M3 is proud to feature this week a new author, from its broadcast home of Kershaw, South Carolina, S.A. Miller. One of the M3 Coffee Shoppe founding members, Miller was candid about the inspiration for his book, Stanley Stokes: The Story and the Songs God Gave Me
M3: Give the M3 readers the short, professional version of who you are.
SAM: S.A. Miller is the lead and founding pastor of Team Church in Kershaw, SC and chaplain for the SC Department of Corrections. Miller has authored a special book about his grandfather’s whose music and life continues to inspire well into his eighties.
M3: Who would you like to thank before I grill you for details?
SAM: I thank my grandfather foremost because he is the subject of the book. It was no small chore for him to record his memories. I think if I were asked to write a biographical sketch of my life, I would decline. It is a big undertaking. But he did terrific and endured many interviews.
M3: So, let’s start your interview. How did you put the book together?
SAM: My book began as a musical work. I notated the melodies of tunes that my grandfather wrote by ear. This was to preserve his musical legacy. Later, I had the idea to include a biographical section to the work. He wrote several pages of notes. Then I compiled, categorized and interviewed him some more.
M3: Was it a quick process or one which required hiatus?
SAM: This work took me over a decade to produce precisely because I took extended time away from working on it. It took me a very long time to learn how to transcribe the melodies in the musical section.
M3: This work is close to your heart, eh?
SAM: This work could not be more close to my heart. It is about my grandfather and essentially my heritage. I love my grandfather and it is to his credit that I love music today. It is also to his credit that I am the Christian that I am. My grandfather is obviously very proud of this work, and he continues to support me in all that I do. I as well am very proud of this work.
M3: How did you break into the publishing industry?
SAM: I self-published my writing, so I really didn’t start in the professional industry at all. Self-publishing was the right choice in my circumstance because I could print just as many books as I needed, and I didn’t really expect to make money from my project anyway. The publisher I used was Lulu.com. I provided the text and the cover art and they produced the book I had envisioned.
M3: Self-publishing can be considered coming in through the back door. How do you think the industry views self-published books and what did you do to break the perception?
SAM: I completely believe that the industry views self-produced material as inferior because there are so few editors or filters that the author must go through before the work is finished. I sought out people who could help me check the accuracy of my musical notation, my grammar, and the time line of events. If this had been a traditionally published work, it would have had several steps of thorough editing.
M3: Should we care if you have a “day job”?
SAM: My “day job” is being a pastor and a prison chaplain. It is important work to listen to the stories of others. It is akin to listening to the stories of my grandfather and recording them for others to read. My skills of listening to others may one day help me to continue writing biographies. Until then, I will pursue my pastoral duties to care for others in the church and at the correctional facility.
M3: Has the economic state changed the way you perform?
SAM: Yes, the economic state took me from one job to two. Nevertheless, having the two jobs encourages more writing. I actually write much more now due to the nature of my jobs.
M3: What is the one thing you hope I do not share with the M3 readers?
SAM: I hope you do not tell readers that I am a total novice at publishing a book. This is true, but I am really proud of this work.
M3: I am sure they would like to know that! In 15 words or less, tell the M3 Readers why they should buy your book.
SAM: It won’t cost you a thing to read it, please enjoy our life.
Dear M3 Readers,
Please take a few moments to check out S.A. Miller and his biography, Stanley Stokes: The Story and the Songs God Gave Me. You can download in ebook for free or purchase the paperback edition. Visit Miller’s Team Church website to get to know him a bit better.
Thank you for your continued support to the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe artists.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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