August favourites! Halsey | Wicked | Sorcerer to the Crown | Wagamama | GBBO

Previously: April | May | June | July

I’ve now been an officially published author for ten whole days, which is pretty great. I had a launch and did a few events and ate a lot of cake and drank a lot of sparkling beverages.

My editor Annalie saying very nice things about me.

I also read and watched and listened to some pretty cool stuff! Let me tell you about it.

Music: Halsey

Her album Badlands was my July favourite, but seeing as I went to see her live this month, I’m including her again. I mean . . . she’s too great not to be a double fave, right? RIGHT?

Also you should listen to this remix of her song Hurricane with the sound of rain, because it’s A+++++.

I wish to be at a Halsey concert every single night forever. Make this happen, universe.

Comic: How calicos give birth by smilingribstumblr_nujdonOyPA1uam688o1_500

Be good to yourself and go and read this comic. It’s worth it, I promise.

(Close runner-up: this comic interpretation of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by The Beatles.)

Musical: Wicked

I went to see Wicked the day before my book came out, as a kind of pre-emptive attempt to avoid disappearing into a void of stress and panic. It worked pretty well! The show was fun, and Popular is the most sing-a-long-able song ever. I also ate a burrito, which was nice.

Shoes: Dr Martens Willow Collection shoes

The perfect camouflage for next time you’re trying to hide from a bull in a china shop.

I mean, I don’t own this shoes personally. But I’d… to? So that counts. I’m not sure what outfit I’d match to these shoes, but I think I’m up to facing that challenge of shoe ownership.

Dog: Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s French Bulldog puppy

Okay, I know this is extremely specific. It’s also going to be the best anecdote you hear today. This is taken from the Rock’s instagram (brought to my attention by my mum, who is the World’s Greatest Fan of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s Social Media Presence.)


Judging by his most recent posts, the brick is doing just fine now, but what a story. What a dog.

Book: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Picture by lizadawsonassociates

I would like to marry this book. No, I’m not kidding. This is the perfect mix of the magical regency London of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Georgette Heyer’s shamelessly trope-filled romances, and the charm and relationship dynamics of Sabriel. The whole book make me squirm with delight – from the UNICORNS to GIANT FURIOUS MERMAIDS to the CLOUD FLYING. Just – I want to tell you about every scene, because every scene is a delight.

Restaurant: Wagamama

My friend Sarah is pretty into Wagamama (Her first blog post for this month was a dish-by-dish comparison of the Wagamama’s menu with various Decemberists albums. This is why she is my friend. Her blog is becoming so increasingly niche in an unexpected and delightful way, and I can’t wait to see where she takes us on this blogging adventure next.) and she introduced me to the joy that is Wagamama’s food. I’m a big fan, especially of their cheesecake and gyoza.

Picture by Sarah

Article: ‘Why I explore rape culture in my new book’ by Louise O’Neill

Louise is a good friend of mine, but also a completely brutal writer who I’m a little bit overwhelmed by. Asking For It came out last week, and I read it in one sitting. I’m so glad I did, because I’m not sure I’d have been able to pick it up again if I hadn’t. I can’t even imagine the emotion it will have taken to write it. So important and so terrible and real.

This article captures the point of the book completely, and is a much shorter read for anyone who is unsure of whether they can handle reading the novel itself.

TV Show: The Great British Bake Off

On to lighter things: the bake off! I. am. obsessed. Wednesdays can’t come fast enough.

I’m rooting for Tamal, not only because of this perfect explanation for one of his recipes, which made me choke with laughter.

“This is basically inspired by a sandwich I had a few years ago. One of the top two sandwiches of my life […] and I think about that sandwich quite a lot.”

You’ve got this, Tamal. You and your sandwich are going to win this thing.

In other news: In the last few weeks I’ve done a vlog interview and a few guest blog posts: Tips for writing a romance novel, What I would do with a time machine and Why Hermione Granger is my inspiration for female characters, and I spoke to YA Interrobang about creator-fandom interaction.

I’m also doing a couple of events which have now been announced: I’m the guest author at #UKYAChat on twitter this Friday 18th at 8pm. I’m doing a talk at Coventry Libraries on October 2nd, a panel at Waterstones Birmingham with Jenny Valentine and Jenny McLachlan on October 3rd and I’m appearing at UKYA Extravaganza in Nottingham on October 10th.

I was also photographed by a professional photographer, Pete Bedwell! Here’s some of the photos, because I am too pleased with them not to share. I will be using them as profile pictures for approximately…….the rest of my life. 😉

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And finally….. the cover for The Next Together is currently winning Goodreads’ September cover contest by a 500 vote margin… AS IT SHOULD BE.


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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