I only read Parallel last month and loved every bit of it. Seriously guys, it’s heartwarming, mindblowing and edge-of-the-seat nervous. So I thought why not interview the author herself and give away a copy of Parallel because awesome author and a must-read debut.
It says in your bio that you decided to write Parallel during the first 100 days of your baby’s life. You even blogged about it. How was the whole experience?
It was an experience like none other in my life! Super intense, but doubly rewarding. For those who don’t know, I called the whole experiment “Embracing the Detour” (the detour being motherhood – my husband and I weren’t planning to try for kids for several more years when we found out I was pregnant, and the pregnancy had me panicked that I’d never make the transition to full time writer with a baby at home). The point was, yes, to write a book, but it was also to see whether I could turn what most people say is the most draining period of a woman’s life into the most creatively fruitful of mine. And it worked! It was remarkable, really, how productive I was able to be, simply because I didn’t allow myself an alternative. I wish I could have kept that up after the 100 days was over! 🙂
You are a practicing lawyer, what sparked your interest in science?
I’ve always been drawn to stories that have a supernatural element, but that respect readers enough to give them a WHY. Science, for me, is the most satisfying “why,” because it feels plausible
I feel that at its core, Parallel answers one of the big what if questions. How did it end up with parallel universes and paths that change over and over?
When I started writing Parallel, I knew I wanted to give Abby a “do-over” of sorts, and so I set out to find a scientific (or, at least, pseudo-scientific!) explanation for how a girl might get to experience the consequences of the path she didn’t take. I knew I didn’t want it to be a time travel story — Abby going back in time to make a different choice. I wanted her to wake up in the life she would’ve had if she’d made a different choice without her actually making that different choice. Entangled parallel worlds is where I ended up.
I should confess that my heart stopped every time Abby’s path changed. How did you keep track of all that was happening in the book?
With a giant white board! I’ll admit, it was a little crazy keeping track of it, but it was also a lot of fun! I loved working the cause and effect out in my head, trying to imagine how parallel Abby’s actions might play out in Abby’s life.
Abby and her parallel are merely living in different points of time but their destiny is fixed. Do you believe that destiny transcends space and time?
I believe that destiny is about becoming the person you were created to be — it’s not about finding the right path, it’s about finding the right YOU. In Parallel, my two Abby’s are not the same person, so they have different “destinies” — they are meant to become very different people, with different lives and different loves, not because they live in different worlds but because they are different souls.
Parallel portrays a strong friendship between Abby and Caitlin. How did that come to be?
I am a strong believer in — and proponent of — female friendships, especially among young women. There is so much focus in our culture on romance, when we should be paying at least as much attention to friendship, since these relationships can be as — if not more — formative. Our friends help shape who we become, so it was important to me that Abby have someone great by her side. Caitlin was very easy for me to write, because I based her my own best friend!
Despite being a sci-fi, Parallel reads like a contemporary. Was this your intention?
Absolutely. As much as I love science, I’ve never been a sci-fi reader. I’ve always gravitated toward contemporary stories that have some mind-bendy twist, so when I started writing I set out to write that. I want my books to appeal to readers who, like me, don’t read a lot of sci-fi.
The ending of Parallel is suggestive, did you always knew that you were going to go for a not-so-definite ending or it’s just something that happened?
Oh, I knew the story had to end the way it did. But, in my mind, it’s as definite as any ending could be. At the end of any story, the characters are left to live out their lives. In Parallel, I wanted to put Abby back in the driver’s seat of her life at the end of the story, but I also wanted to leave her on the hook. I wanted to make her work for the happily-ever-after she wants, to force her to put what she’s learned about the power of her choices into practice. If she wants to end up with Josh, she’ll have to do two things: make good, forward-thinking decisions while at the same time not trying to micro-manage things. She’ll have to find the balance between action and trust. Will she and Josh end up together? I hope so. But in the end, it’s up to Abby not to screw it up. 🙂 The other thing that was important to me was to give Josh the opportunity to fall in love with the “real” Abby. Live, in real time. For most of the book, his love for her comes from his memories of his parallel’s experiences with parallel Abby.
As a writer, what comes first when you’re writing a book?
The themes. For Parallel, it was the power of our choices and the interplay between fate and free will. For Free to Fall, it was the trade-off between “happiness” and freedom. Once these themes take root in my mind, a story begins to take shape. Then I move towards an outline.
How would you describe you upcoming book, Free to Fall?
We’re calling it a “puzzler,” a term I adore, because it just fits so well. Free to Fall is a puzzle! It’s set in the near-future, a point in history at which two things are true: (1) everyone’s lives are orchestrated by an app called Lux that makes all their decisions for them, and (2) the proverbial “whisper within” — that inner voice that guides you along — has been labeled a psychosis that should silenced with medication. My protagonist, Rory, is a 16-year-old girl who begins to discover that there is more to the story when it comes to both of these things. I’m super excited about it!
Lastly, everyone should know that you are – ?
Working on a third book! It’s still super secret, but I’m having a lot of fun writing it, and can’t wait to see what it becomes. I mentioned that I start my books with themes – the theme of this one is Beauty with a capital B.
Lauren Miller can be found at
I love Parallel so much that I’m giving you guys a chance to win a Kindle copy of it. Good luck and please see Terms and Conditions in the widget below before entering!