In Quanie Miller’s Southern paranormal novel, “The New Mrs. Collins,” The town of Carolville, LA is first rocked by scandal, then by something a little more sinister:
In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great-grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart.
Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so she has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis.
But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife: it’s the strange way she can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet. Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried.
This novel was a real treat, and I got a chance to talk with Ms. Miller about the novel and her upcoming work:
Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
I got this image in my head of this lady standing next to a lake ringing out a towel. She looked so mysterious! I had to put her into a story to figure out exactly what kind of secrets she had (and I’m so glad that I did).
There were parts that were really spooky and others that were downright funny! How did you decide what mood you wanted to set with this book?
It happened totally by accident (and after what then felt like a tortuous, page-one rewrite). I couldn’t get the mood right for the book initially. It took me forever to settle down on how to approach the story tone wise but once I realized that I needed to include the townspeople’s point of view (through Sister Jenkins, my favorite character), everything just sort of fell together.
What so you want people to take away from this book?
I wanted to write a book that featured Southern, black characters in a magical world. This could have totally been my hometown! It’s important to me to write the kinds of stories that I’d like to see getting published, and that’s one of my goals as an author (aside from writing stories that I hope will entertain my readers). I also want to encourage other writers to write the kinds of stories they’d like to see and if they have to, to publish those stories themselves.
Will you be revisiting Carolville in the future?
I probably won’t be visiting Carolville, but I do have another story idea involving Adira and these cool wicked twin sisters who are witches. I’ve been fighting the story because it doesn’t feel “scary.” If I can get the tone right, though, I’ll totally write it.
Who are your personal favorite authors?
I grew up reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. Toni Morrision is one of my favorite authors because she uses words in a way that just makes you fall into them. I don’t know how she does it!
What’s next for you?
My next release is a child abduction story set in Louisiana. It’s pretty much done. Not sure when I’m going to release it, but hopefully, it’ll be soon.
Learn more about Miller and keep updated on her work on her website, quaniemiller.com!