This Q&A originally appeared on the website Critics & Writers.
Jennifer Miller’s new literary mystery, “Year of the Gadfly,” follows aspiring teenage journalist Iris Dupont as she seeks to uncover a secret society at her school, following the guidance of her only friend, the ghost of Edward R. Murrow. We caught up with Miller to discuss her debut novel, life as a newlywed and how she got Dan Rather, Brian Williams and a few other big shots to plug her book.
By Alexandra Ward
Tell me a little about yourself. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve always wanted to be a writer from the time I was a kid. Creative writing was always a passion for me. I didn’t get into journalism until I was in my 20s. It kind of took me awhile to get interested in real-world events as opposed to fictionalized events I was creating. But once I got into journalism, I realized that journalism and fiction writing really go hand in hand because, being a reporter, you’re out in the world and you meet really interesting, different people, you visit places you’d never go and it just gives you a lot of material.
You wrote your first book, “Inheriting The Holy Land,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when you were just 23. That’s impressive.
Thanks. I was really excited. I was a year out of college and I had been working at a nonprofit in New York when I sold the book so I quit that job because I knew I would have to go to the Middle East and start reporting. In a way, it’s just moving from one job to another job. I had a deadline. I had a year to basically report and write the whole thing. But it was what I wanted to do so I was just really thrilled to be able to be starting in the career that I was passionate about. It was a lot of hard work.