What would I do with a time machine?

This blog post was originally posted at Teen Reader’s Diary.

If I was given access to a time machine for a day, I wouldn’t be able to go to just one place. I’m too greedy. I’d have to go on a tour of history and the future, until I ran out of fuel or caused some kind of horrific future-destroying “kill your grandfather” type accident.

First of all, I would without a moment of doubt have to go and see the dinosaurs. I’ve always loved Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time, so how could anyone turn that down?

On the way, I’d like to stop off for breakfast in seventeenth century France to take Pain Au Chocolat and Espresso with La Maupin, a female fencer and opera singer who had more adventures than one person should be allowed in a lifetime outside of fiction!

Then I’d go to visit Easter Island and find out how those giant statues were moved around once and for all, by watching them being built. I’d visit Machu Picchu for lunch with the Incas and spend the afternoon exploring the Galapagos Islands with Charles Darwin.

I’d go to the Roman Baths for a relaxing spa session, before visiting Henry VIII for a dinner of his famous cockentrice. I couldn’t resist going to see an original Shakespeare play – maybe one of his lost plays, so I could tell everyone at home what happened! Then I’d be off to an Elvis Presley concert.

Finally, I’d finish off the evening by attending a regency ball, so that I could chat about writing with Jane Austen over rum punch. I then wouldn’t be able to resist taking a slightly tipsy visit to the future. I’d go to the first human colony on another planet – but I’d like to arrive a few hours before their spaceship first landed, so I could pretend I’d been there waiting for them all along!


A day in the life

I start every day by going swimming at my local gym. This gives me time to think through what I’ll be writing that day, and solve any nagging plot holes that I might have abandoned in frustration the night before (this happens more often than I care to admit).
After I’ve done a hundred lengths of front crawl, and soaked in the Jacuzzi until I’m extremely wrinkly, I’ll go home and begin work.

I spend a few hours answering emails and doing admin stuff. This can range from discussing editorial notes or marketing tactics with my editor and agent, or replying to tumblr asks and writing blog posts.

Surprisingly, a lot more of an author’s time is spent doing things other than writing – something I never realised until I became a writer. I’m lucky that most of my work can be done from home, but about once a fortnight I’ll go down to London on the train for a meeting or event in person. I was recently on a panel discussing Diversity in YA at a conference, which was a lot of fun.

I’m learning to drive at the minute, so then I might have a driving lesson in the afternoon. I’m working on navigating islands at the minute (I’m not very good at it yet!).
When I get home, I’ll finally start writing. I only start writing properly in the evening, because there are too many distractions during the day! I’ll crank up my playlist for the book I’m writing (by the time the book is finished it will usually have reached over 100 plays on iTunes), chew some gum and get started.

After I’ve procrastinated on tumblr, and taken dozens of pictures of my dogs, that is…

Eventually I’ll force myself to get down to work, and write for about five hours. I try to write between one and two thousand words a day, but sometimes that might be as little as three hundred words or as much as three thousand. It depends on what I’m writing. I don’t worry about not writing enough, as long as I write something. It’s all progress!
Then I might catch up on some TV series like Hannibal or The Great British Bake-Off or read something – right now I’m reading Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud. I’ll collapse into bed about 1am, mind full of plot ideas and character dialogue!

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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