member of a drug task force. She is, after all, just a Mom. In the course of her work, she discovers that she is capable of much more than running a household and managing her floral shop.

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the author. This is what she had to say.

You sure are busy! Could you tell us a little more about the organization Sisters in Crime and how you got involved?

Sisters in Crime is an organization founded to support women who write mysteries. It has long been known that women are often not taken seriously in the mystery field, relegated to being thought of as only able to do cozies. Women mystery authors also don’t get reviewed as often as the men do, so the organization started to see if the playing field could be leveled somewhat. I joined the organization about ten years ago and used to belong to a chapter in Omaha, Nebraska, That chapter helped resurrect the mystery con, Mayhem in the Midlands, and it was fun being part of that. There is not a chapter where I live now, so I am connected through the Internet chapter, but not an active volunteer.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

Gosh. You don’t toss easy questions at us. It is hard to pinpoint one single thing that is most important. My family is the top of the list of people who are most important, and I work hard to maintain the close relationships we have. I also strive every day to find some balance between the demands of writing, promoting, the work for – the online community magazine where I am managing editor – and time to just enjoy life. I am living a childhood dream of being on some acreage and playing farmer, so I don’t want to miss opportunities to enjoy that. I get to go outside and greet my horse every morning with my first cup of coffee. For a “peaceful, easy feeling” nothing beats that.

How was it that you came to write One Small Victory?

A number of years ago I read a news item about a woman who infiltrated a drug ring and helped bring down the main distributor for that area. Her son had been killed in a car accident and drugs were found at the scene. The woman was a single mother with no background in law enforcement, but she bullied her way on to a drug task force and worked as a confidential informant. She was not able to tell anyone what she was doing, so all kinds of complications arose from that. I was blown away by that woman’s courage, and the central character, Jenny, started coming to life in my mind.

What was the most difficult part in writing it?

One of the most difficult parts of writing One Small Victory was trying to imagine what it is like to lose a child and deal with all those grief issues. As a hospital chaplain I’ve facilitated a lot of grief support groups and have experienced these feelings second hand, but trying to really feel them so I could describe them for Jenny was really hard. We truly can never know the depth of that kind of pain until we have experienced it. To even come close to knowing what it was like, I had to imagine what I would feel if one of my children died, and it was not easy to go there emotionally.

Do you have a ritual that you follow when finishing a piece of work?

Yes. I clean my office. Seriously, I do. When I am working on a book, my office gets messier and messier the more I get into it. I have notes all over my desk. Research material spread across the floor. Dust bunnies under the desk for the cats to play with. Books I received to review pilled up on the small table. When the book is finished, I do a major clean up and have a clear space to start all over again.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

A current passion is recycling and conservation. My husband laughs at me when I use the old water in the dog’s bowl to water my plants, but hey, I save a little water for my grandchildren. For too many years we have lived in a disposable society, and now we are beginning to see what a huge mistake that was. At least some of us are.

We all have them, but what is your biggest vice in life?

Allowing myself to get distracted from something I’d rather not do. I’ve even been known to clean a toilet rather than call potential advertisers, and you’d think I’d be finding ways to avoid cleaning a toilet. I react the same way when I have to do edits and revisions on my work. Writing the first draft of any book is a creative joyride in many ways. The dialogue often comes fast and furious. The characters suddenly take me down a different path. A setting comes to life. Then the hard work of crafting the story begins. That’s when the toilet brush tempts me.

What are you currently working on?

My job with takes up part of my working day, updating the site and covering stories. When I have time for fiction, I work on the second book in a mystery series that I hope Five Star is going to pick up. The first book, Open Season, introduces Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson, two homicide detectives in Dallas. They are thrown together as unwilling partners during a time of racial unrest in the city and the department and have those issues to deal with as they track a serial killer. The second book is Stalking Season and I am about halfway through it.

What has been your greatest achievement as a writer?

One of the biggest thrills for me was to direct my play at a local community theatre. I had a wonderful cast that was so responsive, and on opening night I stood in the back to watch them and cried from the sheer joy of seeing the story come alive. There is a Time centers on four women in a cancer support group and how they and their families deal with the disease. Death is also personified in the show and appears to the women in their struggles.

Have you always wanted to be a writer, or did you aspire to be something else growing up (although the tales you told around the dinner table lead me to think writer all the way)?

Yes, I always wanted to be a writer, although there was a time when I wanted to be a veterinarian, too. Then I could be like James Herriot who wrote All Creatures Great and Small, and all the other books about his practice in England.

What authors do you enjoy reading?

There are so many, I hope I don’t leave anyone out. In mystery I really enjoy Dennis Lahane, P.J. Parrish, Harlan Coben, Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, Evan Hunter, Lawrence Block, Jonathan Kellerman… and the list goes on. In general and women’s fiction I love Anne Tyler, Toni Morrison, Anne Lamott, Anita Shreve, Laura Castoro…. and the list goes on here, too. I just finished a book that was sent to me for review, The Front Porch Prophet, by Raymond Atkins. It’s a wonderful book written so vividly it was like being in the small Georgia town and meeting the characters firsthand. I really appreciate authors who take the time to craft that perfect sentence to make the reader pause and read it again. If I can make someone do that, I consider myself a success.

About the author:

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels,screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, "A Question of Honor". More recently she placed in the top 15 percent of entries in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship with the adaptation of her mystery, "Open Season".

Publishing credits include work for regional and national newspapers and magazines: Lady's Circle, Woman's World, Marriage and Family Living, Plano Magazine, The Children's World, Byline, The Texas Catholic Newspaper. She has published nine non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping With Weapons and Violence : In Your School and on Your Streets released by The Rosen Publishing Group in New York. She has a short story in the All About Muse anthology, The Holiday Mixer. Her novel, One Small Victory, was a hardback release from Five Star Publishing in June 2008, and Play it Again, Sam, is a July 2008 release from Uncial Press in e-book formats.

She is currently the Managing Editor and writer for an online community magazine,, and does book reviews for ForeWord Magazine and two online review sites, and Curled Up With a Good Book. She also does freelance editing. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and a freelanceeditor. She has been writing all her life and plans to die at her computer.

Until then, Miller stays active in a number of organizations including Sisters In Crime, The Trails Country Centre For The Arts in Winnsboro, Texas, and was a founder of The Greater Dallas Writers' Association.She makes her home in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas where she happily plays farmer. She has a horse, two goats, three cats, and two dogs. She shares these critters and five acres with her husband and an armadillo that visits frequently. You can visit her website at

ONE SMALL VICTORY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit Maryann's tour stops at in September to find out more about her and her new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!

This virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Jaime McDougall

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Chris Redding said...

Harlan Coben is one of my fave authors also. He's a great speaker, too. Very funny.
Chris Redding

Roberta Isleib said...

Wow Maryann, you sure are a woman of many talents! I do the same thing when I finish a project--clean the stacks of papers that have piled up around me.

And I second your good words for Sisters in Crime. we do so much online in the organization now that you can get a lot of support without having a chapter nearby.

I'll be turning the president's "seal of office" over to Judy Clemens next month!

zhadi said...

This was a very enjoyable interview, although the Toilet Brush distraction was probably my favorite part... I can very much relate to that!

ghostposts said...

great questions. I like the way the questions vary from author to author, and delve into the guest poster's work and thought processes.

Helen Ginger said...

The problem for me is not a messy desk. I just need a bigger desk to hold the mess that's spilling over.

I'm following you, Roberta, on your tour and I learn new things at every stop!

Maryann Miller said...

LOL, Helen, I have two desks and a table and they are all spilling over with stuff.

Thanks everyone for stopping by to leave a comment. I appreciate the support. Now I have to go find out where Roberta is today. :-)

Morgan Mandel said...

Great interview.
Drugs are a scary business.
I'm also a member of Sisters in Crime, but not as active there as I should be.

Morgan Mandel