UWF alumna writes novel about personal experience
Christy Mills had dreams of living in Chicago or New York. She wanted to work in a publication company or advertising agency. She majored in Communication Arts at the University of West Florida. Instead, life intervened and she was married, had a child, discovered an affinity for writing and self-published a novel about her experiences.
Mills has always had a love for literature and came from a family that nurtured her appreciation, including a mother who was an English major from Indiana University.
“Writing was always a major focus growing up in our household,” said Mills. “I am probably one of the only people that actually looked forward to writing essays and completing those lovely exams that required us to fill out every line in the blue books.”
One day, on the way to Biloxi, Miss., Mills scribbled down what would later become her first book, “If The World Had No Mommies.” Mills said that it was a book written for small children, but was missing one important ingredient.
“That book was put on hold until my older sister who was born with every creative gene our family had to offer, decided to take the plunge and draw the perfect pictures,” said Mills. “From that moment on, I knew writing was my calling and was one of the only things that made me happy.”
Mills then began the process of writing “No Regrets,” a semi-autobiographical book about her life, starting at a very young age, and continuing through her experiences at UWF.
“The book is actually about 95 percent based on my own life,” said Mills.
Mills admitted that she had opportunities to attend larger universities such as Florida State University and West Virginia University, but ultimately decided on UWF because of the smaller class sizes and intimate learning environments.
“I knew that the two larger schools wouldn’t be able to fulfill the goals I had for myself in my educational career,” said Mills. “I wouldn’t trade my experience at UWF for anything in the world.”
Mills said that the process of writing “No Regrets” took only four weeks, but the publishing process was a different story.
“I wrote about a hundred query letters and sent them out,” said Mills. “I received a lot of denial letters and learned very quickly to swallow my pride and keep trying.”
Persistence is one of the main lessons of the novel, and Mills would not be deterred. She eventually published the book herself through a company out of New York and Indianapolis.
Since then, Mills has written two more novels, one a middle-grade book based on her daughter, and the other an adult thriller, both of which she is working on getting published. Mills said she would love to travel to high schools to share her story.
Like the title of her novel, Mills seems to have no regrets about the path her life took or the hardships she has had to face.
“If I would have stopped every time something bad happened in my life, I would still be stuck back in pre-adolescence mourning the death of my fish,” said Mills. “I wanted to be a good example for my daughter and show her that if you put your mind to it you can do anything.”
To purchase Mills’ novel, visit the Pensacola Barnes & Noble. It is also available online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and booksamillion.com.
For more information on the UWF Communication Arts program, visit uwf.edu/commarts.