Author Spotlight: G.F. Miller
Jan. 8, 2021
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
Hi, I’m G. F. Miller! Along with writing novels, I work for an international non-profit, and I’m a mom of three. I write for teens because I think it’s an exciting time of life when adventures await, you’re figuring out who you are, and a lot of things happen to you that are outside of your control. It’s a time of so many firsts—first love, first job, and often first heartbreak. There’s a lot to mine there. Plus, when I was in middle school and high school, books were my escape, my international tour guide, my tutor, my relationship counsellor, and all my best boyfriends. Maybe because books were so important to me at that stage, that’s where I landed as an author.
Congrats on your debut YA novel, GLIMPSED! Tell us about the book and what inspired you.
Thanks! Here’s the pitch: Perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, Glimpsed is a charming, sparkly rom-com that follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true. Glimpsed was the book I wrote to recover after finishing something very deep and heavy. I was exhausted from pouring myself into this difficult topic, so I said, “Okay, now I’m just going to make myself laugh.” I had so much fun writing Glimpsed. And I loved exploring—in a really whimsical way—the questions of “What does it mean to truly help others? How do we engage with people who are struggling without imposing our own will on them or diminishing their dignity?”
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
The road felt long and winding, but I know that in the grand scheme of things it was about average and a little quicker than some. Glimpsed is the third novel I completed. Previously, I had queried another book and gotten over 100 rejections before shelving it and starting my passion project (the deep, heavy book). A year later, in January 2017, I started writing Glimpsed. I began querying again in May 2018 and signed with my agent, Kim Lionetti at Bookends, in September. After an R&R (“revise and resubmit”—a no-commitment request from an editor for developmental changes on the manuscript), we sold the book to the imprint formerly known as Simon Pulse in the fall of 2019 for some pocket lint and half a stick of gum they found behind a desk. (In the spirit of #publishingpaidme disclosure, this is the actual advance I received.) Between the sale and pub date:
My imprint was dissolved.
My editor, whom I adore, was moved to an MG-only imprint. (Fortunately, she was allowed to keep the books she was already working on. Unfortunately, she can’t champion or edit my next book.)
My agent, whom I also love, has a family situation that has necessitated her going radio silent for an indefinite period of time.
My publishing house, Simon & Schuster, was sold to Penguin Random House.
So, yeah, my publishing career so far has been a bit like traversing the Fire Swamp. But the trees are actually quite lovely.
Oh, no. What an ordeal. What projects are you working on now?
My current work in progress is another contemporary romcom with a sprinkle of fairy tale magic. I probably shouldn’t talk about it yet, since it hasn’t been sold. But I guess I can practice my pitch on the Kidlit411 community, as long as everyone FIRST puts their hands on their hearts and solemnly swears not to hold it against me if this book fails to ever exist.
Done taking the oath?
After a 16-year-old novice witch accidentally on purpose gives her arch enemy a legit cursed apple, he goes from being the obnoxious school superstar to an unexpectedly loveable havoc magnet. Her conscience won’t let her rest until she undoes the curse, but once she does, the boy she’s come to love will revert to his old life and leave her brokenhearted.
It has a fierce protagonist, a lovable and hilarious family, a swoon-worthy book boyfriend, mean girls, and a cute dog. And it’s not even finished…I sure hope it ends well!
That sounds awesome. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I live in a land of mountains and canyons—and lots of good hiking. My family recently hiked a trail that crisscrossed a mountain stream, and as we were coming back down the mountain, we passed a group of people hiking in. The conversations went like this:
Them, looking wiped: Are we getting close? How much farther?
Us: You’ve still got a long way to go, and the path gets tougher up ahead, but don’t give up—it’s worth it!
That’s the same thing I’d say to my younger self and to anyone starting their writing and publishing journey. Hang in there!
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Because of the magic of technology and a crack team of editors paid to make me look good, most people will (hopefully) never know that I’m a bad speller. Like, ridiculously terrible, almost can’t function, BAD speller. It’s my cross to bear.
Where can people find you online?
G. F. Miller absolutely insists on a happy ending. Everything else is negotiable. Her wish is to go everywhere—and when a plane ticket isn’t available, books fill the gaps. She cries at all the wrong times. She makes faces at herself in the mirror. She believes in the Oxford comma. And she’s always here for a dance party.