Join the climate scavenger hunt

My new book, Green Rising, is a climate thriller inspired by movements like Extinction Rebellion. I wanted to write about teenage activists who have the power to make real, decisive change in the climate crisis. It’s something which makes us all feel incredibly helpless, and climate fiction is often a depressing, dystopian look at our doomed future. I wanted to write a more optimistic, hopeful path forward to a better world, with clear instructions about what we should be doing next to fix the planet.

When I was writing Green Rising, I became really passionate about doing something about climate change – but I didn’t know how to actually help make a difference! So much of the climate crisis is beyond our control as individuals. Change relies on large corporations making changes to the status quo. But there are some things we can all do to help – most importantly, to start conversations about climate change and raise awareness of how urgent the situation is.

People tend to bury their head in the sand about climate change, because it often feels so hopeless. But it’s important that we’re all aware of the politics and ethics of climate solutions, because they’re going to determine the course of the next hundred years on Earth.

I challenge you to do something from my list below, and use it to talk to someone – whether it’s with your family, employer or educational institution – about how they can make a difference.

I can’t wait to see how many points you can get and all the actions you might take!

Pledge not to mow your lawn (10 POINTS)

Make space for insects by letting plants like daisies and white clover grow. These will produce nectar and habitats for pollinators, frogs and small mammals. If you feel self-conscious about leaving your lawn ‘messy’, then try to mow a border around the outside or a path through the middle. Avoid using pesticides too. Find out more here.

Go on a charity shop clothes hunt (10 POINTS)

Disposable, cheap fashion pieces are a major contributor towards wasted energy. If you buy new clothing, it’s best to invest in long-term, quality pieces that can be worn for many years. Even better, try to buy second hand! Visit your local charity shops to hunt down some new clothes, and post your haul online.

Air dry clothing instead of tumble drying (10 POINTS)

Save energy where you can by letting your new clothes haul air dry instead of tumble-drying them.

Register to Vote (10 POINTS)

It’s important to vote in all political elections you are able to, and make sure your representatives are aware that your vote is based on their climate policy views. If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you can do so here.

Switch to LED lightbulbs (10 POINTS)

Energy efficient LED bulbs can save energy compared to halogen/incandescent bulbs. Get 10 points for every bulb you replace!

Go foraging (20 POINTS)

From mushrooms to blackberries, there are lots of edible foods available in hedgerows and woodlands. Use this calendar to see what’s in season in your area. You can pick up some litter along the way, while collecting wild elderberries or sloes to make homemade cordials and liqueurs.

You can even collect some wildflowers to dry or press. Use flowers to decorate recyclable brown paper, and wrap up a bottle of homemade sloe gin as a personalised, sustainable Christmas or birthday present.

Make a bird bath or wildlife pond (20 POINTS)

Use a shallow, watertight bowl, bin lid or plant tray to make a water source for local wildlife – and wait to see what comes for a dip. Birds, hedgehogs, bees and frogs will be grateful!

Donate old books to a school or charity shop (10 POINTS)

I don’t know about you, but my shelves are filled with books I know I’m not going to read again. Why not make someone’s day by donating them to a local primary school or charity shop? Show off your contribution with a #unhaul post. If you’re a book blogger, showcase the eARCs you’re reading via Netgalley – which all saves on postage and printing of paper proofs!

Build a bird box or insect hotel (20 POINTS)

Use a wooden pallet, broken bricks/plant pots, twigs and leaves to create a structure for insects in a cool place in your garden. If you’re more crafty, you can make a bird box out of recycled materials like plastic drain pipes, paint cans and even old boots.

Decorate your wheelie bin (30 POINTS)

Use your wheelie bin, front window or garden fence to raise awareness of the climate battle by using one of Extinction Rebellion’s downloadable assets. You can make a stencil to use with spray-chalk or emulsion paint, or print out stickers and posters (I’m a big fan of the Declaration of Rebellion). Of course, these are council property so make sure you have permission first. You can even create a mural – paint beautiful art with a climate-based message on a wall!

Distribute outreach materials (30 POINTS)

Go the extra mile by giving your stickers or posters to friends, shops and community centres, encouraging them to showcase their views too. Extinction Rebellion are hosting lots of events this summer to encourage climate activism (check out their calendar here).

Volunteer for Extinction Rebellion (40 POINTS) –

As well as organising marches and protests, Extinction Rebellion are always looking for creative people to help with outreach, from musicians to graphic designers, photographers and social media content creators. Artists can help by making murals, stickering, flyposting, stencilling, chalking, banners and subvertising bus stops or billboards. Find other roles: https://volunteer.extinctionrebellion.uk/roles

Make a change to your diet (30 POINTS)

Whether that means cooking with non-dairy butter, drinking tea with oat milk once a day, or only eating beef once a month, you can incorporate small changes into your routine that will make a difference over the course of a lifetime. Use this guide to see which foods are in-season locally, so you can avoid hot-house produce grown out of season.

Change to a renewable energy utility supplier (30 POINTS)

Many utility suppliers offer a tariff which uses renewable energy sources such as wind or solar energy. Check your supplier’s website to see how to switch – more information can be found here.

Speak out! (10 POINTS)

If you’re nervous of getting caught seed-bombing, you can still help by signing petitions like this one to rewild Britain’s national parks, or write to your local MP to encourage your council to rewild vacant land (check what your council is doing here). You can find government climate petitions here. Extinction Rebellion’s big goal for 2021 is to demand that the UK Government stop all new fossil fuel project investments – every voice will help make that happen!

Speak to your employer/educator (50 POINTS)

If you work in local government or in the private sector, then part of your pension is almost certainly invested in coal, oil and gas companies. Write to the trustee or convenor of the pension scheme to ask them to divest from their harmful default options using a template.

You can also ask for more sustainable practises within companies or institutions, such as only offering beef once a week in canteens, asking for more reusable materials to be used in shipping, or reducing the amount of business trips taken by employees. It’s likely they’ve not considered the harm being done through their actions while working in a business-as-usual fashion. 

If you work in publishing, join Writers Rebel’s campaign for recycled paper to be used in book printing. They’re looking for people to help with editorial support, administrative tasks, investigative research, campaign planning, event organisation and project management.

While writing Green Rising, I founded the Climate Fiction Writers League, an organisation of over a hundred climate writers. I run a biweekly newsletter of essays about climate writing, in order to encourage readers to take action. Talking about climate change to your social media followers, or founding a climate activism group in your workplace, can help make people reconsider their actions.

Good luck on your climate missions, fellow activists! Green Rising is about politics, standing up for what you believe in and taking direct action. But remember: no amount of careful consumption can fix an industry-wide problem. The carbon emissions responsible for climate change are largely caused by industry, and can only be reduced through government action. This fight has to start with policy changes, immediately. So the most important thing you can do is vote, and make sure you know where your money is going – at every level. While magic is fantastical, the ability of humans to fix the climate emergency is not. I believe we can make a difference: and I’m excited to see how you go about it.

-lauren

What type of plant are you – quiz

Hester and Theo by Laya Rose Art

Meet the Characters

Hester is Eiza González

Hester Daleport, age 18, is the heir to Dalex Energy, one of the world’s largest oil companies. She’s privately tutored to prepare for her role as CEO when her dad retires. A business-savvy Texas girl, she doesn’t have many friends her own age – but she loves to bake, has an impressive stock portfolio and collection of business blazers.

Theo is Rahul Kohli

Theodore Carthew, age 17, is the English son of a family of fisherman. He’s dyslexic, loves video games, and works at the local docks unloading shipping containers after school, when he’s not helping out on his dad’s boat. He makes really bad puns, and he absolutely hates Dalex Energy, whose oil rig is destroying his family’s livelihood.

Gabrielle is Ariela Barer

Gabrielle Ventura is the first person to grow plants in Green Rising, she’s a dedicated climate activist, and she’s not afraid to break the law to do what she believes is right. She’s aro-ace, an excellent fighter, and deeply opinionated. Not going to lie, Hester and Theo are a little bit afraid of her.  

Edgar Warren is Andrew Scott

Edgar Warren is a billionaire trying to start a colony on Mars. He’s dorky and tech-savvy, and he’s interested in using the Greenfingers powers in space.

Anthony Daleport is Jason Watkins

Anthony Daleport is Hester’s dad, and the CEO of Dalex Energy. He’s training up Hester to replace him one day. He’s a keen golfer, and meticulously health-focussed, drinking vitamin-packed protein shakes constantly.

Most highlighted book quotes

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.

A couple of my books are discounted on Amazon right now (The Quiet at the End of the World and The Loneliest Girl are £1.89 on Kindle, and £4 in paperback) so I thought I’d share the quotes that were highlighted in my oldest books (The Next Together has been out for six years now!)

The Next Together

  • 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.”
  • Coffee isn’t the only hot thing waiting for you in my office. > Someone hot? What’s Mick doing in your office? (JOKE JOKE I’M ON MY WAY)

The Last Beginning

  • She wasn’t a dazzling lead protagonist in some adventure film. She was the gay best friend.
  • Phosphenes, they were called – the sparks of colour that lit up your vision, the stars that appeared in the darkness.
  • Time travel is like knitting. You have to build on what’s come before, and weave the strands together until it becomes something beautiful.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

  • Some days it’s hard to remember the exciting parts. I get stuck in the memories. It’s hard to focus on the future when the past is so distracting.
  • My life is a gambling chip thrown carelessly across the universe in the hope it’ll land somewhere my descendants can survive.
  • Love takes so much energy, and it just leads to pain. I think it’s probably best for people to be self sufficient. If I was strong enough to be independent, then I wouldn’t be so desperately lonely, I’m sure of it. I just want someone who holds on. Someone who won’t ever let me go, whatever tries to tear us apart. Is that too much to ask?
  • It’s like I’m understanding everything differently now because I’m looking at it from your perspective. I want to see your reaction to everything, from the rare to the commonplace.
  • Things on Earth I want to experience most: Quicksand – how often do you usually get stuck in this stuff? A few times a month? It seems to happen all the time in films!
  • Just remember, J, you’re coping with everything the best way you can, and that’s all that matters. Don’t ever think you aren’t strong.
  • There are so many places on the ship that I avoid because I’m afraid of facing the past. But the past is much less scary than the future. I know what’s already happened; I know how bad it was. I don’t know what’s coming, though.
  • Is no life at all better than the constant fear and fight for survival I face every day?
  • Whatever happens, I can’t see a point in time when I will ever be happy. For the rest of my life, I’ll be struggling. I’m always going to be moments away from sinking completely. So why should I live at all? It would be so easy to stop. But it would be so pointless. Every year I’ve fought to survive would be wasted.

The Quiet at the End of the World

  • When you know that there’s no future, the only thing that’s interesting anymore is the past.
  • People may die and civilisations may fall, but little pieces of the past linger.
  • We live in the quiet at the end of the world. The slow winding-down clockwork motions before life stops completely. Time is slipping through our fingers.
  • Our lives are particles on a riverbed being lost by the waters of time. Here and then gone in a moment. Nothing, in the grand scheme of things.
  • There’s no finish line you need to cross to have lived a worthy life, Lowrie. You don’t need to achieve anything, if you don’t want to.
  • Life is whatever you want it to be. With whoever you want to be with. Life is the people around you, the ones you love. You just need to be happy. That’s all that matters.
  • You don’t remember the perfect things when you think about the people you love. You think of the them things. The little habits or guilty pleasures or secret flaws that only they have. Those are the things that make them unique. Those are the things that make us all human.
  • Maybe that’s what matters. Maybe that’s what being “alive” is. It’s not some trick. There’s no magic chemical that gives something a soul. It’s about being loved and loving in return.
  • Life is the people around you, the ones you love. You just need to be happy. That’s all that matters.
  • I am not human because I have a brain made of cells and water and iron. I am human because I think in the same way that my ancestors thought. I feel like they felt. I live like they lived. However much my world has changed, however different my day-to-day life might be, that much is true.

To celebrate Green Rising, you can take a quiz to find out which plant you would grow – on my Instagram story highlights or on uquiz.

A nice surprise today – The Quiet at the End of the World has been shortlisted for the National Cyber Awards! It’s a very robot-centric book, so this is a delight.

A guide to writing science-based sci-fi

Green Rising is out now!

Competition:

It’s here! I’m so excited for you all to read Green Rising – it’s been a true labour of love. I started out writing the book with a lot of concern about climate change, but not a huge amount of knowledge. As I researched more and more, I went on a real journey to become an activist in a way I didn’t expect. Now, a significant part of my time is spent on climate-related volunteer work – and I’ve become really optimistic about the future as a result. Hopefully some of the propulsion to act which I found comes across in the book, and inspires you too.

Above all, this is a funny and romantic story about some teenagers developing magical powers – enjoy!🌿👋

I wrote an article for Bookbrunch: Positivity in the apocalypse: can a climate fiction novel be uplifting?

From the beginning of my writing career, I’ve wanted to write about climate change – but I could never find a “way in”. It’s such a huge, complex topic that I didn’t know how to tackle it in a way that felt uplifting. My writing is primarily character and story-focused. It’s funny and romantic. That tone felt impossible to capture in a book about climate change, a topic that is discomforting at best and soul-destroying/terrifying at worst.

As well as Green Rising’s release, today is the 6th anniversary of my debut The Next Together! I can’t quite believe it’s been so long. I’ve been lucky enough to have the same team at Walker Books and RCW Literary Agency with me for all 6 novels. A literal DREAM.

What type of plant are you – quiz

Hester and Theo by Laya Rose Art

Meet the Characters

Hester is Eiza González

Hester Daleport, age 18, is the heir to Dalex Energy, one of the world’s largest oil companies. She’s privately tutored to prepare for her role as CEO when her dad retires. A business-savvy Texas girl, she doesn’t have many friends her own age – but she loves to bake, has an impressive stock portfolio and collection of business blazers.

Theo is Rahul Kohli

Theodore Carthew, age 17, is the English son of a family of fisherman. He’s dyslexic, loves video games, and works at the local docks unloading shipping containers after school, when he’s not helping out on his dad’s boat. He makes really bad puns, and he absolutely hates Dalex Energy, whose oil rig is destroying his family’s livelihood.

Gabrielle is Ariela Barer

Gabrielle Ventura is the first person to grow plants in Green Rising, she’s a dedicated climate activist, and she’s not afraid to break the law to do what she believes is right. She’s aro-ace, an excellent fighter, and deeply opinionated. Not going to lie, Hester and Theo are a little bit afraid of her.  

Edgar Warren is Andrew Scott

Edgar Warren is a billionaire trying to start a colony on Mars. He’s dorky and tech-savvy, and he’s interested in using the Greenfingers powers in space.

Anthony Daleport is Jason Watkins

Anthony Daleport is Hester’s dad, and the CEO of Dalex Energy. He’s training up Hester to replace him one day. He’s a keen golfer, and meticulously health-focussed, drinking vitamin-packed protein shakes constantly.

Read Green Rising on Netgalley + panel video

You can now download a sampler including the start of my next novel Green Rising, and request the full novel to review over on Netgalley! It’s only 3 weeks now until release day, and I have some exciting stuff lined up to celebrate. 🙂

Hester and Theo by Laya Rose Art

For YALC, I chaired a panel with Veronica Roth, Jonathan Stroud, Femi Fadugba, Micaiah Johnson and K L Kettle. Watch it here:

I have a few online events/courses coming up in September:

WOWCON WORKSHOP – Over 2 hours I will help you transform your story idea into an elevator pitch, outline & blurb for querying agents, with info on using a synopsis for writing & editing your book. (Sunday 26th September – 12.50 – 3pm, via Zoom)

I wanted to share how I visualised the characters in Green Rising while I was writing.

Theo is Rahul Kohli, Hester is Eiza González

Gabrielle is Ariela Barer, Edgar Warren is Andrew Scott and Anthony Daleport is Jason Watkins

Theodore Carthew, age 17, is the English son of a family of fisherman. He’s dyslexic, loves video games, and works at the local docks unloading shipping containers after school, when he’s not helping out on his dad’s boat. He makes really bad puns, and he absolutely hates Dalex Energy, whose oil rig is destroying his family’s livelihood.

Hester Daleport, age 18, is the heir to Dalex Energy, one of the world’s largest oil companies. She’s privately tutored to prepare for her role as CEO when her dad retires. A business-savvy Texas girl, she doesn’t have many friends her own age – but she loves to bake, has an impressive stock portfolio and collection of business blazers.

Gabrielle Ventura is the first person to grow plants in Green Rising, she’s a dedicated climate activist, and she’s not afraid to break the law to do what she believes is right. She’s aro-ace, an excellent fighter, and deeply opinionated. Not going to lie, Hester and Theo are a little bit afraid of her.

Edgar Warren is a billionaire trying to start a colony on Mars. He’s dorky and tech-savvy, and he’s interested in using the Greenfingers powers in space.

Anthony Daleport is Hester’s dad, and the CEO of Dalex Energy. He’s training up Hester to replace him one day. He’s a keen golfer, and meticulously health-focussed, drinking vitamin-packed protein shakes constantly.

The temperatures are rising, but so are they. One month until the GREEN RISING.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Waterstones | Book Depository | Foyles

I hope you’re all having a lovely summer! It’s my birthday next week and I’m going to be fully vaccinated, so I’m going to a CITY and a MUSEUM and a RESTUARANT for the first time in a 18 months – I’m super excited!

-lauren

Cover reveal for Green Rising

I am super excited to share the cover of Green Rising, my next novel! This was illustrated by Beci Kelly and designed by Chloé Tartinville at Walker Books. It’s being published on 2nd September, which is somehow only 3 months away! The book is about teenagers who can grow plants from their hands, and I love how that’s represented with the tree-hand here (which is going to have beautiful copper foil!)

Hester, the protagonist, is the heir to an oil company, and the factory skyline in the background is a nod to her family’s industry. I can’t wait to see this in person – there are going to be samplers soon with a very cool take on this cover. The book is up for preorder now in all the usual places – please do support it early if you can, as it makes all the difference Especially after this last year, which has been very tough for publishing with bookshops closed.

Here’s the blurb:

Set in a near-future world on the brink of ecological catastrophe, Lauren James’ novel is a gripping, witty and romantic call to arms.

Gabrielle is a climate-change activist who shoots to fame when she becomes the first teenager to display a supernatural ability to grow plants from her skin. Hester is the millionaire daughter of an oil tycoon and the face of the family business. Theo comes from a long line of fishermen, but his parents are struggling to make ends meet.

On the face of it, the three have very little in common. Yet when Hester and Theo join Gabrielle and legions of other teenagers around the world in developing the strange new “Greenfingers” power, it becomes clear that to use their ability for good, they’ll need to learn to work together. But in a time of widespread corruption and greed, there are plenty of profit-hungry organizations who want to use the Greenfingers for their own ends. And not everyone would like to see the Earth saved…

As they navigate first love and family expectations, can the three teenagers pull off the ultimate heist and bring about a green rising?

Mentoring course + CrimeFest Awards shortlisting!

Hey all,

A few nice bits of news – my next WriteMentor course starts next week, and there’s still a place left. If you’re working on a YA novel, you can find out more here.

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker has been shortlisted for the 2021 Crimefest YA award!

I spoke to the Big Kids Book Club podcast about The Deep-Sea Duke and did a ‘day in the life’ story series for the Coventry2021 Instagram account, which you can replay in their highlights. Over on my Patreon, I shared some patron-only posts on screenwriting tips, lockdown guilty pleasures and an essay on writing serialised fiction.

I’m doing an online panel in June for Cymera Festival with some of my Climate Fiction Writers League authors. In the latest issue of the newsletter, there’s a letter for climate-anxious children and a discussion of animal behaviour in writing. I also did a video interview about climate change and Green Rising for Laura Lam’s new youtube series Cyotopia here.

Green Rising now has a blurb! This is out Sept 2nd with Walker Books – hopefully we can do a cover reveal soon (it’s AWESOME).

Set in a near-future world on the brink of ecological catastrophe, Lauren James’ novel is a gripping, witty and romantic call to arms.

Gabrielle is a climate-change activist who shoots to fame when she becomes the first teenager to display a supernatural ability to grow plants from her skin. Hester is the millionaire daughter of an oil tycoon and the face of the family business. Theo comes from a long line of fishermen, but his parents are struggling to make ends meet.

On the face of it, the three have very little in common. Yet when Hester and Theo join Gabrielle and legions of other teenagers around the world in developing the strange new “Greenfingers” power, it becomes clear that to use their ability for good, they’ll need to learn to work together. But in a time of widespread corruption and greed, there are plenty of profit-hungry organizations who want to use the Greenfingers for their own ends. And not everyone would like to see the Earth saved…

As they navigate first love and family expectations, can the three teenagers pull off the ultimate heist and bring about a green rising?

I think that’s all my news! It’s been a ‘head down, keep working’ kind of winter. I’ve written a TV pilot and a screenplay, done the latest round of edits on Green Rising, started writing a new novel and written a proposal for a new project. It’s been a busy time – but I am so excited for this summer of getting out and about again!

lauren x

Filtering the World – Writing craft chat

I’ve been writing professionally for a decade, and one of the things that’s really developed in my technique is that I’m always interpreting the world through writing, 100% of the time. I make dozens of notes on my phone throughout the day, when things I read/see/watch/do/hear remind me of my projects.

This could be anything from a discussion on social media about how someone processed grief, a moment of emotion in fic, a visual framing device in a TV show, a description of food in a recipe book, a song that reminds me of a character’s starting emotional point, a good word or odd way of phrasing a sentiment that comes across as quirky, and literally hundreds of other things. I’m filtering everything that catches my attention at all through the eight or so projects I have on-the-go, until it clicks into place. Almost always, it fits into one of the projects somehow – because that’s why it caught my attention.

Yesterday I was listening to a song on repeat, and stopped to wonder why – and ended up writing 1,000 words of a character’s diary entry. But in the vast majority of cases, I don’t go back and look at those notes for many weeks. When I go back to work on a project, the first thing I do is copy those notes from my phone app over to a Word document, and turn them into the snippets of dialogue or prose I imagined them being useful for. Then I build the story around that framework.

This automatic world-filtering is something I’ve only started doing instinctively in the last few years. I used to have to intentionally ‘seek out’ these moments of resonance, as I started a new project. It was a whole stage in the process, before I could start writing. But I’ve somehow trained my brain to do it automatically, as soon as the project is first concrete in my plans. It’s so, so useful, and I really recommend thinking more consciously about how you process media if you’re a writer – you’ll be thankful you did so, in a decade or so!

(I use Workflowy bullet point lists to record my notes.)

I speak to climate activists and scientists about climate change and Green Rising in an interview here:

Climate change in The Deep-Sea Duke

The Deep-Sea Duke is out now! You can read the first chapter here on Archive of Our Own. (My account there also contains over 70,000 words of deleted scenes and short stories from the worlds of my other novels.) In this interview, I discuss the climate change allegory in the novel.

Tell us about your new book.

The Deep-Sea Duke is a sci-fi novella set on an alien planet. It’s aimed at struggling readers (age 8+). The story follows a pompous amphibian Duke Dorian as he takes his best friends – a living volcano and a servant-class android – to meet his parents.

How does climate change play into the plot?

Dorian’s parents happen to be the monarchs of a water planet (think: space mermaids!), which is currently struggling to find housing for an influx of climate refugees. A race of butterflies have made their planet uninhabitable by burning fossil fuels, so they had to leave the hot planet. Dorian’s parents have to find habitats for them.

What kind of research did you do when writing it?

I read a lot of books about climate change as research for this novella and my upcoming climate thriller, Green Rising. I also subscribed to email newsletters like Heated, Lights Out , and Green Light by The Guardian to make sure I was getting up-to-the-minute climate news.

What approach did you take to talking about complicated topics, either political or scientific, for younger readers?

It’s all about character – as long as readers can see the effects of a difficult topic on someone they care about (whether that’s a human, animal, alien or robot!) then they’ll understand the importance. Empathy is a really powerful force in creating change.

So many of the climate fiction books I read focus on the effect that individuals can have on the planet, with the message that we all need to be more responsible, greener consumers. I wanted to look at how industry and businesses are causing pollution, to make it clear to my young, scared readers that it’s not their responsibility to fix climate change. No amount of careful consumption can fix an industry-wide problem.

What are some of your favourite books about climate change? (fictional or non-fiction!)

The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climateby Naomi Klein

Can you remember when your journey with environmental activism started?

I studied Chemistry and Physics at university, so I’ve been studying the science of climate change for many years. It’s incredibly frustrating that I was taught the science of the greenhouse effect and the proposed solutions over a decade ago, and yet we’re still no further along in fixing it.

Why is it so important for you personally to see the environment discussed in fiction?

I’m most interested in seeing the politics of climate change discussed. Everyone is aware of the science, but I’m not sure that everyone understands the details of oil companies’ campaign of science denial, or the other political events which have slowed down the efforts to counteract climate change.

Can you share a quote from the book that you hope will resonate with readers?

“Climate change, I’m afraid. They’ve been using those motorised penny farthing bicycles for centuries now. It burnt up all the fossil fuels they dug up from the ground. It released chemicals into the air that changed the atmosphere of their planet. It has been raising the temperature for decades, but they just ignored the problem. This summer, the planet got so hot that wild fires started breaking out everywhere. Global warming has turned it into a desert wasteland.”

Dorian winced. “Oh dear. They’ve had to evacuate?”

What message do you want readers to take away from The Deep-Sea Duke?

The carbon emissions responsible for climate change are largely caused by industry, and can only be reduced through government action. However, if you’d like to make lifestyle changes to help limit your individual emissions, here are the most effective changes you can make. Some of these will take many decades to achieve, but long-term societal changes are the only way we can tackle this problem.

  • Vote in all political elections you are able to, and make sure your representatives are aware that your vote is based on their climate policy views
  • Replace garden lawns with wildflower meadows
  • Switch to LED lightbulbs
  • Don’t fly – and pay for carbon offsetting for any flights you are required to take
  • Make sure your savings and pensions schemes are not invested in companies contributing to climate change. Ask your company to divest from their harmful default options
  • Avoid eating beef, and transition to dairy alternatives
  • Buy in-season food, grown locally (avoiding hot-house produce grown out of season)
  • Change to a renewable energy utility supplier
  • Buy electric cars – but only once your current car is absolutely unable to be fixed. Keep current cars on the road for as long as possible, to keep manufacturing emissions low
  • Install solar panels or solar roof tiles
  • Air dry clothing instead of tumble drying
  • Avoid disposable, cheap fashion and invest in long-term, quality pieces that can be worn for many years

And, of course, plant trees wherever you can. They truly are the lungs of our planet. Depleted forests, savannahs, peatlands, mangroves and wetlands have the ability to grow back quickly, but we need to give them the opportunity to do that. 

“Curious and anarchic fun . . . themes around diversity, equality and the environment that are treated in a light touch fashion and without being preachy.” – The Letterbox Project

Cover designed by Helen Crawford-White.

When Hugo and Ada travel to their friend Dorian’s planet for the holidays, android Hugo is anxious about being accepted by Dorian’s powerful family. But when they arrive on Hydrox, there are more pressing things to worry about, as the planet has been overrun by refugee butterflies. Displaced from their home by climate change, the butterflies have been offered sanctuary
by Dorian’s parents, but they’re quickly running out of space. Meanwhile, beneath the seas, a strange creature is wreaking all kinds of havoc …
Can Hugo, Dorian and Ada step in before the crisis gets out of control?

Lauren James dives into a strange new world with a truly imaginative look at the climate crisis in this breathtaking companion to The Starlight Watchmaker.

“Sweet and wholesome and fun to read. Hugo and Dorian’s story is one to pick up when you want something warm and fluffy (and some perfect escapism)” – Sydney on Goodreads

“This was just so wholesome. Dorian and Hugo have the most wonderful relationship and I love them with everything in me. This book was the hug I needed.” – Lis on Goodreads

Introducing The Deep-Sea Duke + reading the first chapter – sci-fi novella publishing 4th Feb!

Read the first chapter here.

Cover designed by Helen Crawford-White.

When Hugo and Ada travel to their friend Dorian’s planet for the holidays, android Hugo is anxious about being accepted by Dorian’s powerful family. But when they arrive on Hydrox, there are more pressing things to worry about, as the planet has been overrun by refugee butterflies. Displaced from their home by climate change, the butterflies have been offered sanctuary
by Dorian’s parents, but they’re quickly running out of space. Meanwhile, beneath the seas, a strange creature is wreaking all kinds of havoc …
Can Hugo, Dorian and Ada step in before the crisis gets out of control?

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 12+, this is a sequel to The Starlight Watchmaker, which was shortlisted for the STEAM Children’s Book Prize 2020 and nominated for the Carnegie medal. The second book in The Watchmaker and the Duke series is a 17,000 word novella which will be published in paperback and eBook by Barrington Stoke on 4th February.

Introducing the Climate Fiction Writers League

I’m very excited to be launching something I’ve been working on for a while now – a database of over fifty internationally published authors writing fiction about climate change.

The Bookseller

My next two novels are climate fiction, and during my research I’ve found a distinct lack of comprehensive resources about other eco-novels. My hope is that the website, climate-fiction.org, will be helpful for teachers and librarians compiling lists of climate fiction, and looking for authors who can speak on environmental topics.

Members include Marcus Sedgwick, Rebecca Roanhorse, Charlie Jane Anders, Cory Doctorow, Laura Lam, James Bradley, Sarah Crossan, S. J. Morden, Emmi Itäranta, Piers Torday and Julie Bertagna, as well as many other authors located in China, Vietnam, Australia, the USA, Canada and Great Britain – explore them all here. If you’re an author writing about climate change, please get in touch to be added to the website.

The site will also include a newsletter released every two weeks of essays about writing and climate activism; interviews with authors of new releases; and a round-up of climate news. Please subscribe if you’d like to be kept up to date – it launches this week with an essay by Marcus Sedgwick and interview with Cara Hoffman. Upcoming topics include ‘How to Build a Solarpunk City’, ‘Connecting with Nature and Rewilding’, ‘Antarctica and environmentalism in fiction’ and ‘Queer people after the apocalypse’.

The League was inspired by a similar writing collective, the Women Writers Suffrage League, formed in 1908 by activists, who said, “A body of writers working for a common cause cannot fail to influence public opinion.”

The Climate Fiction Writers League are a group of authors who believe in the necessity of climate action, immediately and absolutely. Fiction is one of the best ways to inspire passion, empathy and action in readers. Our works raise awareness of climate change, and encourage action at the individual, corporate and government levels.