An Interview with a character

It’s now 50 days to the release of The Next Together! When did that happen? How is it that close? (but also, how is there still fifty whole days to go?!?)

Picture taken by the lovely Georgia, because literally everyone in the world takes better photos of my own book than me.

To celebrate, I thought I’d post a little teaser. Here’s an ‘interview’ I conducted with my main character Kate, in the spirit of my new blog series Behind the Book. This is set just before the beginning of The Next Together, and there are no spoilers at all.

Hey Kate, how are you feeling about starting university?

Hi! I’m really really excited about uni, especially because it means I’ll be moving closer to my grannies (I have married grandmothers, it’s 2039, get over it.). I can’t wait to go and steal all their baking!! I’m going to eat so many pies.

What are you studying?

Biology. AKA THE BEST SUBJECT, OBVIOUSLY. I have major plans to take over the world one day. Wait, what?

Have you made any friends at uni yet?

Not yet!

And is there anyone you’re going to be sad to leave behind? A boyfriend?

Nope! I’m single and ready to mingle. I have high hopes for fresher’s week. If you are/see any shy, brunet boys with glasses, hit me up, okay?

What are your hobbies?

Uh…..does stalking cute boys count as a hobby? Because I’m an expert at that.

Oh, fandom! I’m big into fandom. Have you heard of that famous blogger, Spartacus? No? Well, he does social activism stuff. He’s a little bit illegal, and a little bit hilarious, and a whole lot of cute. I’m a big fan, as you can tell from my AO3 page.

Wait, now I think about it, that’s just stalking cute boys as well. Dammit.

Well, I hope you meet the boy of your dreams at university. Any words of advice for any fellow freshers?

Nobody has any idea what they are doing. Just fake confidence and everyone will be so impressed and intimidated by you that you won’t have to worry about anything else.

And don’t go mad on the canteen food. You’re better than that.

If that wasn’t enough of a treat for you, here are my characters Kate and Matt….as mermaids. I may have discovered a website that lets you create them, and gone a little crazy with power.

matt mermaid

P.S. I’m going to be at YALC at the London Comicon this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. If you see me, come and say hello, and I’ll give you a signed The Next Together bookmark. Here’s what I look like, as of Monday:


And here’s what the bookmarks look like (just so you can weigh up the pros and cons of coming up to me):

I have a gold sharpie and everything, js.

In other ~*~Events news~*~, I’m going to be talking on a panel at the Nine Worlds convention in London on August 7th about diversity in YA.

Here’s the full description:

Beyond the Binary: gender and sexuality in YA – 1.30pm – 2.45pm, Room 38
More and more non-traditional characters enter the YA stage. Characters who defy gender norms and gender binaries. Characters who fall somewhere along the LGBTQIA* spectrum. Characters who kick ass and take names. How does YA explore these new stories, who are the characters we should be paying attention to, and what is there still to come?

Panel: James Dawson, Tom Pollock, Sarah Benwell, Lauren E James, Laura Lam, Emma Trevayne, Marieke Nijkamp

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here. 

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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