Category Archives: Another Together

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

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Special edition of The Last Beginning!

Exciting news! Scholastic Book Clubs have commissioned a special edition of The Last Beginning, which includes the short story set at Bletchley Park ‘Another Together‘ at the end.

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Hello, feels! The gorgeous finale to The Next Together, with an exclusive new short story! Romance plus reincarnation: who said undying love is a myth…? Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Kate and Matt vanished without a trace. Now their secret daughter, Clove, has found out who she really is. She knows she’s got to find her long-lost parents. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? It’s not over for Matt and Kate – and Clove’s own (love) story is just beginning. But does love start at first sight? Or does this story begin at its end?

  • An epic and passionate time-travel love story like no other
  • Includes a totally exclusive short story set at Bletchley Park
  • Sequel to the breakthrough bestseller The Next Together
  • Technology, danger, political intrigue – plus undying love!

I’m so excited that this e-book exclusive short story is finally in print! It’s extra thick and chunky and means that you can have the whole series on your shelves together. THE DREAM.  graphic.PNG

Unfortunately it’s only available through schools, or online if you are connected to a school. You can also discuss setting up a teen book club with your school.

It’s out today, and it’s a limited edition so if you want a copy, don’t wait around! Here are some pictures of the edition, to keep you going (or make you extra jealous if you can’t get  a copy – I’m so sorry!!).

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Just a little bit thicker than the normal edition!

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In other news: There was a Bookseller article about my new book deal! Career goal achieved. My old school also said some nice things about me.

I have a Facebook page now. Like, if you wish.

The Brazilian version of The Next Together is out now! Someone posted this video review about it, which I obviously don’t understand – please don’t tell me if she’s saying lots of horrible things.

I reached 50,000 words on my fourth novel. I think I’m going to do a writing progress update soon, if anyone is interested?

Researching Bletchley Park

Lots of you have already read my short story Another Together and said how much you enjoyed it. Thank you so much! If you want to read it, it’s free on amazon here. On the day it was released, it got to #200 in the Amazon rankings! Wow guys!

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In case you missed it, last week I wrote a blog post about why I decided it was worth releasing a free eBook. It gets into the finances of being an author, so it was very scary to post, but I think there should be more honesty about money in the publishing community.

Today I’m talking about the process of researching the story. As I was writing the story in a gap between other projects, I didn’t have much time, so for a week I dived straight in and immersed myself in everything Bletchley. Here’s what I got up to.

Visiting Bletchley Park

When I was announcing Another Together, I posted a lot of pictures of Bletchley Park. Those were taken during a research trip I took to the park in February, the week before I started writing the story. It’s an hour’s train ride from where I live, and it was a really fun day out.

One of my favourite things about Bletchley were the signs. On every wall were signs warning the workers to keep everything a secret (like they could forget?!) in the form of the classic KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON sign. They were really cool!

The desks of the workers were also very interesting. They’d spent a lot of time gathering authentic artefacts, so they felt as if they’d been abandoned after World War II and left there ever since.

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And here’s a room in Bletchley town where the codebreakers like Kitty and Matthew stayed.

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It really brought everything to life for me, so I could get into the heads of Kitty and Matthew and what life at Bletchley would have been like for them.

The visit was also a nice source of inspiration, as it showed me things I’d never thought about before. For example, in the story, Kitty and Matthew are ice skating on the lake when they discover a corpse.

Kitty crouched down, staring at the ice. All of the colour had drained from her face, which had been a lovely wind-chafed pink.

“There’s a hand,” she said.

“You need a hand?” Matthew carefully skated back to her. “Have you got yourself stuck?”

“No, Matthew. There appears to be a hand. Frozen in the ice.”

That was inspired by this picture, on a display by the lake.

Fictional adaptations 

There are only a few films set at Bletchley, but I watched THE IMITATION GAME with Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley. Whilst I’d heard that some of the representation is slightly problematic, especially in terms of Alan Turing’s story, I thought it was worth watching to get a better picture in my head of the place and clothes. It was filmed at Bletchley, so I think that helped.

I also watched the first episode of the TV series THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE – but it mainly takes place after the women have finished working at Bletchley, so that wasn’t much help!

I read a few non-fiction books by Sinclair McKay, which were also really useful.

First person accounts

When writing The Next Together, the most useful thing by far was the primary sources I found from 1745 and 1854. They really helped me get an idea of real life in those times, and there’s always fun anecodes which I like using.

I read a lot of interviews with people who worked at Bletchley. The best thing I heard during my research was that even after WWII ended, everything that had happened at Bletchley was still a secret. It was classified in case there was another war, so the British would still have access to codebreaking information that other countries didn’t know they had. When it was finally declassified in the seventies, apparently married couples would find out that both of them had worked at Bletchley – and had kept the secret so well afterwards that they hadn’t told their spouse of 30+ years! That kind of dedication to secrecy for King and country is incredible.

Annoyingly, I found out after the story was released that my old form tutor’s mother actually worked at Bletchley Park – and my teacher spent the first 6 years of her life living there! It was a bit too late to ask her to proofread the story for accuracy for me, so I was cursing myself. I’m sure she would have been able to give me some wonderful stories to add!

And that’s it! As always, I underestimated how much work is involved in writing a piece of historical fiction. It’s about 60% research and 40% actual writing! But it’s always, always worth the effect.

This week I’ve been reblogging lots of pictures about Bletchley, so head over to my tumblr to see more, in the tag here.


In other news: On Wednesday I’m going to be part of an amazing panel at Waterstones Birmingham.

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 The schedule for YALC 2016 has been released, and I’m going to be running a workshop with Alice Oseman at 1pm on Saturday 30th July called ‘Creator vs. Fandom: Authors on Social Media’. We got to choose the topic, and I hope we’ve come up with something that we’ll all really be able to sink our teeth into. Alice wrote the perfect summary, so I’m just going to steal hers: “We’ll be talking about how authors and readers behave online, how to avoid internet drama, how to be empathetic and supportive and kind online, and we’ll definitely be discussing some of the most infamous examples of author/reader clashes…. all that sweet tea.”

The Next Together is also going to be the June read for two different book clubs: the YA Shot Book Club (you can join LaChouett and the group here on Goodreads) and the #readUKYA Book Club run by Lucy Powrie, for its inaugural month, alongside THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS. I’m so overjoyed by this, and I’ve already bought my copy of INK AND STARS. Whoo!

To finish, some shameless friend plugs – a month ago I had a ridiculous dream where my mate Sarah wrote a blog post comparing Hamilton songs to YA books (because we have joint custody of an obsession with Hamilton) (and I like telling her what to blog about so I don’t have to). And SHE ONLY WENT AND DID IT! What a hero. Sarah, your next mission: the Hannibal/Hamilton crossover the world needs. (Also, related: I finished my copyedits yesterday and did a Hamilton singalong in celebration. #noregrets)

Also:

Yess Cat! You go girl!!

Free e-novella ANOTHER TOGETHER released + a money chat

Happy Thursday! And happy Another Together publication day!

This is a complete 10,000 word (50 page) short story, released on Kindle and eBook. It can be read without having read The Next Together – and it’s free, so you’ve got no excuse not to dive in!

The prologue of The Last Beginning is also included at the end (You’ll get to meet Clove! Eek!).

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I can only express my joy through the purest of forms – the Ron Swanson celebration.

Here’s the blurb:

Another Together_short story_ by Lauren James_publishing 2 June 2016“Perfect for holidays” – Marie Claire

“Are you absolutely certain this is safe?” Matthew Galloway asked.

A short story of intrigue and murder set in the world of The Next Together series.

Winter, 1940: there is a murderer on the loose at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s most daring codebreaking operation against the Nazis. Can two young codebreakers Kitty and Matthew catch the killer?

This standalone short story can be enjoyed by new readers and existing fans of Lauren James’s The Next Together series.

Goodreads | Amazon Kindle  | Kobo | iTunes

It’s also out on iTunes, Kobo etc, and it’s available on various Amazons around the world – check your country to see if it’s up. Here’s some sites where I’ve found it so far: Amazon US | Amazon ANZ | Amazon DE 

Here’s some extras:

I can’t wait to see what you guys think! Look out over the next month for some more Behind the Scenes stuff too – including a blog post by the cover designer Jack, competitions to win signed copies and more!


And, if I can just have a moment of soppiness – I just want to talk a bit about what today means to me personally as an author. As of right now, June 2016, I have been a full time writer for exactly two years. I’ve written three novels and a novella in that time, done countless public speaking events and published my debut novel. It’s been a busy time.

I was lucky enough to get a book deal while I was at university, so I graduated aged 21 with a job  – kind of. I still couldn’t believe being a writer was an option for me, so I called it a ‘gap year’ at first, to justify why I was taking the risk. Everything you read tells you that for a new author in the 21st century, it’s not possible to support yourself by writing. And it isn’t. Not at first.

I was in a very privileged position by having the family backing that let me take that gamble. (Mainly because my parents let me live at home. I could definitely NOT be an author without them. Thanks mum and dad!) But I made very little money that first year – far below minimum wage.

For a while, I thought that being an author wasn’t possible for me, at this time in my life. The finances just weren’t going to work out. Unless you’re a bestseller (which I am definitely not), I didn’t think it was possible to make enough money to live on by writing. I resigned myself to getting a job after my ‘gap year’ was over. But….somehow, it has worked out.

Last year I got an Arts Council grant which kept me going while my debut was published. (I owe Arts Council England a life debt. No joke.) This year, when I resigned myself once again to having to get a ‘real’ job, I got more funding just when I needed it (but more on that soon, hopefully!).

So as I enter my third year of writing full time, I am very, very grateful. Every year I still get to do this, I feel unbelievably lucky. It’s the best gift. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this forever sustainably, or whether in a few years I’ll have to get another job and write in my spare time – which would be near impossible, seeing as I work way-more-than-full-time now, but I’d try and make it work.

But I do know that, for now, writing is the best and greatest gift I have ever been given. I’m paid to do what I love. I write things I’ve dreamt up in my head and people pay to read them. It’s impossibly wonderful and I still feel like I’ve tricked someone into giving me this life.

This eBook, written and released for free, is a present to say thank you for that, with all my heart. You, the people who support my writing by buying my books (and at the last count there’s something like 10,000 of you – that’s 37 people a day!), are the ones that make that happen.

And, just as a reminder – if you can’t afford to buy my books, please don’t pirate them. Please borrow them from a library instead. 

It’s so painful to see links to download my book illegally, and it really does impact an author’s career. It’s free to use libraries, and in the UK authors get paid approximately the same amount if you borrow a book as if you buy it. Public Lending Rights are 7.7 pence per library loan, and royalties are usually around 10% per copy purchased – in paperback that’s 7.9 pence. 

Finally, if you enjoy reading Another Together, the best way to thank an author, always, is to leave them a review. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. It all helps. Thank you. ❤

I really hope you enjoy Katherine and Matthew’s latest adventure.

L xx