Author Archives: Lauren James

About Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992 and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, with a Master’s degree, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the author of The Next Together, The Last Beginning and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or Tumblr at http://laurenjames.tumblr.com.

Kindle Highlights for authors

As you may or may not be aware, Amazon Kindle has a feature where popular sentences of eBooks are underlined, showing parts that multiple readers have highlighted.

This is basically the best gift ever for a writer: if you’re ever feeling down, go and flick through your eBook and see what people like. It’s great.

I thought I’d share the quotes that were highlighted in one of my books – The Next Together, since it’s been out the longest.

To be honest, if I stopped joking around I’m pretty sure I’ll go to bed and never get up again. I’m only barely holding onto my sanity right now through a series of poorly thought-out puns.

All throughout history they had been doing this, finding and loving each other and being ripped apart before they even had a chance to live.

I don’t think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy.

It doesn’t do any good to mourn for someone who is gone. They don’t care. Their story has finished.

Will you marry me, Katherine? I want us to spend this life and the next together.

“Did you have nightmares about it?’ He nodded hopefully and then said, completely seriously, “It was traumatising.”

“A pencil. A PENCIL,” he said, with growing horror, staring into empty space as if at the horrific vision she had laid before him. He shook his head. “Some people just want society to collapse.”

Isn’t that cool?! From that I’ve learnt that readers like the romance, the humour and the intellectual thoughts about life. I can provide more of that.

Authors, I’d love to see yours if you do this (and make sure to add the quotes to the book’s Goodreads page, as it’s a great way to draw in new readers).

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Behind the book – Audiobook narrator Lauren Ezzo

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter UK Editor Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager |Blogger |Scout |Translators Book charity Copyeditor | Journalist | US Editor  | Scholastic Book Fair Product Manager | MG/YA Author

Last week I interviewed Catherine Doyle, and this week I have another special guest on the blog – the narrator of the audiobook for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Lauren Ezzo. This is my first English-language audiobook (I do have one in German), so I am incredibly excited to listen to my book spoken out loud. I’m anticipating that it’ll be a strange but wonderful experience.

I was given the choice of a few different narrators by HarperCollins, and I chose Lauren because her sample sounded like Romy in my head – she perfectly captured the mix of confidence and naivety that Romy has. If you’d like to listen to Lauren’s version of Romy (and, of course, buy it!), there’s a sample on the Audible page and another on soundcloud here.

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With that, onto the interview!

How did you become an audiobook narrator? Did you do any work experience
or internships?

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In college, I majored in Theatre/English — which was, in retrospect, a pretty great setup! I  was hired for my first title by Brilliance Publishing — a friend of mine from school was working there and happened to know they were hiring new narrators. I went in with copies of ‘Love Wins’, by Rob Bell, ‘Fragile Things’ by Neil Gaiman, and ‘Twilight’ (maybe you’ve heard of that one). The rest is history!

What books have you worked on in the past?

Several!! At this writing, I’ve narrated over a hundred, hooray!! Some favorites or notables include “The Last to See Me”, by M. Dressler, “Rules for Werewolves”, by Kirk Lynn, “The Butterfly Garden”, by Dot Hutchison, “Kill All Happies”, by Rachel Cohn, “The Hundredth Queen” by Emily R. King, and, sincerely, “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”. [All of the books narrated by Lauren on Audible are here]41kblU0-EyL._SL500_.jpg

Ahh, thank you so much! How long does it take to record a book? 

It depends on the title — the general formula I use is about two minutes per page — so for a 300 page book, I’d budget 10ish hours. “Loneliest Girl” was a bit different since many of the ‘chapters’ are so short — less than a page sometimes, so she took about 6 hours!

Do you do it in one sitting?

I do and don’t record all in one sitting — usually I like to work in sort of standard business days — 9ish to 5ish, with breaks and lunch — to keep easy track of my progress and keep things expedient. If I were able to record all in one go, though, I think I would….to stay in storyteller brain for that long would be great for me and the book.

Do you work from home? What kind of equipment do you need?

I do! I have a custom built isolation sound building courtesy of my loving father, and when I do record at home — a la “Loneliest Girl” — that’s where I’ll be! Pared down as simply as possible, all you need to record is a good space, a microphone, an interface (a machine which converts soundwaves captured by the mic into binary for the computer to read), and a computer, and I have all of these — but of course things get a bit more complicated and technical than that.

I also have a lot of filthy tea mugs and cookie crumbs in there, but you don’t really NEED those….

How do you choose voices for characters? Do you take notes in advance of a recording session? 

Ooof, good question. Not enough people ask this one! First I look at my ability. When the text says something to the effect of. ‘ the deepest, rumbliest voice EVER’, I look to see what my version of that can be that will fit the tone of the story — sincere? comic? scary

Secondly, I look to see what my author wants or needs — so, with “Loneliest Girl”, I knew Romy should sound a little like the main protagonist from ‘Hundredth Queen’, since that’s what you (Lauren) listened to!51bpDKF1wKL._SL500_

Then I go to my text — what descriptors am I given? Pitch, accents, even body characteristics– does this character have jowls, or big teeth? Are they painfully shy? And I let all those things sort of percolate in my brain, along with the theme and feel I get from the book.

For Romy, I knew what my base voice was, but I thought it was also important that she’s a little immature — not her personality, but the fact that her adolescence has taken place in isolation. She has no peers to mimic or bounce her thoughts off of, and no adults on which to model her behavior, other than what she sees through her messages and downloaded media.

So I tried to err on the side of youth, enthusiasm, when we first meet her, and then adjusted accordingly as the plot proceeded. There’s also a lot of ‘me’ voice in Romy, since she’s so relateable — a lot of her reactions and syncopations are mine.

J, Loch, and Ness I had fun with — these are all characters whose voices we hear through Romy. Her brain and emotions ‘distort’ them. I wanted Loch and Ness to be a little overdone, overdramatic — Romy’s ideals. And J…without giving too much away, I wanted to sound a bit like the ‘best friend’ — the guy everyone falls in love with.

What is the most difficult part of recording books? (mispronouncing things would
worry me!)

DEFINITELY worrying about pronunciation!! And listeners will nail you every time on that! But there are resources to take care of those things, and they’re usally not a huge issue in the end.

I think for me the most challenging aspects are the same for any collaborative artist — I want the work to be good and intriguing, and for my performance to suit it — not just for me, but for its author, its engineer, its publisher, its listener. Audiobooks are NOT an isolated experience. I’m the voice of a given title, but many, many people get to it before and after I do, and the pressure to deliver, for me at least, can be scary.

What’s your favourite part of your job, and what are you proudest of in your
career? 

Another really good one!!!! My favorite part of my job is that I get PAID MONEY to ACT and READ. Those are my favorite things in the world. If I can ever get paid to nap and eat, we’ll reevaluate, but that’s the best part. These are the things that make me happiest.

What would be your #4dreamprojects

Only 4!?!?! Okay.

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1. Anything Neil Gaiman. Preferably a title he’s written as a gift  to me personally, but really anything of his would do.

2. The “Loneliest Girl” sequel, set after Romy reaches Earth II, chronicling her rise as its first matriarch.

3. A book from my childhood; see below

4. A previously male-narrated classic, a la Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Remains of the Day, Hero’s Journey…the guys get a lot of good ones.

A Loneliest Girl sequel, huh? Well, we’ll see….. 😉

Has being involved in publishing changed how you read books for pleasure? 

Big yes. In the first place, I have less time to do this. In the second, I’ve learned IMMENSE amounts about writing, and what makes effective writing, from all the reading. If you are an author, please, make reading at least some of your work aloud part of your editing process!

I read out loud and it is SO HELPFUL. Especially in later edits, it’s so easy to skim over sentences and reading aloud really catches you up on the clunky things.

What are some of your favourite recent reads from your childhood? 

444357Eeee I love this!! My ‘first’ book was the picture book “Put Me in the Zoo” by Robert Lopshire — the adults in my family had to hide it from me, they got so sick of it.

Other first loves include “Go Dog Go”, The Time-Warp Trio, “His Dark Materials”, Shel Silverstein, “The Hobbit”, “Harry Potter”, numerous Eyewitness books, “The Cricket in Times Square”, “Ender’s Game”, “Walk Two Moons”, “Because of Winn Dixie”, “Belle Prater’s Boy”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, “Pure Dead Magic”, Tamora Pierce, Suzanne Fisher Staples, “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales”, Avi, Magic Treehouse, and really anything if it held still long enough.

Do you have any advice for aspiring narrators? 

Acting classes are esential – I’d say at least a year’s worth, of reputable training, but really
that should be continuing as your career progresses. Invest in a quality microphone
within your budget; no USBs should be visible anywhere. Be courteous and kind to
everyone in the industry you come across — you don’t know who they are or who
they’ve worked with, and they deserve a pleasant interaction at the very least. Listen
to other narrators and industry professionals, and decide what is good for you —
there’s a lot of advice. You don’t have to take it all, and it’s not possible anyway. If
it fits you, that’s the best advice. Also brushing your teeth and McDonald’s hashbrowns get rid of mouth noises in situ.

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Lauren! I learnt a lot from this – and now I kind of want to become a narrator too. 


Lauren Ezzo is a Chicago based audiobook narrator and commercial voice
talent. A Michigan native and Hope College alumna, at this writing she has
narrated over 100 titles for authors including Catherine Ryan Hyde, Adam
Rapp, M. Dressler, Christopher Rice, Kirk Lynn, Lauren James, & Dot
Hutchison.

She has won multiple awards for her narration, including several
“Best of the Year” lists, and several Earphones Awards. In 2016, her
performance of “The Light Fantastic”, by Sarah Combs, co-narrated with
Todd Haberkorn, was named one of AudioFile’s best books of the year. She
was accorded the same honor in 2017 from School Library Journal for her
narration of “To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the
Donner Party”.

In 2018, she was Audie-nominated as part of a full cast of
narrators for Best Original Work, “Nevertheless We Persisted”, performing
two pieces – one of which she authored. She is a proud member of the Audio
Publishers Association, and a lifelong bookworm. Follow her exploits on
Facebook at @laurenezzoaudiobooks, on Twitter at @SingleWithFries, and
on the web at laurenezzo.com!

Behind the book: Middle Grade and Young Adult writer Catherine Doyle

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter UK Editor Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager |Blogger |Scout |Translators Book charity Copyeditor | Journalist | US Editor  | Scholastic Book Fair Product Manager

I am resurrecting an old blog series where I interview different people involved in the publishing industry, behind the scenes of the books. One of my oldest writing friends,

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Cat and me in 2014. We were babies!

Catherine Doyle, has a new book out. Cat and I met because we have the same agent, and got our book deals around the same time – me for The Next Together, and Cat for Vendetta, the first book in her Mafia-based YA romance trilogy.

We were both newbies in the publishing industry, and it was so incredibly reassuring having someone in the same position to me to talk to. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the author I am today without Cat. She’s one of my first and most trusted beta readers.

Cat’s next book The Storm Keeper’s Island is the first in a Middle Grade series, and I am absolutely fascinated by the difference in crossing over to a new audience in a different genre – so I’m bring back this series just so I can be really nosy and ask her lots of questions.


To start, can you tell us a little bit about your books, both YA and MG?

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The YA Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa) is about a seventeen-year-old girl from the Chicago suburbs called Sophie Gracewell, who ends up at the centre of a blood war deep in the Sicilian underworld. When she falls for a mysterious boy in her neighbourhood, she tumbles head first into a dangerous society that holds the untold secrets of both her family’s past and her true identity. It’s a mix of romance, danger and intrigue, with a strong female friendship at its core.

36634765 (1)The Storm Keeper’s Island is the story of eleven-year-old Fionn Boyle, who is sent to stay on the remote island of Arranmore with a grandfather he’s never met, when his mother falls ill one summer. When Fionn sets foot on the island, an ancient magic begins to stir, and he soon finds himself at the heart of a race to become the island’s next champion – a Storm Keeper who can wield the elements of earth, wind, water and fire. But the island isn’t the only one who has been waiting for Fionn. Deep beneath the jagged cliffs or Arranmore, an ancient enemy has been waiting too. It is up to him to ensure she doesn’t rise again and wreak havoc on the world. It’s a story about adventure and family, memory and magic, and a wild, untameable sea.

Was writing a middle grade novel different from writing a Young Adult novel? Which was easier? Which do you prefer?

I didn’t find the process of writing these stories all that different – I was still focusing on character development and plot progression and trying to keep the chapters as pacey as possible. I think I prefer writing Fionn’s story because it is replete with possibility. As an author, there is just something undeniably fun about creating your own system of wild magic, and letting your imagination run riot with it.

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A YA Shot 2015 panel with Cat and Lucy Saxon on Tragic Romance in YA

Do you think there are any topics that are ‘off limits’ for MG? Is there anything that younger readers can’t handle?

Children are intelligent and curious and empathetic. They live in the same world that we do, and see and hear much more than we might think. I would say very few topics are ‘off limits’ provided they are handled with care and sensitivity, and an awareness of the age of the reader.

Do you think there is a trend for magical MG at the moment? What is so special about this type of book? What do you hope to see happen in Children’s publishing in the future?

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Magical middle grade novels have always been popular, and I can certainly see why. There’s something very freeing and exciting about stories that leap into the unknown, that stretch your imagination to its limits and look at the world through a slightly sparklier lens. They’ve always been my favourite kinds of stories.

I would love to see even more stories that have been inspired by different cultures, and in particular, magical stories that play on the myths and legends of the countries in which they’re set. Rick Riordan’s new publishing imprint seems to be focusing on this – and I can’t wait to read the books he’s championing this year. My next read is Aru Sha and The End Of Time.

Where do you see your writing going in the future? Do you want to carry on writing MG?

For now, my heart is definitely in Middle Grade Fiction. In fact, it’s still on Fionn’s island – and it will be there for another three books at least!

What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?34219873

As a child, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia, Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter – anything with a sweeping adventure and a whole lot of magic!

My favourite recent children’s books include Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, the Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, and the Knights of the Borrowed Dark series by Dave Rudden. I’ve also just read and loved both The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.33832945

What are you proudest of in your career?

Selling the book of my heart to Bloomsbury and watching it set sail into the world.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into publishing?

Be brave, be resilient and remember – the true magic is in the editing, not the first draft!

As someone who has written YA books set in the US, your MG shifts to an island off the coast of Ireland. Was this intentional?

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I had been wanting to write a book closer to home for some time, but it took a while for the right story to materialise. The Storm Keeper’s Island is set on Arranmore, the island where my grandparents were born, grew up and fell in love. It’s inspired by Irish myths and legends as well as the real-life daring sea rescues of my great grandfather, so it is grounded in an authentic personal and cultural background, which makes it feel particularly special to me.

 

 

 

tumblr_nglmz6PdiF1tjvbzjo1_1280.pngCat and me as members of One Direction with Alice Oseman, Melinda Salisbury and Sara Barnard, as drawn by Alice.


Catherine Doyle grew up in the West of Ireland. She holds a first-class BA in Psychology and a first-class MA in Publishing. She is the author of the Young Adult Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa), which is often described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. It was inspired by her love of modern cinema. Her debut Middle Grade novel, The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury, 2018), is an adventure story about family, bravery and self-discovery. It is set on the magical island of Arranmore, where her grandparents grew up, and is inspired by her ancestors’ real life daring sea rescues.

Aside from more conventional interests in movies, running and travelling, Catherine also enjoys writing about herself in the third-person

Twitter | Website

Trailer for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is out on July 3rd with Harperteen, and they made me a little trailer…. [swoons]

A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twist

The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….

Now nominated as a YALSA Quick Pick!

First Chapter  Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble | WHSmith | Hive | Audible

You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.


In other news:

The  Wall Street Journal reviewed it:

Romy Silvers is 16 years old, haunted by memories and utterly alone. In Lauren James’s gripping romantic sci-fi thriller “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe” (HarperTeen, 303 pages, $17.99), she’s the sole surviving passenger—and now commander—of a spacecraft hurtling toward a remote, habitable planet with the mission of founding a colony.

Born on the ship, Romy has no experience of other people than what she remembers of her parents and what she can see of life on Earth from movies and TV shows stored in the ship’s computer. A tech genius, Romy is also surprisingly normal: She writes fan fiction starring characters from her favorite TV series and corresponds at great intervals (because of her distance from Earth) with her therapist. When Romy learns that another ship is coming, one with superior technology that will allow it to overhaul her before she reaches the planet, she’s thrilled and relieved: She won’t have to settle Earth II on her own. Better still, the commander of the approaching vessel, “J,” is young, charming, communicative—and lonely too. As news comes of catastrophic war on Earth and NASA severs contact with Romy, she finds herself drawn yet more deeply into a relationship of trust and love (and momentary lust) with a compelling stranger who seems to have an uncanny feel for her deeper thoughts and desires.

Warning sirens may not yet be going off in Romy’s spaceship, but they will be blaring in the minds of readers age 13 and older, and rightly so. As a psychological drama, “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe” is a good read with several shocking twists. It’s even sharper as an extended metaphor for certain risky realities of modern adolescence. Teens who feel isolated are often tempted to seek solace in online relationships; they are wise to remember that a stranger who seems warm and genuine may have dark motives and ominous intent.

 

So did Kirkus and Bustle (who also think that The Last Beginning should be made into a film (I mean….same)).

Title reveal – The Quiet at the End of the World!

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My next book, The Quiet at the End of the World, is about Lowrie and Shen, the youngest people alive in a time after humans go infertile. They have grown up knowing that they are going to watch their species face extinction, and spend their time exploring the crumbling remains of civilisation, treasure-hunting for things their ancestors have left behind – objects like the ones in the pictures.

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It took a long time to decide on a title for this book, but in the end we settled on The Quiet at the End of the World because that’s what the book is about – the time after the apocalypse, when there’s no hope, and nothing to do but wait and try to enjoy life at the end of the world (also, let’s be honest – I just wanted a longer title than The Loneliest Girl in the Universe).

I love post-apocalyptic novels, but they are always very grimdark – depressing and tragic. I wanted to subvert that trope and write a kind of soft apocalypse, with an uplifting look at humanity and kindness in the small community that would result from a large population loss (it’s a very English kind of village, and book).

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I read Station Eleven a few years ago, and really came away from that novel with a sense of just how much there still is to live for when you’ve lost everything. As a reader I feel like there are so many stories that hadn’t been told in that kind of setting – after the angst of the apocalypse, when you’re not necessarily trying to rebuild the world but live a good, happy life in the time you have left. So as a writer, I didn’t want to write a dystopia full of villains and evil governments (there’s enough of that in real life). I just wanted to write about humanity in isolation.

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I wanted to tell a story about how vulnerable life is, when the human race is an endangered species on the brink of extinction. And how easily the smallest thing could push it over the edge.

What do you do? If you know you’re the last of your kind, and nothing you do matters or will be remembered once you’re gone. How can you spend your days in harmony, when you know that every hour represents the thousands of years of human civilisation behind you? With those generations looking over your shoulder, are you ever truly yourself, or are you just the culmination of their decisions? How can you be an individual without looking ahead or behind you? Should you even try? Those are the questions that Lowrie and Shen are asking each other in The Quiet at the End of the World.

It’s out in Early 2019 (date to be confirmed) and I’ll be revealing the cover in a few months. I really can’t wait for you to meet my childhood best friends and their robot pal Mitch. You’re going to love them all.

(Also, this photoshoot took like a solid week, I had to keep giving up and coming back to it. All of the objects are family heirlooms and/or things found in our 1850s cottage when we renovated it. I love treasure-hunting and I’m thrilled I was allowed to write about it!)


The Quiet at the End of the World will be published in the UK and Australia with Walker Books in March 2019.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Tumblr tag

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Lowrie and Shen – character casting


In other news:

Here are some of my recent blog posts, which you might have missed:

10 graphic novels recommendations

My last newsletter

Books for fans of The Last Beginning

BOOKS I’D RECOMMEND TO MY LGBT MAIN CHARACTER

Ladies Characters studying STEM in YA

CWAYB - Lauren JamesI am very excited to announce that I’ve written an article for the 2019 Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook! The new edition comes out in July, and my section is on writing LGBT+ characters in children’s fiction. If you’re a writer, check it out. I learnt so much from the yearbook that I had struggled to understand about the quirks of the publication industry, and it’s a massive boon if you’re just getting started.

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Final copies of the American edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe are here! This is out on July 3rd.

First Chapter  Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble | WHSmith | Hive | Audible

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Spotted: my books auf Deutsch in Vienna’s buchhandlung Frick! I signed some copies if you’d like to buy one. I got to see my books in Prague too and it NEVER gets old. It’s one of the coolest parts of being an author. 💖

Books for fans of The Last Beginning

The Last Beginning comes out in America today! I’d really appreciate you buying it, or asking your local bookshop/library to stock it, if you’re in the USA. Word of mouth can make a massive difference, and it’s really important to get LGBT YA books in the reach of teenagers.

I know a lot of you will have already read the book, so I wanted to share some other books which you might like if you enjoyed The Last Beginning.

Time travel books

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

A team of time travel specialists go to the past to try to stop the Coventry blitz. Of course, things go wrong, and are made both better and worse by the interference with time – just like in The Last Beginning.

 

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Clove and Ella are lovers separated by time, just like the star-crossed duo in this romance novel. Sad and romantic in equal measure, this is a classic for anyone who wants a good time travel fix.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I read this when I was six, so it firmly lit the flames of my love for time travel which was later fanned by Doctor Who and Back to the Future (see below!). I love the rules of time travel in the Harry Potter universe, which sees past selves appearing before you ever decide to time travel – quite similar to how it works in my books!

 

Funny science fiction

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Last Beginning is (supposed to be, and hopefully is) funny, and a big inspiration for that is one of my all time favourite science fiction novels, which is hilarious. My book is nowhere near this funny, but I’ve got to have something to work towards, right?

Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor

Based on the TV series, and even funnier in my opinion (there are a lot of sly asides by the narrator you miss in the programme), this is about a bunch of useless misfits on a spaceship, one of which is an evolved cat. There’s also a sassy AI called Holly who Spart would really like.

B^F: The Novelization Of The Feature Film by Ryan North

As I said above, Back to the Future was an early favourite of mine when I was little. For a book connected to it, you need to read this account of reading the novelisation of the film Back to the Future, by comedian Ryan North. It’s on kindle here. I’ve read it at least seven times, which is for sure more times than I have ever seen the film it is tangentially based on. It just makes me cry with laughter every time, and is the funniest thing I’ve ever read, by far. It’s not only hilarious, and a great lesson in gentle parody, but it’s also a really interesting analysis of writing for (and about) teenagers.

If you’re not convinced (I don’t blame you), here’s an extract:

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Books about a precocious teenager genuis

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is an adopted bookworm who can do maths in her head – just like Clove! They would definitely be friends.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis is ridiculously clever and unafraid to take risks to get what he wants. He’s also very scientific, even in a world of fairies and magic.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua

Clove studies computer programming with her mum and dad, who are scientists at the University of St Andrews. This graphic novel is a look at the lives of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, who invented an early computer. It shows an alternative twist to their history in which they use the computer to have adventures! If you loved Spart and Clove’s banter in The Last Beginning, you’ll adore this.

LGBT characters

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Similar to Firefly, this graphic novel about a team of builders who travel the galaxy restoring ancient planetary ruins from their spaceship. One of them is searching the universe for her lost love. Really beautifully drawn.

Pembroke Park by Michelle Martin

A regency love story between two women, just like Clove and Ella, this is an LGBT Jane Austen.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

This is set in Victorian England, and tells the story of Sue, a thief, and Maud, the noble lady she is trying to rob. Their lives are tied together in unexpected ways, made even more complicated when they fall in love. Full of twists, romance and betrayal, I promise you that once you start this story you won’t be able to put it down.


If you’d like to read The Last Beginning, there’s a beautiful hardback edition published by Sky Pony Press, which you can buy here:

Amazon UK | Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles | Barnes & Noble

Hive | iTunes | Kobo | Wordery | WHSmith | Amazon US

You can add the book on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates, or read the prologue on Wattpad.

More extras:

News update!

A lot has been happening recently, so I thought it was about time I posted a bit of an update!

I was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio today talking to Brody Swain about World Book Day! It was my first radio interview and it was incredibly fun – you can listen here from 2hr 12mins!

My US publisher Sky Pony Press have put my short story ANOTHER TOGETHER, about Kate and Matt solving a murder at Bletchley Park, up online. If you’ve been waiting to read this you can now download it for free here!

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Some snazzy book flashcards also arrived from Harperteen featuring The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, as well as their other superstars authors. Very appropriately, my book was chosen for the ‘plot twist’ question.

 

All of which is to say that I have two US publications this year and the publicity is amping up for release! The Last Beginning is out in two weeks, and looks like this:

It was highlighted by Barnes and Noble, which was thrilling. The Loneliest Girl comes out in July! I’m very excited for both.

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I’m absolutely thrilled to be longlisted for the Australian Inky awards, alongside some absolute heavyweights!

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Also, Alice’s new book is going out into the world! If you like Contemporary YA, you need to check out I Was Born For This asap. I blurbed it:  “Alice Oseman was born to write this novel. A dark and funny look what happens when online fandom collides with real life in messy, bittersweet detail. Exposes the reality of being a fan – and being famous – without holding back any punches.”

Since I last blogged, I’ve been hard at work on editing my next book. I’m really excited for this one, which I think is set to be my longest and most ambitious book yet…. I’m cautiously optimistic I’ll pull it off. I’m hoping to do a title reveal soon, but for the eagle-eyed amongst you, you might be able to find a sneak peek of it on a certain book site….. 😉

Most of the time I’m just staring helplessly at notes like this:

 

 

I have a few events coming up –

24 March – The Northern YA Literature Festival: Feminism in YA panel with Katherine Webber, Annabel Pitcher, Matt Killeen – Free tickets available here.

14 April – YA Shot: Privacy, entertainment & technology panel with Kerry Drewery, Laura Steven & Sophie McKenzie  – More information here.

Other things I’ve been doing: making jam, walking and falling in love with Dogs Trust dogs, viewing houses and loving STRIKE. I’ve also started posting every book I read on twitter (January and February)

And that’s all from me! Hope you’re enjoying March, whether you’re somewhere nice and sunny or snowed in like me (please stop before my London trip to see Hamilton this weekend, the Beast from the East).

Lx