Updates on The Next Together

I thought I’d write a bit of an updates post, just to show where everything is at the minute.

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This is where I am, mentally, all the time.

The Next Together is now completely done on my end.  With exactly 100 days to publication, I sent my editor a print-out of the pages, with my final final changes written on in red pen. It’s kind of terrifying that I won’t be able to mess around with it again, but in a nice way.

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Every time I read through it I add another twenty post-it notes of things to change.

I’ve now seen the full cover look, with the spine and back cover. It’s stunning. The spine is a beautiful light green with molecules dotted around it, and the back cover continues the style of the front. My lovely friend Louise O’Neill has a cover quote:

“A funny, gripping, and incredibly imaginative story of true love and reincarnation.”

I’m not sure who’s more overjoyed about that, me or her.

I’ve had a brilliant meeting recently about all the fun things I’m going to be doing with Walker for publicity, in which about two million complicated ideas were thrown around. I’m very, very excited about it. I think in a month or so I’ll be offering signed bookmarks for people who have preordered, so get your preorders in early! Very excitingly, at a recent Walker books conference, my book was given away in the goody bag! Doesn’t it look lovely?

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Picture by Wei Ming Kam

There are now The Next Together mugs for sale, in a UKYA dedicated shop here. This is ridiculous and amazing all at once.

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Just as crazily, a post about my writing journey has nearly two thousand notes on tumblr, and so many people preordered it after reading the post that it hit #21 in the Amazon charts. I had to screenshot it, because if this is as good as it gets, at least I had a small moment of victory.

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While I was in the Walker building, I signed some proofs to be sent out to bloggers. I had a bit of a panic because I hadn’t really practised my signature beforehand, and had to come up with one on the spot.

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Can you see the panic on my face?

I’ve since refined my signature, and here’s what it currently looks like (recorded for posterity, so I can see how it’s changed in a couple of signings!).

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The Next Together has now sold foreign rights in several countries, none of which I can talk about yet, which is very hard for me. I’m so so so excited and it’s very painful to not be able to share it with anyone. #soon

I’ve been very stressed about foreign rights ever since Egmont US closed, and I am probably more emotionally invested in it than I should be, so I’m happy to say there haven’t been any more setbacks – everything is going really well, so far. Phew!

I’ve started getting reviews from people I don’t know on Goodreads, which is pretty terrifying. I’ve decided I’m just going to ignore it, for now. This plan will most definitely not work. Whenever anyone says something nice, I feel like this:

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I’ve finished the second draft of the sequel, based on editorial suggestions made by my agent and editor. It now has a title:

THE LAST BEGINNING
Terrible graphics made by me (sorry).

It’s 75,000 words, compared to The Next Together’s 73,000, and I absolutely love it. I’m hoping it won’t be a disappointing successor, but I haven’t got enough distance from it to give it an unbiased judgement. My best one word description of it: loopy. In any and all senses of the word (time travel, it’s a mess).

I’m about halfway through my third novel, which is driving me mad and crazy with excitement in about equal amounts. As this won’t be out until 2017 (fingers crossed!) I’m not going to say anything more about that yet, except that this picture describes it pretty well:

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I was just about to finish when I realised I almost forgot the most important news of all…..I got a new bookcase! My dad made it for me as a belated 21st birthday present (I’m nearly 23….).It’s oak and lovely and holds so many books. Look!

tumblr_no7eitoUzp1qa24muo6_1280So I’ve spent most of my time just staring at it. No regrets.

Til next time, bye guys!

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. 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. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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