Maggie Miller is the nom de plume for Colleen Bruce, a local Vermont author, cook, and survivor.
Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you live.
I am a practicing cosmetologist and owner of Colleen’s Hair Salon for 33 years and previous owner Colleen’s New England Kitchen and author of two cookbooks named after this business, first and second editions. I am dedicated to knowing God better and deepening my relationship with Him. I’m an avid reader of self-help books and anything inspirational and true. I love to read and reread Longfellow’s complete works of poetry. We live in a big yellow colonial with a white wrap- around porch. It set on a 40 acre parcel at the top a steep hill. We are blessed to see a mountain range, the northern lights and a lot of wildlife. We raise cattle and produce our own hay. I love to do canning and cooking and host a lot of gatherings at our home.
Tell us about your profession and how it led to your latest work.
Working with various levels of the public for over 32 years has had a big influence on my desire to empower others. Hearing people’s stories and having what I know today is God-given empathy, as well as my own childhood and life in a small town, has given me the desire to reach out and share my experiences.
Are there any favorite local spots you like to visit, ones that inspire your creativity?
I love to go antiquing in NH, Maine and Vermont. I love back roads, old New England farms, the ocean and the mountains. Historical places and libraries are soothing to me.
Wow us with shock value. Is there anything about you that would surprise readers?
I think reading my book would be shock enough! No, I’m just joking. Not really I consider myself a pretty transparent person.
If you could spend a day with any author, living or dead – who would it be and why?
Willa Cather. She was such an honest and deep writer. Her writing stimulates all the senses. You can feel, hear, smell and visualize the scenery, the characters, as well as what they are doing and experiencing.
Does the area in which you live provide influence in your writing? How so?
Absolutely. The view, so little traffic, the sounds of nature year round, my wood and cook stoves and the stand of white birch and lady slippers that adorn our front yard. The quietness to think when you need to, and plenty of laughter, love and joy that fills our two big kitchen tables every holiday. The village that’s big enough to offer you most of what you might need, yet, small enough to be a town.
What is the most critical piece of advice you would give to new authors?
I’m not sure that I have any critical advice. I have personally bought numerous books on writing, attended classes and read to friends, family and customers. If I had to say anything it would be; “Know your own heart. Think and pray on those things that make you feel excited, happy and at peace. If it causes you anxiety or frustration find out why. Move on those things in life that make you “tick.” And keep the opinions of others in a kettle on the back burner, because most people change their minds not only about you, but themselves all the time.”
Are there more books coming from you in the future? Do tell!
Yes, I have a couple of books in mind. One is possibly going to be called; “Children Are Not Rubber Bands” and the other I’m thinking will be; “Account and Accountability.”
Where can people find more information on you and your projects?