This Week’s Feature Author Interview with
James Nathaniel Miller II
Hi James Nathaniel Miller II, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
Greetings from the country of Texas! As we say down here, “Nice to meet yawl.” I was born in this state, but haven’t always lived in Texas. My stompin’ grounds have included Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, California, Arizona, and even the Philippines. I’ve found great people everywhere.
I’ve been asked to tell about myself, so I’ll begin by saying I possess only one pair of boots, and I sleep with the hottest woman on the planet, to whom I’ve been married 47 years.
After graduating from Baylor University, I toured for nearly a decade as an entertainer, recording artist, and speaker. I’m a pilot with 8000 hours in the air, and have founded two aircraft refinishing companies — one of them in Texas, the other in Arizona. Our businesses have supported outreaches in several countries to combat poverty, hunger and homelessness. A list of former clients includes well-known film stars, astronauts, politicians, Fortune 500 companies, and aircraft manufacturers.
During the years, I’ve had occasion to be personally involved in the lives of hurting people, many of them US war veterans who have struggled to re-acclimate upon returning home. I am not a trained therapist, but I try to be a good listener. I’ve heard young heroes tell of battlefield encounters which have left them with more questions than answers. Perhaps it is my calling to bear the pain with them, to recognize their sacrifice.
Little did I realize that, after all the years, after selling my companies, retiring from the business world, and becoming a grandfather, I would be called upon to write a historical fiction novel inspired by real events — a thrilling tribute to the real heroes I have known, and to the others I will never know.
Sometimes a storyteller finds a story, but other times the story finds a storyteller. In the quietness of my retirement years, this story literally found me. No Pit So Deep, containing real events, was born just that way.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
How did I come up with the title? That is very simple, yet very complicated. I’ll give you the moderate version.
Brandi decides to trust Cody with the story of her roots and the circumstances of her birth. This is a breakthrough for her. She normally has trust issues with men, but this occurs after she and Cody have known each other only a few hours. The story goes this way —
Brandi had been conceived when her mother, Whitney Bonner, was assaulted at the age of 16. Whitney was homeless, living in a shelter with no immediate family. She became so despondent and fearful she decided to end her life, but was stopped short when she remembered a declaration she had heard as a child, words spoken by Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian whose family had been sent to concentration camps for hiding Jewish citizens from the Nazis. The Corrie ten Boom quote was, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”
When Whitney remembered those words, she called out a silent, desperate prayer, “God, please send someone to carry me from this deep pit.”
When she opened her eyes, a tall 19-year-old US Marine, Private Raymond Barnes, was standing in front of her. He fell in love with Whitney, took her home to his mother and married the 16-year-old pregnant girl. Brandi says, “Ray Barnes became the only father I have even known, and the best father a girl could ever have.”
Brandi would not have been born had not those timely words prevented her mother from taking her life. But it’s deeper, much deeper than that. The theme about the “pit so deep” becomes the foundation for the entire Cody and Brandi story as they face deep issues of their own.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did your design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
The cover? I actually designed the cover myself. I struggled many days to find the right models who looked like Cody and Brandi. Delaney Design.com did a great job with the technical work putting the cover together for me.
What are some of the themes of your story?
What are some of the themes of No Pit So Deep? There are many twists in the story and several subplots, each of which has its own theme.
Brandi’s adoptive father, Captain Ray Barnes, a retired US Marine like Cody, has instilled his values and passed on his legacy to Brandi. He has compiled his own list of fourteen leadership principles. That alone is a prominent theme. Number one on his list is: The ability to bring healing to others is granted in greatest measure to those who carry scars.
His seventh principle also plays a huge role: In the heat of battle when you are losing ground, be still and know that He is God, and He will speak to you.
Another major theme involves the chemistry between Cody and Brandi’s twenty-month-old daughter, Knoxi. The tiny girl and the battle-scarred marine take to each other immediately, experiencing love at first sight, which warms up the story and convinces Brandi that Cody is the man she is willing to give up her independence for. She sees Cody as the only man she has met who measures up to the stature of her father.
One subtle theme eventually becomes obvious; Brandi is the most heroic character in the story. She silences the press with her transparency and wisdom. Not only is she helplessly in love with Cody, but she becomes his deepest confidant and the one who pushes him to greatness. She lays aside her independent nature and her own budding journalism career to become Cody’s wife, sidekick, and the driving force behind him. Together, they take on the syndicate, rescue children, and become a force to be reckoned with.
Thanks to Brandi, who is part African American, Cody learns how to deal with the hate which is robbing him of his destiny, how to forgive those who have mistreated him, and how to forgive himself. “You can’t stop hating others until you stop hating yourself,” she tells him.
She also speaks to him about the grief and guilt which haunt him still from that mission in Afghanistan which went very, very wrong. Here’s a short excerpt:
She put her hands on his chest. “I know why you grieve, Cody. Your heart is broken because you couldn’t save the Afghan children. The only heart that can’t be broken is one that has no love in it. Now think about the thousands of kids in stadiums across this land who need the love that beats inside your chest.”
Humor also plays a major role. Baseball action scenes, a dramatic depiction of Cody’s crash landing in the Afghan desert, dramatic dialogue between Brandi and Cody, and a delightful love story which culminates with a marriage proposal during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Houston are all part of this story.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
There are a host of characters in this story, and I love ‘em all. Besides the ones already mentioned, JD Blue (“Jungle Dawg”) and his wife Silverbelle are favorites. Dawg, as he is affectionately known by his friends, family, and thousands of fans, is a basketball icon. He and Cody were roommates at college, and he now plays basketball for the Detroit Pistons. Dawg and Silverbelle are described as “an international power couple” and they become involved with Brandi and Cody financing child rescue missions around the world.
Tanner and Julia McNair also play a major role in Cody’s life. They were all friends in high school. Tanner, whose great-great-grandfather played baseball in the Negro Leagues of the 1930s, is now the right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cody calls him “Captain Sly” because he’s a schemer, always wanting to create mischief, energized by anything underhanded or deceptive, especially if it’s for a good cause.
Julia, Tanner’s wife, was runner-up in the Miss Black USA Pageant during her sophomore year at Maryland University. When she and Brandi meet, they immediately bond like sisters. They work to keep Cody and Captain Sly from becoming too competitive when they are together. This leads to mischief and a lot of laughs.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Favorite authors would include Michael Crichton, Lorana Hoopes, Brooke Lynn, James Patterson, Bert Stiles.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Right now, I am working toward setting up worldwide distribution for the paperback versions of my two-part No Pit So Deep series. We hope to start audiobook production sometime this year. I also am busy with my bi-weekly articles for TLB media group, and my weekly visits to the Texas Juvenile Corrections Center.
If you could have any super powers what would they be?
If I could have one super power, I would like to fly (without an airplane!)
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
Where would I like to be in 5 years? Hmmm, that’s easy. Right in the thick of it!
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview. Take a minute and check James Nathaniel Miller II out on the links below. James Nathaniel Miller II’s book, No Pit So Deep: The Cody Musket Story, is available now on Amazon!
James Nathaniel Miller II Facebook Page
James Nathaniel Miller II Twitter Profile
James Nathaniel Miller II Goodreads Author Page