The Road to Freedom #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

I started dabbling in writing in my early twenties in some counsellor’s office in the States as per his suggestion. I suspect he thought it would be an outlet for me, an alternative to having to hear me rant and rave with a million F-bombs. He was my only audience and from those sessions came my first novel, The Assassin’s Keeper. That novel remains unfinished and collects dust in a drawer. I consider it practice.

A few years later, while hitchhiking across the Southern states of America on the back of a motorcycle, I decided to start Freedom’s Child. It was more of a side fling then, something I’d spend a few minutes on here and there as a distraction from trying to fix The Assassin’s Keeper. Both books came with me when I moved to Ireland three years ago. Soon after, The Assassin’s Keeper was nominated for the Debut Dagger award by the Crime Writers Association in London. But by then, my passion for it had faded and I’d fallen in love with Freedom.

I spent months watching the cursor on a blank page, the little black line blinking at the top of my very last chapter of Freedom’s Child. It was taunting me, really. I didn’t want to end the book, didn’t want to separate from my main character Freedom Oliver. I thought I could let things drag on forever, like holding someone close before you have to wave them off for a long journey. I just didn’t know how long this journey would be…

I knew exactly what I was doing with the last chapter, had every word in my head.  When I did decide to rip the bandaid off and just get it over with, I wrote it as fast as I could and sent it off to a consulting agent in Ireland before I could change my mind. I was sitting at my sister’s desk while visiting her home in New York where we’re from when I wrote the words ‘The End’ and hit the ‘Send’ button within the same second. I figured I’d get rejection letters from various agents and publishers in the following months and even that day started working on brand new material.

When the lead agent of WME London e-mailed me the next day (I remember the word ‘obsessed’ in caplocks), I literally got sick with excitement. The day after, he sold it to Harper Collins UK. A few days later, Random House in the US. A year later, I’m still not sure if it’s really hit me. It feels like a dream-sequence from someone else’s life, one where bouts of binge writing are punctuated by copious amounts of tea-drinking.

Today, I am working on my next novel, scheduled for publication in 2016 and I’ve already got the idea in my head for the one after that. I guess I really can call myself a writer now…

Blog by Jax Miller

Look out for Freedom’s Child


Q&A with author Jax Miller @jaxmillerauthor #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Your name: Jax Miller

Tell us about yourself: I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I usually do it in binges.

Tell us about your latest book: Freedom’s Child is about Freedom Oliver, a woman in the Witness Protection Program who gets into too much trouble. She watches the children she put up for adoption twenty years ago grow up from afar until her daughter suddenly goes missing. Freedom escapes the US Marshals and rides a stolen motorcycle cross-country to find the daughter she only knew for two minutes and seventeen seconds. In almost every sense, it’s about a woman trying to find a purpose for her existence while battling a million demons (and being hunted by authorities and criminals).

When did you start writing? I started writing in my early twenties around 2008 because my therapist suggested it. It wasn’t something I necessarily planned on having a career in, more like ‘I’m-gonna-write-this-idea-on-a-napkin’ kind of thing.

Where do you write? I’ve only recently rented a former bank in a small town in the Irish countryside not far from my home. You can find me there in the middle of the night most of the time, but if a good enough idea comes, I’ll write wherever I am. I also write well on trains. Not sure why.

Which other authors do you admire? I’m a huge C.S. Lewis fan and I love his use of the  authorial intrusion device (one I am dying to use in one of my works). More than other literary works, however, I am most inspired by film when I write. I am an avid film buff and head to the movies when I need to be inspired.

Book you wished you’d written? Mario Puzo’s or Max Allen Collin’s Road to Perdition (it should be noted I’m a comic nerd who can’t draw). I am a sucker for good gangster reads.

Greatest fictional criminal: Perhaps more villainous than criminal, there’s no other quite like Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery. Outside of literature, it’s a tossup from varying sides of the spectrum between Walter White (Breaking Bad), The Bride (Kill Bill) and Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. Scarecrow (a Batman supervillain).

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Pablo Escobar. I just find the guy fascinating.

What scares you? I’m claustrophobic (small spaces). I include it a lot in my writing because I just find it so terrifying. Just the thought of being in a trunk or a coffin raises the heartbeat.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination?  Constantly. That’s usually when I run with an idea. But I will consult my small circle of friends to make sure I’m not pushing the boundaries too far once in a while.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE 

Do you listen to music when you write?  I actually can’t write without music. You’ll always find me writing with the tunes blasting in my headphones (so forgive me if I don’t hear the phone or hear you knocking).

Are you on social media? Of course!

How can fans connect with you?