Fun Facts 1: Interview with Naomi Milliner
Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Hello Write Voicers!
Did you miss me? I hope so, because I really enjoy writing for all of you. As promised, this post contains an interview with Naomi Milliner, the author of Super Jake & The King of Chaos!
This is the first of what I hope to be many Fun Facts series, so I hope you're willing to stick around while I figure out logistics in terms of how to present both (separate, together, who knows). But, for now, I'm going to separate the posts. To read the book review, which was posted earlier today, click here.
Now, without further adieu, let's jump in!
Fun Facts Interview
Jaleesa: So, for this interview, I wanted to know the five "Most Interesting" Facts about you and you sent me a list of answers. Let's discuss them now.
Naomi: Well, I don't know whether or not any of them qualified as "Most Interesting" Facts, but here goes. Hopefully, they're at least mildly amusing.
Jaleesa: I think they were.
Naomi: Okay, well, first, you can call me an overnight success: my debut middle-grade novel only took sixteen years from the first draft to publication!
Jaleesa: That's pretty good, especially considering that some people never get past writing their first draft.
Naomi: I’ll always remember something Bruce Coville said at an SCBWI conference. I will paraphrase. ☺ The gist of it was, “I can’t guarantee that, if you write, you’ll get published. But I can guarantee you won’t if you don’t write.” Another inspiring quote I came upon recently is from Mother Teresa: “What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.”
Jaleesa: Those are some great inspirational quotes. How did they help you complete Super Jake?
Naomi: The Bruce Coville quote helped me persevere over many of those sixteen years I wrote, and rewrote, Super Jake; the quote from Mother Teresa is one I came across very recently, but it really resonated with me and felt like a much-needed shot in the arm as I continue working on the rewrite for my WIP, which is all about sisters and secrets.
Jaleesa: Well, I'm super excited to hear more about that. But for now, let's discuss one of the other facts you were telling me about, specifically film school.
Naomi: So, what some people might not know is that I went to film school in L.A. to study screenwriting; and once, I climbed to the iconic Hollywood sign and touched the "D"!
Jaleesa: [Laughs] Is that even allowed?
Naomi: Not anymore.
Jaleesa: [Laughs] I didn't think so. It seems like the kind of thing that only happens in movies.
Naomi: These days for sure.
Jaleesa: Definitely. Okay, so you also mentioned to me that you had a dog. Want to talk more about that?
Naomi: Of course! When I was a child, I had an adorable Cairn terrier named Fonzie, you know, after the character on Happy Days.
Jaleesa: I've actually never watched Happy Days.
Naomi: I am speechless.
Jaleesa: I mean, I never really had a reason to? I don't think it was as popular with my age group. But go on.
Naomi: Anyways, decades later, I met Henry WInkler, the actor who portrayed him, and told him I'd named my dog after him.
Jaleesa: He must've been ecstatic. Or freaked out. Which was it?
Naomi: He smiled and was very sweet. I suspect I’m not the only one who named a pet after him.
Jaleesa: Right, right. I'm sure plenty of actors have heard much of the same. [Laughs].
Naomi: Based on many interviews I've watched of various favorite actors, I can promise you that these poor celebrities are asked the same question, and told the same anecdote by fans, roughly 90 million times.
Jaleesa: No surprise there! So, the last two facts you discussed were about your family and your book. Let's talk about the spelling bee. How did that happen?
Naomi: I loved being involved in my kids’ school. I was a stay-at-home mom trying to write, so I was fortunate to have the opportunity. I was room mom for both boys (my sons are four years apart), and was also active in the PTA. I formed a journalism club as well, and ran bake sales for several annual events (that was “deliciously” fun; I highly recommend it)! That’s why, when I was able to return to their school to speak about SUPER JAKE, it was especially gratifying.
Jaleesa: I bet. I’m always saying that moms and teachers are the unsung heroes of the world. But is that how you ended up starting a Spelling Bee at your sons' elementary school?
Naomi: I guess it stemmed from being an involved parent – and having time on my hands. ☺ The best part is that my oldest son won the first year! I ran it for six years, and I’m pleased to say it’s still running years later.
Jaleesa: I remember trying out for the spelling bee at my middle school. I didn't make it past the audition, and I don't even remember what word took me out.
Jaleesa: I know, it’s very funny. [Laughs] Okay, so the last fact you mentioned was about one of the characters in your book, Magnus the Magnificent.
Naomi: Yes. Magnus, the protagonist's hero in Super Jake, was inspired by my favorite actor, and I was able to get a copy of the book to him when my son and I saw him in a Broadway production.
Jaleesa: That's pretty cool. Can I ask who the actor was?
Naomi: I’ll give you a hint. He has a VERY successful show currently on Disney Plus. Can you guess?
Jaleesa: Hmmm...I watch a lot of Disney, but I’m at a loss. Tom Hiddleston is the only one who comes to mind, but that’s because I’m obsessed with Loki.
Naomi: Bingo! You get a gold star (or maybe a Tesseract). Also, if you ever want to talk LOKI, feel free to: call; email; direct message; text; come over for tea; or send a smoke signal. I am here for you, Jaleesa.
Jaleesa: I might have to take you up on that offer. [Laughs] Alright, so last but not least, tell us what you're working on next.
Naomi: Well, my latest middle grade novel, an homage to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares―who, like me, is from Maryland―is currently being considered at several publishing houses. Here's hoping it won't take another sixteen years this time around!
Jaleesa: Here's hoping! Sorry, continue.
Naomi: Thanks! Well, in the meantime, I'm working on another middle-grade novel―which was originally a young adult, and then a screenplay―plus putting together an anthology with some of my favorite writers.
Jaleesa: I'm so happy for you! I love how we writers are always working on something. One last question for you: What's your favorite thing about being published?
Naomi: I'm glad you asked. One of my favorite things about being published has been the opportunity to meet―both virtually and in-person, so many people; to share my book, and talk about my youngest son, Jake, who was born with special needs.
Jaleesa: That's a wonderful sentiment and a great place to end the interview. Thanks for doing this interview with me Naomi!
Naomi: Thank you for inviting me to your blog!
Jaleesa: No problem!
Naomi Milliner is the author of Super Jake & The King of Chaos. Her book is available in bookstores and at the library. For information on what she's up to, and adventures with her characters, you can visit her website.
If you enjoyed this interview and want to know more about her book, check out the review of Super Jake & The King of Chaos by clicking here.
If you'd like to be featured in a fun facts segment, contact The Write Voice!
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