Today, I am honored to introduce you all to a very good friend of mine. I am currently reading her most recent book, Desolate Terrain, and I am loving it! A review will be posted sometime tomorrow. So, please help me welcome Mila A. Ballentine to the laboratory for a full investigation of the evidence of her awesomeness!
Welcome, Mila! I’m so glad you’re my guest, today! Would you like a cup of coffee? *Pours two extra large cups and hands her one* Okay, why don’t we start by telling us a little about you?
I’m a mystery writer who doesn’t shy away from writing about things that grasp the core of my imagination. My writing is an extension of my mind’s eye and there are always elements of truth in each of my books. When, I’m not writing I enjoy traveling or doing anything that allows me to put my creative energy to use.
You’re like me; creative to the core. When and why did you start writing?
I was eight years old when I walked into my sister’s room, the place where dreams came true and creativity bloomed. Her head was often hidden behind a Harlequin romance novel. In those moments, she was elsewhere and content. Still, I’d find a way to curl up beside her until she shooed me away but before she got the opportunity, I noticed a poem she had written on a sheet of paper and I read it. I was mesmerized by her ability to make words sing.
I have always admired my sister’s enthusiasm for adventure but I don’t think she realizes how much she has influenced my life. Her poem inspired me to tap into a dormant skill that I have been cultivating ever since but during adolescence, my poems took on a serious tone. It was inevitable; I was changing and so was the world around me. Everything was poetry in motion and I documented it.
Storytelling has always been a part of my family interaction. I can recall my mother sitting on the porch. She’d glance out at the skyline filled with fruit trees and singing birds while she told us stories that made our minds reach farther than our eyes could see as our hearts raced. Her stories were rich, vivid, and scary. I listened quietly while I admired her ability to relate things that she’d seen and heard in her lifetime. Later, I’d do the same and tell stories that I’d made up out of the blue as children sat around my feet with wide eyes and eager ears. I didn’t think much of the stories at the time but since then, the children who are now teenagers often remind me of the stories that left an impression on them.
My mother and sister Pat, cultivated my creativity. They planted seeds in my mind and I nurtured it. One night I went to bed and a story surfaced. A quiet voice inside said to write it down. I woke up the next day and searched frantically for a pen, and notebook. I started writing and three months later I had a completed manuscript. There are no coincidences. My mother has long left this world but it was on her birthday that I began writing.
I’m sure your mother was that little voice and I’m sure she’s very proud of you, as is your sister. Who is your favorite author and why?
Stephen King is my all time favorite author. His stories always stretched my imagination to the limit and left me feeling that what happened to the characters could happen to me. Cujo and Thinner are two of my favorite books by him.
I’ve been hearing that answer a lot lol… Stephen would be proud that he has influenced so many readers. Do you feel that Stephen King inspired your writing? Do you feel that your writing is modeled after his stories?
He inspired me to not be afraid to write about the things that terrify me, because it probably is terrifying to others as well. However, my writing is modeled after my mother’s storytelling style.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
When a reader reads my stories I want to take them to a place where they would not normally visit. Hopefully, they feel at home there and get to stretch their mental muscles while they’re there. I want them to feel the joy and pain of the characters.
Traditional or self publishing and why?
I think that the option that allows the author to feel comfortable in their own skin is always the best choice. It can apply to both options but it’s up to the author to decide what’s best for them.
Desolate Terrain, a Western inspired mystery is my newest release. The characters are distinct, adventurous and opinionated. Some you’ll love and others you’ll love to hate but there’s never a dull moment in Desolate Terrain. I enjoyed writing Desolate Terrain and I hope everyone will enjoy reading it.
I have toyed with the idea of writing a Western when I was retired and settled somewhere on a secluded hillside but the story came to me long before old age tapped on my shoulder. However, that was not always the case. When I was a child, I wanted to watch cartoons but my dad was keen on watching cowboy flicks. It was his way of unwinding after a stressful day at work. As a result, I watched from the sidelines with my arms folded. My disdain turned into admiration for the genre.
Here’s the blurb:
Living in the quiet town of Chesapeake, Nevada had a way of making residents feel safe. Sadly, an atmosphere that took years to build is shattered overnight and their beloved town is thrown into the spotlight. Deputy Constance Stone and Sheriff Harper Collins are entrusted with the task of resolving the matter and together they set out to solve a crime.
The situation deteriorates when a series of crimes, including murder, rock the town. Opportunities unfold for Constance, but it could not come at a worse time. She teams up with an unlikely ally. Despite their differences, the pair combine their skills and their partnership aids in Constance’s pursuit to uncover the criminals responsible for terrorizing their picturesque town.
It is an amazing book! I’m absolutely loving every minute of it! If your book had a soundtrack, what is the first 5 songs you would include?
Timing is Everything by Garrett Hedlund
A Little bit Stronger by Sara Evans
Home by Gwyneth Paltrow
Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi
Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri
Those are some great songs, and they definitely remind me of the story. Aside from writing or reading, what is your favorite pastime?
When I’m not writing I enjoy watching movies, singing, dancing, traveling, and interacting with nature.
What is the one thing you want to do, or the one place you want to go, that you would put at #1 on your bucket list?
M.A.B: I fell in love with the area when I took a walk in downtown Wiesbaden, Germany. I stood at the wharf that lined the murky Rhine River. Women whisked by on their bicycles peddling with heels on as the edge of their dresses floated in the wind. I enjoyed the people, the setting and I hope to return someday.
Spoken like a writer 🙂 I’d love to visit there too! Maybe we can go together some time. ❤ Finally, what else would you like readers to know?
Books are the perfect escape from the stressors we encounter in this world. Writers go out of their way to create stories to entertain their audience. Explore their worlds, review their books and tell a friend!
Thank you for sitting down with me, Mila! I hope you enjoyed the interview and your coffee. Please feel free to come back and be my guest again! You are so awesome, that we must shout it to the world! I am very proud to be a friend and fan of yours. I feel honored. Have a great day!