Cover reveal for The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

The cover was designed by Chloé Tartinville ( I am such a fan of the colours and style here – it’s so different from my other books, while keeping the same font and brand. It’s so creepy and ominous, which perfectly matches the book.

I love the neon pink font especially! There is going to be a shiny foil finish on some of the dust specks, and I’m rooting for a metallic pink colour there to match my name. Leave your suggestions for other foil colours in the comments!

The fog tunnel featured in the video is from the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at the Tate Modern (cinematography by Alice Oseman!)

“Lauren James is a genius.” SFX Magazine

“Lauren James isn’t just headed for the stars – she’s already there.” Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree

What if death is only the beginning?

When Harriet Stoker dies falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a world of ghosts with magical powers – shape-shifting, hypnosis, or even the ability to possess the living. As she learns more about their community, Harriet is willing to do anything to unleash her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy. Because who knows what grudges people have been holding onto for millennia, just waiting for a reckless girl to give them the chance to get vengeance.

A sharp thriller with a twist of the supernatural from a masterful sci-fi writer.

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Goodreads | AmazonWaterstones | Foyles | Wordery |Buy a signed copy on my Etsy 

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker will be published in the UK and Australia by Walker Books on 3rd September 2020. It’s my first ever fantasy novel, about a girl who gets in above her head when she tries to become the most powerful ghost in a building of ancient spirits.

The other ghosts happen to be freshers who all died in their halls of residence during their first year of uni, decades earlier. They’ve spent years bickering, flirting, play-fighting and developing in-jokes with each other in the decrepit and abandoned building where they all died. When Harriet becomes a ghost, she finds them as baffling as they find her modern. She has a lot to learn about life, even after she’s died.

I’ve always loved the idea of ghosts, but I’ve always felt like there was something missing from paranormal stories. Where do ghosts get their energy from? What happens when ghosts live together in the same building? Do they share ‘haunting’ duties, or do they have to compete for space? And, most importantly, can a ghost die? What happens to them when things go wrong? I wanted to answer those questions in this novel.

I’m so excited for you to meet my nineties ghost gang – Rima, Felix, Kasper and Leah, as well as Leah’s young baby Claudia, and Rima’s pet fox Cody. If you liked Being Human, Misfits or Crashing by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, then I hope you’ll like this book. It’s a horrom-com (AKA a genre I just invented, the horror romantic comedy). It’s grisly and gory, with an epic romance and quite a few plot twists along the way (would it be a Lauren James book without them?).

If you’re excited to read it, I’d love for you to go ahead and give it a preorder. It really makes a difference to authors, because it shows publishers how many people are excited to read it.

For more information, check out the writing journey blog posts I’ve been posting about this project since 2016 –  parts one two, three and four. There’s also lots of additional content in the Tumblr tag. There are some fun extras below!

Moodboard (on Tumblr)

Fancasting the characters (on Tumblr)

Harriet is Daisy Ridley

Rima is Mandip Gill

Leah is Sofia Boutella

Felix is Keiynan Lonsdale

Kasper is Tom Hardy

Rufus is Rami Malek

Vini is Dylan O’Brien

Oscar is Idris Elba

 Norma is Emma Thompson

[spoiler] is Michael Sheen

Qi is Sandra Oh

Greg is Dominic West

Writing inspirations (on Goodreads)

  • Stoker (2013)
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
  • Monsters by Emerald Fennell
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Pure by Andrew Miller
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Crashing (Channel 4, 2016)
  • Being Human (BBC, 2008)
  • Misfits (Channel 4, 2009)
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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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