Millie Florence is a young indie author who released her first book at age 13. I had the pleasure of connecting with her via social media and we have a lot in common: she was (is) homeschooled, always had a deep passion for writing, and loves to have fun! I had the pleasure of interviewing her and learning more about her and her writing journey.
Author of Honey Butter and Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
1) What inspired you to write?
To be honest, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love telling stories and reading books. It’s seemed to always be a part of my life. Before I could read, I listened to classic children’s books on audio. A Little Princess, the Secret Garden, and Anne of Green Gables were some of my favorites, and I could probably recite some of their passages from memory now; that's how many times I listened to them!
Before I could write well, I would walk in circles around my bedroom telling my stories out loud to a recorder I got for Christmas. Or I would dictate my stories to my parents, who would type them down for me. It must have been a tedious task! My stories were mostly fantasy with dozens of made-up words and strange names. But I am certainly grateful for their help.
2) What was the hardest scene/post you ever had to write? What was the easiest?
Chapter 16 of Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen was definitely the hardest. It’s got to be the most emotional, complex, and metaphor-filled chapter I’ve ever written. I cannot tell you just how many times I went over it, trying to make sure that the reader could understand what I was trying to communicate. Not to mention that a lot of my heart and own personal experiences went into that book, and that chapter was where everything condensed. It was both a personal and an artistic struggle.
3) How do you select the names of your characters?
It depends on what I’m trying to do. Often the name comes with the character. When I had the idea for Jamie and Laren’s characters in Honey Butter, the names were just there as if they had always been. It was the same with Lydia from Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen.
Other names are trickier. Some I make them up completely, (Like Prehna) some I find on baby name websites or naming books, (Like Zale, Zamilla, and Coran) sometimes I use words from other languages (Like Castra and Terra, which are Latin).
4) While writing, did the story go as planned or did it take a turn you didn’t expect?
All stories have a mind of their own. Even though I’m the one writing it, my stories are always the ones in control, and yes, many unexpected twists and turns occur. I can’t really give a specific example, because a lot of the things I don’t expect to happen turn out to be big reveals and plot twists in the final copy. So whenever a reader tells me “I did NOT see that coming!” my answer is usually “me neither!”.
5) If you could live in one literary universe, what would it be and why?
The Lord of the Rings! Specifically Lothlórien; I mean, the tree’s leaves are yellow all year round! That’s my kind of forest! Plus, I’ve always loved Tolkien’s interpretation of Elves and Elven culture. The magic and peace of their world is something I can only dream of. When I was around nine, a friend and I tried to learn a bit of Elvish. It didn’t last long, unfortunately, but it was a lot of fun!
6) Favorite Book and Why?
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett because it really teaches you the importance of selflessness, thankfulness, kindness, and imagination. It had a profound impact on me when I was little, and still does today. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery because that book will never, ever, ever grow old. Every time I open the book and read it, it makes the world feel more beautiful. I’ve been told by several people before that I am a modern Anne Shirley. Irrepressible, imaginative and a classic chatterbox! The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I’ve read this one more recently, but I’m still a child, so I’m counting it! It’s filled with kid power and meaningful metaphor, and as I like to say, It’s the quintessence of a children’s adventure book. I cannot say enough good things about this book and I really look up to Trenton Lee Stewart, he is an excellent author!
7) Do you find it hard to keep your Faith in your writing career?
When I first started writing Honey Butter, that was definitely something I pondered a lot. But over time I’ve learned that your writing doesn’t have to be explicitly Christian to communicate the truths of love and light that God wants us to communicate. My faith is with me in every sentence, every outline, every chapter, every book. God gives me these stories for a reason. My job is to write them and share them. Simple as that. There’s also a conference I went to last year: Realm Makers. It’s a Christian Speculative Fiction Writing conference. I highly, highly recommend it; it was a few of the best days of my life, and I will definitely be attending again this year. The website is www.realmmakers.net if you want to check them out.
8) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing, like everything else in life, takes practice. So keep doing it, because you will only get better and faster. I’ve heard it said that writing won’t get easier, and in a way that’s true. When you grow, the challenge grows with you, but so does the reward. To temper that a bit, you should also remember that writing is about life, life is not about writing. Sometimes as writers we get so caught up in character development and words counts and other details that we forget what we’re really writing about. One of my favorite writing quotes is
“How vain is it to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau
Above all, however, know that you can do it! Your dream is not impossible! I did it, I published a book, and I’m really not that different from you.
Millie Florence is a fun, loving, young writer. Her next book Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen will be released March 23, 2019! Be sure to check out her website for more details and to purchase a copy of Honey Butter: millieflorence.com