Wednesday, October 2, 2013

YA Author, Speaker, & Producer, Stefne Miller: Interview

For some reason, I wasn't introduced to this YA Christian fiction author, Stefne Miller, until this past spring. After reading and falling in love with her book, Salvaged, I was thrilled when I found out there was a sequel. You can imagine how happy I was when I found out that there was actually a web series in post-production for this sequel!

Not only is Stefne Miller an amazing author and speaker, but she was also given the opportunity to screenwrite, cast, and produce her new Christian teen web series, Salvaged. I recently had the chance to interview her and find out behind the scene information on what it was like to turn her YA novel into a web series, and how she was given such an incredible opportunity.

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What originally inspired you to write The Salvaged Series?

One night I had a dream that the Lord and I were taking a walk together. We had quite a long discussion and then he asked me if I was ready to join him on a new journey. I hem-hawed around about it, but eventually said ‘yes’. Then, I woke up. I felt compelled to write the dream down and did. The next night, I had another dream. This one was a boy standing on a patio and a girl standing in front of a pick-up truck. He called her Charlie, she called him Riley. Again, I woke up and wrote down what I dreamt. The dreams continued for a couple of weeks, and I kept writing what I could remember of my dreams. Once the dreams stopped, I was about six chapters in to telling the story of Salvaged. I was so curious as to what the story was and what might happen, that I kept writing – even without the dreams as a prompt. And that original dream of me and the Lord? I gave that dream to Attie, the main character – and it’s much of what compels her throughout the novel. The first book received such a positive response, that I wrote the sequel, Rise.

Was it your idea to turn Salvaged into a web series, and would you mind explaining a bit on how the doors to Hollywood opened for you?

The doors to Hollywood actually opened through my third novel, Collision. A director in LA, Paul Morrell, read the book and contacted me about obtaining the movie rights. We then ran a Kickstarter campaign and raised over $12,000 to have a script written.

Right about the time the script was complete, I told Paul about an idea that I had for Salvaged. I thought it would do well turned in to a teen drama series either on television, straight to DVD or to web stream. He liked the idea and we started throwing ideas together. Within a month, we had an investor who provided the money needed to shoot a pilot/proof of concept reel. I wrote the script and in May, we shot for five days in LA. It was in post-production until just recently. As a team, we decided to release the pilot episode as a web series in order to introduce people to the story, characters and our quality of work.

How long will each episode be, and will a new one air weekly?

There are six episodes and they each run between 4 and 8 minutes. A new episode will be go live every Wednesday through October 30th. Then, the episodes will remain on YouTube into the future so that they can be viewed any time.

What were some challenges you faced while turning your book into a screenplay?

For this screenplay, it was a matter of determining what we could shoot given the budget. Once we
knew we could afford to shoot about five days, we had to determine how many scenes that would be. Then, I had to figure out how much of the book I could fit into that many scenes. We end up covering the first seven or so chapters of the novel.

It was difficult to include enough back-story to have the story make sense, and also move the story forward. There was a lot to tell in only 40 or so pages. Each episode had to tell a complete story, but also lead into the next and fit into the series as a whole. I think we accomplished off of that and it turned out great.

Would you mind sharing a bit of behind the scene information about what it was like to be on set and film the pilot episode?

I took part in pretty much every part of production of this pilot. From sending out the casting call, to making casting decisions along with the Director, to working alongside musicians to have their songs included in the final product. I’ve learned an immense amount about the process, but of course have a lot to still learn.

Being on set was by far my favorite part. I loved every second of it.

From the personal side, it was amazing to see my work come to life right before my eyes. For example, the scene on the front patio. That was the first scene I actually dreamt about, so to see it come to life was a literal dream come true. I cried. A lot.

From a professional standpoint, I enjoyed seeing the actors put their own spin on the characters and scenes. And there was something very powerful about seeing so many people with different jobs and specialties, come together and work so hard to bring the story to life in a very high quality way.

It’s pretty awesome that you were able to not only write the screenplay for Salvaged, but you were also considered the casting director. The roles of Attie and Riley are exactly how I envisioned both of them. How were you able to find the perfect cast for this series, and how long was the audition process?

We didn’t have a lot of time to cast the parts. I listed the roles on a few casting websites and then narrowed it down based on the actor’s photos and acting reels. That process was one week. Then, we invited them to audition live.

One week later, The Executive Producer, the Director and myself all sat in on auditions. There were a lot of great choices, but there was something about the actors we chose that set them apart. The only way I can describe it, is to compare it to the day I bought my wedding dress. I wore a lot of very pretty dresses – not a thing wrong with them, but when I put on the one, I just knew it.

That’s how it felt with the actors. With Jayna, there was something very “Attie” about her. Strong but vulnerable. And Bret, as soon as he walked out of the room, I turned to Paul (the director) and said: “That’s Riley Bennett”.
Everyone we offered the role to, took it and everyone worked very well with each other. I couldn’t have asked for more.

If Salvaged gets picked up by a Television network (which I’m praying it does!), would you write Attie’s story beyond the last book of the series, or would the TV series end there?

I would certainly take the stories all the way through Rise. If it gets picked up for television, I would assume they would bring in additional writers that could expand the story even further. I think that would be fun – to see how others would expand the characters.

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About the Series:

A new episode of Salvaged will air weekly, every Wednesday at
Be sure to like the series' page on Facebook and share it with your friends! Also, follow its Twitter page to receive updates about the show directly to your Twitter feed. For more information, visit:

About the Author:

Stefne Miller was born an "Army Brat" and lived in many states growing up including: Oklahoma, Hawaii, Georgia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Before trying her hand at writing, she held various jobs including working along side her husband in Children's Ministry; becoming the Director of Operations and later a Public Policy Specialist and Cabinet Liaison for then Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating; and later, a pharmaceutical representative for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In 2008, while visiting a friend out of state, Stefne had a dream in which the Lord asked her to join him on a new journey. Upon waking, she wrote down the dream and Salvaged was born. Stefne currently lives in Edmond, Oklahoma and has been married to Shaun, a realtor, since 1994. Shaun and Stefne have three sons - Jacob (13), Caleb (11) and Yohannes (10).

Facebook fan page: Stefne Miller 
Twitter: @StefneMiller

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for featuring this! I'd never heard of Stefne Miller. Her web series looks really interesting. I'll go check it out!! :)


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