Posts Tagged Not If You Break Up with Me First

Not If You Break Up with Me First: An Interview with Author G.F. Miller

Who doesn’t love a good rom com? Not If You Break Up with Me First is the first middle grade one I’ve read. And from the title alone, you can tell how much fun of a read it’s going to be. As there’s no one better way to learn about a book than hearing it from the author!

About the Book

Hi G.F.! A rom com for middle schoolers. I totally would have loved this book at that age (especially since I totally loved it now!).

Thanks! I had so much fun writing it, and it makes my heart so happy when I hear that someone had fun reading it.


Can you give us a short summary about the book?

Basically, Eve and Andrew kind of accidentally start dating, and then neither of them can figure out how to gracefully back out. Nobody wants to be the bad guy. The obvious solution is to get the other person to end it. That would totally work if they weren’t both doing the same thing.


Tell us who would especially enjoy this book?

NOT IF YOU BREAK UP WITH ME FIRST is for anyone who reads for entertainment, likes to smile, and doesn’t think happy endings are gauche. Adults have been giving it rave reviews, but of course I primarily wrote it for tweens and younger teens. It’s easy to assume only girls would want to read a book like this, but actually the boys who’ve read it have gotten super into it. I think there are lots of middle school boys who want to read about and understand relationships (and, like, why are girls suddenly so weird and dramatic and yet oddly alluring?? I got you, boys).


About the Author

How did your writing journey begin?

Photo Credit: Shannon Ly for Shannon Ly Photography

I’ve been writing to amuse myself and others since I was a kid. As a twenty-something, I already knew I had a novel in me, but for many reasons, it took me at least a decade to give myself permission to sit down and write it. From the time I finally started to write my first novel, it took three completed manuscripts and five years to actually get published. But I’ve loved the journey (almost) every step of the way!


This book is very relatable for this age group. What aspects of Eve were shaped by experiences you had at that age?

My freshman year of high school, I had a huge crush on the quad player I stood next to in the halftime show opening formation. (Alas, he never noticed me. It wasn’t meant to be.) All that to say, it was pretty easy to imagine precisely how crush-worthy Andrew is!

Sadly, I most relate to Eve’s experience at home, though. My parents, like hers, had a really rocky marriage and were on the brink of divorce during my middle school years. I remember all too well how stressful and unmooring that was.


What authors (and/or books) would you say influence your writing style for your books?

I read a lot in many genres, and I truly believe that every book I read becomes part of me and influences how I write (even if the influence is “Oh. I don’t want to do that”). But most of the time I don’t consciously try to emulate any one author.

While we’re on the subject, though, let me share a few of my favorite YA and MG authors that I would never mind being compared to!

– Dusti Bowling’s MG pacing and humor is on point!

– Abigail Johnson’s YA is emotionally layered and gritty, always balanced with hope and humor.

– Gloria Chao’s characters and dialogue hook me every time.

– Spencer Hall is a little-known treasure—we need funny men like him in this space!

– Claudia Gray hits homeruns in everything from sci fi to Austen fan fiction; she is such a skilled and versatile storyteller.

Okay, I could keep going for hours, but I’m cutting myself off.



What was your original spark for Not If You Break Up with Me First?

My brilliant editor at Aladdin, Jessica Smith, came up with the idea. She was like, “How about How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days in middle school?” And I was immediately in love with the idea. Honestly that story makes *so much more sense* in junior high. I rewatched the movie to prep for writing this book, and everything they did was ridiculous for grown adults and completely believable for eighth grade!


I love how even fiction books require some background research. What research did you need to do for the book?

I’m not a drummer, so I was constantly looking up rudiments, cadences, and percussion terms. I also had to do semi-shifty things like hunt down schools’ athletic and academic schedules to make sure my story elements made sense. For example, Eve was originally going to be in track, but to make it line up with marching band season, I switched her to Cross Country. Students definitely notice when you mess up those details, so I go deep into the weeds to make sure I get it perfect!


What is something from your childhood that you snuck into the book?

Ummm…mood swings, honesty avoidance, overreacting, crushes, humiliation, freaking out, miscommunication, bad advice, overconfidence, and hating social studies. Also brownies.

G.F. Miller at 14 dressed as Ophelia for Halloween


Writing in two different voices can be difficult. What tricks do you have?

First, I don’t know if there is any shortcut for really knowing your characters. If you rely too much on tricks, then I think your readers will start to feel tricked. So I put in a lot of time and creative effort on imaginary friend formation. Their voices emerge from that.

Secondly, just know that it’s a process. In the first draft, the most important thing is to get the story out. I get to know my characters along the way. So when I go back on my first revision pass, I find lots of spots—especially in the first hundred pages of the book—where I say, “That doesn’t sound like Andrew” or “That’s not how Eve would say that.”


For Teachers

Do you have a curriculum guide or discussion questions posted online?

Why yes! You can find a Break Up First discussion guide / essay topics on the educators page on my website.


Are you doing school visits related to this book?

I’m happy to visit middle schools and high schools when the timing works out! Same deal – send me an inquiry via my website.


How can we learn more about you?

You can hang out with me at and on Instagram @author.gfmiller.

Thanks for your time, G.F.

Thanks for having me!