Category Archives: the loneliest girl in the universe

How to make a galaxy cake

For the launch of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Charlie Smissen made the most beautiful galaxy themed cake, with a cut-out Romy figure and a centre bursting with glitter and popping candy. Here’s how she did it:

  1. Make a chocolate cake batter (I recommend this recipe for a dense, moist Guinness Chocolate cake)

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2. Mix sprinkles into the batter and bake as per instructions

3. Ice the cakes together with buttercream

4. Core the centre of both cake in a circle 3 cm wide and tightly pack the centre with glitter/sprinkles/popping candy

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5. Ice both cakes in a crumb layer of buttercream

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6. Roll out black fondant and lay over the cake, smoothing flat on the buttercream

7. Use edible paints in white, purple, pink and blue to swirl galaxy patterns over the black fondant

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8.Make a starburst out of stiff silver card and mount on a stick for the top!

 

cake

Ta da! Isn’t she clever?

Last week the lovely Sanne, from the incredible youtube channel booksandquills, did a little interview with me over on her instagram, so I thought I’d upload it here in case you missed it.

She also made a video about The Loneliest Girl on her channel here:


The Loneliest Girl In The Universe

cover - near finalCan you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

“Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine” ~ The Bookseller 

“Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama.” ~ SFX

 Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the third novel by Lauren James. It is a psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017, and Harperteen in July 2018. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

You can read Chapter 1 here or listen to me read it here. This is the first video of me reading my writing aloud I’ve put online – so I’ve been a little nervous about it! I hope you like it.

Sign up to be notified when the US edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is published and ARC copies are available for request.

If you leave a review of the book on a retail site like Amazon, Waterstones or Barnes & Noble, I will send you a signed, personalised bookplate. Fill out this form to claim your bookplate.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started:

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Meet the characters of The Loneliest Girl

It’s time to meet the characters! As well as explaining who they are, I’m giving pictures of actors who could play them.

A caveat: this is a little different from my other book fancastings for The Next Together and The Last Beginning, because I tried really hard not describe Romy’s appearance in any real detail in the book. I thought that looks would be almost entirely irrelevant to a girl living alone, away from society – and I wanted to allow the reader to feel as much like they were Romy themselves without excluding anyone by describing her in a specific way.

Because of that, this is less how I personally picture her and the other characters, and more an example of how I’d like a future film to potentially be cast. But please imagine the characters in any way you wish while reading the book – in this case, it really is up to you.

Commander Romy Silvers – Alia Shawkat

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Romy has a lot of pressure placed on her to complete her mission, and even though she sometimes struggles with the responsibility, ultimately, she always does what is right. She has to be played by someone who can express a lot of subtle nuance in their expressions, and look very vulnerable.

Commander J Shoreditch – ? 

Romy and J communicate via email, so she doesn’t know what he looks like, and neither does the reader – so I don’t think it’s fair to cast him just yet.

Dr Molly Simmons – Hattie Morahan

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Molly is Romy’s therapist, and sends her voice messages guiding her through calming exercises from Earth. I loved Hattie in Sense & Sensibility and I think she would portray a very reassuring Molly. (Also, I’ve just realised she looks very like my agent Claire, who is a calming, reassuring voice on the phone in my own life. This is probably not a coincidence.)

Dr Talia Silvers – Lesley Sharp

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Romy’s mum is a complicated, intelligent character, and I think Lesley could really pull her off. I love the episode of Doctor Who she was in, Midnight.

Romy’s Dad – Ricky Whittle

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I recently watched (and adored) American Gods, and as soon as I saw Shadow I was like “that’s him! that’s Romy’s dad!”. He’s a soft, gentle giant, who makes Romy feel safe and protected. He has a sweet tooth and loves arts and crafts. Ricky is still a little young, but in a few years he’ll be exactly the right age, I think. Pay attention, Hollywood. 😉

Jayden Ness – Alfie Enoch

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Not technically a character, but Jayden Ness, a selkie in Romy’s favourite TV show, is such a big part of the book that I had to cast him! He’s also how Romy pictures J for a lot of the time while they’re talking, so even though I’m not going to cast J, this helps picture him a little.

Lyra Loch – Georgia King

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Jayden’s love interest is a feisty feminist banshee called Lyra.

There’s a few other characters in the book, but I don’t want to spoil them by introducing them just yet! I don’t have actors cast for any of them except one, who I picture as Chris Pine. In a few months I might do a more complete list of all the characters.

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The Loneliest Girl In The Universe

cover - near finalCan you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

“Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine” ~ The Bookseller 

“Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama.” ~ SFX

 Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the third novel by Lauren James. It is a psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017, and Harperteen in July 2018. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

You can read Chapter 1 here or listen to me read it here. This is the first video of me reading my writing aloud I’ve put online – so I’ve been a little nervous about it! I hope you like it.

Sign up to be notified when the US edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is published and ARC copies are available for request.

If you leave a review of the book on a retail site like Amazon, Waterstones or Barnes & Noble, I will send you a signed, personalised bookplate. Fill out this form to claim your bookplate.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started:

How to research a book set in space

I always try to make the science in my books as accurate as possible, – the time machine in The Last Beginning is also based on real life research into sub-atomic particles at CERN, like the Large Hadron Collider. For this book, I did a lot of research into space travel and the theory of space travel behind NASA’s equipment. I read a lot of non-fiction about space travel – NASA does a series of free eBooks explaining their science for beginners, so I had a great time diving into them.

More than anything, I think there’s a danger of crossing over into Fantasy instead of Science Fiction if you don’t base your technology in solid scientific concepts, and there’s never been as much appeal in writing Fantasy for me. As long as there’s some seed of truth, it’s very easy to make readers believe anything else.

I wanted to write about the fear and confinement and constant stress of being alone on a small spaceship, where you’re completely responsibility for running the ship. I read up on the experiments NASA did where they made people live in a pseudo-spaceship for a year on Earth, to see how that affected them mentally. I read a lot of therapy and mental health books about post-traumatic stress disorder, stress and young carers.

I watched lots of sci-fi films like Moon, Gravity and Interstellar – and that really
helped with capturing the aesthetics and design of the ship.​ I tried to explain it in a series of terrible sketches:

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Luckily, my publishers drew a better version for me!

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i also had to calculate the time it would take for messages to travel to and from Earth to The Infinity and The Eternity on every single day of the book, something which ended up needing an Excel spreadsheet this big:

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The dark side of writing a book set in space: the calculations. Ah well. It was all worth it in the end.


The Loneliest Girl In The Universe

cover - near finalCan you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

“Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine” ~ The Bookseller 

“Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama.” ~ SFX

 Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the third novel by Lauren James. It is a psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017, and Harperteen in July 2018. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

You can read Chapter 1 here or listen to me read it here. This is the first video of me reading my writing aloud I’ve put online – so I’ve been a little nervous about it! I hope you like it.

Sign up to be notified when the US edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is published and ARC copies are available for request.

If you leave a review of the book on a retail site like Amazon, Waterstones or Barnes & Noble, I will send you a signed, personalised bookplate. Fill out this form to claim your bookplate.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started:

Playlist for The Loneliest Girl + Q&A video

I love a good soundtrack, both when I’m writing and reading. This is definitely one of the creepiest I’ve ever made, and it will hopefully make the reading experience all the scarier. Listen at your own risk on Spotify or Youtube.

These first songs are about how alone Romy is, and how she struggles with that feeling of isolation.

  • Rocket Man//Elton John
  • In My Room//The Beach Boys
  • Like Real People Do//Hozier
  • We Gotta Get Out of this Place//The Animals
  • London Calling//The Clash
  • One//Aimee Mann
  • I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Tonight//Dr Hook

As Romy talks to J and gets to know him, she starts to fall in love. These songs capture that feeling of the early giddy feelings of a new crush.

  • What If I//Meghan Trainor
  • Angels//The XX
  • Happy Together//Filter
  • Absolutely Smitten//Dodie Clark
  • Wrecking Ball//Miley Cyrus
  • You Belong to Me//The Duprees
  • Trouble//Halsey

In the middle of the book, it starts getting quite scary, so there’s a lot of creepy, atmospheric songs here which I listened to while I was writing it. The Infinity is a circular ship, and the living space is around the perimeter. The centre of the ship is used as storage for the supplies needed for the new planet, like building materials and food. Romy explores the dark, cramped storage area, which hasn’t been visited since the ship left Earth’s orbit. These songs capture that feeling of claustrophobia.

  • Digital Suicide Lullaby//Brii
  • Poison & Wine//The Civil Wars
  • Where Do You Think You’re Going//Dire Straits
  • Theme Music//American Horror Story
  • Fantasy//MS MR
  • The Devil Within//Digital Daggers
  • Help I’m Alive//Metric
  • Up Jumped the Devil//Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Obsessions//Marina and the diamonds
  • Control//Halsey
  • Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums//Sebastian Stroud
  • You’ll Be Back//Hamilton Soundtrack

After the big climax of the book, there’s a happier, more optimistic ending to the book with these final songs.

  • Non, je ne regrette rien//Edith Piaf
  • One day I’ll fly away//The Vaults
  • Life on Mars?//David Bowie
  • Worst Trip//Dr. Dog
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of life//Monty Python
  • Ground Control// All Time Low
  • Become the Colour//Emily Wells

If you have any recommendations for other songs which would fit with Romy’s story, please let me know – several of these are based on people’s recs!

 

I also answered reader questions in a video today:


The Loneliest Girl In The Universe

cover - near finalCan you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

“Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine” ~ The Bookseller 

“Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama.” ~ SFX

 Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the third novel by Lauren James. It is a psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017, and Harperteen in July 2018. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

You can read Chapter 1 here or listen to me read it here. This is the first video of me reading my writing aloud I’ve put online – so I’ve been a little nervous about it! I hope you like it.

Sign up to be notified when the US edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is published and ARC copies are available for request.

If you leave a review of the book on a retail site like Amazon, Waterstones or Barnes & Noble, I will send you a signed, personalised bookplate. Fill out this form to claim your bookplate.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started:

It’s release day! Where did I get the idea?

My third book, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, is now finally out in the UK and Australia. It’s been an incredible journey getting to publication day – it was the bestselling title at the Young Adult Literature Convention 2017, sold out at Edinburgh Book Festival, is being published by HarperCollins (the stuff that dreams are made of) and was reprinted before it was even published. I’m so excited for everything still to come for Commander Romy Silvers.

Over the next few days I’m going to be releasing a series of blogs as a guide to everything related to the book – coming up is a bumper series full of extra content: fancasts of the characters, a book playlist, deleted scenes, book recommendations and more.

Please share them with anyone who you think will love the book – and if you’ve read it, please share on social media. Your support really helps boost the book. I’m so proud of this story, and I think it’s the best thing I’ve written to date. I hope you do too!

I’m thrilled with this trailer for my book, made by the team at Engine House (). Doesn’t it just bring the cover to life? It gave me shivers when I saw it!


First up, I’m going to be discussing the inspiration for the book. The nugget of an idea for this story first started with a question from some Physics coursework at university. The question was about special relativity, and went something like this:

An astronaut travels in a spaceship to a new planet. After a few years, a newer faster ship is developed and launched, which overtakes the first ship. How old are the two astronauts when they each arrive on the planet?

I started thinking about what it would be like to be that first astronaut, and dedicate years to travelling alone in space, only for your ship to be overtaken by a faster one before you even arrive. What would that feel like? What kind of relationship would you have with the person on the faster ship? From that, the story of Romy Silvers was born.

I knew that if I was writing a whole book where there was only really one person in isolation, I would need to create a character who would keep the reader’s attention and loyalty. It was a big challenge, but I fell totally in love with Romy while I was writing about her, and I hope everyone reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe does too.

Romy is powerless, easily influenced, subject to frequent panic attacks, sensitive and lacks self confidence. She’s weak in almost every way you can name: emotionally, mentally and physically. Despite that, she’s the strongest female character I’ve ever written – because she’s the most realistic of all of my characters.

I really wanted to make a flawed character, because every woman is worth reading about, as long as they are human: with whatever strengths and weaknesses that includes. They don’t have to be likeable and admirable and special to be deserving of attention. Romy is a direct answer to the cliché of the ‘strong female character’ trope – she is weak and scared at times, but that doesn’t stop her being a strong and well-developed character. Strong doesn’t mean ‘physically skilled’, it means ‘three-dimensional’.

The tone of the book was inspired by lots of books, which are listed below in more detail, but I just want to highlight one film which influenced the tone of the book more than any other – Stoker.

 

What do you want from me?
To be friends.
We don’t need to be friends. We’re family.

Moodboard by comstokes

This is my all time favourite film, described as “Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller meets Tim Burton coming-of-age freak-out” by the Telegraph. The eerie, tense, richly visual tone of the film was something I referred to frequently when writing The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it – perhaps after you finish reading my book!*

*Other book/film pairings I recommend – The Next Together/The Time Traveller’s Wife and The Last Beginning/Fingersmith.


The Loneliest Girl In The Universe

cover - near finalCan you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

“Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine” ~ The Bookseller 

“Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama.” ~ SFX

 Amazon UK |  Amazon US | Waterstones | Wordery |  Book Depository | Foyles  | Barnes & Noble

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the third novel by Lauren James. It is a psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017, and Harperteen in July 2018. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

You can read Chapter 1 here or listen to me read it here. This is the first video of me reading my writing aloud I’ve put online – so I’ve been a little nervous about it! I hope you like it.

Sign up to be notified when the US edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is published and ARC copies are available for request.

If you leave a review of the book on a retail site like Amazon, Waterstones or Barnes & Noble, I will send you a signed, personalised bookplate. Fill out this form to claim your bookplate.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started:

 

Big, unbelievable and incredible news

Today, this announcement ran in Publisher’s Weekly:

deal announcement

That’s right: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is being published in America by HarperCollins.

HarperCollins. That’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

It’s going to be out in July 2018 in hardback, eBook and audiobook (my first English-language audiobook!).

This deal happened in May last year, so I’ve been keeping it a secret for 16 months (the publishing industry is slow, slow, slow.) I’ve nearly exploded with the excitement of it several times, especially when I want to shout about my wonderful US editor, Emilia Rhodes, and I’ve not been able to!

However, the long wait does mean that we’re quite far along in the publication process. I’ve already seen the cover, and it is very different from the UK cover – in the best way. It’s minimalist and art deco and so beautiful I want it as a poster. I asked for a cover similar to the cover for We Are Okay, and they definitely came through. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

WeAreOkay.jpg

Plus, this means that Alice Oseman and I have the same publisher! If you’ve seen the covers for her Harperteen titles, you know that I am in very good hands indeed.

Basically this whole thing is my longest yeah boy ever.

The US edition is already up for preorder:  Amazon US | Barnes & Noble. If you can’t wait until July 2018, you can get the UK edition from next week internationally with free shipping from Book Depository

If you’re a blogger, you can sign up to be notified when the US edition of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is published and ARC copies are available for request.

The full first chapter of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is also up on Wattpad.


In other news: I had the most wonderful time at Edinburgh Book Festival this week. I spoke with Philip Reeve and Joy Court in front of 500+ students! Total career highlight, I feel like I’m dreaming. Thank you to everyone who came!

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I came home to the wonderful news that The Loneliest Girl is already on its second printing – and it’s not even published yet.

This happens when bookshops/trade/book clubs etc order more copies than are available from the first print run. They order a number of copies based on how many they think they can sell, because otherwise they have to return them. It’s an incredible sign of their trust in this book that they’ve ordered so many that it outnumbers what even my publisher anticipated.

This is a great sign of the future booksellers see for this book and I’m very excited to see what happens next. If you want to make sure you get a first edition, you should probably preorder now though!

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It’s now only one week until The Loneliest Girl in the Universe releases in the UK and Australia. I’m holding a giveaway over on Instagram here. 

I also did a Q&A with the bookish Kirra.


cover - near finalCan you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

“Gripping psychological thriller with a very relatable heroine” ~ The Bookseller 

“Black Mirror-esque. A fantastic slow-build drama.” ~ SFX

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the third novel by Lauren James. It is a psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017, and Harperteen in July 2018. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started:

Cover reveal for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

I am very, very (very) excited to be sharing the cover for my third novel today! It has been revealed over at Maximum Pop Books too (thanks guys!), but for anyone who missed their post, here it is!

Here’s a little video of my talking about it, or if you’re impatient – keep scrolling for the cover!

The_loneliest_girl.jpg.

DON’T YOU LOVE IT? I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It really captures the feeling and tone of the book – the light beams represent Romy’s only form of communication with Earth, laser beams sending messages back and forth in binary code.

The central radiation from her body is going to be silver foil, and I’ve got a printed version and the effect is absolutely STUNNING:

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I can’t wait for you all to see it in real life!

I hope you love the cover, and I absolutely cannot wait for you all to read Romy’s story. Nine months to go!!

It’s up for preorder already: Amazon UK | Waterstones | Wordery | Book Depository

And here’s the blurb:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is a romantic psychological thriller set in space and will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 7th September 2017. You can add it on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates.

My tumblr posts about The Loneliest Girl In The Universe are all collected here. Here are some links to get you started: