Friday, May 12, 2023

Part of My Brain is Always Writing By Mary Ann Miller

My debut novel was released March 21, 2023, and in April I held a book launch party. I had no idea how many people would attend and was pleasantly surprised to see 75-80 family and friends show up. Of course, it was a nasty, cold, windy, sleeting afternoon in Chicago and maybe the free wine and dessert was the real reason for such a good turnout. In any event, several people told me that they didn’t realize I was a writer and how long had I been writing and where do my ideas come from. All standard questions, but it reminded me that part of my brain is always writing, searching for that one oddity that will make a character or situation stand out.


For example, I drove my niece to the airport this morning and as we sat at a stoplight, I noticed Winter Garden, my Florida hometown, is holding a fair. The kind with a Ferris wheel, cotton candy, and the bottle ring toss. In the area in front of the fair, where the cars eventually will park, was a field filled with cows. I’ve seen them there before, but what flashed through my mind was – there’s a novel in this scene. My niece’s observation was – are they going to leave the cows there during the fair? Who’s going to scoop up all the poop?


Even though we saw the same thing, my brain instantly wrote a book.


Another time, my husband, Mike, and I were heading home from the grocery store and in front of us was a very large man on an orange motorcycle. He wore an orange t-shirt, orange shorts and an orange bandana and on his feet were orange clogs. His helmet was orange with black trim and an orange backpack was strapped onto an orange saddlebag. Mike’s comment was – I like orange, but that’s too much. My thought was – a killer hiding in plain view.  He will make it into a novel someday.


Many writers, including myself, have driven somewhere only to get there and realize it’s not where we wanted to go. That’s because part of the brain is thinking about a scene in a book, a character who isn’t doing what we want them to do, an upcoming deadline, what to post on social media, an author book club zoom, any number of tasks that need to be done. Sometimes, my head hurts by the end of the day and it’s not because I didn’t drink my caffeine. There’s only so much room up there, and between life and writing, the space that my brain occupies is completely full.


Mary Ann Miller is a debut author, currently living in Florida with her husband, where she is working on the second novel in the series. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Illinois University and earned a paralegal certificate with Roosevelt University. Miller is a member of MWA, ITW, and Sisters in Crime and when not writing, can be found reading poolside or hosting family and friends fleeing the cold winters of the north.


  1. I've done that driving and winding up somewhere other than I had originally planned. Or, I was going to stop somewhere on the way home from work, and next thing I know I'm home. Unfortunately, I can't blame it on writer's brain. I wish I had that excuse. :)

  2. Congratulations on your debut novel. Best wishes to you and it. I'm sure with that busy brain of yours that we'll see mamny more.

  3. Congratulations on your debut and keep on driving! You never know where you might end up.

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  5. Delightful post! Congratulations on your debut.

  6. Before I retired, I walked to and from work so that I didn't have to worry about crashing the car. I could also stop and make notes along the way. It was a mighty cold walk on below zero mornings in winter and dark on the way home, also wet, windy, or hot in the other seasons, but the walks were worth it in so many ways.