I got an agent

[This post is imported from my old Livejournal account, where I blogged from 2007-2015.]

So in November 2010, I decided to do Nanowrimo!! It’s a great way to force yourself to do Writing without getting selfconscious about it, because there’s barely any time to reread it, let alone doubt its quality. So yeah I failed (I blame….university and also my inability to exist with less than 11 hours sleep a night) but it really made me realise how easy and fun writing was if you just did it and didn’t make a big deal of it.

Okay, sit down and listen up. Here’s what I did. I decided one day I wanted to write a story, so I made a list of all the things I like most in the world (thieves, secret passages, sass, time travel, hidden treasure, Science, history, long boat journeys, enforced close quarter living with UST) and then I made up a plot that used them all.

My number one tip is WRITE THE BOOK YOU WANT TO READ. If you don’t spend the entire time going ‘aw, man, I can’t wait to find out what happens! I wish someone would finish writing this so I can READ THE HELL OUT OF IT’ then you are doing it wrong. If you find it boring, why should anyone else care? JUST HAVE FUN. Write something that makes you giggle and flows out of your fingers faster than you can type because it’s just SO GOOD YOU NEED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Also have making out, it’s sure to add quality to your story unless the characters are like giant space snails (in which case, each to their own!).

so I had an Idea, and suddenly had miraculously gained the confidence to actually write a large thing instead of staring at a paragraph and silently weeping or w/e. I just DID IT. Over the summer, so I had no homework/distractions(/social life, sob). And I wrote and wrote until I had a half finished thing, and then I went back to uni and left it in a drawer. But I kept thinking about it, and I had 6 months to tease at plots and develop ideas and that helped SO MUCH. Like, I’m not saying wait six months before you finish a thing, but the next summer when I went to finish the thing I finished the thing in like four weeks flat, because man was I ready to finish that thing.

aaaaaand, then some stuff happened. I turned 20, I went to america for a year. I forgot about my book for a bit, until someone told me that harpervoyager were accepting submissions of manuscripts for the first time in 10 years. So I dug it out my harddrive and polished it up a bit, and sent it off. While I was at it, I send it off to some agents too, because why not.

then guys. THEN.



I died.

but she said there were problems with it, mainly that it contained some dystopian themes which were a dying trend, that I needed to change if it was sellable. But she said I was ‘often funny’ and had a nice writing style and all these wonderful things so it took away the sting of ‘pls change your thing thx’.

so I thought about it for like three months straight I s2g and then I did some writing for the third summer in a row, and when it was done (and so much better this time, because I knew my characters inside out and could build on the foundations of what i’d written before and just add layers and layers of deja vu and recurring themes and inside jokes (and that’s what she said jokes) and guys it got SO GOOD I wanted to cry with happiness

so YEAH. I sent it back to my angel of an agent and she was like, ‘hmmm, way better but maybe if you just do this and this it would be even nicer’ and we sent at least 30 emails just about one single paragraph of the thing and then IT WAS DONE. I had a palatable draft, and a desire to never edit the thing again, and a satisfied agent.

that leads us to TODAY. When it had been submitted to 16 publishers! So ! Yeah ! That has happened ! And I will probably hear about the thing by next Friday so KEEP THOSE FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED FOR ME EVERYONE.

Here’s the blurb:

THE RED EARTH ROLLS (YA, 87000 words)

Katherine Finchley and Matthew Galloway are destined to be together. In 1745, during the siege of Carlisle, in 1854 on the way to the Crimea, in 2016 and 2036 as first scientists and then students uncovering and rediscovering a dangerous plot, and in multiple alternative timescales between. Again and again they are thrown together, with no memory of having met one another before, only an irresistible instinct that they must be with one another against all odds – even while the epic events unfolding all around seem sure to tear them apart.

Recounting through a series of intertwining love stories Katherine and Matthew’s increasingly urgent attempts to divert history, THE RED EARTH ROLLS is a romance that combines unique warmth and humour with an ambitious journey through reincarnation, time travel and war.

Lauren James is a student studying Chemistry and Physics at the university of Nottingham. She is 21 years old and this is her first novel.

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

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