Author’s Spotlight: Miranda Armstadt Interview

Miranda Armstadt, author of Cut Back to Life

1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?

My name is Miranda Armstadt. I was born a US citizen in Europe, when my father was with the US State Department, and primarily grew up in New York City, but I’ve lived all over the US.

2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?

My debut (and currently only published) novel is Cut Back to Life —it’s Romantic Suspense/Contemporary Romance, with a very adult twist. It follows a celebrated L.A. neurosurgeon and an A-list actress whose long Hollywood career has just about peaked. They meet when she requires back surgery, and a dark tale of her past unfolds along with their relationship.

3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

The two protagonists are Anna Porter, the movie star, and Dr. Mark Scofield, a revered neurosurgeon who has many of Hollywood’s elite as his patients. We also have the antagonist, Roger Niles, a British personal trainer with a very dark side, who is Anna’s live-in boyfriend/trainer as the story begins.

Anna is a survivor, first and foremost. She has defied all odds to become a star and remain at the top of the Hollywood food chain for five decades. She is also quite fragile—both emotionally and physically—and we find out more about that as the story progresses.

Mark Scofield is a very disciplined, talented surgeon. He’s never rocked the boat or defied society’s rules—until Anna Porter shakes his world to its core. He comes from a very staid background, and now, late in life, has to decide if he wants to remain on the straight and narrow path, or find his personal joy. There’s a lot at stake for him in making this decision.

Roger Niles has also survived a tough and lonely childhood. Being a trainer, he’s very buff and good-looking and has learned to take advantage of his clients’ insecurities. But his own inner demons will meet him head-on as the story progresses.

4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?

I don’t want to give away the plot, so I won’t say. But because we are dealing with complex characters and their difficult backgrounds, a lot of painful situations come to light as these three find their lives entangled.

5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?

I self-published Cut Back to Life.

6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?

For me, reviewing the final proofs of the formatted galley were excruciating, and I worked as a news editor and am used to paying attention to detail. But knowing this was it and that any mistakes overlooked would be there forever, that’s a lot of pressure, and you are looking at minutiae ad nauseum.

As far as advice: you have to want to do it for yourself. Not for money or glory or fame. If those things come, fantastic. But it’s like show business (which I also have a background in): maybe one percent reach those heights. Write because you have a story you want to tell, and then tell it the best way you know how.

7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I am now at work on my second novel—it’s historical fiction, so not even remotely related to my first novel. I don’t preclude the possibility of doing connected works down the line, but not at this time.

8. Who are some of your favourite authors, what are some of your favourite books, and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

I was raised largely on classics, from Shakespeare to Tolstoy to Austen and Dickens (who all certainly rank among my favorites). Although I always wrote, I never saw myself as a fiction writer. I was a news editor for many years. Cut Back to Life was inspired by a major personal life event, and now fiction writing is my full-time career.

9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?

I don’t think there is one way to market. It’s very competitive out there now—more so than at any time in history—so you need to be creative, multi-pronged, assiduous, patient, and mostly: realistic.

10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?

I am not a fan of rules of writing, other than to use grammar correctly, unless it’s dialogue or perspective of a character in your story who you consciously create with a particular regional, educational, or cultural articulation.

11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?

I have read my reviews, yes. And overall, they’ve been four and five stars. But I don’t think reviews, and the way in which Amazon’s policy allows for “ratings” without reviews, are reflective of the writer’s work. Neither good nor bad reviews are the absolute truth. So honestly, you have to take it all with a grain of salt, in my opinion.

12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?

I am, it seems, a rare writer who likes to create in absolute silence. I don’t like any distractions when I am writing, so no music. As far as plotting vs. pantsing (as they call it, namely, winging it): to me, it’s like a road trip. Have some hotel reservations and destinations mapped out, but don’t be afraid to go off-road or change directions as you travel. With a major epic novel like the one I am now in my fourth year of researching and writing, you can be sure there have been many changes along the way. All for the better, I hope.

13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?

Writing is like singing: you need to have an inner ear for it. To how words flow, to phrasing, to storyline, all of it. If you are entirely dependent on outside feedback as to whether or not your story or writing is “good,” in my mind, anyway, you are in the wrong line of work. Writing is a very solitary profession. Of course, we all need constructive criticism and input. But you also need to know when not to look for input.

14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?

Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I am now working on a historical fiction novel. It’s a World War II/Cold War thriller, based loosely on my father’s time with the US State Department in Central Europe during the early to mid-1950s. But it’s about much more than espionage and intelligence. It spans a century of a Jewish-American family’s secrets and struggles, which come to light when a third-generation newscaster discovers many things she never knew about her predecessors.

15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:

One thought on “Author’s Spotlight: Miranda Armstadt Interview

  1. trippydaisy 28/02/2023 / 21:00

    Thank you again for shining a light on another indie author!


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