Author Archives: Lauren James

About Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. 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. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

Story update, mentoring course & more

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An Unauthorised Fan Treatise – new chapter update!

A serialised murder mystery novel set in a fictional fandom, formatted like a shipper’s conspiracy theory.

Start from the beginning >>
Goodreads >>
Support >>

PeerMentor-15

My 15 week course for aspiring YA writers is back! Apply by 24th December for a 13th January start. 1 scholarship place is available, fully funded by WriteMentor.

The first course has been so much fun, with such a diverse mix of writers. They’ve already improved so much and the course isn’t even over yet. I can’t wait to see who applies for the second round.

This is a high pressure course that will require a lot of time. You will be given more editing suggestions than you will know what to do with. This is a course for those who are truly prepared to tear apart every inch of their manuscript to make it better.

More info and apply here.

Two lovely features for The Starlight Watchmaker this week – a review in The Book Curator in Australia, and a nice interview in Gardner’s catalogue! It’s so nice seeing the suport for this book. I think I should probably start thinking about what comes next for Hugo and Dorian!

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I just got my latest royalty statement and my books have now sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe has earnt out its advance with Walker Books! Thank you to everyone who’s bought a copy of one of my books, and helped me get this far. x

 

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Carnegie nomination for The Starlight Watchmaker!

 

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Super exciting news today! The Starlight Watchmaker has been nominated for the Carnegie medal! This is so exciting, especially as nominations come from librarians themselves, who know exactly what teenagers are reading. Congratulations to everyone else on the list!

If you haven’t read it yet, you can still get signed copies in the sale in my shop with code DISCOUNT20

Copy of THANKSGIVING SALE

Plus, ‘An Unauthorised Fan Treatise’ new chapter update!

A serialised murder mystery novel set in a fictional fandom, formatted like a shipper’s conspiracy theory

Start from the beginning >> https://gottiewrites.wordpress.com

Latest chapter (updates weekly!) >> https://gottiewrites.wordpress.com/2019/11/04/chapter-3-robs-social-media-presence 

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Chapters 1 and 2 of An Unauthorised Fan Treatise

Here are the latest updates for An Unauthorised Fan Treatise:

Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Support on Patreon to read the next chapter now too, a week ahead of the general public.


More info:

AN UNAUTHORISED FAN TREATISE (on the nature of the relationship between actors Rob Hennings and Nathan O’Donnell on TV show Loch & Ness, by @gottiewrites)

Gottie is a fangirl for Loch & Ness, a TV show about paranormal detectives. She’s convinced that two of the male actors are secretly dating, and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it. When her online investigations accidentally uncover far more than she expects, she becomes complicit in secrets beyond just a romantic conspiracy theory.

An internet thriller told in a ‘true crime’ style recollection of events, the novel includes social media extracts such as modern Tumblr posts and early-noughties LiveJournal blog entries.

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Upcoming Events

Monthly: Sparks Young Writers classes, Rugby, Years 5-9 – book here

Monthly: WritersHQ writing retreats at Holy Trinity Church, Coventry – details here – Upcoming dates: 23rd Nov

1-2nd Feb 2020: WriteMentor Writing Workshop – Coventry, details here

10-13 April 2020: Eastercon 2020, Birmingham Hilton Metropole Hotel

30th May 2020: Day course in ‘Write the one percent: creating diverse, inclusive fiction’ at University of Cambridge – tickets here

I’m releasing a serialised novel online!

final cover.pngIt’s time for another special announcement! Starting on 14th October, I’m going to be releasing a new chapter of a novel online every Monday until March 2020.

Obsessed with Caroline Calloway? Remember MsScribe, One Direction’s Babygate, the Lorde powerpoint, the Kaylor drama, or Cassandra Clare’s LiveJournal days (see below)? Still miss the Serial podcast? If so, this is the story for you. I’ve channelled my lifetime obsession with weird internet conspiracy theories into creating the ultimate fandom drama.

AN UNAUTHORISED FAN TREATISE (on the nature of the relationship between actors Rob Hennings and Nathan O’Donnell on TV show Loch & Ness, by @gottiewrites)

Gottie is a fangirl for Loch & Ness, a TV show about paranormal detectives. She’s convinced that two of the male actors are secretly dating, and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it. When her online investigations accidentally uncover far more than she expects, she becomes complicit in secrets beyond just a romantic conspiracy theory.

An internet thriller told in a ‘true crime’ style recollection of events, the novel includes social media extracts such as modern Tumblr posts and early-noughties LiveJournal blog entries. 

I wanted to write a story set online because I’ve thirsted for books about internet culture my entire life. I can’t remember a time without the internet. I’m sure there probably was a time I didn’t use the internet (probably around the time Harry Potter first came into my life), but I don’t remember it.

Despite that, books rarely, if ever, talk about life online. There might be occasional references to Facebook, but they don’t actually talk about the internet. At least not as a vital, relationship defining form of communication, the way I use it. My friendships wouldn’t be the same without the internet. The way I speak to people, and the language and topics we cover, are completely different online to the way we talk in real life. The internet has a language all of its own. There are subcultures upon subcultures, stacked together like a Russian doll. This novel is an attempt to explore that in the language of the internet: comments and anonymous asks and forum posts.

All the ‘fandom’ YA books I’ve read are told in prose, and don’t really go into this much investigative detail about what fans get up to online. I think teenagers today, who have grown up with the internet like I did, are incredibly well-versed in this kind of detective work online, and I hardly ever see it in books. It’s a massive skill that a lot of teenagers don’t know they have, and I’d love to see that celebrated more. This kind of internet-based narrative is so fascinating to me because it’s such a unique space to tell stories that have never been told before. So I hope that you like it, or at least find it interesting and refreshing to read!

You can sign up at the bottom of the page of the website to receive email updates of each new chapter, or add it on Goodreads. You can also sign up for my mailing list to receive general book updates (you won’t get each chapter unless you sign up at the website).

Read online 

I wrote the entire first draft of An Unauthorised Fan Treatise over a few weeks last July while my dad was having a triple heart bypass. It was pure comfort writing as a distraction during a very stressful time. I just wanted to write about obsessive fangirls breaking the law (who doesn’t?). My dad is back to full health now, so this is still a really important novel to me.

Because the story is told entirely through social media posts, and so different from my normal novels, I wanted to share it online first before it’s published (I think we’ll have to add in prose sections and more explanations of the ‘internet’ content beforehand). This is my first contemporary YA, and I’m so nervous and excited to be writing in a new genre! Especially one that’s so close to my heart.

If you’re excited for the novel, here’s some of my favourite write-ups of weird events that have happened on the internet. The fan essay is an unappreciated form of artwork that deserves to be more widely shared. Consider this a primer in the narrative potential of the internet, for anyone who hasn’t spent their whole childhood in internet black holes (cannot relate).

Note: these are all looooong. I personally put these on my Kindle and read them as weird bedtime stories, so the second link is to a PDF which you can download if you’d like to do the same.

Second note: You will probably be confused by some of the terminology and events discussed in these essays. That’s because internet culture is fast moving, and sadly, is not very well documented, unlike other periods of history (except by the University of Iowa, who I adore). Treat these documents like primary sources from Ancient Greece, and read them with the expectation you’ll have to pick up certain things as you go along. The fact that internet culture has changed so much in the three decades it has existed is absolutely fascinating to me, and makes these essays all the more interesting. This article is a really good general introduction to obsessive fandom.

10) The Cassandra Clare one (PDF) 2006 – This one is about the YA author from her Harry Potter fandom days, circa 2002 on LiveJournal. A masterclass in detective work

9) That Lorde powerpoint (PDF) 2018 – everyone has seen this one recently, I think, about Lorde’s affair with her producer. A fresh take on the typical fan essay, that’s very visual.

8) The Scott/Tessa secret baby one (PDF) 2013 – A view into the mind of a fan who is convinced the ice skaters are not only in a relationship, but have a child.

7)  Kaylor timeline (PDF) 2015 – a collection of meticulously compiled tumblr posts documenting every interaciton that Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss have ever had. A+ work, here.

6) The real life cult (PDF) 2002 – WHY

5) Caroline Calloway and Natalie Beach 2019 – Still on-going! See here for more.

4)The terrifying Korean stalkers (PDF) 2012– this gives me chills, still.

3) The Dan/Phil one (PDF) 2011 – I really hope the person who researched this now works for the FBI because the level of detail is immense. This is the only youtuber one on this list, but I’m sure there’s a lot more of these kind of essays out there. Happily, Dan and Phil came public as a couple this year!

2) The inevitable One Direction one (PDF) 2014 – I LOVE THIS. (Also worthy of note: 1D’s rainbow bears)

1) The msscribe story (PDF) 2006 – The original. The best. If you read the above Cassandra Claire saga, a lot of the cast involved in that will be familiar to you here. This involves a fan who desperately tried to become friends with Cassandra Clare, and ended up causing a huge rift in the community instead. This literally rewrote my brain and made me the human being I am today. (I am old enough to recognise a lot of the usernames in this story. I wasn’t there in 2001, but I was definitely in the HP fandom a few years after that.) Here’s a sample chapter. It’s like the Serial podcast, in the sheer scale of collaborative investigation going on in real time with readers.

Title reveal!

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Introducing. . . THE RECKLESS AFTERLIFE OF HARRIET STOKER! Coming out on 3rd September 2020 with Walker Books in the UK and Australia, this is my first ever fantasy novel. It’s a big one – it’s currently 110,000 words, which is the longest thing I’ve ever written. It’s 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’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?) I’ve been talking about this project using the code name ‘ghost house’ since 2016, so it’s really odd that it has a title now.

Here’s the official blurb:

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.

 

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker will be published in the UK and Australia by Walker Books on 3rd September 2020.

Subscribe to my mailing list to be notified on release day | Goodreads 

Coventry writing workshop weekend announcement

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On 1st and 2nd February I’m going to be hosting a writing workshop at the Village Hotel in Coventry Business Park with WriteMentor. Here are the details, all on the website:

Cost: £200 for 2 full days or £100 for 1 full day

SAT AM: Workshop One: Writing Diversely – explain the core concepts of diversity in writing, and explain why it is important for writers of all kinds to make their work inclusive, and how to research identities and avoid stereotypes

SAT PM: Workshop Two: Worldbuilding – a group exercise using pictures of real world locations to write a story using their senses to create atmosphere and setting, building out a story from the location

SAT PM: 1-2-1 session with industry professional Miriam Tobin – Miriam Tobin grew up in London and studied English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. She then lived in Barcelona where she worked at the Ella Sher Literary Agency before returning to London to join Rogers, Coleridge and White in 2017. She works closely with Claire Wilson on her eclectic list of children’s authors and with Zoë Waldie on her adult list. She loves discovering new voices and is always on the lookout for quirky stories, distinctive styles and well-drawn characters.

SUN AM: Workshop Three: Working with publishers – the process of submitting to agents and editors, the timeline of editing with a publisher, we will also work on crafting query letters, synopsis and pitches

SUN PM: Workshop Four: Writing with STEM – how to write science fiction based on articles in the news. We will choose a recent news topic based on a scientific subject and use the ideas and concepts to create an engaging story

Inclusive of the following:

Free Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel
Notepad and Pen at each place setting
HUB Sweets
Hub Conference Café:
Unlimited use throughout meeting including full range of Teas, Coffees, Herbal & Fruit Teas
Fully stocked fridge with soft drinks, mineral water and orange juice
Selection of Flapjacks available in morning & Cakes in the afternoon
Fresh fruit available throughout the day
Lunch
Still and Sparkling Mineral Water
Complimentary use of leisure facilities including a state-of-the-art health and fitness club, spa and large pool (via prior arrangement)
Free Car Parking available

Venue: Village Hotel, Dolomite Lane, Coventry Business Park, Coventry CV4 9GZ

Tickets are on sale now!