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Meet the Author

Meet the Author: C.L. Miller

C.L. Miller

Cara (C.L.) Miller started her working life in publishing as an editorial assistant for her mother, Judith Miller, on the Miller’s Antique Price Guide before she went into hospitality and events. After she had children, she decided to follow her long-held dream of becoming an author and began writing full-time. She was an Undiscovered Voices winner in 2022 and was showcased in the UV 2022 anthology. She lives in a medieval cottage in Suffolk with her family.

Her debut crime novel, The Antique Hunter's Guide to Murder, will be published on 29 February by Macmillan. You can find The Antique Hunter's Guide to Murder on our catalogue.

C.L. Miller will be visiting Thurston on Saturday 23 March for a special Suffolk Libraries Day author talk.

Who were your influences as you were growing up and did you have books around you as a child or use a library?

My childhood was filled with books as my parents had their own publishing company focusing on antiques and interiors books – and the annual Miller’s Antique Price Guide. They read a lot and there were books everywhere. However, we also went to the Library in Cranbrook, Kent (where I grew up) every fortnight, and I used to love sitting in the corner reading the newest book that had come in.

I’ve always been an avid lover of crime fiction and started with the Secret Seven and Famous Five by Enid Blyton and then on to the Golden Age of crime. More recently I’ve loved historical crime by the likes of Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Lizzie Pook, Elizabeth Macneal and Alex Hay.

The Miller's Antique Guides were the cornerstone of many library collections. You worked as an Editorial Assistant with your mother Judith Miller. How did that process work?

I was in my early twenties when I started working for The Miller’s Antique Price Guide and I was given the most junior role! The Guides use the Canto software (much like many museums) and I was charged with logging the antiques and captions that came in from auction houses and dealers.

By the end of my time there I was heading off around the UK assisting in the photoshoots and noting down the details of what was being photographed. I learnt a huge amount during my time there but I also had a passion for travel and left to explore South America and South East Asia.

When did your interest in writing fiction really develop and what was your journey to publication?

Like very many authors I have always read and written in some form—journals, poems, short stories. However, it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my second child in my early thirties that I decided it was now or never and wrote my first novel but looking back it was terrible. That was ten years ago so it hasn’t been a fast journey.

I went on to write two more novels and one of those won Undiscovered Voices 2022 and it was the validation I needed to keep going. I wrote The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder after this and had a one to one with agent, Hannah Todd at Madeline Milburn Agency. Hannah had just left publishing to become an agent and was looking for a commercial murder mystery and so the stars aligned.

It certainly is not an easy career to build and there is a magic mix of craft, timing and luck involved – I believe that writing probably has to be deep in your bones to keep going rejection after rejection.

The Antique Hunter's Guide to Murder is your new novel. Can you tell us a little about it?

The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder is published on 29th February and follows the story of Freya Lockwood who has avoided the quaint English village in which she grew up for the last twenty years. That is until news arrives that Arthur Crockleford, antiques dealer and Freya’s estranged antique hunting mentor, has died . . . and the circumstances seem suspicious. Joining forces with her eccentric Aunt Carole, Freya follows both clues and her instincts to an old manor house for an ‘antiques enthusiasts weekend’. But not all is as it seems; the antiques are bad reproductions and all the other guests have something to hide.

Most of the antiques in the book are based on real antiques that are in the Miller’s guides and have been chosen to give small nuggets of interest to the enthusiast. I have always hoped that people who know the antiques will relish seeing them in a fictional setting and those who have no real awareness could look some of the items up and might find an item of interest.

When did the character of Freya Lockwood really click into place for you?

I always wanted to write a murder mystery with two intergenerational women as the amateur sleuths. So, Freya and her aunt were with me from the very beginning –before I even knew that I was going to set them in the world of antiques and antiquities.

You have Emilia Fox voicing the audiobook. How was that and when will we get to listen to it?

I was absolutely thrilled when Emilia read The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder and agreed to narrate it. She is a brilliant actress and I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years so hearing her narration was a pinch me moment – she does all the voices of the characters brilliantly and it was wonderful listening to them come to life. At the end there is a bonus content section where Emilia and I have a Q&A which was such fun to go into the studio to record.

Is there anything you can share with us about your latest project?

All I can share is that book 2 in the Antique Hunter’s series should be out in 2025.

You are due to visit Thurston on 23 March what can your audience expect?

I’ll chat about the inspiration behind the book and the antiques which were chosen to be included as well as some of the tips that help me write a book.

You are now a Suffolk resident. What attracted you to Suffolk?

I lived in North London for many years and whenever we were desperate for some wide-open spaces we drove east to Suffolk for the weekend. Over the years we explored a lot of Suffolk and Norfolk and started talking about moving because we wanted our children to have the countryside upbringing that my husband and I had. That was five years ago and our house renovation is nearly finished!

Can you tell us one thing about yourself that your readers may not know?

I’m a collector of mid-century modern furniture, ceramics and jewellery—but I’m therefore not an antique collector! I got the collecting bug from my mother but what we collected was very different – although she had an amazing collection of mid-century glass.