I am pleased to introduce Sandra A. Miller to the Debutante Ball this Week! Her memoir, Trove: A Woman’s Search for Truth and Buried Treasure, was recently published by Brown Paper Press. At the same time, she launched an online treasure hunt with a valuable prize, so readers can also experience the thrill of looking for an actual treasure. Her essays and articles have appeared in over one hundred publications including Glamour, Spirituality &Health, Modern Bride, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Boston Globe, for which she is a regular correspondent. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children.
Trove is the story of a woman whose life is upended when she begins an armchair treasure hunt—a search for $10,000 worth of gold coins buried in New York City with a man who is not her husband. In her memoir, Miller grapples with the regret and confusion that so often accompanies middle age, and the shame of craving something more when she has so much already. It is a story about longing for fulfillment, and what it means to discover treasure—both real and metaphorical.
Read through and learn more about Sandra AND get your chance to win Trove: A Woman’s Search for Truth and Buried Treasure.
You can follow Sandra online at
And now to the interview!
The road to publication is twisty at best. Tell us some of your twists.
If you want the “never give up” on publication story look no further. Trove is the result of a seven-year quest for literary gold. Not necessarily the big fat royalty check kind of gold (although I won’t complain when that happens), but I yearned for the experience of placing my book with a quality press and having it lovingly welcomed into the world. The road was twisty, indeed, starting with a highly regarded literary agent who signed me, but then didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about the project. There were also some heartbreaking rejections from the Big Five houses because, I “didn’t have a platform,” and plenty of dark nights of the soul in which I questioned whether I’d ever be a “real” writer. But then, just when I’d want to give up, a friend would email me encouragement, or I’d read about a hard-won publishing success story, and I’d find the strength to keep going, believing, sending, searching. Only after I broke up with my agent and took matters into my own hands did I discover Brown Paper Press and the publisher, Wendy Thomas Russell, who was the perfect midwife for my project.
What was the first piece of writing you ever published or saw in print?
In the early 1990’s, I was living in the wealthy banking capital of Luxembourg and trying to figure out how to be a writer. I would write short stories then sail them off to editors across the Atlantic with the hope that I’d get published somewhere, someday. A Canadian friend suggested that I submit to the Toronto Star’s short story contest, and my story, “Batter My Heart,” about a girl reciting a John Donne poem to try and impress her callous mother, was chosen as a runner-up was printed on an entire back page of the newspaper. When I finally got a copy, I was thrilled for a moment. Then I saw the glaring typo: Battery My Heart. Oy. But I attacked that “y” with some WiteOut and made copies to send to my friends in the States. It felt like the real beginning of my career, and it was.
Were you an avid reader as a child?
As a child, I didn’t own a lot of books, nor did we go to the library very often, so I tended to read many of the same books over and over: Harriet the Spy, Anne of Green Gables, The All-of-a-Kind Family series, and a handful of others. I often felt deprived because I wanted unlimited access to books, but now I think that obsessively “studying” the same books for years taught me about plotting and structure in a way I might not have otherwise learned. When you read a book until you really know it, it affects you in a different way than when you just read it once for pleasure.
Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about?
I love to burp and find it very relaxing, and not just to clear bubbles from my belly. In fact, I can burp entire songs. The first one I ever made it through was “Still” by the Commodores. Weird, sure, but it’s a good party trick, as long as everyone has had a few drinks.
Tell us about one of your proudest writing moments.
In 2017, I walked around at the Boston Book Festival in tears because I’d just received a tough rejection on my memoir and was afraid that I’d never have a book deal. Fast forward to 2019, and I was invited to present my book at the Boston Book Festival. It was a “pinch me” moment as I stood before a packed room in one of Boston’s most beautiful churches and talked about Trove, emphasizing that we must never give up on looking for our treasure. If you’re determined to find it, you will.
“…a moving recollection, brimming with emotional insights.”
“Entertaining and intriguing…”
Trove: A Woman’s Search for Truth and Buried Treasure is available pretty much anywhere books are sold.