It’s hard not to notice her hands when she talks, as they can be as expressive and telling and the stories and conversations themselves.
Jan Miller, director and counsellor of Jan Miller and Associates, has always been a storyteller but only recently became a published author.
“It’s a hopeful book,” said Miller, who lives with her husband Dick in Verona. “Sometimes you just need something that changes your thinking or opens a new possibility and I think that’s what this book does.”
The non-fiction book is called Dear George: Insights Into Healing Relationships. It’s about different relationships people have with the experts in their lives and aims to give the reader a variety of tools, told through three different perspectives, that they can use when examining their own relationships.
Along with including her own personal experiences, Miller shares stories and situations she’s gathered from others over the years. Through her work as a counsellor and sign language interpreter, Miller found she always enjoyed helping people using language and storytelling, guiding them through sometimes difficult parts of the journeys in their lives.
“I think over time, I was collecting these stories, people would give me permission or I’d have these stories [in my journal],” said Miller. “I had everything, that just kept coming in pieces, and then I started to think that would be a kind of interesting book that could maybe help people think differently.”
When Miller finally made the decision to go ahead and write her book, she signed up for an intensive boot camp for writers, joined the Ban Righ Writers Group at Queen’s University and consulted with others that she considered experts for guidance and to gain feedback on her journey.
“I joined the Ban Righ Writers Group at Queen’s and that has helped put the final touches on [my book], because in my mind, those were experts and the way the group works is you take a part, or a couple pages, and you read it to them and they give you feedback and so then that started to finetune it a lot,” said Miller.
Her journey to become a published author has spanned over seven years.
“I would work away at it, and then it would be frustrating, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be yet and I’d put it aside or life would get really busy,” said Miller.
She admits that she even lost her manuscript for a few years.
“A couple years ago, I was working with someone who was a writer and I was saying ‘I’m a writer’ and they asked to see my writing and I realized I didn’t know where it was, so I hunted around at that point and found it. It turns out it was almost finished and I hasn’t realized it,” said Miller.
Dear George: Insights Into Healing Relationships is published by Balboa Press and is now available in hardcover, softcover and eBook through Chapters, Amazon.ca, Novel Idea and local libraries. You can also purchase the book directly from the author herself.
The official book launch on June 8 at Physiotherapy Kingston (1469 Princess St.) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. followed by two book signings on June 12 at Tiffany Gift Shop in Harrowsmith from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on June 15 at Chapters Kingston from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.