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Reprinted from today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution!

Novel starts in Atlanta, ends in L.A. - Like writer’s life


Lauren McBrayer Miller’s suppressed dream of becoming a writer was reanimated as she sat, at a remarkably young age, in a spot many would consider a dream job.

About three years ago, the 1998 Roswell High School graduate gazed from a glass tower where she worked as an entertainment attorney for a 600-member international law firm in Los Angeles, and she wondered how she had gotten there.

She was sure, she said, her life was on track. She had found true love and married her soul-mate, but was struck by being in that seat — far from where she had imagined herself when younger, as a writer.

“I was sitting and marveling,” she said. “Is this what my life was fated to become?”

That epiphany helped birth her first novel, “Parallel,” out two weeks ago from HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins.

It tells the story of a young Atlanta woman who wanted to be a journalist, who meets her true love and is off to smoggy Los Angeles when two parallel realities collide. The heroine moves back and forth between lives in the two worlds, trying to control her fate and win her love.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Miller down for a few questions about the writing life and her new novel.

Q: So was it your goal when you were young to be writer?

A: Exactly. But I didn’t know how to make a career of it…In college, I thought I was going to go into journalism. [But her confidence waned at Yale University, and after an unsatisfying internship with Entertainment Weekly, Miller decided to go to law school.]

What are you going to do? Law school seemed like a respectable choice. And I thought if I were an entertainment lawyer, maybe it was a way to get into entertainment writing.

Q: How did you move into writing?

A: [She had worked on several film scripts] Then my husband and I got pregnant. And I panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to make the transition [to writer]. That is when I decided to turn my first script into a novel…in 100 days during maternity leave. That was the naivete of not having had kids, but I started working the day I got home from the hospital. My daughter and my laptop were my constant companions.…and because I had written a blog [about her life and novel], an agent contacted me.

Q: Was that your strategy, to write about your experience writing a novel and get noticed that way?

A: It was. I heard publishers liked authors who already had a platform and a voice. And you could have something to show them. But I didn’t think a blog would get me an agent.

Q: Would you recommend that to others who want to be writers?

A:  I would absolutely recommend the way I did it. One, it was a way to get the draft done [she set public deadlines on her blog, which forced her to live up to them] Publishers want to see a whole book, not an idea. And two, the blog was fantastic for my craft. It’s a great way to vet something, to do some writing and see if you have a voice. It’s a way to activate your voice.

Q: So you’ve got another novel written already. What is it about?

A: [She does not want to give too much away] It’s about the power of technology over our lives.

Parallel, Lauren Miller, 419 pages, $17.99

Name my main character! It’s a #bookstoreblitz!

With Parallel on the shelves and Book 2 into my editor, I’ve started working on my idea for Book 3, a third standalone YA that feels contemporary but has slight sci fi elements.  I’ve got the basic concept down, but I haven’t named my three main characters yet.  So I was thinking, why not let one of you do it?

Here’s how it’ll work:  Tweet me a pic of Parallel on the shelf in your local bookstore and you’re automatically entered to win (double entries if you post it on Instagram, too).  If your bookstore hasn’t stocked the book, you’ll get TWO entries if you order it into the store (again, double entries for Instagram, which brings you to FOUR!)You don’t have to buy it — just order a copy at the counter and tweet me some sort of photographic proof (like a pic of the computer at the counter, or the employee who ordered it, or you standing in the store).  Easy, right?

You’ll be entered to win for every bookstore you visit, with double entries for the stores that don’t have it on the shelf (assuming you remedy that problem, of course).  Just make sure to include your pic and the name of the bookstore in your tweet.   Oh, and don’t forget to include the hashtag #bookstoreblitz and my handle, @lmillerwrites.

Here’s an example:

#parallel on the shelf at B&N in Marina Del Rey!  #bookstoreblitz @Lmillerwrites 

I’ll pick the winner on May 30th, and he or she will get to name a main character in Book 3!  Name it after yourself or someone else.  Up to you!

Good luck.  Can’t wait to see your pics.