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.

Coventry writing workshop weekend announcement


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
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!

I’m launching a podcast!


Some news! I’m a big fan of writing podcasts, and I’ve been wanting to make one myself for a while. So Lucy Powrie, author of The Paper & Hearts Society and #UKYAchat creator, has teamed up with me to create Dog-Eared Pages, a new literary podcast full of book recommendations and writing advice. Specifically our chat focuses on that weird intersection between classics (Lucy’s area of expertise) and genre fiction (mine).
The first episode is coming on Monday. This time, we’re discussing The Books that Made Us – including The Princess Diaries, Ella Enchanted, North & South, Pride & Prejudice, Shirley, His Dark Materials and Nevermoor.
It’s 55 minutes long and you’ll be able to find it at
New episodes will come out every two weeks. Next up: summer reads!

I’m really excited about this fun new project and if you’re a fan of podcasts too, I hope you join us both. Hopefully by the end of the episodes your book wishlist will be bursting at the seams.

Writing a ‘readable’ novella for Barrington Stoke

When Barrington Stoke approached me about writing an accessible novella for struggling readers, I knew immediately that I wanted to write a science fiction story.

The sci-fi genre can be incredibly hard to get into for new readers. Books tend to be 500+ pages long, with lots of dense science facts and made-up terminology that’s been developed by generations of writers over the year (see: artificial gravity, terraforming, parallel universe, hive mind).

I wanted to write a more readable story that still uses all of my favourite sci-fi elements – there are hints of Binti, Jeeves & Wooster, Starfleet Academy from Star Trek, Saga, Howl’s Moving Castle and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.


This novella is designed to be a jumping-off point to help readers explore the whole canon of sci-fi, hopefully while feeling like there might be a place for them in the genre, after all.

This is nothing like my usual science fiction novels. It’s not based in science at all. There’s not even a human in the story. It’s full of sentient volcanoes, bicycle-riding-butterflies, clockwork birds and golden gears and cogs. I hope that it feels as magical to you as it did to me, while I was writing it. And if you’ve not read much sci-fi before, I hope this encourages you to give the genre a try.

I want to write a sequel set on Dorian’s underwater planet – I have a plot already planned out, so fingers crossed I get chance to write it! Hugo and Dorian’s relationship still has a lot more story to tell.

I want to speak a bit about Barrington Stoke, and the amazing work they do. For their readable books, they work to make sure that sentence structure is chronological and easy to understand, there are plenty of dialogue markers to make the speaker obvious, and there isn’t any complicated formatting.

As an example, there’s one of the (many!) rounds of edits this book went through.


Each word was analysed carefully several times to make sure it was the best choice. At the end, it still feels like my writing voice, which is an incredible feat! I feel really lucky to have been able to work with Barrington Stoke on this

Fancast –

Hugo (voice)  – Eddie Redmayne

Dorian (voice) – Jack Farthing

Ada (voice) – Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Playlist –

Campus//Vampire Weekend

Like Real People Do//Hozier

Death of a Bachelor//Panic! at the Disco

When the Party’s Over//Kina Grannis

Starlight Watchmaker RGB.jpgWealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle – or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door. But when Dorian’s broken time-travel watch leads them to discover a sinister scheme, the pair must reconcile their differences if they are to find the culprit in time.

A wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from YA star Lauren James, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+.

The Starlight Watchmaker is a 20,000 word novella which will be published in paperback and eBook by Barrington Stoke on 16th July 2019. Cover designed by Helen Crawford-White.

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Moodboard about the book