Mickey Miller is a romance author from the Midwest. He’s lived many lives in his short life including collegiate Athlete, Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, and high school coach and teacher. Now he writes steamy contemporary romance page-turners in his unique, steamy, thoughtful style: Sometimes fantasy, sometimes real, and always hot.
I realize I’m a bit of an oddball as a guy writing romance. It has happened many times that I’ll be out with friends, and the topic will come up that “Mickey is a romance writer.” Girls will often think I am lying to them when I say I write romance. I guess they think it’s something a guy would say to impress them. Honestly, I have shown girls my books, Instagram, Facebook, and they still give me the side-eye like they think they’re being punked. I find it amusing that apparently, my chosen art form is something that people in real life don’t believe I do.
I never took a single creative writing class in college, though I wouldn’t have minded it. I took an independent study one time where I wrote a series of stories in Spanish about my adventures abroad sophomore year, but I’d never really been able to identify myself as a full-on “writer.”
The roots of writing romance began after college. I’d read a couple of romance novels when I was in the Peace Corps post-college in Paraguay. I had a ton of downtime on my hands and I read books such as She’s Just Not That Into You and The Dirty Girls Social Club. This was back before I even had a kindle, so I’d read anything I could get my hands on.
In addition, I wrote a ton. I kept a blog about my experiences in the Peace Corps. I kept a journal. I wrote a short story here or there. And yes, some of the shit I wrote was about sex and/or romance.
I never attempted fiction because I felt like I would be in over my head. Novel writing seemed like this whimsical thing that really insanely smart people did who were “out there.” Out where, exactly? I didn’t know. But I was intimidated by the craft. I had a hard time writing one thousand words of fiction, let alone ninety-thousand, which is the length of my first full romance novel Playing Dirty
In my mid-twenties I mulled along for a few years, not ever considering writing any sort of narrative fiction. I put all my eggs into the basket of practicing and performing Improv at places like Second City and Improv Olympic in Chicago, the same schools where many of the greats started out (i.e. Tina Fey, Chris Farley).
Hell, I even did standup regularly for a while. I wrote a screenplay I called Lady Killers which was essentially Sex in the City from a guy’s perspective. It was HBO’s Entourage meets Girls, but about boys. I got some good feedback on my writing, had some good times, and made a lot of friends in the Chicago Improv and Comedy scene.
But after two years, I realized I was in over my head. Crazy, I know, but it turns out that writing, acting in, and producing a screenplay independently has a ton of moving parts. For reasons, some personal, some professional, I threw in the towel on screenwriting, producing, and acting (for the moment).
But I wasn’t done writing. So, at age twenty-eight, I wrote my first erotic romance short. It was five thousand words and I wrote in in about three hours on a plane. During the next year, I kept writing, mostly quick-and-dirty short stories. Eventually, I found a writing coach and editor to help critique me. She recommended I join the Romance Writers of America, which I did, last year. I went to the Annual Conference in San Diego last year, took a bunch of workshops, and met a whole lot of awesome people. I didn’t realize how amazing the Romance writing community was until I took this trip.
It’s been over a year since I started writing my first full-length romance novel that we shall not speak of, since I never hit publish on it. Playing Dirty was actually my second novel.
I’ve realized that I love writing romance novels specifically. I don’t care if they take a bad rap from the “mainstream,” or are dismissed as fluff by the snobby “literaturites” or whoever the people are that see themselves as the gatekeepers of what is and isn’t classic literature. “Literature” in my opinion is anything that people read and connect with on an emotional level. I’ve read romance novels so good that they’ve altered my life philosophy. Plus, I’ve read “literature” that was so erotic I need a cold shower in parts of it (see: Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño). Well-written romance novels are a fantastic way to reflect on your own romantic life. Plus, we live in this incredible time where the loop between author and reader is so short. You can literally get direct feedback from readers. It’s a beautiful thing. Maybe there are other readers/author communities out there in Sci-Fi, Steampunk, or something that are as tight-knit as the romance community. But if they are, I haven’t seen them.
A few of Mickey’s other books.
Where’s PCV with Benefits?