Category Archives: the last beginning

The aesthetics of The Last Beginning

It’s exactly a month today until The Last Beginning is released….so here’s an aesthetics post! Here’s what you can expect from the book: historical gays, proud parents, knitting, time travel & rivers.

Bonus:

Sources (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) (x)


The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK | Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles  | Hive 

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

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Creator versus Fandom – Authors on Social Media

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At YALC this weekend, I gave a seminar on Social media with the wonderful Alice Oseman. This blog post is adapted from that seminar, for anyone who missed the workshop.

Alice and I have both been using social media since we were kids. However, since we’ve become authors, we’ve noticed a difference between our place online. It’s very different interacting in an online space as an author and as a fan.

The author’s place online is a difficult one to navigate. Often, people love seeing their favourite authors online because they might share small snippets about their favourite characters. But sometimes even this can be received badly. J K Rowling frequently releases canon details about the Harry Potter series, nearly a decade after the release of the books. Fans often react badly to this, as it feels like she’s ‘messing with their childhood’ unnecessarily.

John Green was also accused of being too present in fandom and on social media sites like Tumblr by some of his fans, even though his YouTube channel was where he began his career, and helped launch his books into success. Does the level of interaction authors can have with fans change as authors grow from a debut unknown into a bestseller?

Fandom is a wonderful place for fans to share their love. But how much should the author be involved in this? For example, should authors be involved in the book blogging community, especially in a community that are reviewing their own books?

Understandably, authors can be hurt by bad reviews of their books, which are very personal and important to them. It can be hard for them to see people write negatively about their creations – especially when entering the Goodreads culture, where reviewers posting gif-laden over-exaggerated reviews.

Sometimes authors feel they have the right to defend themselves against reviewers because it’s hard to separate a book from the author, especially for a debut. Sometimes, this leads to authors commenting on reviews of their books, which can be a minor embarrassment for everyone involved. Occasionally it can lead to more extreme reactions.

In 2014, YA author Kathleen Hale stalked a blogger who left negative reviews of her debut. She looked up census reports, paid for a background check and drove to her address to confront her for using a false name online. Kiera Cass and her agent also left nasty anonymous comments on a 1* review on Goodreads in 2012, and called the reviewer a bitch on Twitter.

Obviously these are extreme examples of what not to do, but should authors read reviews at all? Even if it might help improve their writing to read criticism?

As an author, I had to decide months before my book was released whether I was going to read reviews of The Next Together. I found very quickly that positive comments are easily forgotten, but bad reviews are remembered for a long time – even if the good reviews far outnumber the bad. Personally, Alice and I only read reviews that we are tagged in on Twitter – and even then, only positive ones!

But should bloggers tag authors in negative reviews? While it is important for bloggers to remember there’s a real person behind the brand, we should also point out that reviewers do not have a responsibility to try to make sure they don’t hurt an author’s feelings. Reviewers are unpaid and unbiased and reviews are not for authors.

 Authors (should!) understand that their books aren’t for everyone. Authors (should!) encourage reviewing and bloggers – they are huge parts of this community and personally, as authors, Alice and I are very grateful for their hard work.

It should also be noted that the current social media sites we use are all still very new. The rules and social etiquette can vary from site to site, with different interactions expected on Goodreads, Twitter and Tumblr. Goodreads has only been popular for four years. It’s very likely that the way in which we use these sites will develop over time.

People – authors and readers alike – also need to remember that books are pieces of art, and are therefore SUBJECTIVE. There’s no official mark scheme to assess how ‘good’ books are – you can’t really call books good and bad, because there’s too much variety to compare them to.

As author Beth Revis says, “Got [a favourite] book in mind? Now go to Goodreads. Look the book up. Filter the reviews for 1-stars (because I promise you, it does have one stars). And smile. Because if people can rate your favouritest book in the whole world with one star, then of course people can rate your book that way, too.”

Another negative part of the reviewer community is book piracy. I have a google alert set up about my book, and I’m sent at least one link a week to a PDF download of my book. Bloggers often share links to pirated copies of books with their friends without guilt. They see it as growing a fandom for a book, so it’s free publicity for the author.

However, pirating books is different from downloading films, which effect only a big multi-million-pound industry. Book piracy effects only one person – the author. It’s important to remember that an author’s popularity is not a sign of their commercial success. Twitter followers do not equal sales.

Author Maggie Stiefvater has said “If 500 people pirate that book instead of buying it, that could mean the difference between the publisher taking on book 2 in the series or telling her no, the series didn’t do well enough to go on. Pirating can kill a budding career, especially at a smaller publishing house.”

Maggie has said that several of her book series haven’t been continued in some countries as translations because too many people pirate them. The Raven King sold out within the first day of its release, because the publishers didn’t order a large enough print run. They didn’t realise how large the fandom for the Raven Cycle was. Most fans read PDF copies of the books which they’d found on Tumblr. An author’s career is directing impacted by piracy, and can often be cut short because of it.

It should be noted that if you want to read a book and can’t afford it, authors receive the same royalty from a library loan as a book purchase. And libraries are free!

Another big part of fandom is fanfiction. Firstly, we should point out that writing fanfiction is not an inferior creative pursuit. Many authors get their start in fandom and it gives them ‘training’ for later careers – for example, Simon Pegg started out as a Star Trek nerd during his childhood, and went on to act in and write the new film Star Trek Beyond. Lots of USYA authors are writing superhero novels which will be published over the next few years, after starting out as fans of Batman and Superman instead of writers.

Fandom is a very intelligent, creative community. However, the fact that so much creative energy is being put into a subject for free can be taken advantage of. There can sometimes be a manipulative relationship between writers and fandoms.

Cassandra Clare’s career started in the HP fandom in 2001, where she was a Big Name Fan who wrote (often controversial) novel-length fics. Her first novel CITY OF BONES sold 4 years later, and is said to have been reworked from a Draco/Ginny fic. E L James changed the names of a Twilight fic and published it as 50 SHADES OF GREY and Anna Todd changed a One Direction fanfiction and published it under the name AFTER, both to great success.

These fics were written based on collaborative ideas and plots developed collectively in fandom, and built off of existing fics by other authors. A member of the Twilight fandom has said about E L James: “As she posted a new chapter every week. We reviewed every week. As much as she fed us, we fed her with our comments AND suggestions in how far she could or couldn’t take the story.”

 These authors are profiting from things they didn’t personally create, while also taking advantage of the free editing services that members of fandom offer.

There are alternatives for writers looking to develop their skills – Alice put an early draft of Solitaire on a (now-defunct) site called Authonomy, which was a peer review community founded on constructive, kind criticism. This worked extremely well in getting feedback from people interested in helping develop her work. A similar site which is still running is Wattpad – however, this is focussed mainly on reading for fun, instead of feedback.

While directly changing fanfiction into original fiction is a moral grey area – especially as it’s based on an author’s world and characters, as well as taking advantage of fandom – there are other ways in which fanfiction is affecting literature.

Fic is ‘mainstream’ now and is crossing over into published works more and more frequently. People love fan fiction, and are increasingly utilising the ‘fic’ styles, something which is instantly recognisable, in original works – for example, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Fanfiction is becoming a new genre of literature.

It can also be argued that an awareness of fandom tropes making better books. There has been a huge increase in LGBT YA literature since the advent of social media. The demand online for better and more respectful diversity has encouraged more publishers to buy diverse books.

However, sometimes this can be done in a less informed way. The fetishisation of m/m relationships, as it often is in fanfiction, is appearing more and more in mainstream fiction. Does inaccurate representation still count as representation?

There was a huge social media backlash called #buryyourgays this year after the TV show The 100 killed off a much beloved gay character, which led to a drop in views and ratings of the show. Now there’s a huge uproar any time this happens. YA authors have also been called out for killing off gay characters.

People engage critically with the media they consume, and they feel that it’s the author responsibility to educate themselves about these social issues. Long term fandoms can feel especially betrayed by writers – especially if they’re writing about characters which they didn’t create themselves, for example, Joss Whedon’s characterisation of Black Widow in the latest Avengers film, or the whitewashing in Dr Strange and other book-to-film adaptations.

Fandom feels that writers have a debt to fandom to do right by these characters, but this can often be misinterpreted as fan entitlement – especially as there is a vocal minority who make their complaints clear in less careful ways. There is a huge difference between asking Disney to #GiveElsaAGirlfriend and attacking actor Leslie Jones on Twitter over the all-female Ghostbusters reboot.

It is also becoming clear that social justice campaigns by fandoms actually do cause a change in authors’ works. Publishers are now offering BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) internships due to complaints on twitter about the lack of opportunities available for minority candidates in publishing. The We Need Diverse Books campaign now offers scholarships for #ownvoices authors. Publishers do listen!

The book community online can do both good and bad things – but overall it’s a positive force. Our community is on the forefront of change. Things happen more rapidly and collaboratively here than anywhere else. Online communities have power – socially, economically and emotionally.

As authors, Alice and I think it’s our responsibility to listen very carefully to what fandom tells us. YA authors write things which children read, things which can shape their views for life. Fandom is a huge educational resource which can help us to get that right.


In other news:  My upcoming book The Last Beginning was featured in the August issue of Diva Magazine, to my enormous delight.
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It was also in the Bookseller:

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Things are ramping up to release day!

Speaking of TLB, Alice drew my characters Clove and Ella:

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Reblog here

This is based on this section of the book:

ella clove

Alice got it SPOT ON. honestly this has hit me right in the heart! i feel personally attacked by this!!! LOOK AT THEIR DUMB LOVED UP BABY FACES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve got my phone background sorted for life.

Even more excitingly, someone DREW FANART OF ALICE’S FANART. LIKE INCEPTION. FOR A BOOK THAT ISN’T EVEN OUT YET!

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By alwayslostinotherworlds

So basically I’m in heaven. The actual book is out in October, and you can add it on Goodreads here. All you need to know about the plot of The Last Beginning is that my publishers decided to include this on the copyright page: 😈

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In yet more Alice-related news (she’s gr8 back off), I filmed a video with Alice where I give her book recs based on her favourite films! 📽➡📚

Part two will be up next week, where she gives me film recs based on my favourite books. 📚➡📽

I gave some writing advice in this amazing video made with lots of authors at YALC. I also  recommended one (okay, three) perfect summer songs for a Buzzfeed playlist.

The US hardback edition of The Next Together is now up for preorder! It’s out on 4th April – preorder at B&N or Amazon US if you wish. TNT was also spotted recently by some eagle-eyed readers in on Zoella’s shelves. Eek!

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In event news, I’m chairing a panel at again this year! I’m so excited to talk sci fi with Kat Ellis and SF Said.

I’m also on a panel at Waterstones Piccadilly with Non Pratt, Holly Bourne and Harriet Reuter Hapgood on September 1st. Tickets here. (I interviewed Non here about her new and amazing book UNBOXED!)

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Okay, phew! That’s it for this week, folks!

Cover reveal for The Last Beginning and SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

It’s time! I can finally share the cover for my second novel, The Last Beginning. Thank you to Maximum Pop!littlebookwormig, the.literary.omnivore, prettybooks, sarahlikesbooks, pollyandbooks, mynovelexperience, living.in.the.library, tilly-and-her-books and nikkireads for helping me do this reveal. You’re all stars. ❤

I’m not going to keep you waiting any longer. HERE IT IS.

The Last Beginning by Lauren James_publishing October 2016

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ The Next Together series about true love and reincarnation.

A love that transcends time. A secret that could destroy the future.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find them. 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? And who is the mysterious Ella and why does she keep appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be published in Fall 2017 in the USA by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK | Book Depository | Goodreads 

If you would like to review The Last Beginning, you can request a review copy here. You can also subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

Some links with more information:

Isn’t it glorious?! Isn’t it the perfect companion to The Next Together?! Here they are side by side, so you can picture them on your shelves…

SO PRETTY. SO, SO PRETTY.

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Ella is on the left and Clove is on the right. Clove is wearing a special suit which is relevant to the story!!

I also have to share this tweet.

That’s a tweet from Alice Oseman back in September of last year, when we were sketching dream covers for our books. Look at mine. Now, look at the real thing . . .

Whaaat! The designer, the lovely Jack Noel at Walker, has never seen my drawing. That is pure chance. This cover was meant to be. And isn’t it beautiful?!?

(Thank god he’s better at drawing than me, though. My attempt was very terrible.)

Finally, I promised you guys a special announcement today, alongside the new cover. I’ve been posting clues about it all week, and 8 of you correctly guess what it was (congratulations, you clever sleuths! You can officially call yourselves my biggest fans. (I mean, only if you want…..no pressure.))

Lots of people have asked me why Kate and Matt talked a lot about one of their other past lives in The Next Together, where they stopped a murder at Bletchley Park. That story isn’t part of the book, but lots of you (including my editor!) were absolutely desperate to know what happened. And I listened. So …..

I’m going to be releasing a short novella about Katherine and Matthew, set at Bletchley Park during World War II. It’s coming out on 2nd June on Kindle and all other eBook providers, and it’s going to be free.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Bletchley Park in England was the secret location of a code-breaking team during World War II. The mathematicians and scientists worked to break the code which the Germans used to send each other messages, and when they cracked it, they significantly helped the Allies to win the war. With the messages they decoded, the Allies learnt details of upcoming German  tactics, and managed to work against them.

It was the topic of the 2014 film The Imitation Game, where Benedict Cumberbatch played Alan Turing, the scientist who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code.

I had so much fun visiting Bletchley Park and researching this story, where Kate (known in this story as Kitty) and Matthew work at Station X at Bletchley.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

And here’s the cover (I know! SURPRISE DOUBLE COVER REVEAL! MWAHAHAHAHA. I feel like Beyoncé, dropping a surprise album.)

Another Together_short story_ by Lauren James_publishing 2 June 2016

Again, Jack has completely overpassed my greatest expectations with this. It’s so stunning that I think I’m going to have to print out a real copy just so I can have it on paper to match the books.

And if you were wondering what the clues all meant, here’s your answer:

Clue 1 – A codebreaker’s desk at Bletchley Park, with a sneaky copy of TNT.

Clue 2 – A dispatch worker’s motorcycle which was used to take decoded Nazi messages back and forth from Bletchley to Winston Churchill and other military leaders in London.

Clue 3 – One of the huts at Bletchley Park

Clue 4 – The lake and mansion at Bletchley Park

Clue 5 – A machine used to decode messages written with the Enigma machine

Clue 6 – Documents and signs from Bletchley Park

Clue 7 – The Bombe machine and a Wren operator cracking the Enigma Code.

Did you guess it? If so, congratulations!

You can add Another Together on Goodreads, and I will let you know when it’s available to preorder on Amazon and other eBook providers in the UK, Ireland and Australia / New Zealand. The eBook will also contain the first chapter of The Last Beginning, so hopefully this will tide you over until my second book is released (138 days!).

ENJOY, GUYS.

Finally, because I can’t stop staring at them together, here’s the whole, complete, series:

I WROTE A WHOLE SERIES, GUYS. A WHOLE S E R I E S. !!!!

Competition + The Last Beginning cover reveal!

The cover of The Last Beginning is being revealed THIS TIME NEXT WEEK by some lovely Instagram and Tumblr bloggers. Whaaat!!

If that isn’t enough, there’s also going to be a VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT by the folks over at Maximum Pop! alongside the cover. Here’s a clue to what it’s about……do you have any guesses?

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Clue #1

 

 

I’ll be posting more clues between now and Friday on my instagram and tumblr – anyone who guesses correctly what the announcement is will be sent a signed bookmark! I’ll update this post with the new clues too, if you would rather revisit this page.

Here’s Clue 2!

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Clue 3!

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No one has got it quite right yet…. 🙊 Any ideas? If you’re feeling confused, don’t worry – the clues will get more obvious as the week goes on.
You might want to go back and reread TNT looking for hints…

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Clue number 4! We’ve already have a winner – the lovely @rachel_starkidx messaged me privately guessing the announcement. Congratulations Rachel!
Anyone else who guesses it right can still win a signed bookmark though – only 3 more clues left before Friday…..

Clue 5:

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Clue 6:

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FINAL CLUE. This is your last day to win a signed bookmark by guessing my super exciting super secret announcement about The Next Together. It’s going to be revealed on Maximum Pop! at 8pm tomorrow, along with the (amazing!) cover of The Last Beginning.
You’ve had 7 clues, and yesterday 4 people got it right, so I want to see you guys going wild with suggestions in the comment section down here. 👇👇👇👇👇👇

If you really have no ideas, here’s the answer in hangman.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _

Leave a letter in the comments and I’ll update it over the course of today and tomorrow.

CATCH YOU TOMORROW WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND COVER!!! 🙆🙆

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In other news: Event update!!

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We have lift off!

My second novel The Last Beginning is, as of today, available for preorder! (Amazon UK | Book DepositoryThe release date is 6th October! 179 days to go!!

Here’s the blurb:

imageThe epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. 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? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

I’M GETTING GOOSEBUMPS? It’s so amazing! And so, so gay!!

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We tried really, really hard to write a blurb that didn’t spoil anyone who hasn’t read The Next Together yet, so I hope we succeeded!

This is just the PREORDER LINK and I’m freaking out. I’m gonna so mad with joy when the cover is revealed (IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS. SO GOOD.)

If you would like to review The Last Beginning, you can request a review copy here. You can also add the book on Goodreads.

Tumblr tag archive – The Last Beginning (part 2)

The Next Together (part 1) | The Next Together (part 2)  | The Next Together (part 3)| The Next Together (part 4) | The Last Beginning (part 1) | The Last Beginning (part 2) | The Last Beginning (part 3) | Another Together | Another Beginning | The Loneliest Girl in the Universe | The Quiet at the End of the World | Book 5 (ghost house) | Book 6 (loneliest 2) | Book 7 (earth) | Book 8 (fandom) 



chronicintrovert [Alice Oseman] asked: LAUREN AND ALICE FAQ UPDATE. What alignments would all your characters be? (chaotic neutral, lawful evil etc) Which is your favourite to write? Which would you love to write in future? Which is the most boring? (sorry i copied your questions, they were really interesting lol)

I TOTALLY DON’T MIND AT ALL. I will shamelessly always answer my own questions.

What alignments would all your characters be?

Kate – Chaotic Good
Matt – Lawful Good
Tom – Neutral Evil
Lord Somerset – Lawful Neutral
Elizabeth – Neutral Good
and secret upcoming characters:

Clove – True Neutral
Ella – Chaotic Neutral
Spart – Chaotic Good
Romy – Neutral Good
J – Chaotic Evil
Which is your favourite to write?

Definitely any of the chaotic characters. They are so hilariously wild and unpredictable.

Which would you love to write in future?

Lawful Evil. I think the boundary between good and bad, in that grey area between a hero and a villain, is the most interesting.

Which is the most boring?

Mate, Lawful Neutral is so dull. Like, what is even the POINT of you?

#the lauren and alice faqs #claire’s coven #the next together #the last beginning
6TH JUL 2015


just-shower-thoughts: Having a picture of your girlfriend as the lock screen on your phone is the 21st-century equivalent of keeping a locket with her picture in it.

#for some reason this is very #the last beginning
5TH JUL 2015

 


pauldanofanblog: knowing that I’m still in the “early life” section of my hypothetical Wikipedia page is strangely comforting

#laughing SO MUCH #because this is clove #the last beginning
11TH JUN 2015


elizabitchtaylor: basically the best feeling in the world is when you start to get really carried away talking in depth about your weird interests, but the person you’re talking to is actually intrigued rather than bored and they are impressed by how much you know rather than weirded out

#the last beginning #ella
5TH JUN 2015


One of the most amazing things that can happen is finding someone who sees everything you are and won’t let you be anything less. They see the potential of you. They see endless possibilities. And through their eyes, you start to see yourself the same way as someone who matters. As someone who can make a difference in the world. If you’re lucky enough to find this person, never let them go.
— Susan Colasanti, So Much Closer

#the last beginning #my HEART
1ST JUN 2015


kouje: dress for the au you want, not the canon you’re in

#the last beginning
25TH MAY 2015


I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.
— Lemony Snicket

#the last beginning
19TH MAY 2015

 


 


News!
So I got the go ahead from the Powers That Be at Walker Books to tell you the title for my second novel, the sequel to The Next Together.

It’s going to be……

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(Obviously not the final cover….)

I can’t tell you much about it yet, except that it’s another romance set in multiple time periods, this time with a lesbian pairing! Whooo!

You can add it on goodreads and read more about the reason I chose a LGBT protagonist here.

#the last beginning #blog #lgbt ya #lgbt #we need diverse books
8TH MAY 2015


in a room full of art I’d still stare at you
— (via ohlovequotes)

#ella #the last beginning
1ST MAY 2015


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spacezeros: hello there. i drew two characters from my friend lauren-e-james‘s second novel (the sequel to The Next Together which is coming out in September, so damn hyped) ❤

Art by Alice Oseman, reblog here.

here’s the part of the book that @chronicintrovert drew:

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didn’t she GET IT SO GOOD? (also she did this a whole year ago when i was still writing the first draft. I can’t believe this scene stayed precisely the same from first draft to final book, you have NO IDEA how rare that is)

ALICE REDREW THIS!!!!!! AND! I’M! FREAKING! OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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spacezeros: it’s really not very long until The Last Beginning by @laurenjames hits bookshops, so i decided to re-draw a drawing i did AGES AGO of the two leading ladies of lauren’s sequel!!! this book is so pure and gay i love it

Art by Alice Oseman, reblog here.

LOOK AT THEM! LOOK! AT! THEM! They’re so cute and YOUNG and I just want to give them a huge hug. GOD!! ALICE IS SO GOOD TO ME!!!

(Clove is on the left, she’s the protagonist of my new novel The Last Beginning. Ella on the right is her stalker/love interest/ biggest fangirl. THEY’VE MY BABIES AND I CAN’T WAIT TIL THE BOOK IS OUT SO YOU CAN MEET THEM)

 

#the last beginning #HEART EYES #look at theeeeeeeeem #[whines] #BABIES
29TH APR 2015


thelategreatrelicanth: two lady scientists who hav e to kiss eachother for research purposes. they keep kissing and they are collecting so much data.

#the last beginning
23RD APR 2015



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qwantzfeed: this concludes database as renegade cop fan fiction theatre, tune in next week for server that does not respond to ping as korean psychological horror fan fiction theatre

#the last beginning
16TH APR 2015


Someone: Are you okay?
Me, sighing dramatically, holding a hand to my forehead, staring into the distance with suffering eyes, clearly trying to get attention: Why would you assume that I’m not okay?

#Ella #The last beginning
18TH OCT 2015



 

starry-nightengale: Imagine your otp kissing, but it’s like, only 40% actual kissing and 60% giggling.

#this is both #kate and matt #and clove and ella #the next together #the last beginning
17TH OCT 2015



chronicintrovert asked: THAT’S SUCH A HARD QUESTION HOW MEAN. i’ll ask it back at you then lol: What are your top three favourite sentences in The Last Beginning?

[cackles madly] YOU’RE WELCOME.

one.

“Being attracted to neither boys nor close blood relatives, it never occurred to me that he was a babe,” Clove said. “Sorry.”

two.

“The last time you were nearly dying you managed to wander off and escape me.”

“The salad days,” Clove muttered, sighing to herself.

three.

Clove frowned at the bread, feeling attacked, victimised, and still very hungry.

#chronicintrovert #the last beginning #this was really hard because all of my faves are too spoilery #honestly tho i love clove SO MUCH #tlb extracts
4TH OCT 2015


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Alice chronicintrovert and I planned our dream covers for our respective second books. We can all see who is the proper artist here, right? (Me)

#alice #radio silence #the last beginning
23RD SEP 2015

 


hesbusy: people who laugh so hard at their own jokes that they can’t even finish the joke because they’re laughing so hard are my favorite kind of people

#the last beginning
18TH SEP 2015


Anonymous asked: The Next Together was great! I had no idea what to expect as I was reading it, and I loved the ending!! so sweet >-< now I’m looking forward to the Last Beginning even more because I can see how it ties in! 🙂

Oh wow you read that so fast!! I’m really glad you enjoyed it – and I’m SO excited to be able to tell you more about The Last Beginning soon!


negative-pessimist replied to your post “The Next Together was great! I had no idea what to expect as I was…” Make sure you keep your word about TLB BECAUSE I AM WAITING FOR IT LAUREN

#SOON, Rae, #SOON!

#the last beginning
21ST AUG 2015

 


 

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#how e would propose #the last beginning
12TH JUL 2015


 

 


Help I’m addicted to making my characters into mermaids, somebody save me from myself…

LAST ONE, I PROMISE. (but only because I’m going to sleep now)

#the last beginning #ella
9TH JUL 2015


Anonymous asked: How do you take your coffee?
aubernutter-deactivated20170607: Seriously. Very seriously

#Ella #The last beginning
16TH NOV 2015


 


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#Ella and clove #the last beginning
14TH NOV 2015


I’m writing, and I literally just made myself cry because it was so cute and I ship my characters so much it’s literally painful. 

#The Last Beginning #I cannot wait for you all to meet Clove and Ella they are the sweetest! #[wipes away tears of joy]
9TH NOV 2015



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#CLOVE #this is clove #clovecloveclove #the last beginning #she’s got her dad’s hair and her mum’s lips tbh
9TH NOV 2015


 

stellailoveyou: A series of Sad Etsy Boyfriend images

#ella is a sad etsy girlfriend #the last beginning
4TH NOV 2015


sorry: I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I’m right and you’re wrong

#clove #the last beginning
2ND NOV 2015


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I’ve finally finished editing the first half of The Last Beginning in a nightmare trance state that lasted two months and I feel ALIVE. Let the rest flow quickly please and thank you.

okay nobody panic but i just realised i need to hugely change something from the start so i’m back at the beginning again, DESTROY EVERYTHING.

#the last beginning
31ST OCT 2015


tumblr_nxnug8VvO71qf8em3o1_1280#The last beginnING #violets
18TH NOV 2015


missblackstar1678: important otp question: who in your otp holds the other back by the hood of their sweater when they’re about to do something stupid

#matt holds kate back #clove holds ella back #the next together #the last beginning
25TH OCT 2015


Someone: You’re so dramatic!
Me, with a rose between my lips, throwing glitter around, dressed in evening wear during the day, draping myself across a piano: I have no idea what you’re talking about

#Ella #the last beginning
25TH OCT 2015


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teamwork makes the dream work

#the cast of #the last beginning #squad works together #dog aesthetic


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#THIS IS THE ENTIRE PLOT OF #the last beginning #SPOILERS?!
21ST NOV 2015


 

excitedrainbow asked: LAUREN THAT ONION HEADLINE YOU JUST TAGGED WITH THE LAST BEGINNING I MOTHERFUCKING CHOKED?!??!?!?!??

I’m genuinely so upset that you all have to wait a whole YEAR to find out how this relates to The Last Beginning. It’s terrible and indecent and I apologise.

#the last beginning
16TH NOV 2015


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#how clove would propose to ella #the last beginning
1ST DEC 2015


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#spart #The last beginning
15TH DEC 2015


Anonymous asked: RICHARD CASTLE RICHARD CASTLE RICHARD CASTLE I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO HE IS BUT RICHARD CASTLE RICHARD CASTLE RICHARD CASTLE RICHARD CASTLE

Send me one of the following character names, and I’ll give you three paragraphs pertaining to my one of OTPs

Okay I got SO MANY OF THESE so it might take me a while to get through them all…. here’s the first!

Richard Castle: the author’s choice from a fic they have not published yet.

Here’s three paragraphs from chapter 1 of The Last Beginning:

Clove stood up and walked into the bathroom. She drank a glass of water slowly, sipping and savouring each mouthful. She stared at herself in the mirror. Her nondescript face looked back.

However hard she looked, there wasn’t anything that she could see which made her special. She had never expected anything like this to ever happen to her.

She wasn’t a dazzling lead protagonist in some adventure film. She was the gay best friend.

#the last beginning #Anonymous #character meme #tlb extracts
3RD DEC 2015


oswhin: it is my greatest wish to time travel to the future and watch historically inaccurate period dramas about the early 2000s

#The last beginning
1ST DEC 2015


daenerystargayren: being really into history is cooler than being into math or science… someone who likes math and science is called a “math nerd” or a “science geek” but someone who likes history is called a “history buff” because of their strong, sensual arms

#ella #the last beginning
25TH NOV 2015


I sent in the third draft of The Last Beginning!! Sleeping for the next week, while I recover.
#the last beginning #DRIVING TEST NEXT #WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO REST?!?
25TH NOV 2015


finefools: ‘am i right ladies’ is the best way to end any text post am i right ladies

#Ella #The last beginning
23RD NOV 2015


Spock: Captain, this plan violates several Starfleet regulations.
Jim: ✓ read 10:46pm

#clove to ella #the last beginning
19TH NOV 2015

 


wintersoldeirs: important otp christmas question: who has placed mistletoe in every room of the house to get in as many kisses as possible and who is exasperatedly questioning ‘this is the 5th timE TODAY WHERE IS ALL THIS MISTLETOE COMING FROM?’ before sighing and leaning in

#Ella #The last beginning
19TH NOV 2015


 

 



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We have lift off, guys! The Last Beginning is available for preorder! (Amazon UK | Book Depository)

The release date is 6th October! 179 days to go!!

Here’s the blurb:

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. 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? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

I’M GETTING GOOSEBUMPS? It’s so amazing! And so, so gay!!

We tried really, really hard to write a blurb that didn’t spoil anyone who hasn’t read The Next Together yet, so I hope we succeeded!

This is just the PREORDER LINK and I’m freaking out. I’m gonna so mad with joy when the cover is revealed (IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS. SO GOOD.)

If you would like to review The Last Beginning, you can request a review copy here. You can also add the book on Goodreads.

#lgbt #lgbt ya #the last beginning #news
9TH APR 2016


Sign up for review copies of The Last Beginning!
My new book is coming out in 6 months, whaaat!

If you would like to review The Last Beginning, you can request a review copy here.

(UK/Australia only, but if you are an American blogger who would like to review The Next Together, you can sign up to be notified when review copies are available from Sky Pony Press here.)

#the last beginning #blog
7TH APR 2016


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beebunny: Aint nobody fresher than my motherfucken clique

#The last beginning #Ella is the the fabulous rooster
1ST APR 2016


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#The last beginning
1ST MAR 2016



taejira: Forget the Myers-Briggs fucking personality assessment. I am dead tired of hearing if someone is an INFP or an ESLQ or whatever. I want to know if someone is melancholic or choleric. Bring back the four humors. I wanna see “Kaley, 16, phlegmatic” when I go to someone’s blog. Who is with me. Lets make this happen

#ELLA’S JAM #the last beginning
17TH JAN 2016


 

#literally #tom #the last beginning
15TH JAN 2016 SOURCE: KARLURBANINTERNATIONAL 352 NOTES


Anonymous asked: Does the Last beginning have documents in it, like the Next together?
Yeah, it does! Not as many though. There’s about 45 folios, compared to ~70 in TNT.

Here’s a bit of one:

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(I can’t wait for you all to meet Clove and Ella, I really can’t.)

#the last beginning #Anonymous #tlb extracts
8TH JAN 2016

 


Song – Elenore cover by The Turtles

I can’t tell you how long and hard I searched for a female cover of this song. It was worth it.

#the last beginning #clove to ella
7TH JAN 2016

 



TONIGHT: I finish Draft 4 (Draft Last?!?) of The Last Beginning. I’ve got to get cracking, release is only 10 months away!! 🙊

#the last beginning
5TH JAN 2016


 


It’s CHRISTMAS DAY so here’s a meme for you (the best present, as we all know. right?). The Last Beginning in 3 pictures, featuring (left to right) Ella, Kate and Clove. 🎅

#the last beginning #book aesthetic
25TH DEC 2015


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Since the 1930’s, physicists have speculated about the existence of “Wormholes” in the fabric of Space. Wormholes are hypothetical areas of warped Space-Time with great energy that can create tunnels through Space-Time. If traversable, it would allow a traveller to quickly move through great distances in Space and also travel through time. The difficulty lies in keeping the Wormhole open while the traveller makes his journey: If the opening snaps shut, he will never survive to emerge at the other end.

Illustration above shows Goldberg’s idea of Time Travel. We can see a ship entering an enlarged Black Hole and eventually a Wormhole to travel back in time. Time traveller ends up in a parallel Universe. Lining the Wormhole with exotic matter prevents the ship from being crushed by Wormholes’ forces.

For years, scientists believed that the transit was physically impossible. But recent research, especially by the U.S. physicist Kip Thorne, suggests that it could be done using exotic materials capable of withstanding the immense forces involved. Even then, the time machine would be of limited use – for example, you could not return to a time before the Wormhole was created. Using Wormhole technology would also require a society so technologically advanced that it could master and exploit the energy within Black Holes.

Both general-relativity theory and quantum theory appear to offer several possibilities for travelling along what physicists call a “closed, timelike curve,” or a path that cuts through time and space – essentially, a time machine. A Wormhole would allow a ship, for instance, to travel from one point to another faster than the speed of light – sort of. That’s because the ship would arrive at its destination sooner than a beam of light would, by taking a shortcut through Space-Time via the Wormhole. That way, the vehicle doesn’t actually break the rule of the so-called universal speed limit – the speed of light – because the ship never actually travels at a speed faster than light.

#the last beginning
5TH JUN 2016


 

thoodleoo: current emotion: one of those pieces of vase art of achilles wrapped up in a blanket and mourning patroclus, because i too am gay, wrapped in a blanket, and easily provoked into fighting

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honestly the most relatable iliad character

#lmao #did ella write this tumblr post #ella i see you #the last beginning
2ND AUG 2016


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Look what’s in the August issue of Diva magazine, in their Queer Summer Reading List! 👀👀👀

#lgbt #lgbt ya #we need diverse books #the last beginning
29TH JUL 2016



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I’ve just got the page layouts for The Last Beginning and I WISH I could show you some of the graphics without it being a huge spoiler, because they are STUNNING. YOU GUYS, I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL OCTOBER FOR YOU ALL TO READ THIS BOOK!!! ⏩⏩⏩

#the last beginning #LGBT #LGBT YA
2ND JUL 2016


andreis-reaper: If you love her you will take her shopping for medieval weaponry.

#Take ella shopping clove #You gotta #The last beginning
27TH JUN 2016


lesbianstellagibson: when will wes anderson make the lesbian romance filled with muted pastels, delicate typography, and perfect symmetry that my heart yearns for

#the last beginning
7TH JUN 2016


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involuntaryorange: Knitter’s craftspace sign.

#this is everything that #clove #is #the last beginning
5TH JUN 2016


The cover of The Last Beginning is being revealed THIS TIME NEXT WEEK by some lovely Instagram bloggers and @tilly-and-her-books, @pollyandbooks and @prettybooks here on Tumblr.
If that isn’t enough, there’s also going to be a VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT by the folks over at @maximumpop alongside the cover!

Here’s a clue to what it’s about……do you have any guesses? I’ll be posting more clues between now and Friday – anyone who guesses correctly will be sent a signed bookmark!

#the last beginning #the next together #another together
13TH MAY 2016


 

The Last Beginning Cover reveal + Special Announcement
It’s time! I can finally share the cover for my second novel, The Last Beginning. Thank you to Maximum Pop!, littlebookwormig, the.literary.omnivore, prettybooks, sarahlikesbooks, pollyandbooks, mynovelexperience, living.in.the.library, tilly-and-her-books and nikkireads for helping me do this reveal. You’re all stars. ❤

I’m not going to keep you waiting any longer. HERE IT IS.

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The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ The Next Together series about true love and reincarnation.

A love that transcends time. A secret that could destroy the future.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find them. 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? And who is the mysterious Ella and why does she keep appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be published in Fall 2017 in the USA by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK | Book Depository | Goodreads

If you would like to review The Last Beginning, you can request a review copy here. You can also subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

Some links with more information:

Posts about The Last Beginning
Why the sequel to The Next Together has an LGBT protagonist
#novelaesthetics
Meet Clove
Meet Ella
Playlist
Extracts
Isn’t it glorious?! Isn’t it the perfect companion to The Next Together?! Here they are side by side, so you can picture them on your shelves…

SO PRETTY. SO, SO PRETTY.Ella is on the left and Clove is on the right. Clove is wearing a special suit which is relevant to the story!!

I also have to share this tweet.

 

That’s a tweet from Alice Oseman back in September of last year, when we were sketching dream covers for our books. Look at mine. Now, look at the real thing …

Whaaat! The designer, the lovely Jack Noel at Walker, has never seen my drawing. That is pure chance. This cover was meant to be. And isn’t it beautiful?!?

(Thank god he’s better at drawing than me, though. My attempt was very terrible.)

 

Finally, I promised you guys a special announcement today, alongside the new cover. I’ve been posting clues about it all week, and 8 of you correctly guess what it was (congratulations, you clever sleuths! You can officially call yourselves my biggest fans. (I mean, only if you want…..no pressure.))

Lots of people have asked me why Kate and Matt talked a lot about one of their other past lives in The Next Together, where they stopped a murder at Bletchley Park. That story isn’t part of the book, but lots of you (including my editor!) were absolutely desperate to know what happened. And I listened. So …..

I’m going to be releasing a short novella about Katherine and Matthew, set at Bletchley Park during World War II. It’s coming out on 2nd June on Kindle and all other eBook providers, and it’s going to be free.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Bletchley Park in England was the secret location of a code-breaking team during World War II. The mathematicians and scientists worked to break the code which the Germans used to send each other messages, and when they cracked it, they significantly helped the Allies to win the war. With the messages they decoded, the Allies learnt details of upcoming German tactics, and managed to work against them.

It was the topic of the 2014 film The Imitation Game, where Benedict Cumberbatch played Alan Turing, the scientist who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code.

I had so much fun visiting Bletchley Park and researching this story, where Kate (known in this story as Kitty) and Matthew work at Station X at Bletchley.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

And here’s the cover (I know! SURPRISE DOUBLE COVER REVEAL! MWAHAHAHAHA. I feel like Beyoncé, dropping a surprise album.)

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Again, Jack has completely overpassed my greatest expectations with this. It’s so stunning that I think I’m going to have to print out a real copy just so I can have it on paper to match the books.

You can add Another Together on Goodreads, and I will let you know when it’s available to preorder on Amazon and other eBook providers in the UK, Ireland and Australia / New Zealand. The eBook will also contain the first chapter of The Last Beginning, so hopefully this will tide you over until my second book is released (138 days!).

ENJOY, GUYS.

Finally, because I can’t stop staring at them together, here’s the whole, complete, series:
I WROTE A WHOLE SERIES, GUYS. A WHOLE S E R I E S. !!!!

#the last beginning #the next together #another together
20TH MAY 2016


 

 

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#Ella #too thick eyeliner #the last beginning

12TH SEP 2016


In case you somehow missed it, I GOT MY FIRST COPY OF THE LAST BEGINNING.

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Isn’t it stunning? Isn’t it glorious? Isn’t it everything your heart has ever wanted? (Yes.) Only 20 days until its released and in your hands too! (Please buy it. I’m so proud of it.)


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#LMAO #this is Tom!! #the last beginning
22ND AUG 2016

 


You can vote for me in Maximum Pop!’s poll on the best debut of the year (I KNOW.) until 30th September. I’d love it if you did!

I did an interview with What’s On:

1745. A teenage girl of high social status falls for a Scottish servant boy at the height of the Jacobite rebellion in Carlisle. Almost 300 years later, in the aftermath of the Third World War, a couple of university students uncover a devastating government plot and risk their lives to intervene. Katherine and Matthew, Matt and Kate; in The Next Together, two young lovers are destined to be born again and again at key moments in time, repeatedly altering the course of history forever.

With the book’s sequel, The Last Beginning, due for publication in October, Berkswell-based author Lauren James will be appearing at the Big Comfy Literature Festival in Coventry’s FarGo Village next weekend. Along with fellow YA writer Rhian Ivory (The Boy Who Drew The Future), she’ll be speaking on a panel about historical fantasy fiction, taking place at 2.45pm on Sunday 11 September. What’s On spoke to James about the rise of YA novels, writing her first book and the advantages of genre-bending.

“All plots have been written hundreds of times before. There are no new ideas. Combining old plots in new genres, however, can give that twist which makes it feel original,” she said. “The Next Together series is ridiculously every genre, almost. It’s a historical drama, a conspiracy theory thriller, a science-fiction adventure, and plenty more besides. I did that because as a writer, I would get bored by focussing my whole attention (for over a year per book!) on one genre. As a reader, I feel the same. I want to be challenged and read fresh ideas.”

Like The Hunger Games and countless other YA series that have emerged in recent years, The Next Together combines elements of romantic and science-fiction plots, giving it the potential to reach a wider audience, breaking free of the conventions of genres all-too-often divided along gender lines.

“The Last Beginning was born out of an unanswered desire to find realistic females like you usually only find in contemporary fiction in the male dominated genre of SFF,” James explained. “I want to read diverse, fresh and socially conscious stories which represent the reality of the world I live in. It may be aimed at teenagers, but YA is on the cutting edge of fiction, taking risks to do new things which other areas of publishing have never done.”

As young readers begin to forge their identities in a complex and constantly changing society, it’s unsurprising that YA fiction is increasingly tapping into the difficulties they face in navigating this brave new world. Reflecting teenagers’ real-world concerns is a responsibility that James and other YA authors take seriously.

“The YA reading community is so passionate and socially aware, and that demand online for better and more respectful diversity has encouraged more publishers to buy diverse books, meaning that YA books are on the forefront of change – one example being the huge increase in LGBT YA literature in recent years (like my second novel The Last Beginning, which has a lesbian relationship). YA authors write things which children read, things which can shape their views for life. The authors of YA have a huge responsibility to their young readers, and I think being aware of that responsibility creates very well-crafted books. Things happen more rapidly and collaboratively here than anywhere else.”

Nevertheless, The Next Together is far from exclusively focused on the teenage world. As Matthew and Katherine reappear at different periods in time, they’re forced to deal with the horrors of war, spying, foreign correspondence, conspiracy and political division. The book is also peppered with references to an independent Scotland and the UK’s troubled relationship with its European neighbours, apparently drawing on some of the major issues affecting our country today.

“There was a tense time when the Scottish referendum happened, because it was a month or so after the book had officially gone to print. If the result had been different, and Scotland had left the UK in 2015 instead of in the future like in the book, then the politics in TNT would have been out of date before it was ever published! Interestingly, the same thing happened with The Last Beginning – the book is set in 2056, when the UK is separate from the EU and has been at war with them for years. After the book was all completely finished and ready to be printed, Brexit happened! Apparently I’m great at accidentally predicting a lot of British politics!”

Scottish independence and war with Europe isn’t just part of a potential future in The Next Together – James also uses instances of conflict and rebellion in the past to reflect on their potential impact. But despite setting large chunks of her story in bygone centuries, James says that she knew very little about history before she started writing.

“The Next Together includes two storylines set in the past, one in 1745 and one in 1854. I was a student when I started writing as a hobby, so I didn’t want to spend any money on history textbooks. I actually chose the timelines in the book based on which I could research for free, mainly using my university library and primary sources available to access on Google Books. It seemed to work out quite well! I was very naïve when I started writing, and definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was a very frequent visitor of Wikipedia. I spent a lot of time reading old books and diaries and making endless notes. It was definitely worth it though – I hope it adds more realism to the time periods.”

As well as multiple timelines, the book is also set in several different locations, including Carlisle, Nottingham University and a laboratory in an unspecified area of the West Midlands, as well as in war-torn 19th-century Crimea.

“I went to the University of Nottingham and live in the West Midlands, so both of those locations were just shamelessly stolen from my life. In my head I was imaging the CSL building as something similar to Warwick University’s science research facilities outside campus, where I did some research whilst I was at school,” she explained. “Carlisle is the location of the last castle in England to actually come under siege, which I thought was really interesting. It’s almost on the very border of history between medieval and modern warfare. It worked as a great contrast to the futuristic settings of Kate and Matt’s other lives.”

Growing up in Coventry, James made frequent use of the city’s libraries, both for leisure reading and for research. As financial cut-backs bring the library service increasingly under threat, James remains a passionate advocate for the value of local libraries.

“I love and constantly use Coventry Libraries. I read, without hyperbole, every single book in Coundon Library as a kid. I used to get the maximum number of books out on my library card and my mum and dad and brother’s, and bring all fifty of them back a week later for more. The recent and upcoming closures make me unspeakably sad, especially that there are children today who are losing out on that local resource that basically made me the reader and writer I am now.”

It wasn’t long before this early passion for reading sparked an interest in writing her own stories, and James has been working through many of the ideas that would eventually come to fruition in The Next Together since her school days.

“I’ve been thinking about a couple who are reincarnated throughout history since I was about sixteen, and always wrote about them during Creative Writing assignments at school. It stuck with me long enough for me to actually start writing the full novel when I was eighteen and at university, so it’s been with me for a very long time!”

Upon finishing the first draft of her novel at the tender age of 19, James was lucky enough to find an agent and a publisher very quickly, despite not having much of a plan about how to go about finding one! It’s testament to the strength of her ideas that the book was snapped up so enthusiastically without much knowledge of pitching and publishing processes on her part.

“I had absolutely no idea how the publishing industry worked. I think I read one How To article on query letters before writing one and blithely sending it off into the aether! I found an A to Z list of agents and started emailing with the Z’s, because I thought they’d have the least submissions. In the end, I found an agent on W, after I’d emailed only six agencies. It was a very naive way to apply, but I got very lucky – my agent is incredible, and last year she was shortlisted for the Bookseller’s Agent of the Year award! We then submitted to publishers after a whole year of revisions (I was still at university so could only really work on it during the holidays) and within two weeks two publishers had offered! Saying it now, that seems so easy and fast, but at the time it was the most stressful, delirious fortnight of my life. I’ve been through the submission process several times since then, and it does not get any easier.”

Set to arrive in shops on 6 October this year, the sequel to her debut novel, The Last Beginning, will follow the story of Clove, a girl who dreams of travelling through time in a machine being built by her parents. It follows the release of a free e-novella earlier this year, set in the same universe and titled Another Together.

“It’s a duology, so this book will be the end of the series, but who knows what will happen in the future! I’d love to write more books set in this world,” she said. “I have a few other projects coming up, but they haven’t been announced yet, so I can’t say much more than that I’m sticking with science fiction, and focussing on a thriller next.”

Lauren James appears with Rhian Ivory at FarGo Village’s Big Comfy Bookshop on Sunday 11 September at 2.45pm. Her second novel, The Last Beginning, will be released on Thursday 6 October, and is published by Walker Books. For a full line-up and updates on the Big Comfy Literature Festival, visit facebook.com/events/990963024285218.

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I’m obsessed with this picture of my new character Clove from The Last Beginning, drawn by my mate Sarah for my birthday!!! Clove is a grumpy computer programmer who knits to control her hyperactivity. She’s also got a crush on this girl she keeps seeing around campus, as seen sitting behind her…. 👭

Finally – if you’re excited for The Last Beginning, you may just want to subscribe to my blog by email, which you can do on the right hand side of my blog. There’s some exciting things coming up over the few weeks, including some exciting announcements…!

15TH SEP 2016


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I feel a little bit like a period of my life is over. I’ve been working on this duology for 6 years, and it’s finally complete. Here are both books from the first drafts (with different titles) to the finished copies. Good luck, my little series. I put everything I had into you.

#the last beginning
10TH SEP 2016


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More extras:

 

I made a the last beginning aesthetics post for the 6th and it’s so pretty i literally can’t stop staring at it, help me

#the final copies came in today #i can’t wait to get one! #the last beginning
2ND SEP 2016


 

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alwayslostinotherworlds: A study of an @aliceoseman fan art of @Lauren_E_James character in #TheLastBeginning wow that’s a long description! I think her tumblr is #laurenjames

Someone DREW FANART OF ALICE’S FANART. LIKE INCEPTION. FOR A BOOK THAT ISN’T EVEN OUT YET!

#i can’t believe someone’s drawn fanart of the fanart for my book!! #which isn’t even out yet!! #THANK YOU SO MUCH #the last beginning #ella #honestly this is incredible
So basically I’m in heaven. The actual book is out in October, and you can add it on Goodreads here. All you need to know about the plot of The Last Beginning is that my publishers decided to include this on the copyright page: 😈

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14TH AUG 2016


IT’S EXACTLY TWO MONTHS TODAY UNTIL THE LAST BEGINNING COMES OUT!! HAVE AN EXCERPT!!

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#the last beginning
6TH AUG 2016


katkinkat: i wish i could say “?????????” in real life it would be very useful

#matthew #in #the last beginning
3RD AUG 2016



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It’s midnight, which means The Last Beginning is OFFICIALLY RELEASED. It’s out in the world! Go and buy it and love it!! To celebrate, today @charliesmissen helped me make a cover cake! Each tier is a one of the rings of the cover. There’s even the silhouettes of Clove & Ella on the light blue ring, circles with letters ‘K’, ’M’ and ‘C’ inside on the red ring and stars on the dark blue ring. The cakes are carrot and coffee cake. And it’s DELICIOUS. Great British Bake Off has got nothing on us, yo. 🎂

#the last beginning #the great british bake off #baking
6TH OCT 2016


Anonymous asked: are kate and matt even in the last beginning? because you dont talk about them

Of course they are! They’re in it LOTS. I’ve just talked about them a lot in the past, so I’m focusing on my new characters Clove and Ella this time around.

Here’s a snippet of them, to prove how very much in-the-book they are, though:

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#the last beginning #Anonymous
5TH OCT 2016


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spacezeros: the first of two graphics i made for my amazing friend Lauren James @laurenjames‘s release of her second novel, The Last Beginning, a lesbian time-travel story, on October 6th 2016

Art by Alice Oseman, reblog here.

#the last beginning #ALICE SPOILS ME #I love her #this is so good!!!! #help!! #alice
4TH OCT 2016


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spacezeros: the second of two graphics i made for my friend Lauren James @laurenjames​‘s release of her second novel, The Last Beginning, a lesbian time-travel story

Art by Alice Oseman, reblog here.

#!!!!!!!!! #GOOD GOD #ALICE #the last beginning
5TH OCT 2016


Countdown to The Last Beginning: 3 days to go! – TITANIC CROSSOVER
Yesterday, I wrote a Disney crossover of my new book.

Clove was walking through the market square one day, running errands for her master, the evil Lord of Tring (who not only paid her minimum wage but also made her fetch all the groceries and sleep with only one eiderdown pillow).

“Do you think I’ll have time to visit Miss Perriwinkle?” she asked Spart, her pony, who trailed along behind her with bags of flour strapped to his back.

You can read the rest here. Today I’m making this second picture by Alice into another AU. (By the way, there’s also some art drawn by Alice in the book. I’m not going to post a pic because it’s a spoiler, but it’s on page 267.)

Okay, so this one is a looot more serious. They both look so sad. This is straight out of some indie film, or a really intense fanfiction. Clove looks like she’s just realising that the fact dating thing isn’t working because she’s accidentally fallen in love with Ella. The style really reminds me of Lost in Translation too. Oh! Wait! It’s a Titanic AU. They’ve just found out the ship is sinking! And for maximum angst, it’s clearly POST BREAK UP too. Let’s get those tears flowing.

Clove had known that Elenore was also travelling on board the Titanic. She’d known for over a year, ever since their parents had bragged together about having secured tickets on its maiden voyage. That didn’t make the sight of her any less painful. She was following her mother up the gangway, parasol over one shoulder and skirts lifted to avoid the puddles. Their servants trailed behind, dragging a trolley of leather suitcases.

When Elenore caught sight of Clove, standing on the docks with the breath knocked out of her in surprise, she stopped in her tracks.

Elenore’s eyes ran across her face. She opened her mouth to speak. Then her mother turned and said, “Come along, Ella.”

She blinked once, twice, and then turned away from Clove, her jaw tight. When she followed her mother onto the Titanic, Elenore didn’t look back at Clove even once.

It had been over a month since they had broken up, and it still felt like Clove’s heart had been torn out of her chest every time she thought of her. Every time she remembered how things had been once, when they’d been in love and Clove had been happier than she’d ever thought possible. But she had to try to move on, just like Elenore had. Their families were emigrating to completely different states in the New World. After the voyage, they would probably never see each other again. Their relationship wasn’t meant to be.

That didn’t stop Clove wanting to spend the rest of her life with Elenore, curled up in front of the fire reading in a peaceful silence (Clove studying the work of Ada Lovelace, while Elenore translated Latin texts), or riding across open countryside side by side, or engaged in any of the other pursuits they had enjoyed for most of their childhood.

She wondered if Elenore had any regret at all for the way they’d left things.

Clove ducked her head, rubbing the back of her neck, and vowed to put all thoughts of Elenore out of her mind.

Only one week, she told herself, as she followed her parents on board the Titanic. Only one week on this ship, and she’d never have to see Elenore again. And it was the largest ship in the world, after all. What were the chances they’d bump into one another?

*

The next time she saw Elenore, four days later, she was standing at the bow of the ship. The first thought that crossed Clove’s mind was: she’s wearing the scarf I knitted for her. The second thought was: I am totally, and utterly lost.

It was past eleven at night, but Clove had been desperate for some fresh air. It seemed Elenore had had the same thought. She was framed by stars and the boiling waves of the sea below, her curls glowed golden in the moonlight, and her cream dress swept across deck in an elegant curve. She was absolutely wonderfully stunning. And Clove was still as in love with her as ever.

Clove took a step backwards, trying to slip away before Elenore saw her, but she knocked a life jacket off its hook. It looked to Clove like it fell in slow motion.

When it crashed to the floor, Elenore span around.

“Clove,” she said, the words an exhale.

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“Ella.” Clove nodded tightly at her, and paused, unsure whether she should leave. There was something that looked a lot like longing in Ella’s eyes. “I hope your parents are well?” she asked finally.
“Very well.” Elenore looked at the ground.“Alfie is very much enjoying the voyage so far,” she added.

“I miss him,” Clove said. Alfred was her younger brother. They had played croquet with him all summer, before things had been broken forever.

“He misses you too.” Elenore looked away. “Clove, I-”

Elenore stopped speaking as abruptly, the floor beneath their feet seemed to shudder. An earthquake, Clove thought lightning-fast, before remembering they were on a ship.

“What was that?” Elenore said. She leant over the handrail, looking down at the sea far below them. “Oh! Clove, look!”

Clove walked to her side and peered overboard, breathing deeply to try and still her heartbeat. She wasn’t sure if it was racing because of surprise, or because of Elenore’s arm touching hers.

“Is that-”

“An iceberg!” Elenore said.

It was enormous, white and blue with frost. It was rapidly disappearing in the wake of the Titanic, but smaller shards of ice surrounding it made it clear what had happened: there had been a collision. The Titanic had hit an iceberg.

“Do you think it caused any damage?” Clove asked, worried suddenly. Everyone made a huge fuss about how robust the Titanic was, saying that it was like no ship that had come before it, but the iceberg was enormous. It had been large enough for the ship to shudder noticeably when they had collided.

Elenore bit her lip, frowning. “I hope not.”

Clove shivered, suddenly aware of the ice cold air around them. Just the thought of the sea below them was enough to make her freeze. “Let’s go inside,” she said. “I’m sure it was nothing.”

*

Two hours later, Elenore and Clove clung to each other in the ocean, gasping for breath. Clove fought to think above the ice cold sting of the water. It felt like daggers, digging into every inch of her body.

“Ella,” she said, and pulled her closer. “I can’t- it’s-”

Elenore sobbed. “It won’t be long. The lifeboats will pick us up soon, I promise.”

Clove didn’t want to say that she thought the boats probably weren’t going to come back for them. The crew had been too scared to risk their boats being overturned.

“I love you,” she said instead, wiping strands of hair away from Elenore’s face – strands which were already turning to ice. “I wish we’d never decided to end things. It wasted the last time we had together.”

Elenore kissed her, cupping her face calmly. Below them, their legs kicked violently to keep them afloat. Clove kissed her back, even though her lips were so numb that she could barely feel the touch.

When they parted, Elenore was crying. “I’m going to love you for the rest of my life, Clove Sutcliffe,” she said. Her voice was determined. “And I’m not letting that end just yet.”

Elenore wrapped her arm around Clove’s waist, tugging her with her as she swam towards the lifeboats, distant lights in the pitch blackness.

“We won’t make it,” Clove gasped, kicking her legs as much as she could. She felt dizzy with weakness, and so cold that her heart was slowing. “It’s too far.”

“We don’t have to,” Elenore said, and grabbed onto a piece of wood floating in the water, one of the last remnants of the Titanic. She pushed Clove onto the debris, and climbed on after her.

“Big enough for both of us,” she said, gasping. She was trembling.

Clove pulled her closer, wrapping her arms around her. She pressed her lips to her ear.

“It’s going to be all right,” Clove said, her voice hoarse. “It’s going to be all right.”

*

Every year for the rest of their lives, on the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Clove and Elenore would remember. Quiet and sombre, they would spend the day on the beach at the end of their garden, staring out at the deceptive calm of the ocean. Then they would return to their family and try not to think, for another year, of all the ways they’d nearly lost each other.

The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press. Amazon UK | Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles | Hive You can add the book onGoodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates, or read the prologue on Wattpad. More extras:

#titanic #the last beginning
3RD OCT 2016


Disney crossover!
Three days until my second book is out!! Amazon orders are being wrapped up and shipped out as we speak!!

For the release of The Next Together, I posted the book as a series of different genres, which you can read here. So for the next two days I’m doing something similar for The Last Beginning, inspired by two drawings of my characters Clove and Ella done by the lovely Alice Oseman. Both drawings are of the same scene in the book, but the styles are so different that they look like they are alternate universe versions of Clove and Ella’s story. So, obviously, I’ve got to write them.

Bring on the crossovers! Today’s picture looks really storybook and cute, so at first I was thinking about making this an Enid Blyton Famous Five fic.
But I changed my mind. This is unquestionably an Disney AU. These two are straight out of the first gay Disney animated feature. They’re clearly plotting to overthrow a terrible villain (voiced by Jeremy Irons).

Clove was walking through the market square one day, running errands for her master, the evil Lord of Tring (who not only paid her minimum wage but also made her fetch all the groceries and sleep with only one eiderdown pillow).

“Do you think I’ll have time to visit Miss Perriwinkle?” she asked Spart, her pony, who trailed along behind her with bags of flour strapped to his back.

“Probably not,” he intoned miserably. “There’s a lot of traffic on the crossroads, you might be late home.”

Clove looked over to the far side of the square, where three carts were at a standstill. One of them was overturned, with apples spilling across the ground.

“Ugh, this town’s infrastructure is the worst,” Clove said. “You’d think the evil Lord of Tring would install traffic lights so there were less collisions. Anyway, I think I’ll be fine. You can get past them.”

“It’s your funeral,” Spart said, and huffed a sigh so strong that it sent her hair flying in all directions.

“I want to borrow some more books,” Clove said. “I’m stuck on a transfiguration spell and I think Miss Perriwinkle has another ‘How to … for Dummies’ which might help.”

“One of these days the evil Lord will find out you’re training with the local hedgewitch and there’ll be hell to pay. He’ll probably make you wash up by hand instead of using the magic dishwasher.”

“It’ll be worth it,” Clove said decidedly. “Magic is my way out of here, Spart. One day I’ll work out how to open the locket that they found me with at the orphanage, and it’ll tell me who I really am. I’ll help me find my real parents and escape this awful, awful place, where there are only three temperature settings on the showers and no bubble teashops. I’ll see the whole world, every shimmering, splendid inch of it. 🎶 Somewhere out there, I just know that waiting for me, there’s a bright and dazzling place, full of people who love me, like my heart says- 🎶”

Just as she was building up to a crescendo, several voices said “STOP HER!” at the top of their lungs. She broke off, thinking for a second that they were talking about her solo.

Then she caught sight of a girl, running at full speed across the market square from the direction of the overturned carts, her wide skirts lifted in both hands. She knocked over the baker with his basket of pastries and galloped through a whole border of flowers who trilled out their disapproval, turning from pink to an angry red.

“Who on earth is that?” Clove asked, stunned. The girl was being chased by three of the evil Lord of Tring’s guards.

“Trouble,” Spart said, and bent his head to pluck a dandelion from the cracks between the cobblestones, chewing on it thoughtfully.

The girl swerved around a farmer herding half a dozen sheep to the barbers. She was close enough now that Clove could see her panicked expression – all pink cheeks and frowny eyebrows. When she caught sight of Clove, her eyes lit up.

For a second, Clove was flustered – the girl was very pretty, with a mess of blonde hair. It only took her a second to realise that the girl wasn’t looking at Clove at all, but Spart. In a running jump, the girl jumped onto Spart’s back. He spat out a mouthful of yellow dandelion petals and gave a surprised whinny, skipped forward a step or two.

“Hey!” Clove and Spart both said, miffed.

“Hop on if you want your horse back,” the girl hissed, watching the guards navigate the chaos she’d left in her wake. Black ink edging her eyes in the style of the neighbouring country, Clove noticed. They had those kind of luxuries there, not like here in Tring, where you could barely find a decent lip balm. “They’ll catch up any second and I can’t wait for you.”

Clove couldn’t see any other choice. She couldn’t lose Spart – he was her only friend! – and she couldn’t exactly leave this girl to the fate of the guards either, not without knowing what she’d done. She’d seen the state of the evil Lord’s dungeons, and the prisoners only got the stalest croissants, and no cream for their porridge, only milk. Nothing the girl could have done deserved that horrible fate.

She jumped up behind the girl, and within seconds they were galloping across the market square, leaving a trail of angry guards and shopkeepers in their wake.

“Who are you?” Clove gasped, grabbing onto the girl’s shoulders awkwardly as they jolted down the main road and out into the countryside.

“Ella Walker, professional investigator. Pleased to make your acquaintance,” the girl said, reaching around to shake Clove’s hand, then wrapping Clove’s arms more securely around her waist. “Hold on properly – you’re going to fall off.”

“What did you do?” Clove craned around to see if the guards were still following them. Ella made Spart jump a stile into a field, galloping through the corn until they reached the river.

They pulled to a stop. Spart dropped his head, panting. He hadn’t had this much exercise in years. Ella twisted down, dropping to the ground. Tied to a willow tree, bobbing in the water, was a small sailing boat.

“I stole a scroll, nothing important,” Ella said, flicking her hand carelessly. “It was barely worth all that drama.”

Clove dismounted and smoothed down her hair, which had gone a little windswept during their getaway. She found herself looking down, just to check which of her dresses she was wearing. She realised with relief it was the pink one – the nicest of Lady Tring’s old cast-offs. She only gave her silk gowns to Clove when they were a month out of fashion, which was terrible of course, but Clove hoped that Ella hadn’t noticed that.

“What kind of scroll?” she asked.

Ella tucked her skirts into of her undergarments, tied up her hair with a black ribbon and jumped down into the boat. She started unravelling the sail as Clove tried not to look at her bloomers.

“Just the Tring country records,” she said, “Really, nothing major. I think they thought I was after the jewels!”

“Jewels! Why would you want some old records if there were jewels?”

Clove thought that now Ella was safely away from the evil Lord’s guards she could probably leave, but there was something captivating about her. Besides, she told herself, Spart needed a rest. She rubbed his neck reassuringly. “You deserve three carrots, later,” she whispered. He flicked his ear at her, still panting too hard to reply.

“I’ve been asked by King Matthew and Queen Katherine of the neighbouring kingdom to search for the long lost Princess. I’m the only member of court who can speak your language,” Ella said, preening a little proudly as she said it. “But your evil Lord’s evil accountant refused to give up the Tring citizen records without months of paperwork, so I thought ‘Evil bureaucracy isn’t going to stop me!’ and I stole them.”

“Tring is the worst,” Clove agreed. “Did you know the public library only lets you take out books for five days at a time, and then you have to go back and renew them in person?”

“Oh my God,” Ella said, her eyes tight with horror. There was a moment of silence as they both contemplated the foul state of the country. “Anyway, I’ll bring the records back in a day or two if I find no trace of the Princess. It’ll be fine.”

“The Princess? What, the one with the silly name? Princess Anise?” Clove asked, confused. “I thought she was long dead!”

“Oh, no! She’s been missing for years, but they have never given up hope of finding her. The prophecy says that when she’s found, the evil Lord of this land will finally be overthrown, and peace and five-temperature shower settings will rule again. I would tell you about it in a song, but I’ve got a terrible singing voice and no time for a flashback.”

“How on earth are you going to track this princess down?” Clove asked. “She was barely a year old when she fell into Prince Thomas’ potion cauldron and disappeared. She must be my age by now!”

“She had a locket with her when the dreadful accident happened,” Ella said, as she started untying the boat from its mooring. “They are hoping that wherever she was transported to, she still has it.” She jumped into the boat. “Thanks for helping me, by the way. You’re a life-saver, I would never have got away from those guards without you. Look me up if you’re ever in the citadel. I’ll buy you a flaming sea witch.”

A spike of cold had been trickling its way down Clove’s spine as Ella spoke. “What kind of a locket?” she asked, voice cracking with hope. “Did it – did it look anything like this?”

Clove pulled her mysterious locket out from her neckline and held it up for Ella to see.

Ella, who had been pushing the boat away from the bank, looked up. Her eyes widened. She spluttered, tried to grab onto a clump of bulrushes to stop the boat from drifting downstream, and abruptly flailed into the river with an enormous splash.

Clove looked down at the water, and then across at Spart, who was chewing on a stem of cow parsley.

“You should probably go in after her,” he said, glumly. “You’ll never overthrow the evil Lord and regain your throne if she drowns in two inches of water first, and she seems the type.”

Ta da! It was a lot of funny trying to fit in as many of their tropes as possible. If only there was a way to portray the visual gags of Disney films in writing.

Tune in tomorrow to see what kind of AU I make out of this picture of Clove and Ella (or leave your suggestions in the comments!).

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The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK | Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles | Hive

You can add the book onGoodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates, or read the prologue on Wattpad.
2ND OCT 2016


gaymigration: concept: gay characters that live and get gay happy endings

#the last beginning
1ST OCT 2016


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totalgracelessness: I have The Last Beginning. It is mine. I am DEVOURING it. It’s everything I’ve wanted forever – and it’s pulling me out of my current reading slump.

#the last beginning #Grace is my fave and this pic is stunning
1ST OCT 2016


 

Writing an LGBT protagonist

I have something that I guess is an announcement, but I don’t really think of it like that. It’s just something I’ve not mentioned online before. Ever.

My second book, the sequel to The Next Together, which doesn’t have a firm title yet, has an LGBT protagonist. The main character is a lesbian.

I’m not really sure why I’ve not spoken about this before. I think I was just a bit nervous, because I didn’t know what the reaction might be, in general and from people I know. But there has been a lot of talk recently about diversity in fiction – if you’re in any way involved in the YA world you can’t fail to have seen the We Need Diverse Books campaign – so I know that there’s going to a positive reaction from the YA community, at least.

This month my agent read the first draft of my Untitled Mysterious Sequel, and she liked it, and my mum has read it, and was so proud of me that she cried. So I guess I’m ready to talk about it now.

I’ve always had a problem with J K Rowling. I love Harry Potter. I started reading the books when I was 6, was the first person in my class to have read any of them when the first film came out, and I queued up at midnight every release day to get my copies.

I’m a huge fan.

But after the last book was released, J K Rowling announced that Dumbledore was gay. I was 15 at the time, and this was a Huge Deal, both to me and to the rest of the world. I couldn’t think of any other characters in my favourite books who were gay. The only LGBT character I could think of at the time was the bisexual (omnisexual?) Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who.

So, it was great. But the more I thought about it, the more disappointed in J K Rowling I became. Why didn’t she mention it in the books? Why not just have a simple line where Dumbledore referred to Grindelwald as his ex-boyfriend? I couldn’t understand it.

If Dumbledore was gay, and I’d known that when the character first entered my life, at the age of 6 or 11 or even 15, that would have made a huge difference. Everyone in my class at school was reading Harry Potter from the ages of 11- 15. A boy in my class, thinking that he might be gay, would have found the ultimate idol in Dumbledore. He’s a gay man who isn’t defined by his sexuality. As a character it’s one of the least important things about him. (Unlike Captain Jack Harkness, where it’s the most important thing.)

To not only have a story with a gay main character, but one who is involved in complex storylines outside of his sexuality would have been groundbreaking, at least for me, as a teenager growing up in a Harry Potter obsessed secondary school. Can you imagine a boy looking up from his copy of Harry Potter and the Half Bad Prince, and calling another boy gay as an insult, then turning back to read about Dumbledore’s adventures? I can’t.

So I couldn’t understand why J K Rowling didn’t put this in Harry Potter, when she had everyone in the world reading her books. I’ve grown more and more sad about this over the last 7 years.

When I started writing, it was immediately clear to me that I needed to do things with my writing beyond telling a story. The right book can shape a childhood, and if I was going to have even the smallest chance (and honour) of writing that book, I needed to make sure I lived up to the responsibility I was being given.

My first book, The Next Together, started because I used to get furiously angry at tv and films which displayed scientists as geniuses, with bad social skills and enormous intelligences. I’m a scientist (I graduated in 2014 with a Masters degree in Chemistry and Physics) and I am not a genius. Nowhere near. I hated that films made it seem that scientists knew everything, about every subject, and had memorised every textbook in the world. Scientists, in my life, were just ordinary people who might be pretty good at maths or biology, but that was it. They weren’t geniuses.

I was angry about this because I thought the ‘genius scientist’ trope would put off teenagers from studying science, because they didn’t think they were clever enough. I got so furiously angry that when I was 18 I wrote a book with approachable, normal characters who were idiots in a lot of ways, but were also research scientists.

That book evolved a lot, but it eventually turned into The Next Together.

When I began writing The Sequel Without A Name, I knew I wanted to tackle another issue, something that brought out just as much emotion in me (emotion fuels the best writing, I find). I remembered Dumbledore.

I decided to write a character who was gay, and have it be mentioned from the very beginning. I wanted this character to have a sexuality, but I wanted the story to have nothing to do with that. I wanted her to have other character traits, adventures,  and a happy ending with a nice girl.

I wanted to write a role model for the teenage girls who would hopefully read that book one day, for all of them, not just those who had already accepted that they might be a member of the LGBT community.

I made a very intentional decision to write this book as a sequel to a mainstream heterosexual romance, rather than a standalone, because when I started researching other LGBT YA books, I was surprised by how many there were, but how few of them I had seen in bookshops. So I wanted to write a book that would hopefully have more of a chance of getting to it’s audience of teenagers, especially those who were too afraid or confused to search out LGBT books for themselves.

If there’s ever the smallest chance that The Next Together gets read, I want the sequel to make it’s way into libraries and schools and children’s hands too. Fingers crossed it does.

I don’t think I’m writing a groundbreaking book, because we’re lucky enough that there are now enough LGBT books to keep a teenager well read for life. (If you’re looking for somewhere to start, The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is an excellent beginning.)  But I hadn’t mentioned it before, so this is me mentioning it now.

My second novel has an LGBT protagonist, and I’m incredibly proud of that fact. If at least one LGBT teenager reads it and finds themselves the role model that Dumbledore failed to be for people my age (sorry, Dumbles), then I’ll feel like I’ve done something good with my writing. YA writers have the ears of a whole generation, and the huge responsibility that comes along with that. I don’t want anyone to be furiously angry with me in ten years, because I failed to mention in my books that the protagonist of Untitled Book Two has been gay all along.

Authors have a responsibility beyond entertainment, because children read books to learn how the world works, and we have to make sure that the world they read about is as varied and diverse and representative as the real world.

I can’t end this post without saying a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to my agent, Claire Wilson, and my editor, Annalie Grainger, and the whole of Walker Books. When I told everyone that I wanted to write a book with an LGBT protagonist, nobody missed a beat before saying that was a great idea. After some of the stories you hear about publishing, I feel like the luckiest author in the entire world, and I’m so proud to be part of such a wonderful industry. You’re all my heroes.

THE NEXT TOGETHER, a reincarnation romance, comes out in September. You can add it on goodreads, preorder on amazon, or you can subscribe to my mailing list for updates nearer the time here. The sequel is on goodreads here.

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here.