How We Learned to Lie by Meredith Miller

Title: How We Learned to Lie
Author: Meredith Milller
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

A voice-driven and explosive novel about friendship, love, and letting go, from the author of Little Wrecks

Violence in the small, suburban town of Highbone, Long Island, is escalating, and best friends Joan and Daisy are finding themselves in the center of it.

Joan has always been fascinated by the inner workings of living things: dogfish, eels, stingrays. But the more she sees of life outside her microscope, the more she realizes that people aren’t as easy to read as cells on a slide, and no one, not even Daisy, tells the truth.

Daisy’s always wished he had a family more like Joan’s, and that desire has only grown since his dad went to jail. But not even Joan can help Daisy keep his deadbeat older brother from putting everyone close to them in more danger.

When tragedy strikes too close to home, Joan and Daisy need each other more than ever. But no matter how hard they try, their secrets and lies have driven them apart. It’s only a matter of time before their friendship, just like their town, goes up in flames.

Sharp-edged and voice-driven, Meredith Miller’s How We Learned to Lie is a keenly ob-served story about friendship, violence, and life in a town on the brink.

Guest Post
Meredith’s Writing Space

I live in a Victorian house in southwest England. If you’ve never been to the UK, fair warning: this is not as romantic as it sounds! I do love it though. My writing space is the loft, which was converted as a third bedroom by the previous owners. It has windows toward the front and back of the house, where I can see the sunrise and sunset.
I’m an early morning writer, so in the winters when the sun comes up late, this is what I see while I’m working.

The most important thing about my writing space is that it’s three floors away from the router. Internet access is patchy at best. For extra insurance against wasting time on social media and getting angry about the news when I should be writing, I have this special faulty computer. For some reason it doesn’t connect to my network. Yay! Also, it has an eight-year-old version of Word and because it doesn’t connect it never pesters me about updates. Perfect.

If you look closely at the middle of the screen, you might be able to see the working file folders for How We Learned to Lie and for Fall River, the book I’m currently working on.

Authors need screen breaks, don’t we? So, I made this little window seat.

I sit here and have a cup of tea and let things turn over in my mind for a bit. It’s in the window at the front of the house, so the view from that seat is this.

There is also a little bed, on which I can lie when I’m reading over drafts and things. I bet you can imagine how that winds up.

The rest of the loft is wallpapered with plot diagrams and notes pasted everywhere reminding me what characters want to do and say and where they’re headed. There are ideas I love but I don’t know where they go yet, so I write them on a scrap of paper and post them over the desk. You can see a few of those in the photo above.

When I’m working on a novel I use a few different notebooks to keep ideas and sketches in, and sometimes spread things out on a board. Below is the working board for Whiteness. The post-it notes represent both story and plot, and the visuals invoke the landscape and various things (good and bad) that characters in the novel do and believe.

I am a very concrete, hands on sort of writer and often print out scenes and physically cut them up, so I can move the pieces around to see how they work best.

I’m VERY lucky to have a space like this that I can fill with messy ideas and also relax, spread out and work in. I think the most important thing about a writing space is that it is yours. I once had a friend who had hers in a nook under the stairs. It was tiny but it was HERS, and she did great work in it. No one else in her house was allowed to mess with it. For writers, writing is self care. If you’re a writer, make space for yourself. Be selfish about it and don’t feel guilty.

Meredith Miller is the author of Little Wrecks and How We Learned to Lie. She grew up in a large, unruly family on Long Island, New York, and now lives in the UK. She is a published short story writer and literary critic with a great love for big nineteenth-century novels and for the sea. Her short stories have appeared most recently in Stand, Short Fiction, Prole, Alt Hist, and The View from Here.

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• Prize: 2 hardcover copies of HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE by Meredith Miller
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