John Winn Miller On 5 Things You Need
to Know to Become a Great Author
You can do it! It took me nearly three decades to believe I could write a novel. I knew how to write news and tell a dramatic story. But I never thought I had that special something it takes to write a compelling novel.
As part of my interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Winn Miller. John is an award-winning investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, editor, newspaper publisher, screenwriter, movie producer, and novelist.
The Lexington, Ky., native was a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press and Wall Street Journal/Europe based in Rome, Italy; a reporter and editor at the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader; executive editor of the Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.) and the Tallahassee Democrat; and was publisher of The Olympian in Olympia, WA., and The Concord (N.H.) Monitor.
He also helped produce four independent feature films: “Hitting the Cycle” with Bruce Dern; “Armed Response”; “Band of Robbers,” written and directed by Adam and Aaron Nee, and “Ghost in the Family.”
Miller and his wife Margo live in Lexington. Their daughter Allison Miller is an actress-screenwriter-director currently starring in the ABC series “A Million Little Things.”
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
I spent nearly thirty years as a journalist, traveling the world and moving up the management ladder at newspapers all over the country. When the newspaper industry started to collapse, I took a buyout and decided I wanted to be a screenwriter (like almost everyone in the country).
Strangely, the inspiration for the novel was a dream from years before. When my daughter Allison was young, we watched a terrible action-adventure film together — I don’t remember which one — and I kept telling myself I could write a better screenplay. That night I had a dream, and when I woke up, I knew the first and last scenes and the name of the ship. That was all.
So, like Michelangelo used to say, I knew there was a figure in that block of stone — in my case, a story — and all I had to do was spend years trying to chisel it free. The Hunt for the Peggy C screenplay and other scripts and TV pilots I wrote attracted some interest in Hollywood but no sales. So, when Covid hit, and my wife Margo and I were stuck at home, I decided it was time to live up to the dream that had been the reason I had become a journalist: to learn how to write so I could become a novelist.