2 days to The Next Together: 20 Alternate Universe Kate and Matts

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,  A scene from start to finish, a playlist and the book as different genres. 

If you preorder The Next Together before September 3rd you can get a free signed bookmark! Details here. The last person to email me with their preorder information before midnight GMT on September 2nd will receive an extra special gift with their bookmark!

Only twenty-nine hours to go until The Next Together is officially released! Can you believe it?! I can’t! People have started getting their preorders, which is …. sending me a little crazy with happiness.

This dog looks the way I feel.

Today I’m continuing the theme of the book as different genres by sharing 20 Alternate Universe Kate and Matts, based on this meme. 

1. New Neighbors!AU

Kate gawped through her living room window at the man who had moved into the empty (haunted, she was convinced) house next door. He was organising his kitchen. He was organising his kitchen, and he was naked. Or- at least topless. There was a counter in the way, unfortunately.

“Oh no, he’s hot,” she whispered to the cat. He flicked his tail at her, unimpressed.

The hot, naked neighbour began walking towards his window, and she ducked down below the windowsill, wincing. She crawled across the floor until she reached the doorway. She couldn’t let him see her yet. She needed to get a haircut.

“That butt,” she sighed, dreamily.

2. Runaway Royalty!AU

“You’re the Prince,” she said, pulling off his hat and sunglasses.

The Prince sighed, and stepped away from the gaggle of tourists towards his security guard. “Yeah.”

“You’ve tried four times this week, what makes you think you’ll manage to sneak past me this time?” As the Prince rolled his eyes, Kate turned away and spoke into her earpiece. “I’ve found The Duckling.”

When she turned back, he was rolling his eyes. “That one was rubbish,” she said. “It’s like you’re trying to get caught now.”

He let out another heavy, sulky sigh. “Firstly, can I please, please get a better code name? And secondly, maybe I am trying to get caught.” He stared at her meaningfully.

She raised an eyebrow. “I’ve told you before. Not until you’re eighteen.”

3. High School!AU

Mr Galloway and Miss Finchley leant against the door jamb of the staffroom, staring at the arriving students.

“How are the summer holidays over already?”

They both sighed in unison.

4. Childhood!AU

Matthew burst into tears. “Katyyyyy, give it back! It’s my turn!”

5. Rule 63!AU

“Hey there, cutie,” Kit said, his hands flat on the desk and leaning over her. “You doing anything after class?”

Mattie blushed, sat back in her chair and adjusted her glasses. “I’m free.”

Kit grinned. He reached out to brush a strand of hair out of her eyes. “Have you seen X-men yet?”

6. Vampire!AU

“I hate blood donation day,” Kate sighed, as Matthew poked the needle into her arm.

“Except for the biscuits, right?”

“Except for the biscuits.”

7. Werewolf!AU

“Full moon again,” Matt said, “No wonder you’re so grouchy.”

“Did you get the steak?”

“Of course I got the steak. Put down that pigeon.”

8. Zombie!AU


“Kate, I’m not crying. It’s just a stupid zombie game.” He threw down the controller, not at all petulantly.

9. superhero AU

“Captain America and Iron Man are engaged,” Matthew commented, scrolling through the news on his phone.

Surprise, surprise,” Kate said, spitting toothpaste into the sink. “Where’s my engagement ring?”

She turned to stare at Matthew, but he had disappeared.

“You’d best hurry up,” she called down the stairs. “If Bruce Banner asks me first I’m gonna say yes!”

“You would never marry a physicist,” he called back.

10. Hooker!AU

Matt stared at the g-string in horror. “Kate, your fantasies are getting more and more specific.”

11. Royalty!AU

“It’s my birthday tomorrow,” the Prince said, holding out a bouquet of sunflowers.

Kate smiled, and pressed the button on her earpiece to turn off the mike. “My shift ends at six, Duckling. Wear something nice.”

“Okay,” the Prince said shyly, and then paused. “Wait, I thought you changed my codename to Swan?”

12. Prison!AU

“Heeeey there,” she said, leaning back in her seat and looking up and down at the boy entering the classroom where after-school detention was held. “What’chu in for, cutie?”

He stared at her dubiously and nudged up his glasses. “I’m the teacher overseeing the detention.”

She sat up in her chair abruptly. “Right.” She looked down at her desk, and let out a heavy breath. “Shit.”

When she looked up the teacher was trying to hide a smirk.

13. Hair/Makeup Stylist and Actor/Model!AU

“Don’t touch my hair,” she said sharply. “I have a special guy for that.”


“Matthew will be here soon. Just do my makeup.”

14. Pretend Couple!AU

“Quick, kiss me!” Kate yelped.

Matt looked at her, askance. “Um, why?”

“We’ll think of a reason afterwards!”

15. Camp Counselors!AU

“Bagsy I get the afternoon shift,” Kate said quickly.

“Dammit,” Matt muttered. “You got the lie-ins last year.”

“I deserve the lie-ins.”

16. Pen Pals!AU

Dear Kate,

Thank you for the picture! Your dog is really cute. (You are too. I like your hair.) In answer to your question, my tour ends in a month and then I’ll be back in the UK. I can’t wait to get out of this uniform!

And there is one other person who writes letters to my regiment, a boy practising his English. It’s really kind of you to take the time to write to soldiers. I’m not sure I’d think of doing it if it was the other way around.

Do you think you’d like to get a drink when I’m back in London, maybe?

M. G.

17. Ghosts In Love!AU

“Back off,” she hissed. “He’s mine.”

She clutched the ghost kitten to her chest. It meowed pitifully. She cooed at it.

“You know they only hang around for a few hours, Kate,” Matt whined. “Lemme stroke it!!”

18. God and Counterpart From Another Pantheon!AU

“Science isn’t a God,” he said, folding his arms. “You don’t even have a trident.”

She snorted. “I can do as many miracles as you, mate.”

19. Brand New Step-Sibling!AU

“No,” Matt said, shaking his head frantically. “No way. Mum, no.”

“Hey, aren’t you in my year at school?” Kate asked, smiling welcomingly. “Dad, you never said!”

Matt’s mum looked at Matt’s blushing face. “Hang on… is this Kate you were telling me about…? The one you want to ask to prom?”

Matt let out a mortified groan and hit his head against the door.

Kate beamed at him.

20. Mundane/Domestic!AU

“Kate, you forgot to buy milk!”

“You forgot to kiss my arse!”

In other news: Nicole at YA Interrobang wrote a really lovely article about me! I did an interview with Wenlock Books!

There is a rebloggable version of this post 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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