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Interview: Maria Miller

Maria Miller, author of Dandelion Project, talks with the Monster about the inspiration for her  novel and it’s intriguing character.

Dandelion Project takes place around about the1920’s and on. What made you choose this era for your story and how does this time frame compliment your character?

I had the plot of Dandelion Project in my head long before I wrote it. When I heard a story about the Orphan Train, I was so intrigued that I decided to put it in my novel. My novel needed to end around the 1960’s, so the last Orphan Train, which was in 1929, fit perfectly. Besides the Orphan Train, the timeline of the novel includes the (Dust Bowl) and World War II, which were times of development as well as unrest. The novel is about a young genius whose talent is overlooked because he doesn’t have any formal education.

What was your inspiration for the eponymous project Josef undertakes in the book?

Due to his lack of education, Josef is just a janitor. When a stranger approaches him and offers him an outrageous amount of money to do an experiment, he tells the stranger, “You have the wrong guy.” The stranger has done his homework, though. He knows that Josef is far smarter than most people. The reason for the experiment Josef undertakes is based on my belief that some people will use unorthodox and subtle means to win a war. I believe it’s possible to manipulate some things that can ultimately hurt people.

The majority of the Dandelion Project is narration. Was there any reason for this creative choice or was it something that happened naturally?

The reason for the extensive narration in the novel is because this was my first novel. I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I finally had some free time, I sat down at the computer and began putting the ideas on the screen.

What is the next book you’re working on?

I just finished my seventh novel, which is still untitled. It’s about a man who discovers that he has a four-year-old daughter. Now happily married, this isn’t such good news. Besides that, the little girl’s mother was from India, while Jude is white. Jude fights an uphill battle to bring his daughter into his house since his wife wants nothing to do with her.

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Review: Dandelion Project

Dandelion Project 3 Stars

The Dandelion Project follows an orphaned German immigrant named Josef that comes to the United States in the 1920’s. He’s orphaned at a young age when his mother unexpectedly and suddenly dies and he’s left wandering the streets of New York. Josef is sent to Kansas where he’s adopted by a childless farming family. He finds that he has a knack for science and desires to be a great inventor, but he struggles with fitting in at school so he drops out. He spends most of his time in libraries reading books on different subjects while the 1930’s and 40’s fly by. Josef soon finds himself in New Orleans where he’s confronted with a project that will give him the one thing that he’s always wanted; a chance to change the world. But will it be a change for the better or worse?

The Dandelion Project is a fantastic piece of literary fiction. The story development is slow, but meticulous and detailed. The story is about 90 percent narration, which in this case works well because it mirrors Josef’s reserved, but intelligent demeanor through the story. The majority of the book serves to develop Josef’s character while the crux of the story, the Dandelion Project, is delivered in the last few chapters. So, I think, the main point of the story is Josef himself and his life, rather than the project he undertakes late in the story. But still, Josef’s story is an interesting one that’s supported more by exceptional storytelling rather than grand fictional twists and turns. Because of this, the ending came as a surprise, it being a fairly large twist itself, and places the story firmly in the science fiction genre. This is odd because the first three quarters of the book could nearly be a non-fiction story. The emotional ending of the story left me with the same feeling of melancholy I had when I finished Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ or ‘I am Legend’. I don’t want to give too much away, but the ending, although sad, is satisfying. This is definitely going to be a story that sticks with me for some time.

Pages: 172

ISBN: 9781257687
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