Home    About Me    Reviews    My Policy    Contact    Faves    Book Swap    Archive    2012 Reads

Friday, 1 February 2013

2013 Debut Author Interview: Lauren Miller

Every Friday here at The Book Goddess blog, I will be featuring one 2013 debut author and interview them about their upcoming book. If you want to take a look at the past interviews, go HERE.


PARALLEL  by Lauren Miller - debuting May 14th 2013 from HarperTeen

Abby Barnes had a plan. Get into a great college, major in journalism, and land her dream job at a major newspaper. But on the eve of her 18th birthday, she's stuck on a Hollywood movie set instead, wishing she could rewind her life. But the next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. A collision of parallel worlds has left Abby living a new reality every time her younger parallel self makes a new decision. Forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go on her plans for the future and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally in reach.


1. Describe your book in 5 words.

This is hard! I have trouble with two sentences, much less 5 words. But how about:
Two girls, one entangled life.

2. Your book PARALLEL is slated for release in 2013. Is there anything more you can tell us about the story or the characters? And what kind, if any, research did you have to do?
While the book jacket focuses on 18-year-old Abby Barnes, PARALLEL is actually the story of TWO girls. Abby, who lives in our world and turns 18 in chapter one, and her parallel self who lives in a parallel world and has just turned 17. These two Abbys are distinct individuals whose lives have become inextricably linked. The chapters alternate between our world and the parallel world as we journey through time with each Abby. It's a story that explores the idea of destiny, the nature of identity and the defining power of choice.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started? What was your publishing journey like?
I was working full time as an entertainment attorney when I wrote PARALLEL, which started as the pilot script for a television series. When nothing came of the pilot, I decided to turn it into a YA novel. It was around that time that my husband and I found out we were pregnant. We were excited about the baby, but this pregnancy was about two years ahead of our schedule, and I panicked. How would I ever make the transition from practicing law to writing full time with a baby? Fueled by fear, I resolved to write my novel in the first 100 days of my baby's life and blog about it. It sounded crazy to pretty much everyone (looking back I agree!), but it worked - four months after my daughter was born, I had my first draft. A month or so later I got an email from Kristyn Keene at ICM asking if she could read my manuscript. Someone had sent her my blog so she knew I'd just finished my manuscript. Looking back, I can't believe how perfectly it all turned out. Kristyn read it and based on her very first email to me about my story, I knew she was the right person to represent it. There was still some work to be done - that first draft was written in the blur and haze of new motherhood - but six months later we were ready to go out with it. We sold PARALLEL in a two-book deal to HarperTeen, and here we are (the second book is another stand alone novel, not a sequel).

4. How did your main character Abby Barnes came to life? What was the inspiration behind her and do you have an quirks or hobbies similar to hers?
As I mentioned before, PARALLEL started as a script for a television pilot. In that version, Abby was a 27 year old woman who was about to marry the wrong guy. I, meanwhile, was a 27 year old woman who'd just married the right guy, and I couldn't help but wonder what my life would've looked like had I never met him. Before meeting my husband, I wouldn't have said that I believed in soulmates, but falling in love with him changed my mind. What if our lives had never intersected? Would we have met some other way, or would I have ended up with someone else? Because these were the questions in my mind as PARALLEL began to take shape, the 27-year-old version of Abby was, at least in some respects, an alternate version of me -- the person I would've been if I'd taken a different path. When I decided to turn the story into a YA novel, I simply imagined what this woman would've been like at 17. The essence of her didn't change. As for the similarities between us, I'd say that Abby's attempts to control her life with her carefully crafted Plan, as well as her sometimes endearing but often annoying tendency to over-analyze things, were very easy to write.
5. I'm really into books with strong romantic elements, is there anything you can tell us about the romance in your book?
PARALLEL is, at its core, a love story. Or, rather, two love stories. The narrative alternates between the two worlds, so the reader is constantly switching between Abby's and Abby's parallel's POV. Abby and her parallel are distinct individuals who just happen to share them same genetic makeup. Since love isn't a function of genetics, they love different boys. The only problem is, Abby's parallel is rewriting Abby's past and therefore has the power to undo the relationship Abby wants desperately to save. It's all very messy. Sometimes that messiness is heartbreaking, sometimes it's fun.

6. What made you decide to write a YA book? And why parallel universes?
The decision to turn my script into a YA novel happened naturally when the pilot didn't get made. Letting the story go wasn't an option. I cared too much about my two Abbys and Caitlin and Michael and Josh to abandon them. But re-telling this twenty-something story as a novel didn't feel right, either, partly because the lives these characters were leading were a decade in the making. By that I mean their lives looked the way they did because of choices they'd made in high school. So I simply pressed rewind.

The parallel universes question is a harder one to answer because the truth is, I really don't know where it came from! I knew I wanted to ask the what-if-I'd-done-things-differently question in a very grounded way, so I turned to science for a believable conceit. I know my writing has been shaped by the books/TV shows/movies I loved as a teen, stories that blended the real and the supernatural, everything from A Wrinkle in Time to Alias to that Meg Ryan/Nicholas Cage movie that I should not admit I loved, City of Angels. I believe that the world we inhabit is so much more mysterious and incredible than we realize, and the stories I write will probably always testify to this.

7. As a reader, what is the most important to you, the characters or the plot? And as a write, is it different?
I'd say they are equally important to me both as a reader and a writer. My instinct is to say characters are everything, but then I remember all the books I've read with great characters that ultimately disappointed me because the plot didn't deliver. I especially hate lame endings, which is why I've been so excited to hear that my early readers have dug PARALLEL's ending.

8. Aside from PARALLEL coming out May 14th this year, what else can we expect from you?

More books! Starting with the one I'm writing now, which is slated to be released May 2014. This new story has the same realism mixed with sci-fi elements, but in a completely different context. Best of all, my protagonist is very different from Abby and thus very different from me, which has made her very fun to write.

9. What other books are you most looking forward to read in 2013?
Oh, so many. My friend Jordanna Fraiberg's new book, OUR SONG, comes out in May also, which I'd be super excited to read if I hadn't already read it - if you like romance, add it to your reading list! As for books I haven't read, I'm looking forward to REBOOT by Amy Tintera and Anna Jarzab's TANDEM.

10. If readers of PARALLEL can take one message away from the story, what would it be? 
There are no wrong paths in life. There are only detours. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you'll find your way.

My review for PARALLEL will be posted tomorrow! :)

Check back next Friday for our next author interview, Sarah Guillory (RECLAIMED)!


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...