9 days to go: The Next Together in five different genres

To celebrate the release of my first book, I’m posting a new “Behind the Scenes” exclusive about The Next Together daily until September 3rd. You can find them all here, including Chapter One from Matt’s Point of View, a Harry Potter crossover, and A scene from start to finish.

As The Next Together takes place in lots of timelines, all of which are a different genre – there’s a Regency-esque romance, a war story, and a Dystopian thriller, to name a few! – I thought today I’d go even further. I’m writing the book in the style of a few other genres.

This was mainly because I wanted to see if I could really write in the style of Game of Thrones or  Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Warning: these are all ridiculous.

You’re welcome.

i. high fantasy

Kate clutched fearfully at the helm of her sword, but outwardly retained her calm exterior, with all the poise and grace that generations of ancestral nobility had invested in her. The man was scarce but a twig, swaddled in layer upon layer of furs and tartan kilt with only the bridge of his nose visible, and with her years of training she could have defeated him easily- were it not for the wolf growling at his feet, froth bubbling at the jaw and pounds of raw strength braced to attack in its muscles.

“Where do ye think you’re headed, sassenach?” he intoned, gruffly. “This isnae England anymore.”

“Do you even know who I am?” she asked indignantly.

“I know who ye are. And ye ain’t welcome here, Lady Finchley of Carlisle.”

She took a breath, and centred herself using her ancient Buddhist training. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage, Sir.”

“Aye, I do at that,” he replied, with a touch of amusement, and nodded to the wolf. It relaxed on its haunches, the lump of dried meat the Highlander fed it disappearing in seconds. “Now how about you tell me what you’re about, Lady Finchley. Before Saxon here gets hungry.”

(I really wanted to make this an Objectified Scotsman AU, but I couldn’t write Matthew with bulging muscles. I just couldn’t.)

ii. chick lit

“I’m warning you,” he ordered, hand tightly gripping my upper arm and wrinkling the sleeve of my purple v-neck with long sleeves and lace detail (from ASOS®). “Don’t come messing round here again, or you’ll be sorry. Extremely sorry.” He said it mysteriously yet seductively, angrily yet broodingly, eloquently yet growlingly. It was incredible. My inner goddess swooned.

He released my arm and I stumbled onto the pavement, the door slamming shut behind me. Outraged, I smoothed back my hair and shouted after him, “YOU’RE REALLY OUT OF CHARACTER IN THIS SCENE, MATTHEW.”

He didn’t reply, but smirked at me over his shoulder in an infuriatingly attractive way. I huffed, adjusted the strap of my Mulberry knockoff and posted a cryptic facebook status about the incident. Ignoring the four ‘inbox me babe x’ comments that appeared, I planned my next move.

iii. crime

The corpse was the most horrifying sight that Inspector Galloway had seen in ten long years on the force, and that was saying a lot. It lay in a pool of the author’s lost self respect.

“Lauren James, according to her ID. Former writer of credibility and high standing,” DC Finchley said. “Until she got mixed in with this lot, it seems.”

She slid the victim’s purse to an evidence bag with a sensual grace that belied their totally gross surroundings.

Galloway held out his hand, and she passed him the evidence. A spark of chemistry jumped between the cops as their fingers brushed, but they ignored it, as they would for another six seasons. It wasn’t time yet.

“We’ll catch them soon,” Galloway said reassuringly, gazing deep into Finchley’s eyes. “Claire’s coven won’t be in operation for much longer.”

“I’m not sure how much longer this city can survive,” Finchley said, gazing pensively at the degraded and maligned corpse. The camera slowly zoomed in on her face, sad music playing.

iv. middle grade

Kate Finchley was only ten, but she knew three things for certain.

One: boys were gross, and she was never ever going to kiss one. Ever.

Two: When you added universal indicator to an acid it turned red.

Three: Matthew Galloway was the weirdest person she’d ever met in her entire life and it was fascinating

(Matt was an awkward child, we all know this to be true in our hearts. He was the weird kid who collected snail shells and silently stared at them with a magnifying glass while he ate his cucumber sandwiches and sliced grapes, the one who always drew exactly the same picture of a bacteria in art class and refused to discuss it.)

v. fanfiction 

“Here he comes, my true love,” Kate hissed at a surprised looking customer as she handed over a frappe creme. “The Cute Professor. No, not that one. The one with glasses.”

“Nice,” the guy said. “You forgot my cream.”

“Cream is unimportant! This is true love!”

“Hey, Cute Professor! Give this girl your number!” the customer called across the coffee shop.

Kate drew in a sharp, betrayed gasp. “I trusted you!”

The Cute Professor stopped in his tracks, staring at them in surprise. Kate smiled weakly, waved.

The Cute Professor waved back.

Finally, if that wasn’t enough AUs for you, I’ll leave you with this Lynx advert, which is a perfect trailer for The Next Together:

If you want to know more about Kate and Matt, you can read the first chapter of The Next Together here, and buy the book in the following places:

Amazon UK | Waterstones |  The Book Depository (free international shipping)| Wordery | Foyles | Kobo | iBooks |  Goodreads

If you preorder within the next 15 days, you can get a free signed bookmark! Details here.

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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