Prison Warden ...
Tekla Dennison Miller is a former prison warden who managed two prisons simultaneously (a men's maximum and a multi-level women's) outside Detroit, Michigan.
She said, "it never occurred to me that I
would one-day be a published author. Even after so many friends and relatives
tried to persuade me to write about my corrections experiences." "You have so
many stories to tell," they said over and over again. But a wiser friend who
also is a Hollywood agent for scriptwriters and actors told me, "You may have a
lot of good stories to tell but that doesn't mean you can write them well. Take
a few creative writing classes before you begin to pen your memoir."
He was correct. Her monthly reports and annual budget requests were the most exciting writings she did for the twenty years she was employed in corrections. Not exactly best-seller material. So she did as her friend suggested-- she took creative writing. But first at the age of forty-nine, Tekla had to learn to type and operate a computer. The result was The Warden Wore Pink.
While on book tours for The Warden Wore Pink and during most of her presentations, she is asked two questions: "How did you ever get the courage to be a warden?" and "Did you come out of the womb confident?" To answer those and other questions, she wrote her second memoir and a prequel, A Bowl of Cherries, which has a story about our Islander Class Prom. It also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Mother and Daughter Soul.
Now at sixty-one, Tekla has two memoirs and many nonfiction articles and stories published, her first fiction, Life Sentences released in 2005 and another nonfiction book Mother Rabbit in the works. The story in Life Sentences has been in her head for years and is inspired by her correctional experiences, while Mother Rabbit is based on a 750-page journal kept by Tekla's sister when she was the Bunny Mother of the Chicago Playboy Club in 1966 and 1967. Recently at a party Tekla was approached by two separate women who asked, "Are you Tekla Miller the author?" It took her a second to ponder that, because she had always been "The Warden." Then she answered, "Yes, I am."